Often overlooked in favour of the bigger municipal centres, Ålesund is home to an unparalleled collection of picturesque Art Nouveau buildings, built a century ago after its wooden edifices were razed by a fire. The city is also becoming increasingly accessible with BMI among the airlines serving it directly. (www.visitalesund-geiranger.com)

Northern Lights

Few sights are more hauntingly beautiful than that of the aurora borealis or Northern Lights – a natural phenomenon caused by magnetised particles emitted by the sun. You’ll have to brave the winter cold of Norway’s Arctic region (October to March) to see them but it’s well worth it.

Pulpit Rock

Perched on top of a jutting 600m-tall (1969 ft) cliff overlooking the cerulean blue waters of Lysefjord, Pulpit Rock is worth the hike for the stunning views alone. Just outside of Stavanger, the rock can also be reached via a cruise along Lysefjord from the city centre.


Made famous by Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials Trilogy, Norway’s most northerly landmass, Svalbard, is the only place in Europe where the polar bear can still be seen. Although glaciers cover 60% of it, Svalbard’s soaring mountains and dramatic crags make it worth seeing whether you want wildlife or not.


Stroll around the picturesque wooden warehouses in Bergen's historic Bryggen harbourside area – a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1979. Explore the fish market nearby (www.visitbergen.com), or take a trip out to Troldhaugen, former home of composer Edvard Grieg (www.troldhaugen.com).

Bergen funicular

Take a ride to the summit of one of the seven mountains surrounding the former Hanseatic port of Bergen (www.visitbergen.com), for panoramic views of the country’s longest fjord - Sognefjord – to the north and the beautiful Hardangerfjord in the south.

Coastal voyage

Experience the midnight sun at the North Cape in the far Arctic and make the most of the extra daylight by enjoying the coastline from the deck of one of the Hurtigruten ships (www.hurtigruten.co.uk), which call at 35 different ports on the voyage north.

Folk culture

Experience traditional Norwegian folk culture, music, dance and food at one of the regular summer events at the Norske Folkemuseum (www.norskfolke.museum.no): an open-air collection of historic buildings on Bygdøy Island outside Oslo. The programme changes daily, so check the website before you go.


Check out Gamlebyen in Fredrikstad, Scandinavia's best preserved fortress town. Also of interest is the nearby Hvaler archipelago, a summer paradise made up of hundreds of tiny islands - and home to Norway's first marine national park, opened in 2009 (www.opplevfredrikstad.com).

Glacier hike

Take a hike on Jostedalsbreen, mainland Europe's largest glacier, and centrepiece of a large national park (www.jostedal.com). A mecca for outdoor adventure lovers, the park offers plenty of adrenaline sports such as mountain kayaking as well as the more sedate Glacier Bus.