Norway is a country of outstanding natural beauty. Home to fjords, rugged coastlines and mountains, it is perfect for those who want to experience nature at its rawest and most unspoilt.
Below, we have handpicked eight stunning photographs of Norway to inspire you:
Norway is well known for its beautiful, UNESCO-protected fjords of which there are around 1,000 along the coast. Truly spectacular to behold, these saltwater fingers reach inland from the sea, bordered by towering cliffs on both sides. As UNESCO describes: “Their exceptional natural beauty is derived from their narrow and steep-sided crystalline rock walls that rise up to 1,400m from the Norwegian Sea and extend 500m below sea level. The sheer walls of the fjords have numerous waterfalls while free-flowing rivers cross their deciduous and coniferous forests to glacial lakes, glaciers and rugged mountains.”
Norway’s stunning scenery makes it a superb place to go kayaking. There is perhaps nowhere more beautiful to kayak, paddling along jaw-dropping fjords, past vertiginous cliffs, waterfalls and jagged mountains. This is a fun and exhilarating way to experience untamed nature at its purest. Alternatively, hiking is also fantastic here, and there are plenty of fantastic trails, whether you’re interested in embarking on a glacier walk, a coastal trek or a mountain hike.
The Lofoten Islands, off the north-west coast of Norway, are another superb place to experience Nordic nature. Here, you will find idyllic traditional Norwegian villages made up of colourful fishermen’s cabins and houses, backed by mountains and surrounded by the sea. Whereas between September and March, you may see the Northern Lights, in the summer, you will experience the midnight sun. The archipelago is a great spot for surfing, fishing, wildlife safaris, horse riding along empty beaches, rock climbing or trekking coastal paths. There is also a small but flourishing art scene, with little galleries or artisanal studios to be found in many villages.
The historic harbour district of Bryggen, in the city of Bergen, is one of Norway’s main attractions. Built in 1702, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a vibrant and charming place to explore. With its old Hanseatic wharf and buildings, it is one of the best known urban areas from the Middle Ages in the whole country. We recommend taking the time to discover this corner of the city, stopping by the Fish Market, Bergenhus Fortress, galleries and artists’ studios, shops selling traditional crafts, cafes and restaurants.
One of the best spots to chase the Northern Lights (or Aurora borealis) is in the tiny, picturesque fishing village of Reine in Norway’s Lofoten archipelago, located 100km above the Arctic Circle. This quiet village, dotted with red-and-white fishermen’s huts and encircled by granite peaks, has been voted one of the most beautiful places in the world, and between September and April, when the storm clouds clear, the sky is illuminated with a kaleidoscope of colours.
Norway is a fabulous skiing destination, with slopes ranging from easy, family-friendly runs to challenging off-piste. Although the altitude of its resorts tends to be lower than elsewhere in Europe, it is further north so you can expect good snow all season. Other winter sports worth considering on your Nordic adventure are dog sledding, snowmobiling and snowshoeing along remote trails through snow-blanketed forests – all exciting ways to experience this captivating country in winter.
For an exhilarating adventure, set off on a boat expedition around the islands of Svalbard, which lies halfway between Norway and the North Pole. Here you will spot seals, walruses, polar bears and other Arctic wildlife, and experience unspoilt wilderness, such as the Smeerenburg glacier (pictured) on the island of Amsterdamøya. This isle, off the north-western corner of Spitsbergen in the Svalbard archipelago, is famous for its whaling history, with Smeerenburg actually meaning ‘blubber town’.
The Svalbard archipelago in Norway is world renowned for its spectacular beauty and unusual wildlife. Captured in this photograph is a bearded seal, one of the larger members of the earless seal family, which has a recognisable and rather comical moustache. It is only found in the Arctic Ocean and is cleverly adapted to the bitter weather, storing huge amounts of fat in the winter months when it can grow to a whopping 400kg.