Norway is a vast and diverse country. To experience the whole of Norway is almost impossible, but worth a try. This travel piece focuses on Southern Norway, partly because Northern Norway merits it own article and partly because most motorists can't realistically visit all of Norway in one go.

    The trip we have chosen starts in Oslo, Østlandet's main city. Then we head across the mountains for another dose of city life in Bergen, and then it's Fjord-Norway's turn. We visit some of the country's largest natural gems up the coast before our turning point in Trondheim. The fast route takes us back to Bergen and then to Stavanger on the last leg, with a hefty dose of fjord idyll.

    1

    Oslo

    The Modern Green Capital

    Oslo, Norway's capital, is a natural place to start this tour of Norway, with its many new magnificent buildings, important institutions and pleasant, green urban environment.

    Oslo is still a city undergoing change. Modern buildings are emerging in the city centre, creating new districts, a new city skyline, a new city. Projects such as the Opera, MUNCH and the National Museum are helping to transform the port areas into an attractive place where residents and visitors can enjoy a big city atmopshere with plenty of culture and nightlife. Nevertheless, the eternal, green values are still the beating heart of the city: the parks, the islands and the verdant Bygdøy with its boulders and beaches, and the hiking terrain in the vast Nordmarka. Set aside enough time to explore districts such as Frogner and Grünerløkka, so that you also get a good dose of urban atmosphere.

    Lokalizacja: Oslo, Norway

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    2

    Bergen

    Gateway to the Fjords

    Bergen, the city among the seven mountains and the gateway to the fjords, is an obvious stop with its charming wooden houses and elegant shopping areas in a compact city centre.

    Do as most other visitors and take the path to the top of Fløyen for the big view of the city centre. Look out over the people around Vågen and the surrounding area with its fjords and sparkling sea. Down in the city you can stroll around the cobbled streets in the old areas of Sandviken and Nordnes and stop by a cosy café for a drink or two. Art lovers will find museums by the dozen along Smålungeren, while those who want to learn about the city's history can explore Bryggen and the Hanseatic Museum, which tell the story of the ciy's past trade and contact with the rest of the world.

    Lokalizacja: Bergen, Vestland, Norway

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    3

    Voss

    Inland Village Nestled Between the Big Fjords

    Voss is located in the middle of the two longest fjords in the country, the Sognefjord and Hardangerfjord, and is both a hub and a destination in itself, all year round.

    For people living in the west, Voss and Myrkdalen have long been the major winter sports destination, with the Bergen line and gondola lift bringing people to the mountains in a practical and convenient way. Sporty and daring Voss locals have further developed the village as a destination for thrill-seekers and adrenalin junkies. The annual Extreme Sports Week is a must if you belong to this category. Otherwise, relax and enjoy a plate of raspeballer (potato dumplings) and vossa sausage before visiting the orchards and fjord landscapes in Hardanger. The journey then continues past Stalheimskleiva, down Nærøydalen and northwards to the wonderful Sogn.

    Lokalizacja: Voss, Vestland, Norway

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    4

    Sognefjord

    Magnificent Landscape by Norway's Longest Fjord

    The Sognefjord cuts through a landscape where there is a long way between people and communities, but a short distance between natural wonders, with narrow fjord arms, glaciers and wild mountains in abundance.

    Arriving from the south by car brings you to the inland gem of western nature, with pearls such as Aurlandsdalen and Nærøyfjord nearby. There are plenty of opportunities for detours up to the Hardangervidda and experiences such as the Aurlandsbanen and Rallarveien by bike. There are small communities in the heart of the Sognefjord, in Årdal that lies next to the wild Utladalen and its 2000-metre peaks in Jotunheimen. The north side of the fjord offers the Jostedalsbreen glacier and fruit settlements such as the historic tourist destination of Balestrand, where it's worth parking your car for the night so you can partake of a little cider tasting.

    Lokalizacja: Sognefjord, Vestland, Norway

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    5

    Geiranger

    The Picture Postcard Fjord

    Geiranger is one of the country's most popular destinations, and with its roaring fjords, impressive viewpoints and iconic landscapes, it's easy to see why: This is the essence of Norway.

