Natural spectacles such as the fjords, the aurora, and quiet mountain tablelands are the highlights of Norway’s magnificent offerings. But when in Norway, you won’t be amazed only because of its wonders, but also because of its size. Foreign visitors typically underestimate distances and traveling time in Norway, because this European country is truly vast. Norway is like a drawing board where Nature would like to show you everything it is capable of.
Norway has less than 5 million inhabitants, but its size is 385,178 km2. Based on this information, you can imagine that this country is sparsely populated. It is larger than Germany, and mainland about 3 times longer.
Most popular things to do in Norway
Watching Northern lights
Red, yellow, green, blue, and violet lights in the sky dancing the grand dance in front of the vault of heaven. Even though this spectacular sight is just the result of collisions between gaseous particles in the Earth's atmosphere with charged particles released from the sun's atmosphere, it never ceases to amaze people. From near and far they come to watch northern lights or to see aurora as some call it. The best time to see northern lights is between November and February. Travel to Svalbard Island that is well up into the Arctic. And generally the higher the latitude, the better your chances of seeing the Lights.
Showdown of sunset and sunrise
Norway is home to extreme light variation between seasons. During the Polar Night, which lasts from November to January, the sun doesn’t rise or sets. It just takes a little dip into the sea and emerges right back into the sky. Then the days get progressively longer until the Midnight Sun period, from May to July, when it never sets. The sky colours of this slight movement are remarkable.
Western Norway is a region of narrow fjords cutting into high mountains, of waterfalls falling down slopes, and of glaciers that never melt. Nærøyfjord, the Sognefjord, the Lysefjord and the Geirangerfjord are most recognizable fords of Norway. Tourists don’t treasure this land just because of its beauty but also because the fjords and the surrounding areas evoke the insight on how Norway looked back in the days, how people use to live in this impossibly steep and rocky surroundings.
Mountains rising upon an endless sea
There are 291 peaks above 2,000 meters in Norway. That is why this country is one of the most popular travel destinations for alpinist and hikers. Most of the difficult summits were ascended in the late 19th and early 20th century by a combination of Norwegian explorers, local guides, and British adventurers. If you also want to explore the highest heights of Norway, you have to visit Lom, the municipality in Oppland county. There you will find quite a few highest mountains. With 2469 meters Galdhøpiggen is the tallest – in that county and in the country itself.
There are 44 national parks in Norway, seven of them located on Svalbard. Among most popular parks are:
- Dovrefjell–Sunndalsfjella National Park (the largest park of North Norway),
- Rondane National Park (Ideal place to experience the mountains and highlands of Eastern Norway),
- Hardangervidda National Park (There you will find the largest mountain plateau in Europe) and
- Jotunheimen National Park (Norway most famous hiking area).
Hire a car in Norway
Norway is great if you like to rent a car and explore the travel destination by yourself since Norwegian traffic is one of the safest in the world. The traffic is generally calm and light and most drivers are disciplined and law-abiding.