Monday, 31 October 2016

Five Best Hiking Routes

Five impressive routes that can be easily covered by a family with kids or a group of friends in one day.

Five Best Hiking Routes

HIKING IN FINSE 

Finse is the highest railway station in Norway and a great place for those who prefer one day's hiking.

Five Best Hiking Routes

Take the morning train from Oslo or Bergen, get off at the Finse station, and walk directly from the platform through the grand Hardangervidda mountain plateau in any direction. Do not forget to familiarize yourself with the mountain code.

TROUT FISHING ON THE MANDALSELVA RIVER 

Five Best Hiking Routes

Southern Norway hosts two of Norway’s finest trout rivers Otra and Mandalselva. Otra is the major one, however, for the last several years fishing opportunities on Mandalselva have drastically increasFive impressive routes that can be easily covered by a family with kids or a group of friends in one day.

THE NORDMARKA FOREST 

Five Best Hiking Routes

Oslo is one of the few capitals surrounded by the untouched forests. More than 150 years ago, the Norwegian writer and collector of fairy tales Peter Christen Asbjørnsen published the book One Night in Nordmarka (En Nat i Nordmarken). Many years have passed, but the forest remains the same. Take a train from Oslo to Gjøvik, get out at Movatn station and hike in any direction.

AROUND THE ISLANDS OF OSLOFJORD 

Five Best Hiking Routes

Do not underestimate the possibilities of active recreation next to urban areas. Right outside Oslo, you will find hundreds of small islands. Take a ferry from Rådhusbrygga and get out at any stop, then catch another ferry and follow to the next island. In summer, you may go swimming, in winter try to catch sea trout!

KAYAKING AND CYCLING AROUND THE VEGA ISLAND 

The Vega islands that are included into UNESCO’s World Heritage list are a fantastic place for short trips. Rent a bike on the mainland, in the town of Brønnøysund, and take a ferry to the main island of the archipelago where you can ride a bicycle wherever you want. If you are tired with the bike, rent a kayak here in the island.

Five Best Hiking Routes

Vega has several mountain tops that are suitable for families. Plan your trip in advance, and you will manage everything in one day!


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Thursday, 27 October 2016

A Route for Those Who Appreciate Architecture

Norway is famous for its outstanding natural attractions. However, those who are fond of architecture will find there impressive human-made sites as well. We offer you a route that will allow you to see major Norwegian architectural points – from an ancient stave church built in the 12th century to an ultra-modern hotel – just in seven days.

A Route for Those who Appreciate Architecture

DAY 1 

Start your adventure with the capital. The massive City Hall (Oslo Rådhus) situated on the coast of the fjord is one of the signature buildings in Oslo. Its interiors are richly decorated with the artworks of the first half of the 20th century. They show the Norwegians in their daily routine. The building was designed by the architects Arnstein Arneberg and Magnus Poulsson. The construction began in 1931, froze during the World War II and the City Hall finally opened its doors just in 1950.

A Route for Those who Appreciate Architecture

Rent a car in Oslo and go to Våler in the Solør region. On the place of the burnt down church in Våler you will find a newly built modern one that was designed by Espen Surnevik. The design was acknowledged internationally. The interior was constructed in a way that allows daylight play in a really special way. If you have free time, you will find multiple possibilities for active recreation in this part of Norway.

DAY 2

Our next stop is Lillehammer and Bjerkebæk manor, the memorial house of the Norwegian writer Sigrid Undset (1882-1949) who won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1928. The visitor's center is a piece of art in itself. Its memorable architecture was designed by an architecture bureau Carl-Viggo Hølmebakk,

In 1994, Lillehammer hosted Winter Olympic Games and has numerous options for active outdoor leisure!

A Route for Those Who Appreciate Architecture

Then follow to the Sohlbergplassen viewpoint next to the Atnsjøen lake by the Rondane National Park. The viewpoint is part of the National Tourist Routes of Norway and it was designed again by the architecture bureau Carl-Viggo Hølmebakk. The view it offers is exactly the same as you can see in Harald Sohlberg’s famous painting: “A Winter’s Night in Rondane”.

