Norway Travel Guide
Why holiday in Norway?
This country is primarily about monumental
views of mountains, fjords, waterfalls and glaciers with the occasional
stave church thrown in.
Heddal's traditional Norwegian stave church. Photo by Micha. L. Riese.
• Like the rest of Scandinavia it's expensive, especially alcohol.
Best weather: May-September;
the Midnight Sun occurs in the far north from mid-June to mid-July.
Oslo's best sight, the extraordinary sculpture park of Vigeland, with this monolith at the heart of the extensive park. Photo by BjoernEisbaer.
**Oslo. Not a particularly attractive city but it's a good place to stroll and worth a day or two for the museums, Viking relics and especially the amazing sculpture park, Vigeland.
**Risor (2/3 hours south of Oslo), a very picturesque fishing village.
***Bergen. This port town, with its evocative mass of pretty wooden buildings and plentiful culture, is a popular trip from Oslo - the 7 hour train ride is a scenic masterpiece - and a natural starting point for fjordland experiences.
***Stavanger's 900 year-old town includes a striking 18thC wooden district, a medieval cathedral and a fine collection of museums.
***Fjords. You can't leave Norway without cruising the stunning fjords. Geirangerfjord and Sognefjord are the two prettiest, with the former offering a terrific waterfalls bonus while the latter is nearer to Bergen.
*** Geiranger, on the fjord shore. A tiny village surrounded by mountains, waterfalls and tourists, this is prime hiking country, but book accommodation in advance.
*** Jostedalsbreen National Park is a popular hiking destination with many well marked trails, plentiful accommodation, and natural splendour in spades, including 50 glaciers.
**Tromso. Way up north and well into the arctic circle Tromso (aka 'Gateway to the Arctic') is unusually lively and culturally rich, possibly due to the world's most northern university being situated there. This is a good base for winter skiing or summer wilderness hiking.
Buses, trains and domestic planes are highly efficient, though
not frequent and costly.
Acrobat bridge over Central Station in Oslo. Photo by Knut Arne Gjertsen.
Driving: an excellent way to explore the land, with stupendous views and totally safe native drivers, but watch out for elk (moose) or reindeer.
Biking: surprisingly common considering the hilly nature and grand distances of the country, but bike hire is readily available just about anywhere. Car drivers are very careful and competent.
Hiking: plenty of great hikes not far from Oslo, from plateaux to glaciers. Geiranger and Jotunheimen are renowned hiking spots.
Fishing: fjord fishing has to be at the apex of ambient fishy experiences, tho' freshwater fishing is also available. Licences are necessary and readily available.
Skiing: all year round, with glacier skiing in summer time, esp. around Jotunheimen.
Boat Cruises: short or long fjord cruising is one of the must-dos here, and Sognefjord is the classic spot.
Mountain climbing: if you can handle low temperatures there's no shortage of serious, beautiful climbs along the whole length of the country, but stick to summertime!
White water rafting: from half a day to 2 days.
A genuine Viking longship in the Viking Museum, Oslo
Bergen, Norway's prettiest town and main activity centre. Photo by Joachim Kohler Bremen.
View to Romsdalen from Litlefjellet. Photo by Simo Rasanen.