Great adventures await in Norway. Staggering fjords, the Midnight Sun, the Northern Lights - the list goes on. From intriguing cities to remote Arctic villages to one of the world’s steepest mountain railways, Norway caters to all interests. It’s not only one of the most livable nations in the world, but a great year-round travel destination. Here’s what not to miss while you’re there. 

    Explore the Norwegian Fjords 

    Photo by Susan Tuckey, Penguins2PolarBears - Geirangerfjord, 2017

    Perhaps the most iconic landscape in Norway, more than 1,000 fjords await your exploration. Three all-time favorites include the Geirangerfjord and its famous waterfalls - Seven Sisters and Bridal Veil - the outstandingly scenic Nærøyfjord, and Sognefjord, the country’s longest and deepest fjord. Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord are both on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. From Sognefjord, you can explore the Jotunheimen and Jostedalsbreen national parks, as well as the towns of Sogndal, Balestrand, Flam and Gudvangen.

      Hike to Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) 

      Photo by Tim Strulik on Unsplash

      One of Norway’s most treasured and photogenic natural wonders, Pulpit Rock is a 1,981-foot-high cliff, reachable via a two-hour (one-way) hike (about 6 miles). Your efforts will be rewarded with sweeping views of Lysefjord. 

        Take a Flam Ride Between Oslo and Bergen 

        Photo by Gautam Arora on Unsplash

        En route from Oslo to Bergen (or vice versa), ride the famous Flam Railway (Flamsbana) to the beautiful village of Flam. The 12.4-mile route is one of the world’s steepest railway tracks and offers panoramic views of some of Norway's most magnificent fjord country, snow-capped mountains, dramatic waterfalls and lush valleys. In Flam, a favorite destination for outdoor enthusiasts, you can hike, kayak, go sightseeing in the fjords or, if you dare, visit the Stegastein platform, a spectacular viewing point 2,132 feet above the fjord. 

          Take a Rail Journey to View the Northern Lights 

          Photo by sol on Unsplash

          Set off on a picturesque train journey to Oslo, Trondheim and Bodo, witnessing the mythical aurora borealis as you go. The dazzling celestial beauty may be a highlight of your trip, but you’ll also have the chance to explore the country’s engaging capital, charming Trondheim and the quaint town of Bodo, beneath the Auroral Oval, and likely your best chance for seeing the heavens dance and light up above. You can also consider visiting Tromso, “Gateway to the Arctic,” because it enjoys more Northern Lights sightings than anywhere else in the world. 

            Take a Hair-Rising Drive Along Trollstigen ...

            Photo by Susan Tuckey, Penguins2PolarBears - Trollstsigen Pass, 2017

            With 11 hairpin turns, a steep incline of 9 percent and sitting 2,814 feet above sea level, the dramatic Trollstigen mountain road is an adrenaline rush! Find the road about 9.3 miles south of Andalsnes in the county of Romsdal. Want to first see what you’re getting into? Park in the lot at the top of the road and walk for about 10 minutes to the viewing platform overlooking the road and its many bends - this is also a great vantage point for the mountains in the area and the Stigfossen waterfall. 

              … Or a Mind-Bending Drive on the Atlantic Road 

              Photo by Susan Tuckey, Penguins2PolarBears - 2017

              A road construction masterpiece, the Atlantic Road (Atlanterhavsveien) is a National Tourist Route found in northwest Norway. Just over 5 miles of iconic zigzags connect an archipelago of islands and skerries between Kristiansund and Bud. It’s an incredible way to see picturesque villages like Karvag and Vegang and the majestic Norwegian Sea. 

                Take a Photo at the Arctic Circle 

                Photo by Torstein Finnbakk on Unsplash

                The Arctic Circle runs through Norway a few miles south of Mo i Rana in Helgeland, earning it the nickname, “The Arctic Circle Town.” Cross the Arctic Circle at Saltfjellet in the Rana municipality, taking time to visit the Arctic Circle Centre (you can send a postcard from here with an Arctic Circle postmark). Visit the Arctic Circle Monument at Vikingen, north of Tonnes in Rodoy. If you happen to be aboard a Hurtigruten express ferry, Arctic Circle crossings are commemorated with baptisms and a visit by King Neptune. If you take the coastal route (FV17), you will cross the Arctic Circle when you’re onboard the ferry between Kilboghamn and Jektvik. 

                  Ride the Hurtigruten Coastal Ferry 

                  Photo by Susan Tuckey at Penguins@PolarBears - On the coastal ferry, you'll be able to take excursions to destinations like this! A quaint fishing village in Honningsvag

                  Hop on the Hurtigruten ferry for a convenient, relatively inexpensive way to tour the country. You’ll also get to see some of the less explored regions of Norway. Catch a coastal steamer in Bergen and take an epic voyage for 12 days all the way to Kirkenes and back. Along the way, you’ll be able to hop on and off to explore some of the country’s most scenic ports, fjords and landscapes.  Learn more about the Coastal Ferry here.

                    Visit the World’s Largest Sculpture Park & The Munch Museum 

                    Photo by Susan Tuckey, Penguins2PolarBears - Oslo Vigeland Park, 2017

                    Oslo is home to the world’s largest sculpture park by a single artist - and it’s free! Gaze upon more than 200 bronze, granite and cast iron sculptures by acclaimed Norwegian sculptor Gustav Vigeland. The sculptures are a tribute to the complexity of humankind, the centerpiece being The Monolith. Each figure (121 humans) carved out of a massive stone block represents a different stage of life. And on Oslo’s waterfront, you’ll soon be able to visit the newly designed Munch Museum, a world-class homage to modernist art and home to the world’s largest Edvard Munch collection. 

                      Explore the Lofoten Islands 

                      Photo by Susan Tuckey, Penguins2PolarBears - Lofoten by Horse - an excursion available from the Hurtigruten Coastal Ferry

                      Jaw-droppingly beautiful, the Lofoten Islands are Norway in microcosm. They’re known for excellent fishing, Northern Lights views, the midnight sun, remote villages, kayaking in deep fjords, dramatic beaches and more. Far above the Arctic Circle, you can explore this “Sustainable Destination” (a title given to destinations that continually work to reduce the negative impact of tourism) and its Viking Age connections, archaeological sites, diverse landscapes and unforgettable nature experiences. To see a privately curated trip to Norway that includes The Flam Railway experience, a bit of the Hurtigruten Coastal Ferry experience, and an extended stay in Lofoten, click here.

                      I've also written an article about how to get around Norway. You can find that here. And something else you might not have known about Norway - the festivals! Learn more here. Definitely something to consider when planning an itinerary!

                      Let’s put together your Norway bucket list today!