Top 10 Norwegian Highlights
It is impossible to tire of Norway's magical landscapes, the grandeur of which is at once awe-inspiring and humbling.
There is an astonishing variety, too, from serene fjords pointing deep into imposing mountains, to dramatic wildernesses. Try as you might, it is hard to be unmoved by such a place – a holiday in Norway is a truly unique experience, be it in summer or winter. Here we list the Top 10 Norwegian Highlights from our holidays in this beautiful land.
The journey from Oslo to Balestrand
This is an incredibly dramatic journey, and one of the most memorable elements of our Bustling Cities & Serene Fjords
journey. The most thrilling section is the descent by train through the lush Flåm Valley, passing roaring waterfalls as you make the transition from mountain to fjord scenery. The next part of the journey, by express boat, is equally awe-inspiring because of the sheer beauty of Sognefjord and the grandeur of the scenery.
A stay at the REINE RORBU
The picturesque fishing village of Reine in the Lofoten Islands is reached by sweeping arched bridges that link a group of small islets in the spectacular Reinefjord. Reine is on the staggeringly beautiful E10 highway that runs down the entire archipelago, part of the Journey to Å
. The scenery at Reine is dramatic, with sheer mountain faces dropping staight down into the sea. Take a boat ride to Bunes Bay or climb Reinebringen for what are commonly regarded as "The Best Views in Europe".
The Hurtigruten Journey
This is one of the last great scheduled coastal voyages in the world. Every day one of the fleet of fourteen ships leaves Bergen on the eleven-day round trip via the North Cape. Whether you’re undertaking it in summer or in winter, the journey from Bergen to the Lofoten Islands
is exhilarating, past islands, skerries and the mouths of fjords, and along narrow passages. The most spectacular part, a true Top 10 Highlight, is the approach to the Lofotens, whose wall of jagged peaks seemingly rises sheer out of the ocean.
Exploring the Lofoten Islands
The unique Arctic landscapes of the Lofotens
are a dramatic fusion of sea and mountain, beautiful in their starkness. In summer, you can follow scenic paths across expanses of moorland, past hidden lakes and along glorious stretches of coast bathed for several weeks in the extraordinary light of the Midnight Sun. In winter, enjoy bracing strolls along the beaches, marvelling at the snow-clad mountains behind you.
The walk up the Monks' Steps from Lofthus
This walk makes a dramatic climax to our Serene Hardangerfjord
holiday. It involves a steep but rewarding climb above Hardangerfjord, through forest and up the Monks' Steps, a 'staircase' of 616 steps carved into the rock by English Cistercians from York in the 13th century. You reach the peak of Nosi (950 metres), from where you can survey the extraordinary vastness of the landscapes – truly memorable.
Admiring the Northern Lights from Tromsø
Nothing can quite prepare you for the staggeringly beautiful natural phenomenon of the aurora borealis, as explosions of iridescent greens, pinks, yellows and blues flash and soar across the night sky in an incredible, almost surreal, display of celestial pyrotechnics. Deep within the Arctic Circle, the island city of Tromsø offers probably the best chance to see the Northern Lights
anywhere in mainland Europe. If you are lucky enough to see them, you'll immediately understand why they deserve a place in our Top 10.
A stay at the Hotel Ullensvang
The setting of this high-quality hotel is idyllic, on the shores of Hardangerfjord
looking across to the Folgefonn Glacier. Edvard Grieg was a regular visitor to the hotel in the late 19th century, and it is easy to see how the scenery might have inspired some of his great compositions. During your time here, take to the water in a rowing boat, stroll amid the apple, pear and cherry orchards lining the shore, or simply sit by the water's edge with a drink as you take in the scenery.
If there is one reason to choose Norway for a winter holiday besides the unrivalled snow record, it is because cross-country skiing is an integral part of Norwegian culture. Given that it is something of a national sport, it is no surprise that the cross-country networks stretch quite literally for miles (Fefor
boasts 200 kilometres of trails and Sjusjøen
300 kilometres) and are superbly maintained and waymarked. Furthermore, they are not just designed for dedicated enthusiasts but instead offer something for everyone.
A stay near the North Pole
To appreciate how northerly and remote the Svalbard archipelago
is, it’s worth consulting a globe. Put your finger on the North Pole and trace a line downwards in the direction of mainland Norway and you’ll find it not far below the limit of permanent pack ice. Exploring this wilderness by dog-sled and snowmobile is a true adventure, enhanced by the knowledge that you are in the northernmost reaches of Europe.
Exploring Bergen and Oslo
No holiday to Norway would be complete without visiting at least one of these charming cities; our Bustling Cities & Serene Fjords
journey visits both. Surrounded by forest and fjord, Oslo has really flourished in recent years, with a wealth of fascinating museums and galleries. On the west coast, Bergen, the fjord capital, boasts an attractive Hanseatic centre and colourful inner harbour area.
If our Top 10 Norwegian Highlights has inspired you, browse our full range of holidays to Norway or contact our friendly reservations team for more information