If you’re a fan of history, charming small towns, and especially nature, Norway is the place to go. With its wooden stave churches dating back to the 12th century, its spotless second city, Bergen, and its awe-inspiring natural features, Norway is everything you could dream of in a vacation and more, so pack your bags and head to this remarkable country.
1. Walk on a glacier
This might be one of the coolest activities you do during your time in Norway. After you get equipped with crampons, a harness, and a pickaxe, you and your fellow climbers get attached with a cord fed through your harnesses. From that point forward, every move you make affects the rest of your team. You begin your ascent gently at first, then with increased determination as the incline gets sharper and the passes thinner. Don’t forget to pause now and then to take in the views around you. It’s sure that you’ll feel miniscule as you observe the landscape. When you reach the top of the glacier, you’ll experience an incredible feeling of satisfaction knowing that you scaled something as massive as a glacier. Jostedalsbreen in Western Norway is an excellent choice for first-timers as it features magnificent views and remains fairly easy to climb despite being one of the largest glaciers on the European mainland.
2. Visit a traditional wooden church- Heddal
These churches, also known as stave churches, were once very common in northwestern Europe in the 12th and 13th centuries, however, almost all of the remaining examples are located in Norway. It is estimated that there were once almost 2,000 of these churches in Norway, but only 28 exist now. Of the churches still in existence, you will remark that most have similar, but very recognizable, designs. The reason for this is that the builders used simple geometric shapes and ratios to facilitate construction. While the overall designs of these churches resemble each other, pay close attention to the artwork and carvings, all of which are unique to each structure. Be sure to check out Heddal, Norway’s largest church of this kind.
3. Marvel at the fjords
Did you know that fjord is a Norwegian word? It makes sense that this word came to English from Norwegian considering how much they shape the Norwegian landscape. These narrow inlets flanked by steep cliffs are formed by eroding glaciers that cut valleys in the existing bedrock. The result is a dramatic and breathtaking view. Even if you’ve never seen one before, you’ll have no trouble recognizing them when you visit.
4. Take a ride on the Flamsbana - The Flam Railway
A ride on this train may be one of the most spectacular train journeys of your life. This line measures 20.2 kilometers (12.6 miles) and gains 863 meters (2,831 feet) of elevation during the one hour ascent. It connects the town of Flåm to the town of Myrdal. There are ten stations between the two towns where visitors are allowed to get off, take pictures, and explore. Along the way you’ll see towering mountains, cascading waterfalls, and sweeping valleys. Riding this train plunges you into the heart of Norwegian nature.
5. Touch the eternal snow
Due to its cold climate and high elevation, there are many spots in Norway above the snow line. In these areas, the conditions are such that the snow stays around all year long. If you come from a warm climate and don’t have real winter, a visit to Norway, regardless of the season, will allow you to frolic in the snow. Anywhere north of Bergen, especially inland mountains, will have snow year-round.
6. Stroll along the Bergen waterfront
Bergen, a town in southwest Norway, is one of the most charming locations in a country that exudes charm. It’s Norway’s second-biggest city, but it certainly doesn’t feel that way. With its colorful, neatly arranged shops, restaurants, and bars, you’ll feel like you’re in a small town full of friendly locals. Shop for traditional Norwegian goods like wool sweaters, stop for a bite to eat in the outdoor fish market, and watch the boats drift in and out of the harbor. You’re sure to feel like you are at home in no time.
7. Appreciate the unspoiled nature
It’s safe to say that most visitors come to Norway for its beautiful scenery and for outdoor activities. Furthermore, its mountains, ski resorts, and lakes attract hundreds of thousands of foreign tourists annually. Even though the country’s infrastructure is very developed, much of its natural beauty remains untouched. That means you’ll enjoy unobstructed views and unprecedented outings throughout your stay. The northern part of the country is the least developed, so head anywhere north of Trondheim and you’ll have wonderful nature all around.
Paradise on earth
Norway is an incredibly rich and diverse country full of activities sure to please every visitor. Whether you’re a hard-core adventurer, a backseat explorer, or even a city-lover, you’ll feel right at home here. Start planning your Norwegian adventure today!
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