Spend the night in Alvdal.

DAY 3 

Start with the Aukrustsenteret entertainment park dedicated to life and work of the writer and the graphic artist Kjell Aukrust, beloved by all Norwegians for his humorous descriptions of the life in rural Norway. The visitor center was built by the design of a renowned Norwegian architect Sverre Fehn.

A Route for Those Who Appreciate Architecture

Juvet Landscape Hotel is situated just next to the famous fjords that were included into UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2005. The main idea of its design made by the architecture bureau Jensen & Skodvin is the minimum intervention into nature and maximum closeness to it. The hotel started its wok in 2010 and immediately became a famous destination. If you want to stop there, book your room well in advance!

DAY 4 

Start you day with the Norwegian Glacier Museum in Fjærland (Norsk bremuseum i Fjærland). The building itself looks like a glacier. It was designed by Sverre Fehn, who won the Pritzker award in 1997. The museum houses informative and interactive exhibitions, holding the most important facts about the glaciers and the secrets of the eternal ice.

A Route for Those Who Appreciate Architecture

Norway managed to preserve 30 stave churches, and Urnes stavkirke is considered the oldest. Its rich decorations reflect the transition from the Viking era to the Christian age. The Urnes stave church is listed on UNESCO's list as a World Heritage Site.

DAY 5 

A Route for Those Who Appreciate Architecture

We have again a major historical site on our agenda. Today we visit the Hanseatic quay Bryggen in Bergen. It is a quartier of wooden buildings that were used as warehouses in the 14th century. This ancient quartier is abundant with history, however, you will find there shops, bars and restaurants as well. Bryggen is listed by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage.

DAY 6 

A Route for Those Who Appreciate Architecture

Tyssedal hydroelectric power station (Tyssedal kraftanlegg) in Odda was launched in 1906. Today it houses the historical museum of architecture and industry. The building designed by Thorvald Astrup is under protection of the Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage. In the surroundings, you will find multiple options of accommodation, restaurants and hiking routes.

DAY 7

Rjukan is an important historical object situated right in the middle of the wild nature. The one hundred meter Rjukan waterfall (verbatim “smokey waterfall”) played a key role in the Norwegian history, especially during the World War II.

A Route for Those Who Appreciate Architecture

In 1934, a power plant Vemork was launched to the west of Rjukan. At the moment, it was the largest power plant in the world. Having visited Vemork, go hiking in the mountains that are located only a few minutes’ drive from the Rjukan city center.

Return to Oslo. Congratulations – you managed to see the most important architectural attractions of Norway built for the last thousand years just in seven days!


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Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Best "Hidden" Places of Norway: North

The third part of the series will tell you about less popular but still amazing places of Northern Norway. 

Best "Hidden" Places of Norway: North

BORDER TERRITORIES 

Right next to the border with Russia there are some interesting churches – King Oscar II Chapel in Grense Jakobselv and St. George Chapel in Neiden. You will find a Finnish and Norwegian fishing settlement of Bugøynes, a boarder road from lake Bjørnevatn to National Park Øvre Pasvik

Best "Hidden" Places of Norway: North

Do not miss Treriksrøysa (Three-Country Cairn), the meeting point of the borders of Norway, Finland and Russia. Ytre Jarfjord offers wild nature and even a crab safari. 

GJESVÆR FIHING VILLAGE 

Gjesvær is an old fishing village in Nordkapp Municipality in Finnmark county. It is the only place in Finnmark known from the Viking Age and is mentioned in the Heimskringla saga as Geirsver. 

Best "Hidden" Places of Norway: North

Not far from the coast there are three bird rocks including the largest in Norway colony of Atlantic puffins (approximately 350 thousand of birds). 

