Western Norway -- Western Norway is fabled for its fjords, saltwater arms of the sea that stretch inland. Many date from the end of the last ice age. Some fjords cut into mountain ranges as high as 1,006m (3,300 ft.). The longest fjord in western Norway is the Sognefjord, north of Bergen, which penetrates 177km (110 miles) inland. Other major fjords in the district are the Nordfjord, Geirangerfjord, and Hardangerfjord. The capital of the fjord district is Bergen, the largest city on the west coast. Lofthus, a collection of farms extending along the slopes of Sørfjorden, offers panoramic views of the fjord and the Folgefonn Glacier. Hiking is the primary activity in this region. The area north of the Hardangerfjord is a haven for hikers. Here you'll find Hardangervidda National Park, on Europe's largest high-mountain plateau, home to Norway's largest herd of wild reindeer. The town of Voss, birthplace of the American football great Knute Rockne, is surrounded by glaciers, fjords, rivers, and lakes.
Central Norway -- Fjords are also common in central Norway; the two largest are the Trondheimsfjord and Narnsfjord. It's not unusual for roads to pass waterfalls that cascade straight down into fjords. Many thick forests and snowcapped peaks fill central Norway. The town of Geilo, halfway between Bergen and Oslo, is one of Norway's most popular ski resorts. It boasts more than 129km (80 miles) of cross-country trails. Trondheim, central Norway's largest city, is home to Nidaros Domen, the 11th-century cathedral that was once the burial place for kings. Røros is a well-preserved 18th-century mining town. The medieval city of Molde, Norway's capital during World War II, plays host to one of Europe's largest jazz festivals. Geiranger, site of the Seven Sisters waterfall, is one of Norway's most popular resorts.
Eastern Norway -- On the border with Sweden, eastern Norway is characterized by clear blue lakes, rolling hills, and green valleys. In some ways, it's the most traditional part of the country. Because of its many fertile valleys, it was one of the earliest areas to be settled. Some of the biggest valleys are Valdres, Østerdal, Hallingdall, Numedal, and Gudbrandsdalen. Campers and hikers enjoy the great forests of the Hedmark region, site of Norway's longest river, the Glomma (Gløma), which runs about 580km (360 miles). The area has many ski resorts, notably Lillehammer, site of the 1994 Winter Olympics. Norway's most visited destination is the capital, Oslo, which rises from the shores of the Oslofjord. The city of Fredrikstad, at the mouth of the Glomma, was once the marketplace for goods entering the country. Its 17th-century Kongsten Fort was designed to defend Norway from Sweden. Tønsberg, Norway's oldest town, dates to the 9th century. This area is also the site of the Peer Gynt Road, of Ibsen fame, and the mountainous region is home to numerous ski resorts.
Southern Norway -- Southern Norway is sometimes referred to as "the Riviera" because of its unspoiled and uncrowded -- but chilly -- beaches. It's also a favorite port of call for the yachting crowd. Stavanger, the oil capital of Norway, is the largest southern city and is also quite popular. There's much to explore in this Telemark region, which is filled with lakes and canals popular for summer canoeing and boating. Skien, birthplace of the playwright Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906), is primarily an industrial town. In Skien, you can board a lake steamer to travel through a series of canals. The southern part of Kristiansand links Norway with continental Europe. Close by is 10km (6 1/4-mile) Hamresanden Beach, one of the longest uninterrupted beaches in Europe. More fjords lie along the western half of the district, notably the Lysefjord, Sandefjord, and Vindefjord.
Northern Norway -- The "Land of the Midnight Sun" is a region of craggy cliffs that descend to the sea and of deep, fertile valleys along the deserted moors. It has islands with few, if any, inhabitants, where life has remained relatively unchanged for generations. The capital of the Nordland region is Bodø, which lies just north of the Arctic Circle; it's a base for Arctic fishing trips and visits to the wild Glomfjord. Norway's second-largest glacier, Svartisen, is also in this region, as is the city of Narvik, a major Arctic port and the gateway to the Lofoten Islands. The islands, which have many fishing villages, make up one of the most beautiful areas of Norway. Visitors come here from all over the world for sport fishing and bird-watching.
Troms -- Troms is the name of the province, and Tromsø, from which polar explorations are launched, is its capital. Troms contains one of Norway's most impressive mountain ranges, the Lyngs Alps, which attract winter skiers and summer hikers. Alta, site of the Altafjord, is reputed to have the best salmon-fishing waters in the world.
Finnmark -- At the top of Norway is the Finnmark region, home of the Sami. Settlements here include Kautokeino (the Sami town) and Hammerfest, the world's northernmost town. Most tourists come to Finnmark to see the North Cape, Europe's northernmost point and an ideal midnight-sun viewing spot. Vardø is the only Norwegian mainland town in the Arctic climate zone. In the 17th century, Vardø was the site of more than 80 witch burnings. The town of Kirkenes lies 274km (170 miles) north of the Arctic Circle, close to the Russian border.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.