If you’re a nature lover and Mother Nature’s masterpieces never cease to astound you, then Norway should be your next travel destination. Roughly the size of California, Europe’s longest country has boundless countryside full of jaw-dropping beauty and over 60,000 miles of coastline to explore. Here are 5 tips for mind-blowing nature experiences in Norway.
Scenic vistas filled with massive mountains, fjords, shimmering glaciers, and natural phenomena such as the northern lights and the midnight sun make this Nordic country a must-visit destination. Begin planning your itinerary by adding these five mind-blowing nature experiences in Norway.
1. Rondane National Park
Located in Norway’s southernmost wilderness, the Rodande National Tourist Route and Park feature a backdrop of the blue mountains of Rondane. Traces of the Ice Age can be clearly seen. The park was established in 1962 as the country’s first national park. The route through the park has some amazing viewpoints and rest areas.
The Sohlbergplassen Viewpoint has stunning views of Lake Atnsjøen and the surrounding mountains of Rondane. An elaborate and perfectly engineered concrete platform frames the same views portrayed by the artist Harald Sohlberg in his painting “Winter Night in the Mountains.”
The Strømbu rest stop is another excellent viewpoint with views of the lush Skjerdalen Valley and the impressive Høgronden Mountain. It also serves as the trailhead for hikes in the national park. You can relax on a rooftop terrace with views of the winding Atna River. Designed by architect Carl-Viggo Hølmebakk, the main building has a warm and welcoming waiting room complete with huge windows and a cozy fireplace. A staffed kiosk and information center are open during the summer season.
The southernmost fjord in Western Norway, the Lysefjord is a good day trip from the city of Stavanger. There are several world-famous destinations located here. Try the challenging 4,444 wooden steps on the staircase of Flørli which takes you 2,427 feet above sea level. It’s the longest wooden staircase in the world and has striking views of the Lysefjord below. The steps are creaky but solidly constructed and formerly served as the Flørli hydropower station.
For a little less nerve-wracking experience, hike to Preikestolen or Kjerag, two famous viewpoints that have breathtaking vistas of the fjord and beyond. The hike to Kjerag is a little challenging, but the one to Preikestolen is more moderate and can even be done by children. More commonly known as the Pulpit Rock, Preikestolen is a mountain plateau that is naturally square-shaped with a view as deep as the mountain is high at some points. Pulpit Rock sits at an elevation of more than 1,950 feet and has become an international symbol of Norway.
There are other ways to experience the wonders of the Lysefjord. You can go biking, kayaking, or take an organized cruise.
5 Tips For Mind-Blowing Nature Experiences In Norway – read on….
Located in the city of Odda in Western Norway, the hike to Trolltunga (Troll’s Tongue) is challenging yet thousands of hikers safely conquer the trail to Trollitunga every year. It has a total elevation of 3,600 feet and is nearly 2,300 feet above Lake Ringedalsvatnet. The view is one of the most spectacular in Norway.
It’s best to undertake this trek in summer. Check the weather forecast first and then start early in the morning, It takes about 12 hours to complete the nearly 14-mike roundtrip hike. You’ll have to navigate over bare rock, streams, and marshland, and the rocks can be slippery when wet.
The hike to Trolltunga requires hiking experience, the proper equipment, and a day’s worth of food and water, but the experience is unforgettable.
If you want to try something a little less popular but almost as spectacular, try the Trollpikken hike south of Stavanger along the coast to Kristiansand.
Also located in Western Norway, Geirangerfjord is so impressive it’s one of the country’s most famous fjords despite being the smallest. The UNESCO World Heritage site has surrounding mountains that appear to rise straight from the water. The nine-mile-long fjord is visited by thousands of people and hosts hundreds of cruise ships each year.
Along with stunning beauty, the filming of a movie called “The Wave” helped to make the Geirangerfjord world famous. It documents the possibility that nearby Åkerneset Mountain could collapse and cause a tsunami powerful enough to completely wipe out the village of Geiranger in 10 minutes.
You’ll also find another mind-blowing sight in the Geirangerfjord. It’s home to the famous Seven Sisters Waterfall, a collective series of cascading waterfalls with an 800-foot drop from the highest point.
Marmorslottet, also known as “the marble castle” is a fairytale landscape found in northern Norway near the town of Mo I Rana. The incredible natural rock formations were carved out by the river over thousands of years. You can see and sense how water and ice, along with the abrasion of sand and gravel, slowly carved strange sculptural formations like giant cauldrons, potholes, and caves.
The trail to get there is steep and several sections are challenging when the terrain is wet. The starting point is the parking lot at the end of a gravel road and the trek takes 20-40 minutes one way. There are no signposts leading to Marmorslottet once you leave the parking lot, so you have to follow a map. Be sure to turn left at the trail fork.
To help preserve this wonder of nature, visitors are asked to remove their shoes before walking onto the marble formations. Think of it as walking across a neighbor’s delicate marble flooring. Marmoslottet is truly a marble castle and walking barefoot or in socks will actually give you a unique tactile experience.
You’re also asked to take precautions, especially when walking with children and pets. The river current is strong and the area is unsecured.
5 Tips For Mind-Blowing Nature Experiences In Norway, written exclusively for Daily Scandinavian by Expert World Travel.
Feature image (on top) Prekestolen/Pulpit Rock.