Norway has been on my mind for quite a while now so naturally it’s at the top of my list. A nature-lover’s paradise, at almost every corner stunning wilderness lurks to overwhelm the senses.This is the land of the Vikings, Northern Lights, spectacular Fjords and A-Ha! I had the chance to visit Oslo in 2009 but didn’t get a chance to see the beautiful landscapes that Norway is most famous for. As you can imagine, there’s no shortage of remarkable sights to see.
Bergen Railway: Many travelers consider the ride as the most exciting and beautiful train ride in the world. Linking Norway’s two main cities, Oslo and Bergen, this line takes in some spectacular scenery, with the most memorable stretch being the one over the Hardangervidda, Europe’s highest mountainous plateau. The highest point is 4,009 ft and the total travel time between Oslo and Bergen is approximately seven hours.
Video Tour of the Bergen Railway
Flåm & the Flåm Railway: The Flåm Line is a branch of the Bergen Railway which runs between Myrdal & Flåm in Aurland, Norway. This will take you down to the village of Flåm, in the innermost corner of the Aurlandfjord. One of the world’s steepest railways on normal gauge, the Flåm Line is one of Norway’s most popular attractions, and a masterpiece of Norwegian engineering.
The Nærøyfjord & Aurlandsfjord: Nærøyfjord and Aurlandsfjord both run 10.5 miles long, an arm of the Sognefjord – Norway’s longest and deepest fjord. They are two of the most picturesque fjords in the world. The name Nærøyfjord originates from the Norse god “Njord”, the god of the sea while Aurland derives from the Old Norse words aurr (which means “gravel”) plus land (which means “land” or “district”).
Bergen: On the Western side of Norway lies the second largest city in Norway – Bergen. Some of the best attractions include the historic area of Bryggen, the fish market, various museums as well as easy access to the beautiful fjords. Bergen is worth exploring. Just to browse around the old streets and alleyways is an experience. Here, people have lived and worked for centuries. Small wooden houses are scattered, cobblestoned stepways climb steeply, and a love of flowers spills over everything.
Stavanger Region: The Stavanger Region has many scenic attractions to offer; the Lysefjord, the Solastranda Beach and the mountains of Preikestolen and Kjerag.
The most famous fjord in the region is the Lysefjord. The fjord is 26 miles long with rocky walls falling nearly vertically over 3,280 ft into the water.
The Lysefjord is home to another major attraction, The “Pulpit Rock” or Preikestolen . Preikestolen is a massive cliff 1982 feet above Lysefjorden, opposite the Kjerag plateau, in Forsand, Ryfylke, Norway. The top of the cliff is approximately 25 by 25 metres (82 by 82 feet) square and almost flat, and is a famous tourist attraction in Norway. One of the most popular hikes in the area it is a 2 hours hike from Preikestolhytta to Preikestolen (one way).
Map of Norway
Norwegian Cuisine: The cuisine of Norway uses mostly the unprocessed ingredients that can be found over the country. The base of the Norwegian cuisine is represented by the game meat and fish, which are used in most of the traditional dishes.
Norway’s long coastline and many fjords, with cold, clean water, make Norway one of the world’s biggest exporters of fish. Not only is there a lot of fish, it is also of very high quality. Some typical dishes include Norwegian Salmon, Gravlaks or “dug salmon”,Rakfish, another traditional dish based on Trout that underwent through fermentation and tørrfisk or dried cod.
The meats that are used by the Norwegians are mostly game meats, rather than Beef, which is imported. Reindeer, elk and lamb are the meats that predominate.
Fruits and berries are an important part of the Norwegian cuisine to create unique desserts. The Norwegians believe that the milk that is produced by the cattle in their country is the best on the globe. The cheese is made from either goat, cow milk or from a mixture of these two.
Festivals: Norway has some great festivals, mostly during the summer but here are some of the most famous ones.
Bergen International Festival: Taking place in late May and early June, major artists from all over the world come to perform music, drama, opera and more.
Molde International Jazz Festival: Norway’s oldest jazz festival takes place every summer around mid July in Molde, the “city of roses”.
Holmenkollen Ski Festival: Set in the outskirts of Oslo in late March, the ski festival is packed with international ski-jumping competitions to cross-country races for amateurs.
Now I’m ready to plan a trip! Summer 2012 anyone? 🙂