Photo: Thomas Brynjulf Svendsen

For folks with wanderlust everywhere, Norway is the dream getaway. Home to natural wonders, dramatic landscapes, and the world’s happiest people, Norway is one of the most beautiful places on the planet. But what makes Norway stand out from other Nordic countries, like Denmark, Iceland, Sweden, or Finland?

All the countries in the Nordic region have their own distinct identities and unique attractions – but if you’re looking for adventures in awe-inspiring mountains, endless stretches of coastline to discover, and close proximity to nature, Norway has the edge. Not to mention; impressive modern design and architecture, and food experiences combining local food culture and Nordic gastronomy. 

Here are 5 reasons to make Norway your next Nordic adventure:

 

#1: Climb the highest mountains

Photo: View of Galdhøpiggen, Norway's highest mountain, yet easily accessible in the Summer. (CC/TomasEE /Wikimedia Commons)

Photo: View of Galdhøpiggen, Norway's highest mountain, yet easily accessible in the Summer. (CC/TomasEE /Wikimedia Commons)

Where other Scandinavian countries are relatively flat, Norway is made up of vast mountainous terrain broken up by fjords and valleys. You can still explore remnants of the prehistoric glaciers that carved out Norway’s steep mountainsides and characteristic fjords.

Norway is home to the tallest mountain in all of Scandinavia and Northern Europe, Galdhøpiggen. Climb the dizzying heights of the mountain, follow breathtaking hiking trails, or go cross-country skiing in winter.

 

#2: Visit the beautiful islands along the coastline

Photo: Søla Island off the Vega Islands (CC/Dana Morris/Wikimedia Commons) 

Photo: Søla Island off the Vega Islands (CC/Dana Morris/Wikimedia Commons) 

Norway's coastline is one of the longest in the world: it is said that if you flip the country upside down on the map, you’ll reach Rome. That also makes the country very diverse in terms of culture, climate, weather and people. 

Following Norway’s majestic coastline by boat is one of the best ways to experience the country; islets, archipelagos and fishing villages. What’s more, there are over 50,000 islands to explore.

Check out the UNESCO-protected Vega islands, just south of the Arctic Circle. One of the world’s top undiscovered island gems, the Vega archipelago offers sandy beaches, bays and coves, and a rich wildlife along with panoramic views.

 

#3: Escape to the forest

Photo: Finding peace in the Norwegian forests (Thomas Brynjulf Svendsen) 

Photo: Finding peace in the Norwegian forests (Thomas Brynjulf Svendsen) 

Explore Norway’s scenic landscapes on foot by hiking and trekking in the forest. The Norwegian forests are beautiful. Rays of sunlight pierce through the sky-high trees. Gentle slopes and hilly climbs are accompanied by wildflowers on the springy forest floor. 

There are 44 national parks in Norway, made up by mountains and forests from gently rolling high plateaus to sharp peaks. Some of Norway’s most famous parks are Rondane, Jotunheimen and Hardangervidda, which offer a variety of outdoor activities and marked hiking trails.

For hiking accommodation, you can stay anywhere from a tent, to a traditional log cabin, to a luxurious hotel.

 

#4: Sail the land of fjords

Photo: Molja Lighthouse in the town Ålesund is surrounded by fjords and can be reached from land or sea. The lighthouse belongs to boutique hotel Brosundet, and you may even spend the night here)

Photo: Molja Lighthouse in the town Ålesund is surrounded by fjords and can be reached from land or sea. The lighthouse belongs to boutique hotel Brosundet, and you may even spend the night here)

Norway is known across the world for its stunning fjords. Surrounded by steep cliffs and glacial waterfalls, the crystal clear fjords reflect the landscape around them.

Some of Norway’s most iconic fjords – the Sognefjord, the Lysefjord, and the Geirangerfjord – are on the west coast. The Norwegian “Hurtigruten” ship voyages are a classic way to experience the amazing scenery of the secluded fjords and valleys of the west coast. Depending on the season, you can even catch the midnight sun or the mesmerizing northern lights in the Arctic skies.  

With over 60,000 lakes, Finland may be “the land of a thousand lakes,” but Norway surpasses it. Norway has hundreds of thousands of mountain lakes where you can enjoy kayaking, fishing, or swimming.

 

#5: Experience it all

Even though Norway is a large country with a diverse terrain, you can experience Norway’s fjords, forests, islands and mountains on the very same trip.

The uniqueness of the Norwegian landscape lies in the fact that you can see the gently lapping fjord from the top of a mountain; you can head for a hike in the forest straight from the city or beach. As you move along Norway’s vast coastline, there are always new sights and experiences to discover.