Awe-inspiring natural beauty, a vibrant music scene and a rich cultural history make Norway an incredible place to visit at any time of year. Here are 5 reasons you should make The Land of the Midnight Sun your next European adventure.
#1 The scenery is absolutely stunning
Everywhere you turn, from the sprawling fjords to the colourful skies at equinox, Norway seems to have been created as a perfect, box-fresh photo opportunity. Mountain ranges and rugged coastlines dominate the horizon, while the frequently sub-zero temperatures create ice fields and glaciers that take the breath away.
#2 It's great for activities and sports
Beyond the views, Norway's extreme landscape also means that you can scuba dive, ski, cycle and hike in unique settings, all within a few hours' drive. The coastal area around Gulen Dive Resort is populated by sunken war ships from World War II, while some of the best snow can be found at Trysil, near the Swedish border in the south-east.
#3 The music's great too
Norwegian music – like in most other European countries – moved from traditional folk and classical music, through the dancefloor boom of the 20s and 30s before splaying out in all directions in the second half of the 20th century. The composer Edvard Grieg's Peer Gynt suite is one of the most famous pieces ever written, and more recently Norway became world-renowned for its brutal Black Metal scene. In terms of festivals, the best places to go for a cross-genre dose are Bergenfest in Bergen and Pstereo in Trondheim.
With thousands of years of history that any self-respecting country would envy, Norway is packed full of attractions and museums that show off its Viking roots. For the best display – and a brilliant piece of upside-down-longboat architecture – head to the Lofotr Vikingmuseum on the island of Vestvågøya.
#5 The Midnight Sun
For most people on earth, the idea of there being even one day a year when the sun doesn't ever go down behind the horizon is a pretty strange one. But the further north you venture, the longer Norway's single day of summer stretches out: up in the Svalbard islands, the sunlight survives unbroken from late April to late August.