One of the most beautiful countries in the world, Norway is a land of fjords, mountains, glaciers, endless forests and midnight sun. Hiking and scenic drives are around every corner, while the cities display a Scandinavian sophistication and flair for design. In the north, the mountains roll over into tundra, while high up in the Arctic Ocean, the archipelago of Svalbard is a haven for wildlife.
best time to travel
The best time for hiking and cruising Norway is the summer between June and August. Skiing can be done year-round, but is at its best between January and March.
places to go
Norway's capital has a compact city centre, loaded with splendid galleries and world-class museums, including the Munch Museum, the Viking Ship Museum, the Fram Museum and the National Gallery. In addition there are lively cafe and bars, great restaurants, and a thriving nightlife ranging from opera to indie rock. Vigeland Park is a sculpture park displaying the quirky works of Gustav Vigeland.
In a spectacular setting, surrounded by hills, islands and fjords, the old Hanseatic city of Bergen is one of Norway's most charming towns. Old stone buildings and terraces of tiny wooden houses stand shoulder to shoulder with a great choice of museums, all centered on the old trading quarter of Bryggen.
Pulpit Rock (Preikestolen)
Incredible cliffs drop into the abyss of Lysefjord 600 metres below at Pulpit Rock, one of the world's most beautiful viewpoints and one of Norway's most enduring images.
Mainland Europe's largest icecap covers nearly 500 square kilometers and erodes an estimated 400,000 tonnes of rock each year. Many a tongue of Jostedalsbreen comes down to the fjords and valleys in the form of glaciers which you can walk up to or hike on.
One of the most beautiful fjords in the world, Sognefjord drills into mainland Norway for almost 200 kilometers, splitting into half a dozen smaller fjords towards its eastern end. Sheer rock walls rise a kilometre up into the sky, farms hang onto impossibly narrow strips of land, while waterfalls tumble down its cliffs. This is Norway's heartland, where Jostedalsbreen, Urnes stave church, incredible hiking and the Flåm railway are all within easy striking distance.
Urnes stave church
Set on a magical site along Lusterfjord, UNESCO protected Urnes Stave church is Norway's oldest preserved place of worship. A stunning piece of architecture, most of today's wooden structure dates back to the 12th century.
Jotunheimen National Park
Translated as "Home of the Giants", Jotunheimen is Norway's most spectacular wilderness area. Deep lakes, steep valleys, thundering waterfalls (including Norway's highest), soaring peaks and deep-blue glaciers make up this fantastic landscape - it is yours to discover.
A cruise by ferry along the steep cliffs of emerald-green Geirangerfjord is one of the highlights of a trip to Norway. Alternatively, drop down the impossible steep hairpins of Ørnevegen for some of the most spectacular views in the country.
Translated as The Troll's Ladder, Trollstigen is a mind-blowing series of hairpin bends on the mostly single-lane mountain road between Åndalsnes and Valldalen. It has a 1:12 gradient, but the fantastic views and thundering waterfalls make this a trip well worth taking.
After a devastating fire more than a century ago, Ålesund was rebuilt in Jugendstil (art nouveau). It is Scandinavia's most complete example of that style. No clapboard houses nor functional concrete and glass but instead a lovely mishmash of lavishly decorated pastel-painted facades, capped by myriad towers and turrets.
One of the most beautiful archipelagos on earth, Lofoten sits off Norway's northern coast, a series of steep-sided islands jutting out from the ocean like a dragon's tail. After an exhilarating day of hiking, whale watching, or exploring the Viking Museum, sit down for a meal of fresh-caught fish or lamb and wonder if you did land in paradise.
More pubs per capita than any other Norwegian town make Tromsø the social and cultural capital of northern Norway. The setting between mountains and fjords is beautiful, the hiking great and the midnight sun, when seen from the top of Storsteinen, simply glorious.
Svalbard, the archipelago of which Spitsbergen is the main island, truly is Europe's last great wilderness, home to more polar bears than people, land of snow-covered mountains and glaciers. As you sail these frigid waters you are sure to encounter walrus, bearded seal, minke whale and beluga, a myriad of wildlife such as Arctic fox and reindeer, as well as countless birds. Find more on Svalbard here.
Hike the fjords
One of the most spectacularly beautiful countries in the world, Norway also has some fantastic hiking. As you hike up steep mountains to the tune of cascading waterfalls, deep fjords run off into the distance while glaciers spread out before you in this, one of the most tranquil places on earth.
Read a book at midnight
Northern Norway straddles the Arctic Circle and the months of June and July see 24 hours of daylight. This is the place to read a book at midnight!
Marvel at the Aurora Borealis
Due to its location close to the Arctic Circle, the months of October through March see long nights and are therefore prime months to see the mesmerizing Northern Lights dance across the skies.
Despite its reputation as a whaling nation, Norway is one of the best countries in the world to see these majestic mammals. Fourteen whale species can frequently be encountered in Norwegian waters and the Lofoten islands are the best place to see them. Sperm whales, orcas and pilot whales are regularly seen.
Hike a glacier
Strap on your crampons, pick up your ice axe and join a guided hike on one of Norway's many glaciers.
Ride the rails
Don't miss the opportunity to ride the train between Oslo and Bergen, across the beautiful Hardangervidda Plateau. During the journey you will travel on one of Europe's most celebrated railroads, the 20 kilometre run of the Flåmsbana. Dropping 900 metres down the mountainside, past cascading waterfalls, it passes through hand-dug tunnels, one of them a hairpin drop of almost a thousand
Whether summer ski-touring in the far north or cross-country skiing in the mountains in the south, Norway is one of the world's best destinations for skiing. Find superb views, endless touring possibilities through forests, across lakes and tundra and through the magnificent wilderness. Contact us about our skiing trips in Norway
Feel like a Viking
Step back in time and experience what it would have been like to take to the seas during the Viking era at Oslo's Viking Ship Museum. Here you will find three extremely well preserved ninth-century Viking ships, retrieved from burial mounds along with their treasure.
Oslo's Vigelandspark is perhaps one of the most eclectic collections of statues in the world, a place where Gustav Vigeland let his imagination run riot. Be sure to check out Sinnataggen (The Angry Child) and the enormous bowl representing the burden of life and the 20m-high obelisk showing humanity playing, fighting, loving and eating, and climb all over each other to get to the top.
Norwegian painter and print maker Edvard Munch expressed psychological themes in his artworks, the most famous of which is The Scream, versions of which can be seen in the National Gallery and Munch Museum in Oslo.
Follow the ocean supply route along Norway's west coast between Bergen in the south and Kirkenes near the Russian border in the north. The 11-day return journey gives you the chance to see Norway's fjord and mountain scenery at its most beautiful.
Stand at the tip of Europe
As if standing at the top of the cliffs at Nordkapp, gazing more than 300 metres down to the rolling waves of the Barents Sea crashing at the base and seeing the midnight sun is not special enough, this is also as far north as mere mortals can come in mainland Europe.
Food, glorious food
While the food in Norway has been criticized for being bland, there are some specialties worth trying. Cod with potatoes, or reindeer steak with gravy and lingon berries are two you should try. Seafood is as fresh as it gets: salmon, mountain trout and brine-cured herring with raw onions are but some of the many choices.
Seeing polar bears
Svalbard, the Norwegian archipelago far to the north, is one of the world's best places to see polar bear. Coming close to these magnificent animals is an experience you will not soon forget.