Scandinavian Dreams: Planning A Once In A Lifetime Trip To Norway!! Can you imagine a place that is full of wild and untamed spaces, yet has some of the most modern and stylish cities in the world? Well, that place really exists, and it is Norway, on the southern tip of Scandinavia. It’s also pretty easy to visit from the United States, too. In fact, you can have the trip of a lifetime to this fabulous location, and the info in this post can help you.
There are so many things that come to mind when we think of Norway. For some of us, it’s about the snow, the mountains, and the glaciers. For others, it is Norway’s rich cultural heritage including the fearsome Vikings, is what stands out. Others still think of this place as entwined with nature and coastal living with a minimalist style of life exemplified by the colorful wooden homes that are popular there. Of course, Norway is all these things, and if you can, it would be wise to try and see each of them during your once in a lifetime trip.
Planning your trip from the US
Believe it or not, Norway isn’t actually such a long flight from the US, depending on what side of the US you are traveling from. In fact, some of the shortest nonstop flights can get you there in as little as 7 hours!
Before you travel, you will need to sort a few simple things. The first is to make sure that you have the correct documents. Of course, you’ll be pleased to note that if you want to spend up to 90 days in beautiful Norway, you will not need a Visa when traveling from the US on a US passport. However, it is crucial to remember that if you plan on staying longer for business or pleasure, you will need to apply for a visa even though Norway is a Schengen country (The Schengen Area is an area comprising 26 European states that have officially abolished passport and all other types of border control at their mutual borders).
To be granted a visa you usually need to have evidence that you will be returning to your home country. Therefore it’s essential to use a travel provider that can give you a flight itinerary for visa reservations. Otherwise, you could end up booking flights that you never get to use and end up being seriously out of pocket!
Apart from your travel documents, you may need to consider a few other things before you set out on your trip to Norway. This may well include some warm clothes, especially if you are traveling from tropical states in the US. After all, Norway does have a lot of weather, and it can get pretty darn cold in the northern parts up in the Arctic Circle. Therefore it is essential to include sensible outdoor clothing in your vacation packing with items like waterproof coats, hiking boots, and lots of warm sweaters! Oh and don’t forget hats and gloves as well, especially if you are visiting in the winter time! Of course, once you arrive, you’ll be glad of all that wonderful winter wear because it will allow you to stay comfortable when visiting some or all of the top Norwegian destinations below.
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When visiting Norway, most people start off in the capital city Oslo and begin their visit with a trip to the world famous Viking Ship Museum on Huk Aveny 35.
There you will be greeted by a genuine restored full-size Viking ship and some that are still as they were found. There are also plenty of decorative and everyday pieces from that era, as well as a fantastic film to watch that helps to put you right in among the action and give you a real sense of what sailing in these long boats across opens seas was genuinely like.
Of course, there are plenty of other sites to see in this fair city apart from Viking ships. Try the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History just outside the city, or visit the Royal Palace to get a sense of the pomp and grandeur that historical rulers experienced here.
Alternatively, you may wish to check out the sculptures in Frogner Park or visit the stunning Oslo Cathedral. A place that with all its Baroque architecture and grandeur will make your trip to Norway a very memorable experience.
Now, one thing that many people associate with Scandinavian countries like Norway is the Northern Lights, a natural phenomenon that is caused by the earth’s magnetic field. Of course, we didn’t always know this, and this led to many legends surrounding the Northern Lights, the most famous of which is the Vikings held that it was a rainbow bride to Vallhaher, a heaven of sorts where the bravest warriors would go after their death.
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Your best chance of seeing the Northern lights, which can be unpredictable, is to head up to the north of the country past the Arctic circle line as they will be visually all year there.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that there would be nothing but small villages and lone shacks up that far North as well, but this truly isn’t the case. Yes, it is likely to be a little more sparsely populated because of the more difficult living condition, but there are plenty of significant towns and even a few large cities like Tromso.
In fact, Tromso may make the perfect base if you are looking to explore the wilderness and Northern Lights out in the wild of the Norwegian landscape. This is because you are sure to find folks running organized tours into the countryside that will help you get the best experience and stay safe in this sometimes treacherous terrain.
However, don’t feel like you absolutely have to strap on your snowshoes and wander out in the white, if you’d rather stay closer to the hustle and bustle of the city. After all, there’s plenty to do in Tromso too.
In particular, you should check out the Arctic Cathedral. It’s a striking building built in the 1960s modernist style, and the run concerts celebrating the Northern Light during February. An atmospheric experience that you won’t want to miss.
Then there’s the bold and striking Polaria aquarium, which is worth a look for its architecture alone. It’s also the most northerly aquarium in the world, and you will find plenty of educational and fun exhibits inside detailing how Arctic creatures survive in such cold seas.
Geiranger may only be a village, but that certainly doesn’t mean that will want to miss it during your trip to Norway. In fact, it is a hugely popular location for tourists, primarily because of its close location to the Geirangerfjord, one of Norway’s largest and most beautiful waterways.
The fjord itself is lined with cliffs and waterfalls such as the Seven Sisters and is incredibly deep. Deep enough in fact for cruise ships and river cruises to make their way along it without any problems. Of course, you can expect to see some stunning vistas and amazing wildlife during your time on the Fjord as well.
You may even want to visit the National Fjord Center which explains in depth how these waterways were created by rock erosion caused by massive glaciers over millions of years. Something that makes it well worth a visit!
While Bergen is a city, it definitely has something of traditional Norway about it with its old wooden and colorful houses that line the harbor. While visiting you must go to the Bryggen part of town which is located on an old wharf, as it will provide you with a real Scandinavian feel, as well as some pretty awesome photos for your social media.
Of course, there’s more to Bergen than just pretty and historic buildings, and if you are on the mood for some art and creativity then the KOBE is also worth a trip. There you will find some rather impressive sculptural piece along with work by famous Norwegians Munch and Dahl, as well as some Picasso pieces too. Something that makes it a place that you just must visit if you want your trip to Norway to be a once in a lifetime experience!
A collaborative post!