Why Norway Is the Perfect Year-Round Holiday Destination
Whether you’re in pursuit of the world’s most spectacular lightshow, the Aurora Borealis, or prefer to bask under the glow of the Midnight Sun, Norway will deliver a life-changing experience no matter the season.
Why winter is a great time to visit Norway
There’s a real magic to Oslo in winter. The compact yet cosmopolitan capital has a trove of experiences embracing the chill, from famous artworks rendered in ice at sub-zero gallery Magic Ice to a floating sauna on the Oslo fjord where you can sweat before jumping into the bracing waters.
As the temperature drops and the Northern Lights begin their shimmering sky dance, the lure of Norway’s Arctic is impossible to resist. Sailing direct from Oslo for the first time in celebration of Hurtigruten’s 130th anniversary, the newly launched North Cape Express tour is an unforgettable way to explore the full length of the country’s coastline in all its snow-cloaked beauty.
You’ll glide past mountains such as Svolvær Goat (which resembles a goat and its horns), fjords and colourful towns including Brønnøysund on the newly refurbished premium small ship MS Trollfjord.
Embrace “the outdoor life” (known as friluftsliv in Norwegian) as you ride a horse along the Lofoten Islands’ snow-covered beaches. Go dog sledding and snowshoeing in Tromsø, dubbed the “Paris of the North” by amazed visitors in the 19th century for its sophisticated dining and fashion scene. Just like them, you’ll be blown away by the improbable wonders waiting at the top of the world. And spot the Aurora Borealis in Alta, a fjord town known as the “City of the Northern Lights” tucked far into the Arctic Circle.
Hurtigruten has served as the sole operator along this majestic route for more than 130 years, so you’ll see first-hand how these ships provide both an avenue for discovery for visitors, as well as a transportation and supply lifeline for those who call these remote coastal villages home.
Why summer is a great time to visit Norway
When the Midnight Sun shines, Oslo stays up way past its bedtime. With only five or six hours of darkness each night, there’s too much fun to be had at elaborately designed outdoor bars like Prindsen Hage where the crowd buzzes to a soundtrack of live DJs.
Head much further north – some 2000 kilometres from Oslo and 800 kilometres from Norway’s mainland – and summer’s midnight sun illuminates the wild and remote Svalbard archipelago for up to 24 hours a day.
Located midway between Norway and the North Pole, this magnificent landscape of glaciers and fjords can be explored on the Svalbard Express, sailing aboard the elegantly refurbished MS Trollford.
Marrying the very best of modern Scandinavian design with a rich sense of nostalgia for the golden-era of small ship sailing, this iconic vessel sets the stage for a journey that takes the authentic Norwegian cruise experience to the next level.
While watching polar bears hunting for seals on the frozen tundra and noisy puffins chattering in their cliff-face colonies, you’ll dine on a menu expertly prepared under the leadership of Hurtigruten culinary ambassadors and head chefs Astrid Nässlander and Halvar Ellingsen.
In the warmth and comfort of the Panorama Bar, sip a cocktail – made of gin that’s been crafted from the waters of the clear fjords of Troms — as you stare out in awe at majestic glaciers. Then take time off-board to visit charming fishing villages of rorbuer – those iconic red wooden cabins – on the far-flung island of Senja.
You’ll also get to celebrate the brief but dazzling season just like the locals. Paddle a kayak across the waters of the old fishing village of Bergsfjord, fish beneath the warm sun in Træna or hike to Torghatten Mountain and hear the legend of the spurned troll that pierced its peak. There’s so much to do you’ll be thankful the golden summer days are so long.
SEE ALSO: 5 Incredible Reasons Norway Should Be Top of Your Travel List
Image credits: Stian Klo (Northern Lights); Kristian Dale (Trana, Norway); Suranga Weeratun (Trollstigen, Norway).