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Norway Travel Guide, Fjords and Natural Beauty

March 12, 2015

Alesund

Norway is a Scandinavian country  which is the northernmost, westernmost and even easternmost of all three of them (Scandinavian countries, that is).

Blessed with an incredible natural beauty and wealth (as in petroleum resources in the Northern Sea), Norway is a highly developed country and an ideal travel destination. Bordered by Sweden, Finland and Russia, Norway is best known for its awesome and intricate fjords that stretch around its western coast.

With a population of 5,1 million people and a land surface of 385,252 square kilometers, Norway features a rugged yet stunningly beautiful landscape which was carved by the Ice Age. You’ll find everything here : forested mountains and hills, luscious valleys and waterfalls, beautiful fjords and waterfalls, you name it, they have it!

If you plan to travel to Norway, I’d recommend you to do it during the summer months when the weather is delightfully pleasant. The flipside to that coin is, for winter lovers, the period between December and April, if you like snow of course.

The Arctic North is filled with precipitous glaciers and the untouched wilderness of Norway is one of those places where the sun shines in the middle of the night in the summer time, not to mention the stunning Northern Lights that illuminate the skies in the long, cold winter nights.

Trondheim, Bergen and the country’s capital Oslo are cosmopolite and picturesque cities, but the real treat of visiting Norway are its natural wonders, the great outdoors.

fjords

 What to see, what to do in Norway

 Let me begin with the Northern Lights, more beautiful than Aurora Borealis and hauntingly beautiful, a natural phenomenon that is caused by the magnetized particles thrown from our Sun which interfere with the Earth’s magnetic field, creating a magic light show. The Northern Lights are best observed in the Arctic Region, from October to March.

Northern_lights_Svolvaer2_Lofoten_Norway_740

If you like Art Nouveau buildings, look no further than Alesund, a greatly overlooked municipal center.

Pulpit Rock is the place to spend a few days if you’re a die hard hiker, being basically a 600 meters tall cliff which offers a magnificent view over the cerulean  waters of Lysefjord. The view from up there is absolutely stunning!

Preikestolen_Pulpit_Rock_Lysefjord_Norway

Polar bear watching is a rare treat and Svalbard is the last place in Europe where you can enjoy the sight of these majestic animals.

Norway’s largest fjord is called Sognefjord and can be best admired via a funicular trip from Bergen which offers the traveller a panoramic view over the port of Bergen and the 7 mountains that surround the port.

marool-norway-alesund-jpg

The best preserved, actually impeccably preserved fortress town of Scandinavia is located in Norway and it’s called Fredrikstad; also the largest glacier in Europe is in Norway too: Jostedalsbreen. These places make for the gathering place of adventure lovers (read hikers) from anywhere in the world.

Another immensely popular tourist destination in Norway is Hardanger Fjord, 47 miles east of the city of Bergen, boasting with its scenic mountains, plateau, waterways and orchards. Here you can visit Norway’s largest national park Hardangervidda along with the biggest glaciers: Hardangerjøkulen and Folgefonna. The most impressive waterfalls in the area are Låtefossen,Vøringfossen and Steinsdalsfossen and while you’re here, pay a visit to the various museums available for culture buffs.

The world’s strongest whirlpool is the mighty Maelstrom, an immensely powerful tidal current that can be admired four times a day 19 miles east of the city of Bodo.

Maelstrom

Norway is home for 28 medieval wooden churches, like the Stave Church, the oldest one which dates from 1130.

Norway in a nutshell is a tourist tour available in Bergen, a 1-3 days trip that will reveal the country’s top tourist attractions.

Oslo, the main city and the capital boasts with its awesome collection of museums, like the Thor Heyerdahl (the celeb explorer) Kon Tiki Museum, the Viking Ship Museum and the Munch Museum.

Trondheim is the former capital of Norway and makes for an interesting pit-stop in your epic journey, especially its magnificent Nidaros Cathedral and Ringve Museum.

For snowboarding and skiing aficionados, look no further than the 1994 Winter Olympics resort located in Lillehammer, a 2 hours drive north of the capital Oslo.

oslo

Food and Drinks   

The national dish is obviously fish, along with potatoes, meat and veggies. A popular hot snack is pølse, a kind of sausage. Breakfasts in Norway are really important and huge, offering a large variety of fish, cheese, meat, boiled/fried eggs, served buffet style.

Specialties include sweet brown cheese, roasted reindeer/wild elk, baked cod, porridge and cloudberries. Regional alcoholic drinks include schnapps and light lager.

polar bear

Visa Requirements

Norway is a member of the European Union and it signed the Schengen treaty, hence if you’re an EU citizen, you’ll not require a passport, just an ID (if anything). For USA/Canadian tourists, a passport is required (no Visa though).

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