I just returned from an amazing trip through Norway, an absolute bucket-list destination, especially for outdoor enthusiasts. My Norwegian trek began in Oslo, the country’s largest cosmopolitan hub offering world class architecture, museums, restaurants, and shopping. As with most cities in Norway, Oslo is located on a fjord with breathtaking scenery. While there, I was able to sample the local cuisine at a lamb festival being held in the downtown area. I found exploring the city to be quite easy, whether it be on foot or by bicycle. The waterfront area has gone through a rebirth and is now home to many cafes, coffee houses, and bars.
From Oslo, I took the train to Lillehammer, home of the 1994 Winter Olympics. Several of the ski jumps that were built for the Olympic Games are still in use. I stayed at a relatively small hotel, the Pellestova Mountain Hotel. This property is often frequented by skiers and hikers, and offers fantastic views of the valley. From there, I traveled inland and headed toward the fjords using the scenic mountain route. I visited the newly opened Loen Skylift which soars 1011 meters up the side of a mountain and offers hikes and wonderful food.
Next stop was Bergen, which is known for its crooked buildings along the waterfront. I stayed at the fabulous Hotel Solstrand just outside of the city and situated along the scenic waterfront. This historic hotel offers a wonderful spa, great traditional Norwegian cuisine, and, of course, fantastic water views due to its location.
I also had the opportunity to sample a brief 2-night cruise with Hurtigruten. Our small cruising vessel traveled adeptly through the fjords where waterfalls abound. One of my favorite places I visited was the small town of Alesund. It reminded me of a mini Bergen, and offered lots of hiking, nature walks, and again, fabulous restaurants and dining experiences.
Whether you are interested in food, nature, outdoor sports, or perhaps just like to meet friendly locals, Norway has much to offer and should be on everyone’s watch list!