    Geiranger itself and the Geirangerfjord have enough sights to keep your eyes and the photographer's index finger active all day, especially if you visit the famous viewpoints Dalsnibba, Flydalsjuvet and Ørnesvingen. If you are sporty and have come up from the southern part of Norway, you should still set aside time to stop here before embarking on Stryne Mountain. Stryn and the surrounding area has a lot of exciting things to offer for climbers, hikers and ski enthusiasts. Summer skiing on Stryne Mountain is a memorable experience. North of Geiranger offers other great experience with the steep and winding stretch of road known as Trollstigen and the vertical Trollveggen.

    Lokalizacja: Geirangerfjord, Møre and Romsdal County, Norway

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    6

    Ålesund

    Jugendbyen on Sunnmøre

    Ålesund is the most important city between Bergen and Trondheim, and with its distinctive Art Nouveau architecture, it really stands out from other Norwegian cities, and is definitely worth a visit.

    The location stretches over several islands, giving it a maritime and intimate feel - a city that is easy to get around and where coastal culture is present everywhere. As the region's cultural centre, there is always something creative going on. The people from Ålesund like to make the most of their city and the range of restaurants and nightlife is impressive.

    Lokalizacja: Ålesund, Møre and Romsdal, Norway

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    7

    Kristiansund

    The Town in the Sea Gap

    Kristiansund is a fairly ordinary, pleasant Norwegian town, but with the Atlantic Ocean as its nearest neighbour, the surroundings are anything but ordinary.

    It says a lot about the city that the public transport service includes the lovely Sundbåten, a small passenger ferry that shuttles between the islands and the peninsulas that make up the city. Kristiansund is a maritime and fishing town, with the Atlantic Ocean as its closest neighbour. For those visiting by car, the Atlantic Road is mandatory - it has been named the construction of the century in Norway and is described as the world's most beautiful car journey. Another must is a dried and salted cod dinner (klippfisk) at one of the city's restaurants - a tasty encounter with this city's heart and soul, and its main business.

    Lokalizacja: Ålesund, Møre and Romsdal, Norway

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    8

    Trondheim (next: Hurtigruten to Bergen)

    The Trøndelag Capital, a Key Part of Norwegian History

    Trondheim is the country's third largest city, but ranks highest in many areas. It marks the northernmost point of our tour of Norway.

    The capital of Trøndelag has always asserted itself throughout Norway's history. Nidaros Cathedral is definitely a highlight in Norwegian architecture and worth a pilgrimage even for non-religious people. Those interested in culture and history will also enjoy the beautiful Sverresborg Trøndelag Folk Museum, where they can learn more about Trondheim and Trøndelag's long history. The city has also been a faithful supplier of some of the country's most interesting musicians and artists, and it's worth checking out the concert lists and gallery ads and dressing up for a night on the town.

    Lokalizacja: Trondheim,Trøndelag, Norway

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    9

    Hurtigruten to Bergen

    Back to the Hub of Vestland

    Bergen is an important hub and also the southern terminus of the Hurtigruten, which connects the city with the entire coast to the north.

    The trip southwards to Bergen aboard Hurtigruten reveals the fjord landscape from an exciting angle: the coastal side. The entrance to the capital of Western Norway reveals a lot about the region's history, business and society. Here you can see ancient farms along the fjords, alonsgide power plants and old industrial sites, fish farms, shipyards with oil platforms, car ferries and bridges in all directions. All surrounded by classic fjord landscape with Hardangerjøkulen in the distance in the east and the North Sea in the west. Visiting motorists to the Bergen area who have seen the city itself, should set aside time for a detour to the archipelagos out to sea or the villages along the road to the south.

    Lokalizacja: Bergen, Vestland, Norway

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    10

    Stavanger

    City of Oil in Iconic Nature

    Stavanger has gained an increasingly urban and international feel in recent decades, where capital from the oil industry has created a vibrant business community and brought a new lease of life to a city with a long history.

    The city's past as an important port has created a pleasant city centre around Vågen, which is well worth exploring. Here you'll find cosy old wooden houses, lively shopping areas and monumental buildings such as Valberg Tower and the Cathedral. The range of cultural activities is impressive and includes the new Concert Hall at the far end of the harbour area. The people of Stavanger appreciate good food and drink, and you won't have to go far to find outstanding restaurants with local or exotic fare on the menu. Still can't get enough of nature? Join a fjord cruise to the Lysefjord and experience the iconic Pulpit Rock.

    Lokalizacja: Stavanger, Rogaland, Norway

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