Norway is an amazing, vast country with breathtaking landscapes: fjords, seas, huge cliffs, mountains and countless islands. A few trips are needed in order to be able to experience everything this amazing country has to offer.
Norway is quite impressive with its unbelievable scenery. The only down side is the weather, and the lack of light which didn’t help in truly representing the country’s beauty in photos. We were there for a few days at the beginning of July and got a single sunny day, while the rest of the time it was raining or cloudy, the temperature varying between 10 – 22 degrees depending on how far North we went. Even so, with the bad weather, I couldn’t stop myself from repeating how beautiful the view was, every ten minutes or so, as we went across a mountain pass a lake, a fjord or past an ordinary wooden house.
The first time I traveled to Norway was on a weekend trip to Oslo from Copenhagen some time ago. We went again this summer, but much further in the North.
The trip started with an idea that my partner had been entertaining for some years: namely, to drive all the way up to North Cape. We finally decided to put part of the plan in practice by flying north, then driving only to The Arctic Circle and leaving North Cape for another time.
With this shorter version in mind, we flew to Trondheim, rented a car and drove to the Arctic Circle. After a one day roadtrip, and an overnight stay at Mo i Rana, we returned and drove westward to Kristiansund, so we could see the Atlantic Road, an impressive attraction in Norway. Finally, across the Atlantic Road, we made our way to Ålesund.
We aimed to travel as close to the summer solstice as possible, so we would experience the white nights phenomenon, also hoping to get a glimpse of the never setting summer Sun beyond the Polar Circle. We wondered if it would drop just below the horizon line before rising again from the same place. We unfortunately didn’t get to figure out how it works, because of the overcast. But even if we couldn’t see the sun, it wasn’t dark: the sun was there somewhere, hidden behind the thick, grey clouds.
Despite the rainy weather, the nights are indeed “white” there at the beginning of July. The darkest it got was at half past 11, however I still had no need for artificial lights in order to see around me. The yellow sunset light hovered on the horizon past midnight, before the sky began to light up again. That was really interesting to see, and they could definitely consider saving money on street lights during summer 🙂
A few photos from Norway.
The Arctic Circle
We drove from Trondheim to The Arctic Circle in a long one day trip, and arrived there at about 21.45, just in time to enter The Arctic Circle visitor center, which closes at 22.00 in July. The visitor center is a small, round-shaped building. Its shape was not randomly designed, rather chosen to resist the winter’s strong winds and snow. A girl working at the center told me that when they first arrive there in April each year to prepare for the opening in May, the building is completely covered in snow and they need to dig to find and open the door. I could only imagine how thick the blanket of snow would have been in April, if there was still some snow left there in July.
There were a few people camping around the center, and there was also a red, clay-like plateau, where tourists had built small stone piles that extended for hundreds of meters around, so I also built my own pile, though I’m quite sure that the strong wind, or the visitors, will have torn it down by the time I return 🙂
The Arctic Circle in Norway was the northernmost point I have ever been to.
The photos below were taken around midnight 🙂
Landscapes from off shore
Our route from Trondheim to Kristiansund and finally to Alesund included short crossings by ferry, which were a good opportunity to take some photos of that amazing land.
We really liked Kristiansund, it is a truly charming city with many bridges, surrounded by water and mountains. We were glad to have stopped and spend a day in this city, which also gave us a good sense of how white nights look like (captured in the first photo below).
The Atlantic Road
We heard so many things about this road that we couldn’t wait to go see and drive it ourselves. This road is quite famous I would say, it is a National Tourist Route preserved as a cultural heritage and it has also been declared the world’s best road trip. The Atlantic Road is a 8.3 km stretch of road, formed of viaducts, causeways and eight bridges that run across an archipelago. The road connects several islands and islets.
The most spectacular part is the highest point of Storseisundet Bridge: driving across it gives the impression that the road will suddenly end.
Another charming Norwegian city built on several islands, with water canals and old, historic buildings. From a popular hill overlooking the town, visitors have the chance to take some impressive photos, while also enjoying a relaxing hike.
I’ll only briefly touch upon Oslo, since I’ve spent just a day and a half there. My first impression about this city is that it definitely looks like a Scandinavian capital. It reminded me of Copenhagen, with the difference that the streets were wider, and the buildings more imposing, or in other words, everything seemed scaled up. An obvious similarity is the blend between the old, Nordic-styled houses and the striking, futuristic, new architecture.
You will probably recognize Oslo’s Opera House in the photos, which is an impressive building that rises directly from the sea. It has an irregular shape, and walls entirely made of glass.
Another tourist attraction we visited was The Vigeland Park, a large garden that exhibits Gustav Vigeland’s work. He is a well-known Norwegian sculptor, and I found it quite interesting to analyze the different statues, mostly representing people in different situations.
Oslo also hosts a little more unusual museum, the Holmenkollen Ski Museum, where you can see ski equipment of the old days, as well as from modern times. There is also Holmenkollbaken, a ski jump hill from where if you don’t feel like ski jumping you can at least see the entire city.
Norway is a vast country with unique places that are, in my opinion, a must-see. Some of them are on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites, and my short post doesn’t cover even a fourth of these, and what I really hope to see this winter are the northern lights. I don’t have a plan in mind yet about where I will travel to see them, but Norway is a tempting choice, so there might be another post about it sometime soon.