For my latest adventure, I set off to experience the great white northern land of Norway – a country I’d long wanted to visit but hadn’t had an opportunity to explore. Situated in the north of Europe, near the Arctic Circle, I was prepared for the cold. What caught me off guard, however, was how much fun I had while I was there. Norway is indeed a gem, a spot all travelers should consider adding to their lists of nations to visit, for a multitude of reasons.
Not quite sure why you should add Norway to your list of countries to explore? Here are five of the best reasons I’ve found to visit Norway:
IT’S HOME TO SOME OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL LANDSCAPES IN THE WORLD.
If you’re looking for dramatic landscapes and incredible views, look no further than Norway. This stunning Scandinavian nation is home to beautiful scenery wherever you turn, no matter the season. Whether you stick to the shorelines, explore the nation’s forests, or try to soak in as much as possible while you’re there, you’ll have a hard time denying Norway offers one of the most impressive natural landscapes in the world.
If you’ve done any research on Norway at all, you’ll know the nation is most well-known for its fjords. Millennia ago, sharp glaciers carved through the mountains here, leaving steep cliffs and deep pools in their wake. You can’t go far without finding a fjord, and you’ll quickly fall in love with their beauty. They make the perfect spot for a bit of outdoor fun, a scenic picnic, or an impromptu photo shoot!
IF YOU LOVE THE OUTDOORS, YOU’LL HAVE PLENTY TO DO.
Norway is a top destination for adventurers, and it’s easy to see why. You can find incredible hikes that lead to stunning views from late spring through the summer months, and you’re allowed to camp nearly anywhere, an option many younger travelers find appealing during the warmer parts of the year.
Thanks to the country’s famous fjords and proximity to the ocean, you’ll also find lots of recreation activities centered around the water. You can try your hand at saltwater or freshwater fishing, or even bundle up for some ice fishing during the chilly winter! If you’d rather stay on the water, rent a canoe or a kayak, or sign up for a whale-watching tour.
And if you love to ski, you’re in luck. You can actually ski all year round in Norway. Regardless of the season, you can find resorts open and eager to accept folks excited to hit the slopes. You’ll find resorts that cater toward skiers of all experience levels, and with some of the best skiers in the world working their slopes, it’s a great place to take a lesson or two. From Norefjell, a mere 90 minutes from Oslo, to Kvitfjell, originally built for the 1994 Winter Olympics, you have plenty of options to choose from!
YOU MIGHT GET TO CHECK THE NORTHERN LIGHTS OFF OF YOUR BUCKET LIST.
If you’ve always dreamed of viewing the Northern Lights for yourself, Norway is one of the few places in the world where you can really see them for yourself. While there’s no way to guarantee you’ll see them on your trip, there are steps you can take to maximize your odds if catching this incredible phenomenon is at the top of your to-do list.
If you’re dead-set on seeing the Northern Lights, you’ll want to avoid Norway during the warm summer months. Visit between May and July, and there’s a good chance you’ll be treated to nearly 24 hours of sunlight. While this is optimal for exploring outside and taking advantage of the activities Norway has to offer, it’s less than ideal for viewing the Aurora Borealis.
Instead, if you’re hoping to catch the Northern Lights, plan a trip during the colder winter months. While you’ll have a small chance of seeing the Northern Lights during the fall and early spring months, your best bet will be to plan a trip during the winter. Visiting in December, January and February will give you the greatest likelihood of catching a glimpse of the blue-green glow.
OSLO IS A WORLD-CLASS CITY TO EXPLORE.
For many travelers, the best part of exploring a new country is getting the chance to check out its urban centers. If this sounds like you, you’ll be pleased to know that Oslo won’t disappoint. Norway’s capital is an absolute delight, and you’ll quickly fall in love with all there is to see and do there.
Oslo is home to some of the country’s greatest museums and attractions. Admire the world’s largest collection of Edvard Munch’s works at the aptly-named Munch Museum, get some fresh air as you stroll through the impressive Vigeland Sculpture Park, or explore the Norsk Folkemuseum for a deep-dive into the history of Norse culture.
Once you work up an appetite, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the caliber of restaurants you’ll find throughout the city. From tasting menus at eateries boasting multiple Michelin stars to little cafes serving up cuisine inspired by international destinations, you can find something to please virtually any palate. You’ll find lots of seafood and plenty of grilled meats, as well as lots of universal favorites like pizza and Asian cuisine.
YOU’LL BE ENTICED BY ITS RICH AND INTERESTING HISTORY.
One of the best thing about traveling is that it gives us a chance to learn about another country’s history and culture. Norway is no exception. We’ve all heard about the Vikings and their pillaging, seafaring ways, and getting to experience a taste of that up close was definitely a worthwhile experience.
Norway is proud of its heritage, and the country has done an excellent job preserving its historic sites. You can visit numerous Viking heritage sites around the country. From Viking graveyards to historic monuments built to commemorate victories in battle, you’ll find a variety of sites that embrace different facets of the nation’s history.
These are just a few of the most compelling reasons to plan a trip to Norway. With a bit of research, you’re sure to find even more things you’ll want to see and do while you’re there.