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Top 10 Norwegians 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.
  • This is an incredibly dramatic journey, and one of the most memorable elements of our Bustling Cities & Serene Fjords holiday. 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.
  • 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 walking holiday. The scenery at Reine is dramatic, with sheer mountain faces dropping straight 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".
  • 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. 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.
  • Located on a cluster of islands on the northern fringes of Norway’s fjords, Ålesund is a wonderful celebration of Art Nouveau architecture, having been rebuilt after a fire ravaged the wooden town in 1904. Think cobbled streets running alongside canals, and pastel-coloured houses topped with turrets and ornate gables. Given its proximity to the Sunnmøre Alps, the town is known as the adventure capital of the fjords, but there are also some great walks which command sublime views without any strenuous ascents. All in all, Norway’s most picturesque town promises a truly Norwegian experience amid archetypal scenery of islands, fjords and mountains.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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, including beginners.
  • 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 you are looking for somewhere that fuses mountain, moorland and sea – essentially a Norway in miniature – look no further than the Arctic island of Senja. Although it’s the second-largest of Norway’s islands, it remains relatively little-known. Its wild north-western coast, accentuated by peaks which soar skywards from secluded sandy bays, is balanced by the gentle terrain of the sheltered eastern side of the island; and the lakes, forests and high moorland in between. It promises superb walking and breathtaking views, plus, if you are very lucky, a chance of spotting the Northern Lights if you are travelling at the end of the season.
 

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