EXTERNAL ISLANDS OF THE LOFOTEN ARCHIPELAGO 

Go to the miraculous Lofoten islands, pay a visit to Reine, Sørvågen, Å, Værøy and Røst. They offer a unique mix of breathtaking landscapes, fishing villages dating back to thousands of years and modern tourist infrastructure. Here you may find several art galleries as well. 

TRÆNA AND MYKEN ISLANDS 

Archipelagoes in the open sea. Visit Myken and stay in a lighthouse with panoramic views. Or go to Træna for a festival – or just to buy the freshest fish! Modern history of successful salmon breeding started in Træna. Local festival Trænafestivalen is known worldwide. 

Best "Hidden" Places of Norway: North

The islands were inhabited more than six thousand years ago and offer rich cultural heritage and ancient monuments. 

LYNGEN 

Best "Hidden" Places of Norway: North

"Alps in the ocean". The true Eldorado for traditional and modern types of active recreation in the wild: fishing, hunting, mountain climbing, extreme mountain skis, diving and hang-gliding. Lyngsalpene offer one of the most wonderful views in the world. 

HAMN I SENJA 

Hamn i Senja is a picturesque fishing village with industrial history. The village was wired for electricity already in 1882. Two first in the world water power plants provided power for the local nickel mines. 

VISTENFJORD 

"The unknown fjord" is located on the Helgeland coast between Vega archipelago and the Seven Sisters (De Sju søstre) mountains. It is one of the most diverse biotopes in the world. People go fishing and hunting there already for nine thousand years. 

Best "Hidden" Places of Norway: North

Do not miss the villages in the fjord's creek and in Bønå, where the family of a local farmer and fisherman organized a center of active recreation. 


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Sunday, 23 October 2016

Best "Hidden" Places of Norway: West (Fjord Region)

Not so popular but still amazing places of Western Norway.

Best "Hidden" Places of Norway: West (Fjord Region)

FJORD VALLEYS THAT LEAD TO TROLLHEIMEN AND DOVRE MONTAINS

The valleys of Todalen, Innerdalen, Sunndalen, Litjdalen, Grødalen and Eikesdalen go from the very ocean to the high mountains of Trollheimen and Dovre. This area offers phenomenal opportunities for hiking and mountain climbing as well as wonderful cycling and car routes. A special highlight is a new gravel road from Eikesdalen through Lake Aursjøen and Litjadalen down to the town of Sunndalsøra.

INTERNAL REGIONS OF SOGNEFJORD

Do not miss the Lustrafjord, the mountaineering center Turtagrø, Hurrungane mountains, the village of Veitastrond and Jostedalen valley hidden behind the Jostadalsbreen glacier.

Best "Hidden" Places of Norway: West (Fjord Region)

Here you will find the oldest Norwegian stave church – Urnes stavkirke that occupies a rising ground next to the Lustrafjord. This area between the glacier and the Sognefjord offers multiple opportunities for active recreation!  

FROM HARDANGERVIDDA PLATEAU DOWN TO THE FJORD

Here you will discover Hårteigen mountain, Husedalen valley and the Monk Steps (Munketrappene). The route starts at Eidfjord that is situated in the internal area of the Hardangerfjord, follows up to the wild and beautiful Hjølodalen valley to mountain huts of Viveli, Hedlo and Hadlaskard, through Hårteigen mountain which peak is the highest point of Hardangervidda plateau.

Best "Hidden" Places of Norway: West (Fjord Region)

Then the route goes to mountain huts of Torehytte and Stavali and further down to one of the most picturesque valleys of Norway – Husedalen – where you can find three large and very different waterfalls.

AN OLD SEASIDE TOWN OF SKUDENESHAVN

Best "Hidden" Places of Norway: West (Fjord Region)

Skudeneshavn is the best preserved old wooden Norwegian town. It flourished in the 19th century, the age of sailing. More than 200 white wooden houses are restored and their owners thoroughly preserve them.

