Norway is a unique destination, combining stunning natural beauty with Scandinavian elegance and a host of exhilarating outdoor pursuits. Here are a few things to include in your itinerary...
1. Hit the slopes
Norway boasts countless ski resorts, great snow and a season which normally lasts for six months, making it the perfect destination for snow sport enthusiasts of all abilities. There is also a staggering variety of terrain, ranging from the Olympic standard alpine tracks at Hafjell, to the cross country skiing paths dotted throughout the Jotunheimen national park.
2. Visit the Capital
Oslo is situated spectacularly at the top of Oslofjord, bordered on one side by serene blue waters and on the other by an expanse of forest, Oslomarka, with Nordmarka offering another accessible outdoor playground to the south. The city itself is full of attractions ranging from the National Gallery, which houses Edvard Munch’s famous painting The Scream, to institutions revolving around the country’s heritage, such as the world’s best preserved Viking Ship and the Fram Museum. Oslo is easily explored on foot, and its eclectic nightlife ensures that you will have plenty of entertainment to choose from once the sun goes down.
3. Witness the Northern Lights
The Northern Lights remain a piece of natural theatre which continues to draw visitors to Norway from around the world. The aurora borealis can be seen between late autumn and early spring, and a sighting is likely to be one of many mystical Norway memories which stay with you forever. Bear in mind that the Northern Lights do not appear everywhere in Norway and that the best way to experience them is travel where there is as little light pollution as possible.
4. Explore Svalbard
The islands of Svalbard are located north of Norway within the Arctic Circle. The area is one of the true Arctic wildernesses, though its capital Longyearbyen is easily accessible from Oslo by air and provides a perfect base from which you can explore. Take a snowmobile safari, embark on a husky sledding adventure, go ice-caving, gaze up at the Northern Lights and generally discover as much as you can of this supreme, untouched landscape.
5. Look over the edge at Preikestolen
A few hours hike up the side of Lysefjord, one of Norway’s most picturesque fjords, will take you to the iconic observation platform Preikestolen or Pulpit Rock as it is commonly called in English. From your vantage point above the fjord, you can gaze at the water over 600 meters below at what is truly one of the most remarkable views on the planet.
6. Stand at the North Cape
The North Cape is another iconic Norwegian landmark and represents one of the most northern points in mainland Europe. It’s a fantastic place to get closer to some of Norway’s wildlife, watch the sun go down, see the Northern Lights and generally appreciate breathtaking coastal views.
7. Get out on the water at Geirangerfjord
Geirangerfjord is one of Norway’s many jaw-droppingly beautiful fjords, and a scenic ferry ride from Hellesylt to Geiranger is a great way to take in the serene, emerald waters and cascading waterfalls you will pass on both sides. For a more active experience, hire a kayak and explore the area for yourself!
8. Stroll around Lillehammer
The quaint city of Lillehammer became famous after hosting the 1994 Winter Olympics, and it goes without saying that the skiing and snow sport opportunities here are second to none. There is plenty more to do though, with many restaurants and cafes, as well as cultural sights including the Maihaugen Open Air Museum and the Lillehammer Art Museum.
9. Visit the Holmenkollen Ski Jump
Built in 2010, the Holmenkollen ski jump towers over Oslo and is the only designer, steel ski jump in the world. If you aren’t lucky enough to witness a competition on the world’s most modern jump, then visit the Ski Museum at its base, which provides a fascinating insight into Norway’s historical obsession with the slopes.
10. Discover the Lyngen Alps
The unspoilt mountains of the Lyngen Alps lie on a peninsular near the city of Tromsø, and serve as a paradise for those seeking adventure in the wilderness. The region is well inside the Arctic Circle, meaning that you will get an incredible view of the Northern Lights or the Midnight Sun, depending on which time of year you visit, as well as fantastic snow conditions which mean that skiing is possible from sea level. Whether you want to hike, cycle, fish, ski or scuba dive, local companies offer an array of outdoor opportunities to cater for all tastes.
Do you agree with our top 10 picks for things to do in Norway? Tell us what you think in the comment section below.
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