Remove the letter “r” from Norway and you are left with “No way”. We would probably add an exclamation mark too because when you start to tell folk about the country’s natural and man-made wonders, the only possible response is “No way!”.
It’s difficult to know where to start so let’s start in the south and work our way north.
The vibrantly coloured art deco town of Alesund is the perfect base for exploring Norway’s famed fjords. Sitting on several islands, the town is the gateway to some of Norway’s most spectacular scenery including the absolute must-see Hjørundfjord.
As you head north, the terrain becomes more rugged but no less attractive. Island after island dot the coastline of Nordland and Finnmark and the archipelagos are home to some of Norway’s greatest treasures. They are also great driving country, with quiet roads and links to the likes of Sommaroy, Senja and the absurdly picturesque Lofoten islands.
Driving isn’t so much fun in winter unless you are steering a team of sled dogs across the snowy wilds of Northern Norway. You can do that from the kennels of a mushing legend, Sven Engholm at his base just outside Karasjok.
More winter treats await further north. Tromsø is a vibrant city and the gateway to many a Northern Lights adventure (although we would suggest staying outside the city if you are solely focused on chasing the Aurora Borealis).
Even further north, you reach far-flung Kirkenes on the Russian border. It’s a fascinating Arctic town with the added attraction numerous winter activities, the Northern Lights and a Snow Hotel where you can spend the night in a room made of ice and snow.
Lastly, we come to Spitsbergen, the most northerly landmass before you hit the Polar Icecap. The landscapes are stark, brutal but overwhelmingly majestic. You can’t leave town without an armed guard for fear of Polar Bears but, for anybody looking for that sense of frontier adventure, there’s not much point looking further than Spitsbergen.