ÅLFOTBREEN GLACIER AND NORDFJORD

The route starts at Vingen that offers the largest collection of rock carvings in Northern Europe. Then it goes through the westernmost Norway glacier, Ålfotbreen, through mountain huts of Blåbrebu and Gjegnabu, down to Hyefjord. It is the most humid place in the country – here the overage precipitation is 10 times higher than in Bergen!

STADLAND AND VÅGSØY (NORDFJORD)

A true heaven for surfers! Moreover, you can see here the ruins of the oldest Norwegian monastery. Hoddevika is one of the most exotic surfing spots in the world. On the island of Vågsøy you can spend a night in one of its three lighthouses – Hendanes, Kråkenes and Skogsnes. The views from each of them are absolutely fantastic!

THE COAST TO THE NORTH OF SOGNEFJORD

Best "Hidden" Places of Norway: West (Fjord Region)

Solund archipelago and Værlandet island do not leave anyone indifferent. In places like this, you can "hop" rom one island to another. The landscape is stunningly beautiful, the ferry transport is convenient. However, the best way to explore the surroundings is kayaking. In summer, besides kayaks you may see a lot of boats and yachts in the waters of Sognefjord.

TRØNDELAG

Best "Hidden" Places of Norway: West (Fjord Region)

An old mining town of Trøndelag had one of the largest deposits of copper in Europe. Røros is the only mining town in the world built fully from wood.


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Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Best "Hidden" Places of Norway: East and South

Here we are going to speak about not so popular but still amazing places to see in Eastern and Southern Norway.

Best "Hidden" Places of Norway: East and South

A COAST ROAD FROM MANDAL TO HAFRSFJORD 

A coast road from Mandal to Hafrsfjord is a part of a cycling track EuroVelo 12 (North Sea Cycle Route) that goes around the North Sea and includes Shetland and Orkney Islands, Scotland, England, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Its overall length is around 6,000 km. It is the longest marked cycling route in the world. And 250 km that take you from Mandal through Lindesnes, Lista, Hauge and Egersund are one of the most picturesque parts of it! 

 AN IMPRESSIVE ROUTE NEXT TO SETESDAL 

Wooded hills of Tovdal and Åraksbø are a wonderful example of typical landscape of Southern Norway. Tovdal is one of the most picturesque mountainous areas here. In Hillestad you can rent a kayak.

Best "Hidden" Places of Norway: East and South

One of the best hiking routes in the region starts in Dale, takes you by the Rjukanfossen waterfall, through Stuvestøyl, Videstøyl, along the Juvass river, via Skuggefjell mountain and down to Åraksbø in Setesdalen valley. Here you will find Haugeburet, one of the oldest buildings in Norway, constructed in 1219.

FEMUNDSMARKA NATIONAL PARK 

Femundsmarka National Park lies adjacent to Norway's second largest natural lake, Femunden. Its landscape is largely marshes and lakes. It is a popular destination for canoeing and fishing.

Best "Hidden" Places of Norway: East and South

The park has long been a source of falcons for use in the European and Asian sport of falconry and several places in the park are known as Falkfangerhøgda, or "falcon hunters’ height". There are also wild reindeer grazing in the heights and, in summer, a herd of around 30 musk oxen roam the area along the Røa and Mugga Rivers (in winter they migrate to the Funäsdalen area).

SKERRIES OF SOUTHERN NORWAY 

 Along the coast of Southern Norway, from Ryvingen lighthouse to Jomfruland island, there is an archipelago of thousands islands and skerries. This is a perfect place for sunbathing and kayaking. The islands located closer to the mainland are protected from the ocean, and a canoe or a kayak is the most convenient transport there.

THE TELEMARK CANAL 

The Telemark Canal connects Skien to Dalen in southern Norway by linking several long lakes in the Skien watershed through a series of locks.

Best "Hidden" Places of Norway: East and South

The Telemark Canal consists of 18 locks, is 105 km long and has a total difference in elevation of 72 meters. The biggest staircase lock is Vrangfoss, which has five chambers and a lifting height of 23 meters. The riverboats Henrik Ibsen and Victoria travel with tourists from Skien to Dalen via Kviteseid.

