Geiranger. Foto: Tina Stafrèn/Visitnorway.com

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The best of Norway – Top 11 ultimate experiences

Norway is an incredible country with stunning nature, curious wildlife, exciting cities and a strong sense of culture. The hardest part is choosing what to see and do but this top 11 list of Norway’s ultimate experiences will make the decision making process easier for you.

1.EXPERIENCE THE MAJESTIC FJORDS

Norway has the world’s 8th longest coastline stretching a massive 25,000km, from south to north, making for some incredible geographical formations. There is little doubt that the fjords are one of the main reasons visitors come to the country. It is no surprise when you see the steep mountain sides stretching out of the deep blue sea as it meanders inland to the shore. Here are some of the most popular fjord trips which are easily accessible with Widerøe:

Preikestolen in Lysefjord – 1 hour 30 minutes from Stavanger.
Geirangerfjord – 2 hours and 15 minutes from Ålesund
Sognefjord – close to Sogndal
Trolltunga in Hardangerfjord – 2 hours and 20 minutes from Haugesund

2.EXPERIENCE NORTHERN NORWAY

Northern Norway is unique in so many ways. In no other part of the country does the midnight sun shine so brightly than north of the Polar Circle. In contrast to the winter months of dark, crisp, cold clarity and fantastic opportunities to see the Northern Lights, in the summer months it is light that dominates life in the north. In Tromsø during midsummer the sun makes it easy to loose track of time as it never gets dark. Imagine how much you can see and do in continuous daylight. Visit Norway’s most northerly point, the North Cape plateau, around 40 minutes from Honningsvåg where the sun shines day and night from May to July.

3.EXPERIENCE LOFOTEN

Reine i Lofoten. Foto: ManfredStromberg.com - visitnorway.com

Foto: ManfredStromberg.com – visitnorway.com

Near the top of the list for places to visit in Norway is the incredible archipelago islands of Lofoten. This fishing port is known for sea fishing, rich bird life and picturesque hiking amidst its jagged mountains emerging straight from the sea. Try some unique accommodation and stay in a ‘rorbu’, a fishing hut unique to the region, a tent or under the open sky with the glow of the midnight sun. Regardless of which you choose, a fantastic nature experience is just around every corner. It is easy to pick and choose which islands to visit, as Widerøe flies to Svolvær, Leknes and Røst.

4.EXPERIENCE THE CITIES

There is of course, a lot more to Norway than just spectacular nature. Each of the country’s three largest cities have their own special charm. In Oslo, visit the fortress, opera house, the redeveloped harbor area, and the city’s most famous park, Frogner Park or go on a shopping spree. Central Bergen is built around the harbor with a fantastic fish market. It is surrounded by mountains and the best way to see the city is from the top of the funicular railway. The largest draw of this city is Bryggen, a colorful and fantastically preserved Hanseatic Wharf. Move further north to Trondheim for a delightful combination of culture, history and pilgrimage. Enjoy the viewpoint from the Fortress that watches over the city, take a tour of cathedral, or sip a coffee in the old town as you watch the river flow under the iconic city bridge.

5.EXPERIENCE NORWAY’S UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITES

In total, there area seven listed World Heritage Sites in Norway and Widerøe can take you to all of their locations. From incredibly preserved wooden Stave Churches dating back to 1130 to 1350, to ancient 14th century wharfs and even a 17th century mining town of Røros. The natural landscape is also awarded this status including breath-taking fjord landscapes and stunning archipelagos. In Alta you can try to solve the mystery of the magnificent rock art drawings, or travel to the beautiful archipelago in Vega.

6.EXPERIENCE THE ATLANTIC ROAD

Atlanterhavsvegen. Foto: Mattias Fredriksson/visitnorway.com

Foto: Mattias Fredriksson/visitnorway.com

The Atlantic Road made the top of the list in the British Guardian Newspaper’s Top Road Trips and with good reason. From Kristiansund or Molde you can rent a car and enjoy the incredible coastline and stunning nature. The road crosses 12 bridges from island to island giving you the feeling that you are on the ocean’s edge. There are some great viewpoints for the perfect photo opportunities. Many people visit here when it is stormy to watch the impact of the sea crashing of the rocks. If your visiting for the first time, be sure to extend your trip to include Trollstigen, Norway’s most famous and breath-taking road with 11 hairpin bends, steep inclines, waterfalls and steep craggy mountains.

7.EXPERIENCE SAMI CULTURE FIRST HAND

The Sami are Norway’s indigenous people and their culture is the oldest in Northern Norway. At one with the land and nature, traditions extend to having their own language, music, crafts, national dress and Parliament. All of this is combined with modern day living. You can learn about Sami culture in many places across the country including how to cook traditional cuisine, try reindeer sledding, and testing your lasso skills. To experience this for yourself, fly to Alta or Lakselv.

8.EXPERIENCE THE PILGRIMS TRAIL

Nidarosdomen. Foto: Terje Rakke/Nordic life - Visitnorway.com

Foto: Terje Rakke/Nordic life – Visitnorway.com

With all this nature around you, make sure you set aside some time for culture. St. Olavs Ways make up part of the Pilgrims Road to Trondheim, trails which are believed to have been walked along since 1032. Walk the final historic stretch of the route concluding at the cathedral or customise your own route.

9.EXPERIENCE NORWAY FOR FAMILIES

No other place in Norway has so many activities devoted to families than Kristiansand in the south coast. A visit to the Zoo and Amusement Park is compulsory. Here children can see animals from all over the world, visit Cardamom Town, play in the leisure pool or watch pirates battle it out on their ship. Summer in the south is also ideal for adults with its pristine sandy beaches and laid back atmosphere; this is a great alternative to a family holiday.

10.EXPERIENCE THE WILDLIFE

With all the dramatic nature you can find in Norway comes some quite spectacular wildlife, often in abundance. When you go for a walk in the forest, by the sea or in the mountains chances are that you will see some native species from moose, reindeer, wolves and bears to lynx, red squirrels and birdlife. For the ultimate experience, try a musk ox tour in Rorøs, get up close to the King of the forest with moose near Kristiansand or join a whale-watching trip in Andenes. For bird enthusiasts get your binoculars ready to spot many species on a tour in Røst or take a boat tour to see the majestic Sea Eagles near Stavanger or Bodø. Ironically, you’ll find the most easterly point of Norway all the way north. Hornøya is the home of an enormous vareity of bird species, perfect for bird spotters. These are just some of the beautiful locations for wildlife spotting but there are opportunities across the country.

11. EAT AND DRINK

Locally and ecologically produced food and drink is popular as never before, and you can find and try local and exciting products all over Norway. You will find Kinn Bryggeri in Florø. The brewery is named after one of the islands in Florø, and has won several awards for their delightful tastes. Kinn has specialized in crafting beer in English and Belgium style. If you are travelling Trondheim in August, you should check out Trøndersk Matfestival. This is Norway’s leading festival for locally produced food. New exciting products and dishes, in addition to traditional dishes, are presented every year. Everything is based on local ingredients, products and food specialities in the region. Not too far from Trondheim, you’ll find Røros with plenty of opportunities for local food experiences.

Norway is bursting with great holiday opportunities whatever your interests are. No matter which destination you choose, Widerøe will take you there, andd make sure you have the ultimate experience.

Top photo: Tina Stafrèn/Visitnorway.com

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