Clinging to the subarctic to arctic coast of Scandinavia, one might assume that Norway is a desolate, frozen wasteland, devoid of culture or any worthwhile tourist attractions. Due to favourable ocean currents though, the climate here is surprisingly mild, and with over 1,000 years of continuous civilized habitation, the Norweigans have crafted a number of historical and cultural assets that are well worth a visit, despite the elevated cost of travel here.
Our journey through this jagged coastal country will take us from the mild south, all the way up to Tromso in the arctic north. The following 3 sights will make this inspired trip one that you won’t soon forget!
1) Bryggen district in Bergen
Bergen has long been an important fixture throughout Norway’s existence as a nation, first serving as a seat of government in the 13th century, serving the nation as a vital port for trade and fishers since that time, as well as its latest status as a tourist hub in the present day. One of the oldest and most culturally significant spots in the city is the Bryggen district, a multi-coloured series of houses that were erected after a fire wiped out much of the industrial works in the harbour area at the turn of the 18th century.
Today, these UNESCO recognized structures contain museums, shops, restaurants and boutique hotels, all in an evocative atmosphere, as the active harbor sits on one side, and the rapidly rising mountains that sit just beyond Bergen on the other.
2) Nidarosdomen Cathedral, Trondheim
Along the central Norweigan coast lies the city of Trondheim, which is the oldest city in the country, and as such, contains many beautiful old houses, fortifications from its medieval and World War II past, and an impressive church known as Nidarosdomen Cathedral.
Being the biggest Gothic Cathedral in all of Northern Europe, its prominence dominates the low rise pocket-sized city of 160,000 people, and it is also a popular destination for Christian pilgrims, as it was believed that the church was built on the grave of Saint Olav.
3) Northern Lights / Midnight Sun, Tromso
Located a solid 320 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle, it is somewhat surprising that Tromso is as thriving as it is, being so far north. Due to warm ocean currents and being a windward shore on the Atlantic, the climate here is very mild, as the temperature hover around a very bearable -4 degrees Celsius in January.
The perpetual darkness that comes with this tepid climate makes Tromso an attractive place to view the Northern Lights, and the increased daylight in March makes the nearby mountains a haven for outdoors lovers, as copious snow makes it a veritable playground for these folks. The summer is the complete opposite situation, as perpetual daylight makes seeing the sun throughout the “nighttime” possible.
Visitors in winter and summer can expect a full (if pricey) range of services up here, including excellent fine dining (seafood in particular) and a nightlife that will not disappoint those that consider themselves night owls.