Norway

It is no exaggeration to say that the icy allure of the Arctic Circle and the breathtaking spectacle of the Northern Lights are, very nearly, too beautiful to be believed.

Comprising the western and northernmost part of the Scandinavian Peninsula, the Svalbard archipelago and the isolated island of Jan Mayen, Norway conjures up images of majestic fjords, marauding vikings, the icy landscape of the Arctic Circle and rich mystical folklore. The winter months offer visitors in the north the opportunity to traverse vast expanses of tundra by dogsled or to catch a glimpse of the incredible aurora borealis blazing across the night sky. Summer brings with it the astonishing spectacle of the midnight sun.

ear round visitors can enjoy boat cruises to the Svalbard Archipelago to visit seabird colonies or meander among the towering cliffs of the turquoise fjords. With a bit of luck, you may even spot a polar bear. This fascinating country is also home to a slew of appealing, cosmopolitan and world-class metropolises offering every first-world city delight.

Norway’s capital is set on its breathtaking southern coast, and surrounded by the lush, rolling hills of the Marka region and the rippling waters of the Oslofjord. Oslo is the perfect playground for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a diverse range of both winter and summer activities. However, mother nature is not the only artist at work in this vibrant, cosmopolitan city.

Norway’s capital is also home to a rich and prolific arts community and is filled with world-class galleries such as the astounding National Gallery Norway and the intriguing Munch Museum. Other popular attractions include the Viking Ship Museum, home to the world’s best-preserved Viking ships, and The Norwegian Museum of Cultural History, Europe’s largest open-air museum. Throw in a thriving nightlife and a unique culinary tradition and you get a smorgasbord of Nordic delights.

For those seeking a powerful nature hit, head for Longyearbyen in Isfjorden Bay on the west coast of Spitsbergen Island, in Norway’s Svalbard archipelago. It’s a remote and picturesque village at the foot of snowy mountains. The mining town is famous as the world’s northernmost city and for its incredible views of the Northern Lights. With its stark, breathtaking scenery and abundance of wildlife, it is possible to see polar bears and polar foxes, a huge array of Arctic birdlife, and tame reindeer which wander through the town.

Take an open boat trip to the bird cliffs, through bright blue glaciers and on to fossil hunting sites. Hiking enthusiasts enjoy mounting the 849-metre summit of Trollsteinen Mountain. Often referred to as ‘the gateway to the Arctic’ and boasting a wide range of modern facilities and cultural activities, Longyearbyen functions as an ideal base for exploring the wider area.

Norway is home to some of the most dramatically beautiful landscapes in the world, where staggering, snow-capped mountains and glacier-carved fjords cover a strikingly rugged strip of Scandinavia.

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