From its rocky coastline to plunging river valleys, and deep forests to spectacular mountain ranges, the countryside of Norway is a major attraction in its own right, even without the Northern Lights. Take a whale, puffin or seal safari. Enjoy extreme sports such as rafting, parachuting, hang gliding and caving. See Bronze Age cave carvings and spectacular waterfalls. Visit the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo and see the two best preserved Viking ships. Go to the Viking Valley market where you can watch as traditional handicrafts are being produced, taste Viking food and even row a ship.
Things to see and do
Norway is an outdoor enthusiasts' paradise. It has ski resorts, or try glacier walking and take in spectacular views. Or sign up for a snowmobile safari. You can also go canoeing, kayaking or sailing, or hike up into the mountains with walks ranging in difficulty. Explore the past at attractions like the Lofotr Viking museum in Borg. Hear tales of glory. Join in a Viking feast. And, in summer, row a Viking ship and ride and try your hand at throwing axes. Experience one of the world's most dramatic train journeys. Ride the Flamsbana from high in the mountains to the fjords down below.
Visit Bergen, Norway's second city with fine old buildings, good restaurants and art galleries. Be awed by Trondheim's massive medieval Cathedral, the largest in Scandinavia. Find out more about the country's greatest painter, Edvard Munch, at the National Gallery in Oslo. Or take the family to days out at popular destinations such as Polaria, an Arctic experience centre or Oslo Reptile Park.
Arts and culture
Norway is packed with museums and galleries of every sort. Don't miss the stunning new Astrup Fearnley Museum on Oslo's waterfront, which showcases contemporary art and has a sculpture park. See the iconic The Scream by Edvard Munch at the National Gallery or see the world's largest collection of the painter's work at the Munch Museum. Visit the Art Park at Tranoy where sculptures stand on hills, along the beach and on the street. Catch a film at the world's only drive-in cinema made of snow. See a performance of a play by Ibsen at the National Theatre in Oslo. And you can enjoy a wide range of music in Norway. Hear Irish music twice a week at Stavanger's The Irishman bar. Go to Bla in Oslo for jazz, while Troldhaugen, Bergen, stages lots of summer concerts, many of which are classical.
Eating and drinking
There are lots of great places to eat in Norway but be advised that eating and drinking is expensive. If you feel like splashing out, try the lobster ravioli with apple and curry sauce or duck in rosehip sauce at Hos Thea, arguably the best place to eat in Oslo. Or, for something more downmarket, tuck into blue-cheese burgers and ice cream at Sodahl-Huset. Or enjoy a cocktail, or two, at Bar Boca.
Norway is chock-full of nightclubs. Try Bla, Oslo, for contemporary jazz, Hip-Hop and R&B, or Brooms & Hatchets, Oslo, for great cocktails, or Sollis, Oslo, one of the most popular nightspots.
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