The land of fjords, Vikings and unlimited gas and oil-supplies has, being as north as it is, a cold climate. Its long sea-coast ensures it has mild summers and plenty of rain. Norway is a country of winding roads, spectacular nature, picturesque fishing villages and remote islands. The money generated by all its natural resources has been carefully saved in a sovereign wealth fund for the day the oil and gas run out. Like the rest of the Nordic countries, it has a generous welfare system and combines capitalism with socialistic practices.
Whether you decide to take a cruise up or down the Norwegian coast, or decide to drive or cycle from Oslo to the North Cape, you will never be far from the mind-numbingly beautiful scenery the combination of deep fjords and mountains running right up to the ocean affords. Steep cliffs rise up out of the deep blue seas, glaciers snake their way down into the water, and colourful villages hug the shorelines wherever they can. All this comes with an equally impressive array of wildlife both on land and under the sea. Polar bears roam the island of Spitsbergen, while herds of reindeers ramble the northern tundra tended by their Sami reindeer herders. Eagles swoop down from one of the many bluffs in search of a good meal, while whales break the waters for a breath of fresh air.
But don’t dismiss the cities either, where cool Nordic design vies with age old traditional architecture, and where the hip young Norwegians stroll confidently into a bright future. Fine cuisine will ensure you won’t go hungry. Just don’t forget to plunder you bank account. Norway isn’t cheap!
Highlights from Norway
- Norway’s prime attraction is obviously its fjords, with Geiranger Fjord its most famous example
- Take the Hurtigruten ferry all the way up or down the Norwegian coast
- Visit the Lofoten Islands, the natural wonderland poking its head out of the Nordic Sea, perhaps you will spot a whale while you are there
- Fly or take a cruise up to Spitsbergen, part of the Svalbard Archipelago and go searching for polar bears, walruses and other Arctic wildlife
- Go skiing outside Lillehammer, former host of the winter-Olympics
- Hike around Jotunheimen National Park with its many glaciers and snowy peaks
- Wander around picturesque Bergen with its beautiful waterfront district of Bryggen
- Take the coastal road all the way up to the North Cape (aka Nordkapp) and gaze out over the Arctic Ocean
- Visit Oslo with its stunning opera house, and many museums
- Sit on Pulpit Rock at Lysefjord and contemplate life
Hints and Tips for Norway
- Norway is super-expensive, ways to save money are to camp, to buy your food in supermarkets and cook it yourself, or to use a hospitality service.
- Everybody speak English in Norway, so no need to pack a phrasebook.
- Take the train from Oslo to Bergen, it is considered one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world.