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7 reasons why you need to visit Norway

A destination holidaymakers often overlook in favour of higher temperatures, Norway is a true European gem where life is relaxed and freedom treasured.

A land full of contrasts, from magnificent snow-capped mountains, dramatic fjords, vast plateaux with wild untamed tracts, to huge lakes and rich green countryside.

There is a misperception among we British that because it lies north of our little island it must be chilly all year round; summer temperatures, however, can easily reach 25 degrees or above, and the air is blessedly free from humidity. It would also be a mistake to assume that Norway is all fjords and forests – the southern coast has some excellent beaches.

Cross into the Arctic Circle

Nothing will make you feel more like an intrepid explorer than crossing into the Arctic Circle. You’ll have to venture into the northern reaches of Norway, but it’s worth the journey. Somewhat more forgiving than in the old days, it has a visitor centre where postcards can be bought and sent, but the mountainous landscape evokes a feeling of being at the far flung edge of civilisation.

Northern city of Tromsø, situated within the Arctic Circle
Northern city of Tromsø, situated within the Arctic Circle

Fnd the eye of the Moskstraumen

If you’re going to brave the north, then you mustn’t miss the maelstrom at Saltstraumen. Here you’ll find the strongest tidal current in the world with water speeds of up to 25mph, and whirlpools of up to 10m in diameter. Strangely for such a ferocious setting, the peaceful, laid back pastime of angling is popular here.

Walk on a glacier

Home of the largest glacier in continental Europe, this breathtaking Jostedal Glacier National Park gives an insight into the formation of the Norwegian landscape. Deep valleys, cascading waterfalls and of course the glaciers themselves provide a stunning backdrop for walking, kayaking and other outdoor activities. Guided family walks on the glacier are a rare opportunity to discover these natural wonders up close.

Briksdal glacier in Olde
Briksdal glacier in Olde

Drive the Atlantic Road

Purportedly the most spectacular drive in the world, the Atlantic Road stretches for 8.3km over small islands and skerries between the cities of Molde and Kristiansund. The open sea views are nothing short of astonishing and make for an exhilarating experience whether you cross in calm weather or wild storms.

Meet the Vikings

Oslo’s Viking Ship Museum is the best place to get acquainted with the hardy folk of Scandinavia’s past. Take a look at two well preserved ships as well as sledges, tools, textiles and household items. If you want to take it a step further, Karmoy’s Viking festival in June is the ideal opportunity to discover the Viking spirit. Taste Viking food, try your hand at archery, and listen to traditional music in the reconstructed settlement.

The Viking Ship Museum is closed for rebuilding. It is scheduled to reopen as the Museum of the Viking Age in 2026.

Lay on the beach

Although you can do this in many countries, there’s something about the beach experience in Norway that seems purer and more indulgent. One of the best stretches of coast is between Farsund and Lista – white sands, cool sea, dunes and rock pools all set against a vast blue sky. And as the days are long in Norway, you’ll really be able to make the most of every day.

Beach of Bleik on Andøya island
Beach of Bleik on Andøya island

Visit a fairytale

Alesund’s Art Nouveau architecture and ornamental buildings will make you feel like you’ve stepped into a fairytale. The city itself seems to float on the fjord and the pastel faces of the buildings, the turrets and strange sculptures awaken the imagination.

ABOUT NORWAY

Capital: Oslo
Population:
5.4 million
Language:
Norwegian but English is widely spoken
Telephone country code:
+47 (00 47)
Currency:
Norwegian Krone

Climate: Weather can be unpredictable, although less extreme on the west coast. Some regions have 24 hours of daylight in the summer but none in the winter.

Public holidays: New Year's Day; Maundy Thursday; Good Friday; Easter Sunday; Easter Monday; Labour Day (1 May); Constitution Day (17 May); Ascension Day; Whit Sunday; Whit Monday; Christmas Day; Boxing Day.

Motoring: Roads are generally uncrowded around Oslo and Bergen but be prepared for tunnels and hairpin bends. Certain roads are forbidden to caravans or best avoided. Vehicles must have sufficient road grip and in winter it may be necessary ti use winter tyres with or without chains. Vehicles entering Bergen on weekdays must pay a toll and other tolls are also levied on certain roads.

FIND OUT MORE

For more information visit alanrogers.com/camping/norway or check out the Alan Rogers Selected Sites in Europe guide available on our online store.

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