Having seen the beautiful Norwegian countryside on television, I had it in my head that I needed to check it out for myself. So, I decided to go on my very first cruise and made sure that the Norwegian Fjords were my destination.
Have you ever thought about visiting Scandinavia?
If you have, then perhaps a good place to begin your exploration is Norway. This historic nation with its Norse Gods and stunning glaciers, is jam-packed with eye-opening scenery.
Here are five reasons why you should take a trip to Norway, preferably by cruise ship.
1) Cruise ships are packed with fun
Taking a voyage on the open sea had always appealed to me and so I was in my element after I’d checked into my balcony suite on the P&O Azura. The suite was spacious and had a butler service as well as plenty of technology available. On the balcony were some chairs on which we could sit and enjoy a drink whilst watching the sun set.
Activities on the ship were varied and I made good use of the gym, a massage, the casino and live music at nighttime. A shopping deck, choice of restaurants and a theatre all helped to pass the time, especially during the full day at sea.
After a day on the waves, you then get to spend every day on land, at a different venue. You literally wake up in a new port every morning. If you travel by cruise ship, the actual travelling part mostly happens while you sleep. Then you are ready to spring into action and explore the attractions on dry land.
Stavenger was my first stop off and I absolutely loved it. Most cruises stop off at this popular destination on the south coast of Norway. Such a snug town with a large port and plenty of shops and eateries, is a way to acclimatise with Scandinavia.
I really enjoyed buying gifts here, taking in the art and architecture and getting a feel for Norwegian life. Surrounded by steep hills, this picturesque town was great for photos and had a really friendly vibe.
Throughout the trip I got to experience elements of Norwegian traditions and history. For example we visited an intriguing wooden church which was introduced by a guide and gave us some insight into village life as well as a deeper understanding of myths and legends.
As a bit of a geek, I am always intrigued by Norse mythology and so making that link to the place where such stories evolved was brilliant. Carvings, pottery and furniture often gave nods to those mysterious Gods and added to the fascination factor that Norway possesses.
4) Bergen and a nearby glacier
Bergen is another beautiful town located by the mouth of one of the stunning fjords (wide rivers). It has shops and restaurants as well as museums. When I visited Bergen I also drove off into the mountains and walked up a pathway that led to a stunning glacier.
As a geographer, one of the main reasons I wanted to visit Norway was to witness its incredible landscape with enormous valleys forged by ice. This particular glacier sits high up in the hills and there are markings showing that it has slowly retreated in recent years. Nonetheless it was an interesting spectacle which was fascinating to learn about in the museum/ shop at the bottom of the walkway.
5) The general friendliness of Norway
There is a certain warmth about Norway. I could sense it everywhere I went. It seems as though the people who live there are extremely welcoming and are great at putting everybody at ease.
I sensed this in the hospitality and just generally out and about. One such friendly town was called Voss where we had lunch and spent time in a local library as well as taking in stunning views by a lake. We always felt very safe and comfortable and the people we came across were eager to help and didn’t mind speaking English when we wanted directing or more information about something.
I’m Voss there was a beautiful body of water which really took my breath away. Exploring the quaint little town, I genuinely felt like I could see myself living there happily one day. Certainly Norway is a place that has a caring attitude to the environment and harnesses it’s natural wealth cleverly. For instance, most if it’s power is now generated by hydro-electric stations and most of its cars are electric too.
In fact I loved Norway so much that I now find myself watching Norwegian programmes on Netflix. I’ve recently enjoyed a series called ‘Ragnarok’ which is a modern day take on the Norse God stories.
If you travel to Norway, you are sure to want to come back. It has a certain magnetism which is magical, mystical and just incredibly beautiful. If you get the chance, definitely travel there on a thriving cruise vessel like the wonderful Azura.
All in all, there were two important elements to my trip.
1) The cruise itself was wonderful and is a slightly cleaner way to travel when compared to flying. Also you get to soak up the atmosphere of a floating community of holidaymakers.
2) Norway is intriguing, beautiful and steeped in history. Its heritage is fascinating and most of all, its people make you feel so very welcome.
I hope this blog article has made you consider visiting wonderful Norway and also got you thinking about joining a cruise. If you enjoyed the post, please leave a comment or perhaps follow my blog.
You may also want to check out my recent post about Switzerland: This is a link to a blog post about reasons to go to Switzerland