Hey, your browser is out of date!

We have noticed you're currently using an old insecure version of
Internet Explorer.

To provide you with the best user experience possible, you will need to update your browser to continue using this website.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Visit your nearest branch or call our regional travel specialists
On Freephone
0800 954 0068

Pictured left to right outside the new store are: Paul Hardwick, Fred. Olsen Travel Agents Director of Retail; Emma Bailey, Fred. Olsen Travel Agents; Tutti Taylor, Fred. Olsen Travel Agents; Councillor Candy Vaughan, Mayor of Eastbourne; Trevor Ridler, Fred. Olsen Travel Agents Business Development Manager; and Shirley Waters, Fred. Olsen Travel Agents..

Discover why Norway is one of the happiest countries in the world

Each year the UN and Gallup produce a World Happiness Report, asking respondents across the globe to evaluate their lives across 6 socio-economic factors, and Norway is a consistent top scorer. Increasingly the rest of the world wants to find out why, as Norway is now top of many travellers’ bucket lists. Widely recognised as one of the most beautiful places to visit on earth, the coast of Norway is fringed with spectacular fjords that pierce the coastline and entice us inland to discover vertiginous mountains and green pastural valleys. Picture perfect villages hug the water’s edges, and with a cultural history and vibrant city scene, Norway really does have it all.

Unlike many destinations, Norway has something to offer all year round. The Summer (June to August) is the peak tourist season, when outdoor pursuits such as kayaking, cycling, wildlife watching and hiking the stunning walking trails are extremely popular with tourists and locals alike. Summer has the best weather, and with the long summer days, you can still be out and about in the glorious countryside when you’d normally be tucked up in your bed.

Winter is the best time to seek out one of Norway’s top attractions – the Northern Lights. Witnessing the aurora borealis is an ethereal experience and these magical skies can be seen from November to March, with the peak between December to February. The further north you are the better chance there is of seeing them, Tromsø and Lofoten make good bases to seek them out. Fantastic winter sports such as skiing, snowmobiling and dog sledding are also available around this time.

The Northern Lights, Lofoten

Spring sees the country emerge from its wintry shroud as glacial melt waters flow as spectacular waterfalls and fill turquoise lakes. In both spring and Autumn many of the hiking trails and attractions will be available, but without the summer crowds, so this can be an ideal time to visit.

The turquoise glacial waters of Lovatnet Lake

Getting around Norway is definitely part of the whole experience. There are several famous scenic rail journeys that make the most of traversing the beautiful countryside. The country’s most well-known train ride is the stunning journey from Oslo to Bergen, which crosses the Hardangervidda plateau. As well as scenic journeys such as Rauma Railway, there are also feats of engineering, such as Flam Railway - one of the world’s steepest railway lines on normal track with a 1/18 gradient and 20 tunnels, mostly excavated by hand.

Flam Railway

If you prefer to drive, many of Norway’s roads are also engineering marvels – they have the longest road tunnels in the world and some impressive bridges to straddle the waterways that separate Norway’s many coastal islands. It is the longest country in Europe, taking 30 hours to drive from top to bottom and there are 18 designated Norwegian Scenic Routes that take you along the coast and across mountains, covering 2,136 km in total. Each route includes viewpoints, art installations, and rest areas to ensure that getting to your destination is part of the overall experience.

One of the most popular and relaxing ways to get around Norway is to take advantage of that beautiful coastline and cruise. Many operators have itineraries that encompass the highlights of Norway, and this can be a great way to get a flavour for Norway before a longer visit, as you get to dip into several stops and see what interests you’d like to follow up on a longer trip.  Ideally choose an operator with smaller ships that can get deeper into the fjords and call at less frequented ports so there are fewer people around and you get a more authentic experience.

Norway’s capital, Oslo, is a vibrant modern city packed with culture, history and innovative architecture. The new Munch museum celebrates Norway’s most famous artist, and is situated on a beach for a post-cultural dip. There are further excellent museums exploring various themes, as well as markets and lots of green spaces for enjoying outdoor pursuits. Oslofjord extends right into the city centre, so swimming, kayaking and island hopping are easily enjoyed. Outdoors Oslo isn’t just for the summer though - come in the winter and enjoy cross country ski-ing or tobogganing just outside the city.

