If Italy is known for its art and architecture – and France for its cuisine and winemaking, Norway's most distinguishing achievement is natural
: its sensational fjords. These natural works of art were dramatically carved out of the country's western coastline by glaciers over the course of several ice ages. Today Norway's fjords are among the longest and deepest fjords in the world, and two in particular – Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord – form an official World Heritage Natural Site. Many tourists choose to visit Norway's fjords by cruise and scenic train.
Norway arguably has more varieties of natural habitats than anywhere else in Europe. It's also less crowded; imagine the population of Berlin's metropolitan area – in a territory roughly the size of New Mexico. Norway shares land borders with Sweden, Finland and Russia, and its northernmost territories reside north of the Arctic Circle.
In many ways Norway offers visitors a glimpse of one of Europe's last frontiers. Home to rich wildernesses, fertile valleys, fruit orchards, crystal-clear lakes and bewitching waterfalls, its beauty is exceptional. Its mountains are some of the highest in Europe. It contains approximately 50,000 islands, thousands of dazzling glaciers and over 15,000 miles of North Atlantic coastline.
As a result it is no surprise that sports and nature fans go wild in Norway. Skiing, cycling, fishing, glacial walking and hiking are extremely popular. From late fall to early spring, many travel to northern Norway above the Arctic Circle to experience the Northern Lights (aurora borealis). During the summer months, visitors come to see the Midnight Sun and the incredible Arctic wildlife. While it's desirable to spend your entire vacation in Norway, should you prefer to combine Norway with its Scandinavian neighbors (Denmark and Sweden), it is easily done.
Largest cities: Oslo, Bergen and Stavanger