Norway has long been on my mind. Perhaps something to do with living in the sunshine for so long, I’ve found myself dreaming of the lush green landscapes and snow of Scandinavia instead of the dryer deserts I’ve become used to. I’ve found myself picturing those quaint little towns, the breathtaking fjords and endless skies, and found myself wondering if I would ever get the chance to experience this fascinating country. Now knowing that I’m going to be based in Europe for the next year, a whole new world of travelling opportunities have opened up and I’m so excited at the prospect of exploring places I’ve only had the chance to dream of before now. Norway is top of my bucket list and I’m determined to tick it off the bucket list at some point over the next year, but why? Well, I’ve been doing a lot of research on tours in Norway to plan for a future trip, and couldn’t resist sharing the little gems I’ve found along the way.

Pic by Markus Trienke

The Great Outdoors

Of course the biggest draw to Norway is by far the incredible landscape, as you can see from the images in this post (first pic credit) it’s truly breathtaking in such a diverse way. There are so many amazing natural sights, from the fjords and the mountains, to astounding rock formations, beaches and even ice caves. Most of all, I love the fact that Norway just seems to be one of these amazing places where you can still truly get lost in nature, where you can breathe clean, fresh air and gaze at a horizon uncluttered by the man-made, where you can really marvel at the power of Mother Earth and feel your insignificance in the face of her. Particular highlights would include visiting Trolltunga (The Troll’s Tongue), Preikestolen (Preacher’s Pulpit), Steinsdalsfossen Waterfall among many others.

Pic by Nils Tamlag

Get Active

I’m always a very active traveller and I love finding ways to get outside and to discover a country through hiking, biking, swimming and climbing. A visit to Norway seems the perfect opportunity to enjoy all of these and much more such as glacier hiking, white water rafting, kayaking, dog sledding and even skiing. I love the idea of kayaking across the fjords, I remember doing it in Halong Bay, Vietnam, and it really took my breath away to see the incredible views from a kayak instead of a larger boat. With such amazing crystal clear waters – it would be criminal not to glide across them in a kayak surrounded by such scenery. I love hiking wherever I go, and it seems like there are some really great walks to enjoy when visiting – the Trolltunga hike is definitely on my list!

Towns

It wouldn’t be a trip to Norway without a chance to explore some of the quaint little towns and cities that really sparked my imagination from pictures of colourful little houses. Oslo seems like a really cool city to visit and I love that it seems to have a really vibrant and quirky personality, while places like Bergen seem to really embrace the traditional bringing a certain Norwegian charm you won’t find anywhere else. I’ve heard wonderful things about the cobblestoned streets and the amazing panoramic views across the fjords, it’s about time I saw these views with my own eyes. Looking for an even more unique experience? You can stay in the northernmost ice hotel in the world to really experience a different way of living and to embrace the elements.

Pic by Juan Antonio Segal

Arts, History and Culture

Norway has such a fascinating history and heritage, and it seems this is really celebrated in all of the arts and culture that are on offer when you visit. There are no end of museums to visit covering everything from Viking history, skiing, art and maritime history, to the much more unusual magic, whaling and even leprosy! There are so incredible churches of more unusual design and in some spectacular locations to visit, and you mustn’t forget the fish markets. Or, if you fancy something a little bit more modern, why not check out one of the festivals, such as the Geilo Ice Music Festival which features all instruments made out of ice!

The Food

Let’s be honest, I never travel anywhere unless there is food on the cards and Norway would be no different with the delicious seafood on offer, particularly smoked salmon, herring and fresh trout. Apparently cheese, coffee and lamb are also delicacies and well worth trying when you’re visiting so these are definitely going on my must-eat list! There are lots of great food festivals to plan into your trip, such as Gladmat in Stavanger, Smak in Tromsø and Trøndersk matfestival in Trondheim. It sounds like it’s going to be a tasty trip!

Pic by Martin de Lusenet

I’d love any tips from any of you who might have already been to Norway – any advice for budgeting for a trip and for planning activities would be much appreciated. Please do leave me a comment below – or, if you haven’t already been – tell me why you want to go to Norway?