VELMUNDEN 

Between the lakes Randsfjord and Sperillen you will find lake Fjorda. Its part known as Velmunden is a true heaven for kayakers. You will find plenty kayak routes among the local islands.

Best "Hidden" Places of Norway: East and South

Those who are interested in history and culture may visit Finnish settlements that are 400 year old.


Norway Travel Blog
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Saturday, 15 October 2016

#SheepWithAView – a Wonder Journey around Norway

All of Norway – from world-famous fjords to amazing Lofoten islands as viewed by sheep!

#SheepWithAView – a Wonder Journey around Norway

Every summer more than two million sheep graze freely and peacefully on green slopes among stunning landscapes. These cute woolen travelers wander around green forests, picturesque mountains, emerald fjords and white beaches and sometimes can be found in the very center of Norwegian towns. 

After a strict selection, four cutest animals were chosen for a responsible role of guides who will show us Norway as they see it. In the end, these fearless travelers spend most of their time out, enjoying the landscapes. So who but them can offer the best excursion experience around the country? 


You may follow the news "from the field" by hashtag #SheepWithAView

MEET THE SHEEP 

Eric from Southern Norway 

#SheepWithAView – a Wonder Journey around Norway

Eric loves everything connected with sailing. And he is a true Mr. Chill. He spends all the time enjoying the silence and calmness of Southern Norway. Imperturbable and reserved, he prefers to spend long summer evenings on board of his schooner, moving slowly from one island to another and enjoying picturesque views that Southern Norway offers. Ashore he spends hours on one of multiple beaches along the southern coast of the country putting his hoofs into blue running waves.

Frida from the Fjord Region

#SheepWithAView – a Wonder Journey around Norway

Frida is a true adventurer and a fan of Viking-metal music. She is curious from birth and is never tired to enjoy the beauty of the Fjords Region. Frida is always ready for an adventure and she is not afraid to think out of the box – she can take a fresh shower under a waterfall or climb up to the top of a mountain to look at a stunning view on a fjord. 

Lars from Trøndelag 

Lars is a real foodie and a follower of dolce vita lifestyle. In the same time, he values traditions. He likes to move from one farm to another looking for anything tasty and even pops in the restaurants along the Golden Route of Trøndelag.

#SheepWithAView – a Wonder Journey around Norway

The region of Trøndelag has a rich history connected with the Vikings' era and Lars regularly takes part in a reconstruction of the battle of Stiklestad

Kari from Northern Norway 

#SheepWithAView – a Wonder Journey around Norway

Kari likes to sunbathe on a beach and to enjoy the natural beauties of Northern Norway. She is fit and cannot sit in leisure a minute! She likes to walk along the beaches with her hooves sinking softly in the sand and get acquainted with the surfers. In the night, she likes to rest under the rays of Midnight Sun and muse about northern lights


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Monday, 10 October 2016

Top Eight Interesting Facts about Norway

Norway is full of mysteries. It amazes with its untouched beautiful nature. Here independence and sovereignty are valued. Let us look at eight interesting facts about this glorious country! 

Top Eight Interesting Facts about Norway

1. Norway is considered the birthplace of the ski sport. From the Norwegian language the word “ski” means “a piece of wood”. 

2. An American film “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back” was partly written in March 1979 in Finse, not far from the railway Oslo-Bergen. The territory of Finse features in the film as Hoth, a planet covered with snow and ice. 

Top Eight Interesting Facts about Norway

3. The Vikings from Norway and Scandinavia are famous as coldhearted and fearless warriors. Two-horned helmet is a renowned symbol of the Vikings. However, there is no proof that the Vikings ever used those helmets at all! Numerous Vikings’ armors were found during excavations, and just one helmet! So, Vikings’ helmet turns out to be just a legend. 

4. Finland is often called “a land of a thousand lakes”. However, Norway is a land of countless lakes (around half a million actually). And about 200 lakes occupy the territory of 10 square km. 

