Out of Norway came the Vikings,Thor Heyerdahl, Roald Amundsen (the man who beat Scott to the South Pole), the Nobel Peace Prize and Munch’s The Scream, which hangs in the National Gallery in the capital, Oslo.
But what is it about Norway that inspires such greatness? Well the scenery for a start. Like slices of deep blue carved into vertical rock walls, the fjords of western Norway are staggeringly beautiful, with cascading waterfalls, towering mountain peaks and precipitous viewpoints such as Pulpit Rock at Lysefjord and the Troll’s Tongue Rock at Hardangerfjord among its myriad highlights.
Pulpit Rock, Lysefjord
Summer fjords & the Midnight Sun
The Art Nouveau city of Ålesund is a great place to access the fjords, as are Bergen and Molde, the latter of which marks the start of the Atlantic Road and one of the world’s great driving routes. Bask in the endless days of summer above the Arctic Circle when the Midnight Sun casts its ever-present glow over the Lofoten Islands and Svalbard, places known for their beauty, isolation, thrilling Arctic adventures and, in the case of Svalbard, polar bear sightings.
Polar bear in Svalbard
In the winter, these same destinations, along with the ‘Arctic capital’, Tromsø, provide some of the best chances to see the Northern Lights. Norway’s snows arrive in November and stay late into April. But, far from withdrawing from the cold, the Norwegians make the most out of this seemingly inhospitable season. High in the Arctic you’ll find abundant high-octane adventure, including such winter classics as husky sledding and snowmobiling, along with two spectacular snow hotels – one at Alta and the other at remote Kirkenes near the Russian border. Meanwhile Hurtigruten’s coastal cruises sail to North Cape and Kirkenes on the shores of the Barents Sea.
Northern Lights near Tromso, Norway