THERE ARE SO MANY PLACES across our planet that are beautiful. Every place has its own sort of beauty if you look hard enough — some stark and rugged, some gentle and calming.

But with Norway, there’s no interpretation needed. There’s no “looking hard enough.” You just open your eyes and let it soak in. The fjords along the west coast, the brilliant auroras during winter, the glacial islands in the Arctic, the mountains and cliffs rising from water to sky — it’s a combination found nowhere else, and it’s surely in the running for nature at its finest. Here are 13 photos that prove it.



On the eastern side of the Vågen harbor in Bergen are these red, yellow, and white houses, collectively referred to as Bryggen. They're technically "Hanseatic commercial buildings," and they're not just wonderfully Norwegian-looking—they're a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This area dates back roughly a thousand years, and the Hanseatic League was established around 300 years later. Though the buildings aren't nearly that old, their foundations and structures are unparalleled examples of this style of architecture (and some still have 15th-century cellars). Many are now shops, boutiques, and restaurants, so visitors can explore inside as well as out.
Photo: Sonia Arrepia Photography for Visit Norway


Biking Geirangerfjord

The Geirangerfjord is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, too. Here you'll find some of the steepest mountains in western Norway and several waterfalls, including Seven Sisters Falls. You can take a ferry between the small towns of Geiranger and Hellesylt, or you could bike or hike along it to get those birdseye views.
Photo: Sveinung Myrlid for Visit Norway


Troll's Tongue, Norway

The rock ledge of Trolltunga (Troll's Tongue) puts you 2,300 feet above the lake of Ringedalsvatnet and gives you an incredible view over Fjord Norway. Get there on a summer hike from the city of Odda.
Photo: Scott Sporleder


Sami with reindeer, Finnmark

Head to Finnmark, mainland Norway's northernmost county, and you'll enter a different world. Nine out of ten people in this area are of Sami origin, and their indigenous culture is still very much alive. Fly into Alta Airport, make the 2.5-hour drive to Karasjok, and in no time you'll be hopping on a dogsled, cavorting with reindeer, and seeing Sami culture up close.
Photo: Terje Rakke for Visit Norway


Kayaking the Hardangerfjord

Sure, you've gone kayaking before, but have you gone kayaking between lush cliffs, snow-covered mountains, lighthouses, and filled up your water bottle from waterfalls? Kayaking the Hardangerfjord takes the sport and turns it into a life experience.
Photo: Visit Norway


Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel, Alta

About 25 minutes from Alta Airport is the Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel, the largest ice hotel in Norway and the northernmost in all the world. There's a theme change every year, and if you're wondering, yes, everything is made of ice or snow. Everything—even the ice cup you drink out of at the ice bar. If you're intrigued enough to check it out but a little wary of sleeping on an ice bed, that's understandable—they're open for day visits, too.
Photo: Terje Rakke for Nordic Life, Visit Norway



This is Hjørundfjorden, a smaller fjord off the larger Storfjorden, and its cliffs rise 5,600 feet from the water below. Nearby villages include Bjørke, Leira, and Sæbø, and there are plenty of cabins close at hand for when you're finally ready to take a break from Mother Nature at her finest.
Photo: Mattias Fredriksson for Visit Norway


Hjelle in Stryn

Do the outskirts of your town look like this? The view from the village of Hjelle, in the municipality of Stryn, might be as good as it gets. It's on the edge of Strynsvatnet Lake, in the Hjelledalen valley, and the entire area—replete with glaciers, valleys, waterfalls, fjords, and forests—is literally world-famous for its looks.
Photo: Visit Norway


Nigardsbreen glacier

Nigardsbreen is just one "arm" of the Jostedalsbreen glacier, the largest glacier in continental Europe, and just one of Norway's many icy behemoths. Taking in the view is an experience in itself, but there are plenty of activities circling around them, too, and if hiking one is on your list, time is of the essence—just like most of the world's glaciers, their clocks are ticking.
Photo: Visit Norway


Stegastein viewpoint, Sogn og Fjordane

Jutting put 100 feet from the cliff edge and at a height of over 2,000 feet, the Stegastein viewpoint is likely the best way to take in all sides of the Aurlandfjord, a branch of the deepest fjord in the world. To get there, take the Aurland road—it's a National Tourist Road and well worth the drive (or bus trip).
Photo: Visit Norway



What you're looking at has been called the "best travel destination in Scandinavia" by Lonely Planet. This is the view into the Geirangerfjord, across to Seven Sisters waterfall, near the village of Geiranger. Unsurprisingly, it's a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Norway's most-visited spots.
Photo: Terje Rakke for Visit Norway


Norway's Northern Lights

Technically, the Northern Lights are always around in Norway—it's just that whole "Land of the Midnight Sun" thing during summer that throws it off. But from around September to March or April, they can be seen all across the country. That being said, your odds are better in northern Norway; if you want to see them as much as possible, look into staying in Tromsø, Bodø, or the Svalbard Islands (among other spots). And though some say the Northern Lights are currently cycling into a lull, rest assured that up here, your odds are still good.
Photo: Bjorn Jorgensen for Visit Norway


Skiing in Jomfrudalen

Jomfrudalen is a steep, often snow-covered valley in Nordland—if you're looking at a map, it's in the long, narrowest strip of the country between Sweden and the Atlantic. There are beautiful islands and plenty of options for hiking and skiing here, so on your trip to herd reindeer with the Sami or to watch the Northern Lights, be sure to pack your ski gear, too.
Photo: Kristin Folsland Olsen for Visit Norway