Norway must be one of the most beautiful countries in the world. With its mysterious arctic landscapes, stunning fjord coastlines, picturesque islands and charming villages, the Land of the Midnight Sun is an inspiring feast for the senses.
In Oslo, visit the Ski Museum, the sculptures of Vigeland Park, and the cafes and bars of Grünerløkka. View Munch's artwork at the National Gallery, eat fresh shrimp at Aker Brygge and visit the Viking ship museum at Bygdøy.
Take a coastal drive between Egersund and Flekkefjord, stopover at the picturesque village of Grimstad, and bring the kids to Kristiansand Dyrepark. See the stave churches of Heddel and Notodden, and hike the spectacular mountain of Gausta.
In beautiful Bergen, explore the historic Bryggen quayside, and cruise up Hardangerfjord to the precariously perched farms of Eidfjord. Visit Voss for adventure sports, Stavanger for historic timber houses, and Stalheim for vertigo-inducing views. Ascend the iconic rocks of Preikestolen and Kjeragbolten in Lysefjord. Go trekking in Jotunheimen National Park and Dovrefjell-Sunndalsfjella National Park, and spot reindeer and arctic foxes at Hardangervidda. Visit the heritage village of Røros, and climb the Olympic ski-jump of Lillehammer.
At Sognefjorden, ride the breathtaking Flåmsbana railway. See the art nouveau architecture of Ålesund, the cliffs of Geirangerfjord, and the dramatic Trollstigen route. Visit Trondheim for vibrant nightlife and the Nidaros Cathedral, and Stiklestad for its historic cultural centre. Go driving on the Arctic Highway, and ferry-hopping along Kystriksveien. See the surreal landscapes of the Lofoten islands and the glaciers in Saltfjellet-Svartisen.
Experience Sami culture in Kautokeino and Karasjok, Stone Age carvings in Alta, and the Arctic Cathedral in Tromsø. Travel to the northernmost point in continental Europe at Nordkapp. In Svalbard, visit the Longyearbren glacier and Magdalenefjord, and cruise among icebergs, seals, walruses, and of course, polar bears.
Distances can be large in Norway, and competitively priced flights the best way to get from north to south. Book way in advance to ensure a good price.
Public transport is efficient, with trains, buses and ferries are usually timed for seamless transfers. With advanced planning, you can get great savings with the minipris system, where a limited number of heavily discounted tickets are sold online.
Trains are excellent, but expensive and only link major cities. Buses are cheaper, more extensive, but slower than trains. Ferries link offshore islands and fjord communities to the mainland. Travelers may enjoy slow travel on the Hurtigruten Coastal Ferry from Bergen, combined with scenic fjord tours.
Driving is pleasurable, especially on the National Tourist Routes: 18 carefully selected drives with gorgeous scenery and tourist-friendly infrastructure.
Norwegians have been skiing for more than 4000 years. "Ski" itself is a Norwegian word, and means a 'piece of wood'. In fact, modern skis were invented in the 1870s in Morgedal, and that was where the Olympic flame was lit at the Winter Olympics at Lillehammer in 1994.
In a supermarket, you'll see these typical Norwegian foods: brunost (a sweet-tasting brown-coloured cheese), lutefisk (fish preserved in lye), and toothpaste-like tubes of cod roe and cream cheese. However, if Norway had a national dish, it must be the frozen pizza brand of Grandiosa - one Grandiosa pizza is eaten every second!
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