5. The lakes of Norway are considered the deepest in Europe. Lake Hornindalsvatnet is the deepest in Europe and is number 12 in the world – its depth reaches 514 meters. Lake Mjøsa is the largest and the second deepest lake in Norway and number 19 in the world. 

Top Eight Interesting Facts about Norway

6. It is widely known that clips of thin wire were invented in Norway. During the World War II those clips became a symbol of the Resistance and the unity in hard times. When the Nazi authorities found out about this, they prohibited to use clips. 

7. Students of Svalbard University start their studies with learning how to shoot. The island hosts many bears, and people should know how to protect themselves. 

Top Eight Interesting Facts about Norway

8. A lot of Norwegians immigrated to the United States in the end of 19th – beginning of the 20th centuries. Among famous Americans who has Norwegian roots we can name an actress Marilyn Monroe, a Nobel Laureate and an outstanding agriculturist Norman Burlag. The father of Conrad Hilton, the founder of a hotel chain, was born in a farm next to Oslo Airport. 

Norway is rich in interesting facts and curious discoveries. It is a wealthy country economically-wise, however its main achievement is an ability to keep and multiply what the country initially had – its amazing landscapes and nature. 


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Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Kjerag and Preikestolen: Rising Up

The Lysefjord is famous for its natural attractions. The two major of them are situated practically in front of each other: two rocks – Kjerag and Preikestolen – are visited yearly by thousands of tourists and the Norwegians themselves. 

Kjerag and Preikestolen: Rising Up

KJERAG 

Kjerag is a mountain plateau that rises above Lysefjorden. Its highest point is 1084 meters above the sea level. 

However, the majority of tourists go there not only to enjoy the picturesque view but also to reach the famous Kjeragbolten, a 5-cubic-metre stone wedged between two rocks. It is a popular tourist attraction, and one can reach it without special equipment. Mind that the abyss below the stone is approximately 1 km. 

Kjerag and Preikestolen: Rising Up

The road to Kjerag starts from Øygardsstølen – “Eagles Nest”. From Stavanger, it is roughly a 2-hour drive. There you will find a café built roughly 500 meters high above the Lysefjord. Next to the café, there is a payed parking where tourists may leave their cars before the climb. Øygardsstølen offers a viewpoint that is open only in summer. From there you can see a steep road consisting of 27 turns that leads to the village of Lysebotn. 

The climb to the plateau starts from Øygardsstølen. The route is marked with the red letter “T”. In the most difficult places, rails are set that can be handy on both ways up and down. The overall elevation is about 500 meters. The distance between the start and the Kjeragbolten is approximately 4 km. In the reality, it is much longer because of the difficult landscape and significant elevation. In average, the trip to Kjerag takes 2,5 hours one way. 

Kjerag and Preikestolen: Rising Up

The tips for this trip are simple. Have comfortable and not slippery boots that fix a foot well, put on comfortable clothes as it may be windy and chill up there. It is not recommended to go there in a rainy weather. It may be quite dangerous because of slippery stones. 

PREIKESTOLEN 

Another famous tourist attraction there is Preikestolen – Preacher’s Pulpit or Pulpit Rock. In the ancient times, its name was Hyvlatonnå. Preikestolen is a giant rock 604 meters high above the Lysefjord in the municipality of Forsand in Rogaland County. 

Kjerag and Preikestolen: Rising Up

Preikestolen is an almost steep cliff roughly 25x25 meters, which rises 604 meters above the fjord. The view it offers is stunning, that is why it is one of the most famous Norwegian natural attractions. 

The route to Pulpit Rock passes through various mountainous landscapes. The road is difficult, sometimes – very steep. It starts from the Preikestolhytta Youth Hostel at the height of 270 meters and goes up 604 meters. Usually it takes around 2 hours. Although the elevation is just 330 meters and the distance is 3,8 km, this route is more difficult than to Kjerag. 


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