Norway is one of the most gorgeous countries in the world. Nestling in the skirts of the Arctic Circle, the beauty of the landscape has been sculptured by ice, snow and water. Mountains and valleys, and of course, the famous fjords, are the setting for vibrant towns and tiny fishing villages. There are more things to do in Norway than winter sports and there are interesting places to go in Norway that will charm and delight. I’ve only got time and space to let you know about just a few things to do in Norway but, trust me, these will be worth the column inches, and there’s plenty more for you to discover for yourself. Here’s the 7 places to go in Norway I’ve chosen for you to get a real flavor of this Scandinavian gem.
1 Stand on Preikestolen
If you don’t have a head for heights you are going to miss out on not only one of the most extraordinary places to go in Norway, but in the world. Preikestolen – known as Pulpit’s Rock in English – is a lookout without peers. You have to hike two hours from Stavanger to reach the outcrop ledge that literally hangs 600m over Lysefjord, but boy is it worth the effort. The breath taking view cannot be described – it has to be experienced. Just don’t go too close to the edge!
2 Visit Alesund
The Alesund you can visit today would never have existed, but for a fire that devastated the town more than a century ago. Most of the wooden buildings were destroyed, leaving pretty much only the town jail and a brick church. Along came two Norwegian architects who had studied in Germany where they had been strongly influenced by the prevailing art nouveau style. (Art Nouveau may sound French but the movement started as Jugendstil in Germany). Under their guidance Alesund was rebuilt with richly ornamented buildings adorned with fanciful features such as spires, turrets, gargoyles and water spouts. Today, Alesund is one of the most delightful places to visit in Norway.
3 Go to the Lofoten Islands
One of the most popular tourist things to do in Norway is whale watching. The enchanting Lofoten Islands are cetacean heaven and the best place in Northern Europe for catching sight of these marvelous creatures. The Islands themselves are more than just one of the places to go in Norway for wildlife spotting. Dark craggy peaks rise from clear waters dotted with little fishing villages with a network of bridges to connect the islands to each other. Lofoten is perfect for hikers.
4 Take the Hurtigruten Ferry
If you’ve got a few days to simply sit on deck and watch the most incredible scenery go by, then the Hurtigruten Coastal Ferry provides one of the most unforgettable ways to go sightseeing in Norway. The ferry journeys practically the entire length of the Norwegian coast between Bergen and Kirkenes, and en route you’ll pass coastal fjords and stunning mountain scenes, dock in isolated fishing villages, and cross the Arctic Circle. At the right time of year you will also be caught up in the amazing phenomenon that is the Northern Lights.
5 Hike in the Jotunheimen
What about places to go in Norway during the summer? Norway is such a long narrow country that even inland you are fairly close to the fjords. This gives even more appeal to the special destination that is Jotunheimen National Park. Translated as ‘Home of the Giants’, the area is best visited in summer because in winter, it is unforgiving and inhospitable. The mountains are high – more than 275 are over 2000m – and covered in glaciers, about 60 in all. The highest mountain in Norway is here – Galdhopiggen. The area is criss-crossed by brilliant hiking trails offering some of the best walks in the world.
6 Chill out in Tromso
Lying 400km north of the Arctic Circle, vibrant Tromso is the city where in summer, the sun never sets. Thanks to its location, Tromso has a few boasts. It is home to the world’s most northerly cathedral, botanic garden and brewery. Its university is also the northernmost and thanks to its students, there is brilliant nightlife in Tromso. Indeed, per capita, there are more pubs and clubs in Tromso than in any other city or town in Norway. In winter, the city and the immediate area becomes a sports playground. For 24 hours of non-stop fun and outdoor activity, there are fewer places to go in Norway better than Tromso.
7 Buy a Ticket for the Oslo-Bergen Railway
If you want to enjoy the breath taking scenery of Norway but don’t want to be restricted on a boat, or you’re not a fan of hiking, the Oslo-Bergen Railway awaits. It’s the perfect opportunity to not only soak up the countryside, but the terminals are in two major cities so there are plenty of opportunities to experience Norway from the urban perspective. En route you’ll pass through the south Norway forests as you climb the Hardangervidda Plateau and pass through the very pretty area around Voss.
It’s really hard to capture the beauty of Norway in words – it simply has to be seen to be believed. There are so many ways to experience Norway so no-one could ever be disappointed by one of the most beauteous places on the planet.