Summertime and fjords ... in Norway
Andrew Gibb travelled to Norway in the summertime. Here he tells of his time exploring the south-west corner, discovering breathtaking scenery and the cleanest air he’s ever experienced…
Views along the Sognefjellet national mountain road
I was not sure what to expect, travelling to Norway in the summer. Norway brings to mind snowy mountains, frozen lakes, the midnight sun and endless outdoor fun. My visit to south-western Norway to visit the extraordinarily scenic fjords encompassed all of these and left me wanting to discover even more.
My journey began in the small port town of Alesund, one of the most westerly points of the Scandinavian peninsula. Today the town is famous throughout Norway for the Alesund Fire – a night in 1904 where nearly the entire city burned to the ground. Only one person lost their life, though over 10,000 people were left without homes. Amazingly, the entire town was rebuilt within three years by architects and workmen from all over Norway and further afield – giving a unique architectural character to the town. Alesund is also host to the only lighthouse hotel room I have ever seen, which would surely make for an interesting overnight stay.
However it was travelling further south, deep into fjord territory, which captured my attention. We followed winding roads, passing through incredibly vast mountain ranges and fjords that seemed to go on forever. Dotted along these roads are tiny villages and settlements – some where locals live, others aimed at tourism or, at times, a mixture of both.
I spent the night in a few of these towns, and it soon became clear why Norway has one of the highest quality of life indexes in the world. The air I breathed was perhaps the purest I had ever encountered; and despite the overcast weather, the scenery meant that even pictures taken on one’s phone looked like they belong in some wilderness magazine. The people I met were relaxed and welcoming, and surprisingly enough, culturally I felt I could have been in Spain… (mañana, mañana…)
Hiking, kayaking, mountain biking, fishing and ice-trekking are some of the activities to be undertaken to explore such wilderness and are easily booked through accommodation providers in the area. If you prefer to relax by the fjords, these are also a perfect spot with peace and quiet guaranteed.
Overall, my visit to Norway provided me with some truly breathtaking experiences; a visit to the famous Geirangerfjord, a drive through the Sognefjellet national mountain road, ice trekking on the Nigardsbreen Glacier, kayaking on the Sognefjord and many, many more. Knowing that Norway has much more to offer, something tells me this will be my first visit of many…
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On the Nigardsbreen glacier trek