Astounding and Beautiful Norway


Astoundingly Beautiful Norway

By Susan Short

Awe inspiring, stunning with breathtaking natural scenery, this is the true Norway.  It has the world’s largest and most dramatic fjords that lie in the deepest green valley’s you will ever see. It is one of the most incredible destinations on the planet. Teeming with vista’s that can make your heart stop, it is truly hard to begin to describe a visit to this Scandinavian hot spot. There are many things that most American’s do not know about Norway. Quite important for most American travelers is the fact that people from Norway speak English fluently. This is fantastic, as it makes travel quite easy, even on your own.

There are so many options; it is difficult to decide where to go and what methods to use to get there. Many people choose to cruise, which is great and popular, but to get the authentic experience, we went the way of the open road. Driving is relatively easy and definitely the best way to see the most heartbreakingly beautiful panoramas you can imagine. Depending on the amount of time you have to visit the country, it is best to tailor the trip to the days you have. If time is not an issue, plan to visit the Northern part of the country, above the Arctic Circle. However, the area of Fjord Norway is a terrific jumping off point and will fill your tank with memories to spare.

We began the adventure in Oslo, the capital of modern Norway. A jewel of a city, crowned with the most charismatic new Opera House, designed to mimic an “Iceberg”.  Take in an opera if the timing is right, or just relax and have a five star dinner on the patio, enjoying the light of the summer nights.  Oslo is home to the Nobel Peace Prize center, and it is possible to visit the exact spot where this illustrious award is presented each year. Additionally, there are many museums housing Viking ships and artifacts as well as priceless art, such as Edward Munch’s, “The Scream”. Oslo is a great walking city, and things are relatively close. Check out the Aker Brygge entertainment district…perfect European hipness along the waterfront.

A train journey was the most efficient way to reach our next stop, the Art Nouveau, fairy tale town of Alesund. Often referred to as the Venice of the North, this perfect place has some of the most gorgeous buildings due to a terrible fire that occurred at the beginning of the 20th century.  Europeans from all over the continent were transfixed by the tragedy and therefore were commissioned to rebuild the city in the most fashionable and grand style, Art Nouveau.

The Rauma Railway is a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with some of the wildest and fantastic scenery, without hiking an inch. It is only open from the end of May to the end of August, so plan accordingly. The heights are dizzying, but make some incredible photo opportunities. This is the beginning of some of nature’s finest creative work! It is also a fun and efficient way to reach Alesund and that part of the country.

Alesund is a good beginning for a tour into Fjord country. A mere 2.5 hours away is the world famous Geiranger fjord. It is impossible not to stop your car every few minutes to take in an even more breath-taking vista. One seems like it could not get any better, yet it does. The journey into the Geiranger Fjord is something out of a movie or out of this world. The Fjord itself is a sparkling turquoise color surrounded by snow capped mountains and lush green fields. We ended at the Union Spa hotel, at the foot of a roaring waterfall. The scene is mesmerizing; you can watch the cruise ships come into the small port…relishing the fact that you have the best vantage point. Make sure to rent a kayak and take in the scene from the perspective of the water level. You can also kayak right up to one of seven waterfalls that pour out into the fjord directly from the glaciers nearby.

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