It is easy to see why Norway is such a popular and attractive vacation destination – all you have to do is look around! Norway is one of the most visually stunning countries in the world, with rugged, dramatic landscapes of towering cliffs, striking fjords carved into the scenery of the country, and deep, dark, foreboding forests covered in snow.
This powerful, majestic pomp is juxtaposed with some of the prettiest and most charming towns and villages – chocolate-box architecture that makes it seem like you’ve stepped into a picture-postcard.
Norway is a large country, with plenty to see and so many different attractions and experiences to discover. So if you’ve postponed your beach vacation this year and are planning a Norway cruise instead, here are some of the top places to visit in this extraordinary country.
1. Geiranger Fjord
The stunning beauty of the Geirangerfjord is Norway in a nutshell. Tiny hamlets perch precariously atop plunging cliffs, while powerful waterfalls pound their way to the icy sea below. The ferry ride from Geiranger itself is the best way to see this exquisite slice of natural beauty, a 12-mile journey that takes you deep into the uninhabited heart of Norway’s frozen wilderness.
2. The Atlanterhavsveien
Often included in lists of ‘most exciting roads in the world’, the Atlanterhavsveien (Atlantic Highway) is probably one of the most picturesque and beautiful stretches of tarmac anywhere to be found. It carves a trail across open water from mainland Norway to the gorgeous little island of Averøya, and a day trip here is one of the most stunning driving experiences you can find. Averøya itself is worth the visit too, with the 600-year old Kvernes Stave Church a particular highlight.
3. Lofoten Islands
The Lofoten Islands are one of the most magical places on the planet, and no-one ever forgets the first time they see the craggy, razor-sharp outline of this tiny archipelago, arching out of the sea. With peaks shrouded in dense mist, gorgeous traditional wooden villages peering out of the fog, and remarkable colors on land, sea, and sky, this is a truly special spot.
Best of all, it is one of the places where you are most likely to see one of nature’s most extraordinary phenomena – aurora borealis or the Northern Lights. Go during the winter (October to March, in the Arctic), for the best chance of seeing this otherworldly lightshow in all its glory.
Of course, Norway isn’t just splendid landscapes and stunning natural beauty. Norway has a fascinating history and culture, as well as a fantastic art scene. One of the best spots for visitors of a more cultural persuasion is Vigelandsparken, the biggest sculpture park in the world that is dedicated to solely one artist.
Gustav Vigeland was a Norwegian sculptor working at the beginning of the 20th century, and this awesome outdoor art gallery houses over 200 of his finest pieces, wrought in metal and stone.
Bergen, Norway’s charming capital city, is also well worth a visit. A pretty, interesting, and deeply historical city, it boasts a great cultural scene, excellent drinking and dining options, as well as the gorgeous (and UNESCO-protected) wooden fishing wharf at Bryggen. It is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, and one of the best ways to see it is spread out below you in all its splendor from the Fløibanen funicular railway.
Norway is a wonderful country to explore, with a huge variety of experiences, sights, and attractions. From the wild frozen wilderness to its vibrant towns and cities, this corner of the world will not disappoint.