If you’re planning on making up for lost time with your next few vacations, you’re not alone. 2020 reminded many of us how much we love to travel and how much we sometimes take the right to travel for granted. We’ll never make that mistake again. We’ve got a whole world to go and check out, and time waits for nobody. We know we’ll be on a plane again as soon as circumstances allow us to do so, and we’re sure many of you feel the same!
The biggest question facing travellers right now (other than “when can we travel again”) is “where can we travel to?” There are some great options out there already, and more open up every week. By the end of the summer we hope we’ll be able to go wherever we please. With that in mind, we’d like to give a shout-out to a country that makes for an excellent vacation destination but doesn’t always get the love it deserves. We’re talking about Norway.
Visiting Scandinavia should be on everybody’s bucket list, but even when people tick that item off, they tend to visit Sweden. That’s fine – we have nothing against Sweden – but Norway should get just as much love as its neighbour. You probably want us to back that statement up with reasons, and we’d be very happy to do so. In fact, here’s a whole five of them!
Sure, you’ve seen rivers, canals, and waterways before. You’ve also seen cliffs, hills, and mountains. In fact, you might think you’ve already seen every combination of waterways and landscapes it’s possible to see. Unless you’ve been to see the fjords of Norway, you’re wrong about that. These dramatic coastal features are among the most outstanding areas of natural beauty in the world. The best way to see them is through a guided cruise, which is why it’s such a good job there are so many such tours available. Head to the western coastline to find the best of them, and make sure you visit Sognefjorden. You’ll often find cute little villages tucked away in and around the fjords, many of which survive on tourist money. They’ll always be happy to see you – and you’ll be very happy you decided to drop by!
Let’s be honest, the moment we said “Norway”, you started thinking about Vikings. We don’t blame you. The legendary warrior race started here and spread out across the world, even making it as far as Canada long before Columbus landed on the Americas. They’re staples of entertainment. In recent years we’ve seen the “Vikings” TV show, the use of Vikings as the main lure of the latest “Assassin’s Creed” video game, and about six or seven extremely popular online slots. We’re even aware of one or two online slots websites that are dedicated to nothing other than Viking-themed slots, which tells you how big the appeal is. They’re a good reason to visit Rose Slots NZ, but even hitting the jackpot with those online slots is no substitute for living and breathing Viking history. You’ll find it all over Norway, including within a few “living museums” where actors will immerse you in the full Viking experience!
The Polar Bears
Yes, you read that correctly. Unless you live in Alaska, we suspect the only place you’ve ever seen a polar bear is in a zoo, where they’re generally very unhappy. They make for a much more compelling and rewarding sight when you see them in their natural environment – and in this instance, that natural environment is the Svalbard Archipelago. This small group of Norwegian islands is home to a large colony of polar bears and can be reached by boat through guided tours. They make for a once in a lifetime sight. Please don’t attempt to reach them without a tour guide, though. They might look cute and cuddly, but polar bears can be savage if the mood takes them. They’ll have no qualms about turning you into their next meal if you get too close, so go with a guide and follow all of their instructions to the letter!
The Lofoten Islands
While we’re talking about Norway’s islands, we should talk about the Lofotens. You won’t find any polar bears here, but you will find small clusters of bright red fishing cabins. Many of them are built on stilts that rise straight out of the rocky coast. They’re known as “rorbu,” and they often come with their own private beaches. Some of them are still used by fishermen, but a few of them have been turned into holiday accommodation. That’s an opportunity you don’t want to miss out on because they offer a taste of authentic Norwegian living you won’t get elsewhere. It’s a rustic way of life, but the scenery is outstanding, and the memories you’ll make here will last for the rest of your life. Imagine looking out of the window in the morning and seeing a mountain on your doorstep!
The Northern Lights
The Northern Lights, also known as aurora borealis, are famous for being involved in one of the best jokes in the history of “The Simpsons.” Principal Skinner might not have been able to see aurora borealis in his kitchen, but you can see it in Norway so long as you visit at the right time of year. That “right time” is winter, so bring your best cold weather clothes with you! The general rule of thumb is the further you travel north, the better your view of the Northern Lights will be. The general consensus is that Tromso offers better views than anywhere else in Norway, which is a happy coincidence because the tourist provisions in Tromso are excellent. This is the best natural light show on the planet, and only a handful of people ever get to see it when their own eyes. Don’t miss out on the chance to become one of them.
We could carry on talking all day and give you even more reasons to visit Norway, but they all boil down to the same thing – it’s a beautiful country that can offer you experiences you won’t find anywhere else in the world, and it deserves your attention because of that. Will you make 2021 the year you give it a go? If not, why not?
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