Chase the Northern Lights or go fishing in a Fjord. Cycle on a remote island in the midnight sun and get back to the city in half an hour. Norway is one of those places in Europe where natural beauty is so utterly accessible it seems too good to be true. Start with Oslo and wander your way through the natural wonders of this small but proud country.
The capital of Norway is a thriving architectural and cultural hub. Like a crystal mounted by the waterfront is the glassy Oslo Opera House, a piece of art in its own right. You can catch a performance in this magnificent structure or simply admire it from the outside. Come face to face with Edvard Munch’s The Scream at the National Gallery, just one amongst the many museums this city invites you to appreciate. Perhaps one of the best things about Oslo is how easy it is to escape the city; a range of hiking, sailing, ice-skating and other sporting options are available at close proximity. In the summer, get aboard the Skibladner, the world’s oldest paddle steamer, for a vintage ride to other towns. There’s also no need to wait till winter to see Santa Claus in Norway - half an hour outside Oslo lies Norway’s biggest permanent Christmas exhibition in Drøbak. A bus ride away from Oslo is Hemsedal, known as the Norwegian mecca for fly fishing.
South and West: The Fjord experience
Amble through the small-town cosiness of Stavanger, and then embark on your fjord adventure. These long inlets of salt water are formed by glacial erosion, creating winding lines of blue that blend harmoniously into the dramatic mountain landscape. This is easily the highlight of travelling in Norway. Geirangerfjord, Hardangerfjord and Lysefjord are just a few of the spectacular spots for cruising, kayaking and fishing and mountain-walking, often complemented with cascading waterfalls and neighing mountain farms. Take the railway to beautiful Flåm from Sognefjord and enjoy the majestic landscape on one of the world’s steepest railway lines.
The North: Chasing the Northern Lights
The north is where you will find fairy tale Norway. Reindeer, the Northern Lights, dog-sledding and the colourful jackets of Sami culture. The sheer magic of the aurora borealis captures even the most jaded traveller and must be witnessed first-hand. Dogsled under the northern lights in the Pasvik Valley or go on the northern light tour in the Sami capital of Karasjok. The eerie winter of Arctic wilderness is best explored on a sled pulled by a team of huskies. Hope to bump into an elk, classically associated with Scandinavia. Cross your frozen fingers and toes and you might even bump into a polar bear in Svalbard! Tromsø, the ‘capital of the Arctic’, is an apt place to base yourself before embarking on your adventures in the far north.
Unsurprisingly, Norway’s public transport system is top notch; a combination of bus, trains and ferries are timed to link with each other to make travelling as seamless and comfortable as possible. Pick up the NSC Togruter at train stations, which provide all information you need on the rail schedules in different seasons, as well as the connecting buses available.
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