Norway

“The earliest visitors to northern Norway faced six-month stretches in darkness and a constant fear of being eaten by trolls. Things have definitely picked up.”

  • Boat going down river, Norway
  • Houses overlooking the sea in the snow, Norway
  • Green northern lights over the sea, Norway
  • River mendering down the valleys with waterfalls, Norway
  • On the way to ice fishing, Norway
  • Panoramic across the sea, Norway
  • Green northern lights over a village, Norway

Discover Norway

It wasn’t long ago, in geological terms, that all of Norway lay under an enormous glacier. Now the country is covered by ice and snow for about half the year (though global warming is sadly shrinking that timeframe), which makes it far easier to explore a spectacular Ice Age legacy of mountain-lined fjords, white-water rivers and deep mountain valleys – along with traces of the first nordmenn or “men of the North” who settled here among the hungry trolls several thousand years ago.

So how best to explore it? Maybe racing over the frozen tundra behind a team of huskies, while overhead the northern lights streak the sky in luminous sheets of green, blue and purple. And at the end of your dog-sled journey, how about a luxury Arctic camp where you can spend the night in a traditional lavvu tent, hearing stories of the Sami people whose ancestors were herding reindeer centuries before they became Christmas-card icons? 

Next, after a breakfast of smoked reindeer meat and steaming bierggojubttsa soup (pronounced, your hosts will explain, just as it’s spelled) we’ll fly you by helicopter to the stunning fjords around Tromsø. Cruising for a couple of days on a refurbished fishing trawler, you can take in magnificent northern vistas from the bridge, or out on deck in a sea-water hot tub, or relaxing with a massage in the ship’s Zen lounge. We’ll can also arrange shore landings to discover more: hiking the remote trails of Jotunheimen, “Home of the Giants,” expert naturalists can show you how to track moose, lynxes, wolverines and Arctic foxes, along with the odd careless troll. 

If you’re travelling in summer or autumn, the Lofoten Islands are a must. This mountainous archipelago off Norway’s northwest coast was first settled by humans more than 11,000 years ago – although the local puffins, otters and moose still consider them newcomers. Enjoy a round of ice-golf under the midnight sun with a Norwegian PGA player. Paddle your sea kayak along a fjord to view migrating sperm whales. Dive on the world’s largest deep-water coral reef off the coast near Røst. Or join local fishermen reeling in enormous cod and halibut (they reach up to 80 lbs here) near Ballstad – and then learn to smoke your catch the traditional way, guided by one of the region’s best chefs. 

A local friend explains the nuances of savouring the ultimate Nordic delicacy: “Two minutes after you’ve eaten smoked salmon, take a breath. The taste should sit long and give you a sense of wellness, like a fine cognac.” Such is the wisdom of a true nordmann – the kind who will proudly show you the beauty of his homeland, and who won’t let you become an appetizer for a troll. 

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