Norway: More Than Just the Northern Lights!

Norway: More Than Just the Northern Lights!

Written By: Gracie

A friend of mine asked if I wanted to join her on a trip to Norway and what else was I going to say but yes? I had never been to the country and while it wasn’t on my immediate list, I thought it was a great opportunity to see it with a friend and join her on the itinerary she created. By tagging along, I got to enjoy a fairly relaxing trip without needing to spend time planning – that’s a total win in my book.

There’s a little bit of everything in Norway – things you would expect, like the fjords, and even things you wouldn’t imagine being there – historic sites and breathtaking architecture. I have to admit, I got on the plane knowing very little about Norway and in a way it was a little deliberate. I didn’t want to have expectations or know where I wanted to go – I just wanted to experience it fresh and on a whim. I think that in this instance, it was one of the best ways I could go. Granted, my travelling companion had the itinerary set, but the surprise and carefree experience was just perfect for a trip to Norway.

HEMSEDAL

We went to Norway in late winter and the winter activities were still in full swing. There is so much to do if you like snow sports and activities, such as alpine skiing, cross country skiing and even tubing. I like to ski but don’t consider myself very good at it, so I was more than happy to enjoy a day of tubing in Hemsedal which is premiere destination for all things snow resorts. Being from Canada, I know a good snow resort when I see it – Whistler! – but I was impressed with the beauty and activities throughout Norway.

LOFOTEN ARCHIPELAGO

The next destination on our itinerary was the Lofoten Archipelago, which are a beautiful collection of small islands that feature gorgeous red cabins for fishermen located right on the water. This location is one of the most breathtaking spots I visited in Norway and it was so fun to stay in one of the cabins overnight. The cabins were more remote, which was so peaceful and the nighttime views of the sky were just unreal. Not all of the cabins are available for rental, so if you want to stay in one be sure to check out the reservations before arriving. If you’re going to be in the area, I highly recommend you take one night to stay there!

HEDDAL STAVE CHURCH

During our stay, my friend wanted to see some of the more historical sites in Norway. There are many old churches, dating back centuries, in Norway – made of wood, no less. Though many of the older churches throughout Europe were created with stone, a handful of churches in Norway were built with wood. Because of this, you’ll find some of the most ornate architecture in these churches – one I highly recommend you visit is the Heddal Stave Church, which is not only one of the largest wooden churches in Norway, it dates back to the 13th century! While you’re there, be sure to walk around the peaceful cemeteries – I know that might not be everyone’s thing, but walking through them will highlight just how historic these destinations are in Norway.

ALESUND

There is an endless amount of coastline in Norway, so that means there are plenty of coastal villages to explore during a trip to the country. Alesund was a highlight for me on the trip because it was just so quaint and simple – it really gave me a glimpse into the daily life of a local. These towns are often deeply entrenched in the fishing industry, so you’ll find fresh and delicious bites to eat anywhere you go. My daily staple was the salted cod, which is the best I’ve ever had.

NORTHERN LIGHTS

On one of our last days visiting the country, we had the spectacular opportunity to capture the Northern Lights – a total bucket list item for myself. We were in Tromso in an attempt to see them, which locals say is the best spot because it’s closer to the Arctic Circle and away from many city lights. We happened to be in the area between days of clouds, which was honestly a miracle – you have better chance of seeing them on clear nights.

Norway was more than I could imagine and I am so thrilled that I visited with my friend – don’t put off visiting this country, I know that it’s probably not on many must-see destinations, but it should be for sure!

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