Surrounded by majestic mountains and dramatic coastal fjords is the picture-perfect country of Norway.  This Scandinavian state is known for being home to the once-in-a-lifetime Northern Lights experience, but there’s more to it than the famed lights show.  That’s because Norway is a good mix of natural beauty and culture.  Its cosmopolitan side highlights modern Scandinavian life, while preserving its traditional past. That said, you’ll never run out of photo opportunities when you visit this beautifully surreal land. Some Instagrammable sights you can expect are:

  • Mountain peaks
  • National parks
  • Coastal fjords
  • Valleys
  • Glaciers
  • Idyllic cityscapes

Lofoten Island

For those who dare venture off the beaten path, a trip to the Lofoten Islands will undoubtedly let you be at one with nature.  Condé Nast Traveler notes that it isn’t easy to reach this archipelago, which sits right by Norway’s northwestern coast.  However, what awaits you is the most breathtaking scenery — from the majestic peaks of the Svolværgeita pinnacle, to the breathtaking Himmeltindan Mountain.  You also get to enjoy perfect weather, thanks to the Gulf Stream that regulates its climate.  With countless activities like kayaking, scuba diving, ocean rafting, and skiing, it is truly an adventurer’s paradise.

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This major cultural hub sits right above the Arctic Circle, and is one of the most popular viewing points for the world-renowned Northern Lights.  As Northern Norway’s main city and a fascinating university town, it is teeming with architectural wonders.  Its skyline is outlined by the distinct roof and sprawling stained-glass windows of the 1965 Arctic Cathedral, while many 18th century wooden houses make up its surroundings.  Go past those and you’ll also be treated to luscious forests just begging to be explored, but you can also marvel at the greenery through a cable car ride to the top of Mount Storsteinen.

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Viking Valley in Gudvangen

Unlike most people’s first impressions, the Viking Valley is not a museum but is actually an authentic Viking village, with real villagers who continue to live this unique lifestyle.  Once an established trading place during the Norse era, Gudvangen now stands as a permanent home for Viking citizens all over the region.  This small town is just one of the many ways Viking culture continues to live on in the modern world. Beyond museums and special cultural groups, pop culture attempts to pay homage to the Vikings’ rich heritage, too. Onscreen, Norse mythology plays a major role in the plots of shows like Vikings, and movies like Thor.  Even on popular slot gaming platform Slingo, various titles draw inspiration from their history.  These include titles Vikings Go Wild and Vikings Go Berzerk.  And although these references tend to skew facts in favour of more action-packed storylines, they still manage to spark interest and encourage viewers to learn more about them.  But of course, nothing compares to seeing it all in the flesh here at the Viking Valley.

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Geiranger Fjord

Perhaps the most well known fjord in Norway, the Geiranger Fjord has been recognised on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 2005.  It is located in the Sunnmøre region of Møre og Romsdal county. Spanning 15 kilometres, the Geiranger Fjord is best experienced via a ferry ride around the area.  The ferry ride might be deliberately slower than your average boat trip, but this allows you to completely immerse yourself in the beauty of the fjord. It definitely isn’t your typical commute, as you get to sail through its placid waters, and take the time to marvel at the captivating mountains and draping waterfalls around you.

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Another ideal location for enjoying the Northern Lights, Alta is where the first ever observatory for the lights was built during the end of the 19th century. Visitors also come here for the ancient rock carvings of the Sami people, which date back to between 4,200 and 500 BC.  This attraction has earned Norway more acknowledgement from UNESCO, but there’s even more to uncover in Alta.  If you’re looking for the most unique accommodation options, the famous Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel is built completely with snow.  On top of this, you’ll never run out of things to do, such as biking, hiking, or watching the longest sled dog race in Europe in the annual Finnmarksløpet.  This festival takes place every March, with 14 dogs competing across 1,200 kilometres of snow.

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This narrow peninsula is often considered as the gateway to the glorious northwestern fjords, but Alesund is truly a destination in itself.  This Scandinavian town looks straight out of a postcard, characterised by its panoramic architecture set against the backdrop of spectacular alpine mountains.  After suffering from a fire in 1904, the town was rebuilt using a Jugendstil art nouveau style of architecture, which it is known for today.  To learn more about its fascinating history, guests can visit Jugendstilsenteret (Art Nouveau Centre), where they can get educated about this distinct brick and stone style. Afterwards, you can treat yourself to the most picturesque view of the land — but only after hiking up 400 steps to the Fjellstua lookout point.  Rest assured though, every step is worth it.

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