It's easy to picture Norway as a filled with Vikings, but the land of the midnight sun offers much more than both exciting history and culture. Norway was built on a hard but beautiful land, with picturesque waterways, beautiful fjords lined by waterfalls tumbling down the mountains, and great hiking trails that run through the endless hills of green. This Scandinavian country begs to be explored and those that make the effort will find adventure and breath-taking sights that are sure to leave them stunned.
The most famous tourist attractions in Norway are its beautiful fjords. Among the most picturesque of these many natural landmarks is the Geirangerfjord located in southwestern Norway near the coastal town of Alesund. This natural wonder of deep blue water surrounded by emerald cliffs stretches for 15 kilometers out into the open ocean. The majestic cliffs that make up the fjord tower upwards of 1,000 meters which make the waterfalls that tumble down them even more thrilling. It is this picturesque landscape that is dotted with small farms that consistently makes Geirangerfjord ranked high among the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites not just within Norway, but the world. One of the best (and most pictured) sights in Geirangerfjord is Cape Flydalsjuvet, a overhanging rock that juts out over the landscape providing the best sweeping views of the fjord area.
Icy and scenic, Jostedalsbreen Glacier is the largest glacier in Europe. This sprawling behemoth is situated in southern Norway and surrounded by its own eponymous national park that not only sees that the ice is protected but the lush greenery around it as well. Years ago, the locals surrounding Jostedalsbreen Glacier used to cross this icy sheet on foot to travel their goods to and from local markets. However, this would be impossible today as the glacier has, sadly, shrunk significantly over the years. It no longer connects the towns and the countryside with ease, but hiking and glacial skiing are still a popular pastime, albeit as dangerous one as even non-melting glaciers have their hidden crevasses and other traps. For those that want a less dangerous way to see the glacier, the national park hosts a number of walking tours that take visitors both on and around Jostedalsbreen.
Nordkapp, or the North Cape, is primarily a summer destination, which consists of three massive granite slabs that stretch out over the Arctic Ocean. From the months of May through July, travellers come up to this, the northernmost point in Europe, to frolic under the midnight sun. As Nordkapp is so far north, located 300 meters over the Arctic Ocean, this destination is near impossible to reach in the winter through the ice and snow, but during the summer when the sun never sets; it offers scenic views over an area that not many travellers will ever get to experience. Aside from taking hikes throughout the trails in the area under the midnight sun, visitors can also pay a visit to see the puffins in their native habitat by the sea or watch herds of reindeer graze the fields further inland.
Although the waterfalls in places like Geirangerfjord that tumble 300 meters out into the sea are thrilling, Voringfossen is Norway's most famous waterfall. Although it only ranks 83rd on the list of Norway's tallest waterfalls, the water tumbles 180 meters through a series of zig-zag-like drops in the narrow Mabodelen Valley that runs between Oslo and Bergen. This powerful waterfall surrounded by wildflower-strewn meadows has been attracting tourists for 200 years with the resident hotel built in 1880 so visitors can relax and stay awhile. Of course, with the 1,500 steps it takes to reach their accommodations, visitors certainly will need a bit to recuperate anyway. Unfortunately, the waterfall itself is not as powerful as it once was due to the hydroelectric plant built upstream and that utilizes a portion of the powerful river.
Trolltunga, or the Troll's Tongue, is perhaps one of the most breath-taking sights within Norway. This unique named landmark is a stone ledge that juts out on Mount Skjeggedal over the lake Ringedalsvannet near the town of Odda. Trolltunga, as its name suggests, looks like a cheeky tongue sticking of the mountainside. However, at 800 meters in the air, reaching the Troll's Tongue is no easy task, the best times to climb is from May through August when there is less of a chance for snow or rain in the area. Round trip will take hikers a full day of enjoying the mountain scenery, but there is no better view of surrounding Norway. The bravest travellers will also be privileged to the best view if they decide to step onto the tongue itself. Stepping out to the very edge is a thrill, but also a daring trick as no one can promise that the plate holding up the Troll's Tongue won't collapse one day.