It’s one of the latest must see destinations but what exactly is there to do and see?
Well, below are some of the top rated highlights in Norway to help you start dreaming and planning your holiday away. They include landscapes, nature, and animals. You can learn a bit about history, experience the city life, or venture out to see some natural phenomenons. Whatever your cup of tea, I am sure there is something that catches your eye to get you started planning your trip away!
This is THE fjord of Norway. Listed on the UNSECO World Heritage Site, this 20 km fjord has the dramatic cliffs, glistening waters, impressive waterfalls, and breathtaking beauty you have always imagined.
Svalbard- The Arctic
Where? Was exactly my question when someone first proposed we vacation in Svalbard. Mind you, I’ve heard of a lot of places in the world. But that’s one of the great things about traveling; getting to explore places you never even knew existed. This group of remote islands is located in the Arctic Circle. Over 1/6th of the world’s population of polar bears are located here, where they outnumber people! This group of islands is surprisingly accessible from mainland Norway and an addition to an already unforgettable trip.
Olso- Bergen Railway
For those of you who are train enthusiast, or are happy to sit back and watch the world pass on by, the Oslo- Bergen railway is one of the most beautiful rail journeys in the world. Imagine the lush, green, dramatic landscape of Norway passing right before your eyes as you ride in comfort taking it all in. On this journey you get to enjoy a change of landscapes as the train passed through the forest, ascends the plateaus of Hardangervidda national park, through the idyllic Voss and then onto the bustling Bergen waterfront. You basically get to take in as much of Norway’s scenic beauty as one person is able to process without having to keep your eyes focused on the road. A popular stop on this route, is in Myrdal to do the Flåm Railway or Voss for the Norway in a Nutshell trip.
Kystriksveien Coastal Route
Now, if you happen to be a driver instead of a train enthusiast, this could be the route for you. Every coastline is beauty, but Norway’s s truly spectacular. This stretch of lanes through Nordland measures 650 km incorporating ferries, offshore islands, and glaciers to break up the drive, or whatever portion of the drive you decide on doing. Especially notable stops are Lovurnd (where you can see over 200,000 cute little puffins), or over 14,000 islands right off the highway. Note this is one of those slow down and enjoy types of journeys with frequent coffee and seafood stops. Enjoy!
This is for the architect lovers out there. Of the over 2000 wooden churches built in Northern Europe, Norway is currently the only country where intact ones remain. There are 28 stave churches, about southern and central Norway, that you can visit and inspect the unique motifs, including animals carved into the structures. If you are in southern Norway, there is a good chance you’ll be around at least one or two.
Pulpit Rock- Preikestolen
This surprisingly accessible place looks unreal. I once saw a picture of the pulpit rock on a screen saver and made a quick comment of how nice it would be to visit, to the response of “Wait? That’s a real place? We thought it was fake!”
An in length article is found above on this specific destination, its really worth a look. Imagine sitting with your feet dangling off a sheer cliff drop 600 meters down into the Lysefjord right below and surveying the truly unreal views from the top. It’s quite the same as Machu Picchu, but, it’s definitely up there with its views. This incredible site is very easy to access from Stavanger.
The aurora borealis. The end all be all of practically everyone’s travel bucket list because of its unpredictability and usually a journey to get to an ideal destination for viewing. You’re in luck, Norway happens to have some prime spots for viewing. While sightings are not guaranteed, there are some locations and conditions that you can take factor into greatly increase your chances of spotting the dancing lights. If you are lucky enough to see them, I ensure everyone else will be green ( or blue or red, depending what element is being emitted when entering earth’s atmosphere) with envy.
The Lofoten Islands are decently far North in Norway, but absolutely worth going to for their calm, water surrounded, picturesque villages, fresh seafood, and peaceful atmosphere. This is where you go in Norway when you want simply just to be in a cabin, by the water, with the fresh air and the staggering cliffs surrounding you. Best accessed by ferry from Bodø or driving along the National Tourist Route (a title only given to the most scenic of roads), Lofoten is the place you’ve always dreamed of going and will surely never forget.
Wild and not so wild animals
Norway’s ample landscape and remote location have allowed certain species of animals to thrive here that are not often found elsewhere. Common to the county are arctic foxes, reindeer, ox, elk, whales, wolves, seals, and the most impressive, polar bear. Norwegians have learned to live off nature when they need to, and preserve nature when it is possible. Hence, animals are looked upon very favorable here and great stakes are taken to preserve their habitats so that they might flourish. On my last trip, I was more than a little surprised to see one household, minutes out from a major city, included a dog, cats, chickens, hedgehogs, koi fish, and I am told there was once even a goat, that considered the property it’s home.
Norway is more than nature. While I think different parts of nature are the stand out highlights of the country, the cities in Norway are just waiting to show off their charm too. We have a whole section of city guides and information for you to browse as you please, there is simply too much information to fit here. From the Opera House in Oslo, to the Food and Art Festivals at Stavanger’s port, you can find everything you want in the city to recharge yourself after long days of exploring the land. Don’t forget about the amazing fish market in Bergen or the extremely vibrant Tromsø, which boast more pubs and clubs per capita than other Norwegian city (perhaps to get them through those arctic winters) and where they can share stories of their Northern Lights spotting.
You’ve heard of the Mayans, the ancient Greeks and Egyptians, probably the Maori people, but have you ever heard of the Sami?
Sami people, also known as Lapps, are the country’s largest ethnic minority and longest residents. These nomadic people have been recorded as early as AD 98 herding reindeer, hunting the land, and traveling around on skis. The closest comparison of the Sami culture and history in Norway would be to the American Indians. Over the years the Sami culture came under threat from missionary activities and their rights were restricted by the government. Later, official government policy recognized these people as Norwegian subjects but ethnically separate with separate committees that would oversee Sami cultural issues.
Reindeer herding and fishing are not as sustainable as they once were, but the Sami culture is still visible throughout Norway by ways of fashion, language, and crafts. Driving through Hardangervidda, we pulled over to take a look at some very interested crafts that I am sure someone would have tried to convince me we needed for our living room if only we could fit it in our luggage.
What have some of your top experiences been? What are you excited about seeing in Norway? Let us know below!