Oslo sits right on the fjord

Norway’s second-largest city, Bergen, is known as ‘the heart of the fjords,’ Its famous colourful waterfront district dates back to medieval times and is UNESCO-listed. Surrounded by mountains, you can take a funicular ride or cable car up above the city for stunning views. Outdoor pursuits and hiking are on the doorstep, but Bergen has plenty of indoor attractions on offer too - composer Edvard Grieg’s house, museums and an excellent aquarium. Bergen rests between two of the major fjords – Hardangerfjord and Sognefjord and is an ideal stop on any fjord itinerary.

Bergen's famous waterfront

Glaciers have carved Norway’s coastline into over 1000 fjords, and these are its most famous tourist attraction for a very good reason. Sognefjord is the longest and deepest fjord, carving into the land until it reaches the edge of Jotunheimen National Park. Several of Norway’s surviving medieval stave churches are located around Sognefjord, as well as many picturesque villages and access to the famous Flam Railway. Jotunheimen, which translates as ‘home of the giants,’ includes Norway’s highest mountains and has excellent hiking and climbing.

Norway’s second-longest fjord, the Hardangerfjord is known for its fruit orchards and spectacular waterfalls. Apple & cherry blossom make it especially beautiful mid-May to mid-June, and don’t forget to sample the local cider and juices.

Further up the coast the Nordfjord snakes inland to Jostedalsbreen National Park, home of the biggest glacier in mainland Europe. Meltwaters form the beautiful turquoise lake at Lovatnet – for a bird’s eye view take the Loen skylift up to look back over the fjord, or Hornelens Via Ferrata, situated 860m above sea level.

Seven Sisters Waterfall, Geirangerfjord

Tom Cruise chose Geirangerfjord for one of the biggest stunts in cinema history - launching himself off Helsetkopen mountain on a motorbike for his 7th Mission: Impossible film. Here we also find Ålesund, one of Norway’s most beautiful cities. A devastating fire left 10,000 people homeless in 1904, and the town was entirely rebuilt in the Art Nouveau style in just a few years. Climb the 418 steps to Aksla viewpoint for stunning views over the islands that comprise the city.

Ålesund from Aksla viewpoint

Centred at the midpoint of Norway’s coastline is Trondheimsfjord, the third largest fjord and home to Norway’s historic Viking capital, Trondheim. The star attraction is medieval Nidaros Cathedral, built over the grave of Norway’s patron saint, King Olav II Haraldsson. Sample culinary delights here, as it has been given European Region of Gastronomy status. Whether you prefer a Michelin starred restaurant featuring worldclass salmon and crab, or the annual food festival, there is something for all tastes and budgets.

Tromsø is northern Norway’s largest city and unofficial capital. Located 217 miles north of the Arctic Circle this truly is the land of the midnight sun. Wildlife lovers can enjoy cruises to see puffins and seabirds in summer and whale watching in the winter, when you can also enjoy dog and reindeer sledding, ski-ing and snowshoeing. Here you have the best chances of seeing the aurora borealis during winter months.

Beautiful Tromso

Six Top Tips for visiting Norway:

• Norway restaurants feature the freshest local ingredients but eating out all the time can be expensive, so if you are booking a hotel make sure your room rate includes breakfast, which is usually good quality and plentiful.

• Oslo Pass and Bergen Card are great value for stays in these cities, giving good discounts on attractions, tours, restaurants and parking.

• Whatever time of year you visit, be sure to pack for all seasons as the weather can be very changeable even in one day, layering is key and a waterproof is recommended all year round, just in case – the valleys are that green for a reason!  

• In summer months be sure to bring a sleep mask to make sure you actually can sleep though! In the very north there can be several days a year where the sun never sets at all, and even in the south of Norway it is never fully dark at night during the summertime.

• In Norway the ‘right to roam’, also called the right of access (allemannsretten) is a traditional right from ancient times and means unparalleled access to nature for everyone. This means you can camp anywhere without permission for 2 nights or less with certain provisos, but this right also comes with responsibilities and Norwegians take a very dim view of actions that disrespect the countryside such as littering – leave the landscape as you would want to find it.

• If you plan on buying souvenirs you can get the tax back on purchases over 315 NOK (about £23) per store if they are displaying signage for Tax Free Shopping. On request they will fill out a form which entitles you to a refund to be processed on your cruise ship or at the airport.  

If this has inspired you, why not visit Norway for your next adventure, and experience a bit of that Norwegian happiness for yourself!

Contact your local branch to speak to one of our travel experts.