COVER Visit beautiful Norway
With its stunning scenery and a front row seat to view the Northern Lights, it’s no surprise that this Scandinavian country was voted the happiest place in the world
Come the winter months, much of Norway is transformed into a snow-clad paradise, offering perfect conditions for a number of exciting outdoor activities. While skiing is the go-to activity here, a dogsledding experience is sure to blow you away.
Speed past majestic mountains, crystal clear fjords and arctic glaciers as a pack of Alaskan Huskies guide you through the white Norwegian wilderness. It’s a great opportunity to feel the strong bond between man and dog and you may even get the chance to feed and look after the Huskies yourself – a dog-lover’s dream!
For extra winter magic, journey to the northern city of Tromsø for an unforgettable reindeer sleigh ride through the snow. Meet and feed Rudolph and his friends, learn about the indigenous Sami people, eat traditional food and enjoy storytelling by a campfire on a four-hour excursion.
■ Dogsledding tours take place at various locations throughout Norway. For more information, call the tourism board on 220 02 500
■ Arctic Reindeer Experience starts from NOK1590 per person. Call 983 13 038 or visit www.tromsoarcticreindeer.com
Pass mountains, crystal clear fjords and glaciers as Alaskan huskies guide you through the wilderness
A visit to see these wonders of nature in Western Norway should be on every bucket list. Sculpted by glaciers during the ice age, this part of the country has some of the longest, deepest, narrowest and most beautiful fjords in the world. Often referred to as The Gateway to the Fjords, the colourful coastal city of Bergen is a great starting point for exploring these breathtaking landforms, with catamarans departing from the harbour all year round. A typical cruise to Mostraumen lasts approximately three hours, passing steep mountainsides, quaint fishing villages and wonderous waterfalls.
■ Mostraumen fjord cruises start from NOK600 per adult. Call 555 52 000 or visit www.visitbergen.com
Norway boasts a myriad of creatures that’ll captivate any animal lover. Keep your eyes peeled for moose, reindeer or even a white-tailed eagle.
Polar Park, located in the heart of the Salangsdalen Valley in Bardu, aims to recreate the Norwegian wilderness with vast habitats housing brown bears, lynx, elks and many others. Book onto a feeding session with arctic foxes, or greet and ‘kiss’ a pack of wolves! If you’re after an aquatic adventure, Norway is a real hotspot for whales who visit throughout the year to feed on the plankton and herring-rich waters. Plan your visit between late October to mid-January when finbacks, humpbacks and orcas are around.
For summer whale watching, head to Andenes between May to mid-September where sperm whales, porpoises and orcas can still be sighted on sea safaris.
■ Polar Park from NOK260 for adults. Call 771 86 630 or visit www.polarpark.no
■ Andenes whale safari from NOK1095 for adults. Call 76 11 5600 or visit www.whalesafari.com
Situated in a sheltered bay of the spectacular Hardangerfjord, the village of Ulvik looks like a picture postcard with its wooden houses, snow-capped mountains and crystal blue waters. Known as The Orchard of Norway, it also offers an excellent network of wellmarked and varied trails winding through meadows, forests and cider farms.
The Brakanes Hotel is a great starting point for many hikes in this region. Its serene fjordside garden and indoor spa also make the perfect resting spot. Guests can take the express boat along the Handangerjord to the small town of Eidfjord to visit the Nature Centre, before continuing to Vøringsfossen Waterfall.
■ Half-board packages from £738 per person, cider farm tours from NOK50 per person, waterfall excursions from NOK594. Call Ingham Holidays on 01483 791 111 or visit www.inghams.co.uk
HEAPS OF HISTORY
Head to the capital city of Oslo and swot up on Scandinavian history with a visit to the Viking Ship Museum, housing an impressive collection of Viking treasures, 9th Century longships and unique burial artefacts recovered from the Oslo Fjord.
The Norwegian Museum of Cultural History will give you a glimpse into Nordic life over the past 600 years. Wander the indoor exhibits full of traditional handicraft items, folk costumes, Sami culture, weapons, toys and more.
In summer, the open-air museum brings Norway’s history and local cultures to life with folk music, freshlybaked lefse (flatbread), horse and carriage rides, guided tours, handicraft demonstrations and sheepshearing.
■ Viking Ship Museum and Norwegian Museum of Cultural History, entry costs NOK100 for adults. Call 228 51 900 or visit www.khm.uio.no
Catch the Aurora Borealis or meet the reindeer
Bergen White-tailed eagle
The quirky Norwegian Museum of Cultural History