It is the land of the midnight sun. It is the land of the polar night. And it is the land of the northern lights (Aurora Borealis). This place is home to some of mother nature’s best spectacles. This land is the Viking kingdom of Norway and possibly one of the most scenic countries that I have stepped foot into.
From fjords to glaciers, from snow capped mountains to scenic roads and from one picture perfect town after another, Norway is full of spectacular sights and experiences. If you are the outdoor kind and love to dibble in a little bit of walking, hiking, cycling or driving, this country is tailor made for you, especially in the summer months.
These are 7 special holiday experiences from Norway that should be in every Norwegian holiday itinerary. While most of them are experiences to be had throughout the year, some of them are season specific, like the midnight sun in the summer months and the Northern lights in the winter months.
Midnight Sun at Lofoten Archipelago
Located well above the arctic circle, the Lofoten archipelago with its picture-perfect fishing towns, high mountains, gorgeous fjords and pristine white sandy beaches is possibly one of the most scenic zones of Norway and definitely one of my favorites. In the summer months, you can enjoy the midnight sun from the western beaches. In the winter, one can experience polar night and see the Northern lights.
While you are here, do book yourself a night or more in a rorbu, the traditional fisherman cabins for a true local experience.
Hiking in Jotunheimen
Jotunheimen is hands down the best Scandinavian mountain area! The hikes here are simple and offer breathtaking views of glaciers with lakes, crystal blue rivers, steep climbs and amazing mountain scenery. The hike across Besseggen is the most popular as it offers the best sights in the shortest hike.
Your local guide to Norway could potentially help you find some lesser known trails and routes for a more offbeat mountain experience.
Northern Lights at Tromso
Located in the northern most edge of Norway, Tromso is definitely one of the most sought after winter destinations in Norway. From late September to late March, chasing the Northern Lights is possibly the most popular tourist activity here. In addition to northern lights chases, winter holidays here offer opportunities to indulge in some reindeer sledding, cross country skiing and whale watching.
If you are visiting during the summer months, you will definitely get to experience the midnight sun, you can go on long glacier walks or you can simply go on a quiet fishing trip.
Glacier view at Fjaerland
I love this town because it gives me the opportunity to see a close-up view of a glacier without having to go on an arduous climb. The quiet fishing town experience is just an added bonus.
If you are visiting during the summer months, do opt for the ferry cruise from Balestrand to see stunning glacier views and to keep the photographer in you heavily engaged.
Flamsbana Train Ride
If you a big fan of train journeys across the world, you will definitely dig this one. One of the steepest train rides in the world, the Flamsbana or the Flam railway offers a great perspective of the Norwegian fjord landscape. Named by National Geographic as one of the top 10 train journeys in Europe, the Flam railway, in a matter of 60 minutes or so, gives you a whirlwind tour of amazing waterfalls, long tunnels, steep mountains, beautiful valleys and so many gorgeous fjord views that the hangover will last for quite a long time.
Atlantic Ocean Road
This 8.3 kilometre ocean road is possibly one of Norway’s top road trip circuits and definitely one of the most scenic road trips in Europe. With ocean tunnels, mind blowing bridges and a heady concoction of the ocean, fjords, snow laden mountains and lush green vegetation, this road stretch is a must-do, must-see and must-experience whether you are on a bicycle, motorcycle or in the cozy confines of an automobile.
Hiking and Camping at Nordkapp
If you are the hiking and camping type, Nordkapp is the place for you. Towering high above the arctic ocean, this steep cliff in the northernmost reaches of the European shelf is an ideal getaway to enjoy the midnight sun in the wild. Mountain climbing, hiking and fishing are popular activities to do here.
Note: The photographs in this post have been borrowed from wikipedia.org under the creative commons license. Each photograph has been linked to its original host page on wikipedia.