While travel writers often talk about the stereotypical "land of contrasts",
well Norway is just that.
By turns snowy, rainy, sunny, moody and majestic, Norway is a prime travel Scandinavian travel destination at any time of year.
Fjords, mountains, and glaciers are the main attractions of this natural wonder -
which like Denmark, its neighbor to the south - offers travelers a varied contrast of winter's northern lights and the midnight sun of summer.
First time visitors are often amazed by the variety of other things to see in summer and discover mountain forests, salmon-filled rivers, and flower-strewn meadows dotted by ancient wooden stave
Major summer tourist attractions in Oslo, the nation's capital, include a guided tour of the opulent Royal Palace with yet more colorful Norwegian history on display at the Viking Ship Museum.
The city's most popular attraction, however, can be found outdoors at Vigeland Sculpture Park, where 212 bronze and granite sculptures (all designed by Gustav Vigeland) attract a million visitors a year to the dramatic groupings of human figures encompassing an 80-acre outdoor sculpture exhibit!
Top Norway tourist attractions include the Vigeland Sculpture Park in Oslo (left); the seaside wharf in
picturesque Bergen (middle); and the Gothic majesty of Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim (right).
From Oslo, quiet rural landscapes give way to deep fjords along Norway's western coast where Bergen remains a major must-see situated along winding mountain roads overlooking the sea. Simply follow the summer crowds to Bryggen (Bergen's seaside wharf) where picturesque 14th century buildings vie for attention with the bustling fish market offering the fresh catch of the day from fishing boats docked nearby.
Heading into the wilds of the north looms Nidaros Cathedral situated in the heart of the lively university town of Trondheim, Norway's third largest city.
In the natural frontier between the main urban areas are more travel adventures to explore including Jostedalsbreen, Europe's largest glacier, and the Dovrefjell - home of Grieg's mythical Mountain King.
DID YOU KNOW? Norway Travel Fun Facts
Illustration from "The
the Trolls" (1913) by John Bauer
• Due to the warming Gulf Stream, the famous fjords in Western Norway experience a milder climate than the rest of the country. That means they remain nearly ice-free and are home to fish, seals and porpoises.
• Rjukan, Norway has installed mirrors on a nearby mountaintop to reflect sunlight down into the town that would normally be shrouded in darkness for six months a year.
• Ugly, nasty Norwegian trolls are an important part of the country's literature and folklore. The notorious creatures usually make their mischief in dark caves or forests, but will turn to stone if sunlight hits them.
More about Norway travel and tourism around the Web:
Visit Norway - Use the interactive map to get your bearings, then head off into Norway adventures with information on major cities and attractions, island tours, guides to restaurants, hotels, bed & breakfasts, and farm holidays, with photo gallery, video clips, current weather reports.
Fjord Norway - A major online passport to Bergen and the Fjord region, with information on tours, transport and special vacation packages, special looks at waterfalls and glaciers, outdoor adventures, and a searchable accommodation database by type & region.