There are countless reasons why Norway is wasted on your wishlist. From the North Cape to the Northern Lights, the whales to the waterfalls and fjords, even a local cheese that divides opinion more than Marmite, here are 28 reasons the shining star of Scandinavia should finally make it onto your itinerary in 2020.
1) Loen Skylift
With a head for heights and a thirst for adventure, the Loen Skylift will take you 1011m from the Nordfjord to the top of Mount Hoven.
2) Flam Railway
All aboard for a train ride described as one of the world’s most beautiful. Take the scenic route from Aurlandsfjord to the high mountains at Myrdal.
3) Northern Lights
From early September to late May, the skies over Norway dance with shades of purple, green, red and gold. It’s on your bucket list, isn’t it?
4) The Seven Sisters
Look up from the deck of your ship as you cruise the Geirangerfjord and there, just to left of fairytale farm Knivsflå, sit seven icy streams plummeting into the inky waters below.
5) Briksdal Glacier
Nestled in the Jostedaalsbreen National Park is a stop-you-in-your-tracks section of Europe’s largest ancient glacier, its ever-changing ice meaning it’ll never look quite the same again as it does right now.
6) Pulpit Rock
This splintered rock suspended above the Lysefjord serves up views worth every footstep of the hike it takes to reach it. Weary legs will be happy to hear of a boat trip alternative.
They call it the ‘King of the Fjords’. The longest and deepest, with navy waters and emerald green slopes giving way to monumental mountains that reach 5,570ft into the sky.
This magical arm of the Sognefjord is considered by some to be the most spectacular of all Norwegian fjords. More importantly, it inspired Disney classic, Frozen. Do you want to build a snowman?
9) Midnight Sun
There’s something mythical about those months when the sun never quite sets over Norway, dropping low on the horizon but never quite disappearing between the
end of April and mid-August, depending where you are.
10) The Birdlife
Each spring and autumn brings migratory birds in their thousands, making Norway’s coast a mecca for avid birders with binoculars peeled for white-tailed eagles above and puffins within touching distance.
11) Whale Watching
…from the deck of your ship or the seat of a kayak.
12 ) Geirangerfjord
Mother Nature outdid herself when she sliced through the heart of sky-reaching rock to create the mountain-backed Geirangerfjord.
Once the home of the Hanseatic Trading Empire. Today Bergen is the gateway to the fjords, though the paintbox houses of Byrggen remain as bright.
With its fairytale turrets and pastel facades, some might say Art Deco Alesund is Norway’s most striking city.
15 ) Seafood
Norwegian seafood is the second most exported in the world, so you’ve probably tasted it already. But it tastes better here…
16) King crab safaris
From fishing holes carved in the ice of a frozen fjord, monster crabs spanning 5ft or more are hauled in their catch pots in the name of protecting the delicate Norwegian ecosystem.
Allemannsrett or ‘all man’s right’ is an ancient bylaw affording anyone access to uncultivated land across Norway. And that means mind-blowing hikes straight from your ship.
18) North Cape
If the northernmost point on European mainland feels a little like the end of the world, it’s because a location high above the Arctic Circle means it very nearly is.
Take a seat and watch the fjords rise around you like giants.
Think savoury-sweet, dulce de leche meets Cathedral City. You’ll either love it or hate it, but you have to try it.
Nature rules supreme in the Lofoten archipelago, a place as stark as it is beautiful. Walk, whale watch, inhale the mountain air and just be.
22) The Arctic Cathedral
Glowing under the midnight sun or set beneath the light show of the aurora borealis, the shard-like structure of Tromsø’s Arctic Cathedral is soul-stirring.
They paved the way for a maritime history that put Norway on the map. Hear their story at Oslo’s Viking Ship Museum.
On mountain tops, beneath your feet and the rails of sleds, feeding into glaciers in spring and dusting fishing villages like sugar in winter.
Stavanger’s fortunes were transformed by oil but its real treasure is its 18th-century timber Old Town.
Welcome to the town that once launched great expeditions to the North Pole from its island location hundreds of miles above the Arctic Circle.
27) Edvard Munch
Creator of The Scream and father of Expressionism, Norway’s most famous painter is immortalised in his one-time home, Oslo.
From the slopes of its architecturally-renowned opera house, Norway’s waterside capital of cool hints at the fjords that are only a stone’s throw away.