7 Reasons to Visit Norway
Sitting on the edge of northern Europe, Norway is a beautiful and fascinating country, yet is not always on the top of people’s wish lists when it comes to visiting the region. With soaring mountains, the famous fjords and cities rich in culture and heritage, it’s surprising not more people make their way north. Here are seven reasons why we think you should put Norway on the list for your next trip.
Lofoten is a picturesque set of islands in northern Norway, located well into the Arctic Circle. The rugged coast has fabulous fjords, and mountains rising directly from the sea. There are white sandy beaches and small fishing villages resembling scenes from a postcard. An ever-popular destination with visitors and Norwegians alike, this archipelago is an excellent area for island hopping, kayaking, cycling and hiking.
The Svalbard islands are north of Norway's mainland, lying in the Arctic Ocean east of Greenland. Since 1920, the islands have been part of Norway. The towns here are the northernmost inhabited places on Earth, with about 3,000 people living on these rugged islands year-round. Visitors seeking the wild Arctic and untouched nature will find it here, with glaciers and mountains to explore and wildlife such as polar bears, walruses and caribou wandering freely.
One of the most famous and popular fjords in Norway is the Geirangerfjord. On the western coast of Norway, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is part of the itinerary on many Scandinavian cruises. Tall mountains covered in lush greenery surround the fjord. High cliffs plunge into the sea, and there are three lovely waterfalls that spill into the fjord on different sides. The area offers superb hiking and fishing opportunities.
Stavanger is one of the few spots in Norway where you can find long sandy beaches that are ideal for sunbathing. This city in southwest Norway has a number of historic and cultural attractions. The Stavanger Cathedral is the best-known medieval church in the country, and visitors to the Gamle Stavanger district find themselves transported back to 18th century Scandinavia.
The original town of Ålesund was largely destroyed by fire in 1904, but was reconstructed with brick and stone using the Jugendstil - or Art Nouveau - architectural style of building, which was prevalent at the time. Take a trip up Town Mountain and enjoy panoramic views across the city from Aksla, on the hill. Ålesund is also the gateway city to the northwestern fjords, and the surrounding alpine mountain range, the Sunnmøre Alps. It is a popular place for skiing in the winter months and hikes in the area offer wonderful views of the city and nearby islands.
6. Northern Lights
Winter visitors to Norway are often treated to a unique visual experience, known as the northern lights. This astronomical phenomenon appears as flickering curtains of rolling smoke, or bands across the sky. The enormous displays are usually green or white, with touches of pink and violet and are caused by electrically charged particles from the sun meeting the Earth's atmosphere. The northern lights can be seen from late September to early March.
7. The Midnight Sun
Above the Arctic Circle, there is a time during the summer when the sun never sets. It circles the horizon, bathing everything with a soft, low radiance similar to twilight elsewhere. June and July are the best months to see the midnight sun, and one of the most popular places to experience this phenomenon is the North Cape. Norway has enough wonderful sights and activities to keep you occupied for many months. When you have limited holiday time, decide what your priorities are, and plan your trip accordingly. Whether you explore the culture and history of Alesund or the wild Arctic landscapes of Svalbard, there is an adventure here for everyone.