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Tim Moore / Cruise BalticPhotos Sourced by our Photo Editor Sarah Harvey

View of Ålesund from Mount Aksla

Photos - click to enlarge.


A TRAVEL NEWS ARTICLE ABOUT NORWAY




Ålesund – the Norwegian Art Nouveau gem

Ålesund, in a spectacular setting, sprawls across several islands stretching into the sea. It is situated at the very entrance to the World Heritage listed Geirangerfjord. Destroyed by a catastrophic fire in 1904, the town was rebuilt in the Art Nouveau style with a myriad of towers, turrets, dragons, human faces, folkloric and medieval-romantic ornaments.


A bird's eye view of Ålesund

In 2007 Ålesund was voted the most beautiful town in Norway. It can offer a wide variety of attractions and is an excellent starting point for round trips to some of Norway’s most spectacular sights.

Attractions

Mount Aksla and Fellstua
Enjoy the breathtaking view of Ålesund, the surrounding islands, the fjords and the Sunnmøre Alps from the Mount Aksla/Fjellstua vantage point. This is definitely a place not to be missed.

Saga Island, Giske
Explore Saga Island, one of the four islands of Giske and visit the old marble Giske Church. Taste delicious homemade cakes at the Lighthouse in the picturesque fishing village of Alnes and enjoy breathtaking views from Mount Aksla.

Ålesund and the Art Nouveau Architecture
A guided walk through the town centre focuses on the Art Nouveau Style of the buildings. Make sure you visit the Art Nouveau Centre, which best demonstrates the unique position Ålesund has in Norwegian Architectural history.

Atlantic Sea-Park
The Atlantic Sea-Park is one of the largest aquariums in Northern Europe. Enjoy watching the divers feed the fish by hand in the large Atlantic Ocean tank.


Some inhabitants of Rune Island

The Bird Sanctuary Runde Island
Experience fascinating bird life at Runde, with more than half a million birds of approximately 230 different species.

Airport Information
Ålesund Airport is 18 kilometres north east of the city centre, located on the island of Vigra.

Bergen –– gateway to the fjords of Norway

The city of Bergen, founded on an old Viking settlement in the year 1070, has a proud history and many interesting cultural monuments. Today Bergen has more than 250,000 inhabitants.


Bergen viewed from Mount Fløyen

The city of Bergen is a designated World Heritage City and is famous for its exciting mixture of old and new architecture, its charm and atmosphere.
Bergen is surrounded by one of the world’s most spectacular tourist attractions – the Norwegian Fjords, which are now included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. This makes Bergen a popular cruise destination and the leading cruise port in Norway, with more than 250 cruise ships bringing about 235,000 passengers.

Attractions

Bryggen
The very first buildings in Bergen, dating back to the 11th century, were constructed alongside the harbour and called Bryggen. The Hanseatic Wharf, a maze of wooden buildings, attracts visitors from all over the world and acts as a landmark for the city centre. Bryggen is perhaps the most familiar image in all Norway and is now on UNESCO's World Heritage List.


Bryggen in Bergen

Mount Fløyen
From Fløyen there’s a spectacular panoramic view of Bergen and its beautiful surrounding scenery of fjords and mountains. Fløibanen is the only cable car of its kind in Scandinavia, and one of Norway’s most popular tourist attractions.

The Ulriken643 Panorama Tour
The Ulriken643 Tour departs every 30 minutes (for times see the information at the bus stop) and starts 30 metres from the Fish Market, at the bus stop at LIDO-corner. The bus goes to the Ulriken643 cable car that takes you to the highest of the 7 mountains surrounding Bergen and gives you breathtaking views of the city, mountains, fjords and the sea. www.ulriken643.no

Bergen Aquarium
Experience fish, seals, penguins, a tropical section with snakes and a large crocodile exhibition. There are also outdoor and indoor pools where you can watch up-close the antics of seals and penguins. Watch a super video on five screens of the aquarium. www.akvariet.no

Bergen Art Galleries
Bergen has several valuable and impressive art collections, housed in a string of galleries facing the central Lille Lungegårdsvann Lake. The galleries display international paintings and art treasures ranging from classical periods, like Rasmus Meyers collections (including many paintings by Edvard Munch), to contemporary times.

Edvard Grieg Museum – Troldhaugen
Built in 1885, Troldhaugen was the home of Norway’s most famous composer Edvard Grieg (1843–1907). He lived here for 22 years and composed many of his best-known works in the small garden hut. The garden now includes a modern concert hall, Troldsalen, seating 200 people, open for performances of chamber music. Troldhaugen is 8 kilometres south of Bergen.

Haakon's Hall – Rosenkrantz Tower
Haakon’s Hall was built during the reign of King Haakon Haakonsson between 1247 and 1261. It was the largest and most imposing building of the royal residency in the 13th century when Bergen was the political centre of Norway. Today it is used as the Royal ceremonial hall, and is located in the centre of Bergen. Rosenkrantz Tower was built in the 1560s by the governor of Bergen Castle, (Bergenhus) Erik Rosenkrantz, and served as a combined residence and fortified tower.


Haakon's Hall in Bergen

Fish market
Bergen's famous outdoor Fish Market offers a large variety of seafood specialities including salmon, cod, turbot, herring, crabs, lobster, shrimps etc.

Fantoft Stave Church
The old stave church at Fantoft, originally built in the countryside by the Sognefjord in 1150 was moved to Fantoft in 1883. It burnt down in June 1992 and has now been rebuilt to its original splendour. Fantoft is 7 kilometres from Bergen.

Hanseatic Museum/Schøttstuene
This is one of the oldest and best-preserved wooden buildings in Bergen. It is furnished in the style of the 1700s and gives an intimate picture of the life of the Hanseatic merchants.

Airport Information
Bergen Airport is located 12 kilometres south west of the city.
For current visa requirements please go to www.projectvisa.com

Kristiansand
Kristiansand is situated on the southern coast of Norway, facing the European continent and surrounded by water on three sides. Although the whole town centre fits within one square kilometer, it is Norway's fifth largest town and the capital of southern Norway.

Since its founding in 1641, this renaissance town has boasted one of the world's largest fleets of sailing ships and is a town with a maritime history.
At Fisherman's Wharf there is a bustling fish market, lively restaurants and small boat traffic.

Kristiansand's old town, Posebyen, has northern Europe's largest collection of low-rise, wall-to-wall wooden houses. Their pristine white surfaces belie the fact that they date back to the 18th and 19th centuries.

Today Kristiansand is known as the Floral Town of Norway. In the summer more than 20,000 flowers are used to create magnificent displays in every imaginable form to greet visitors and residents alike.

From Kristiansand visitors have easy access to unspoiled nature that is child-friendly, clean and safe. The south coast is dotted with mile upon mile of tiny rocky islands and picturesque white-painted houses in sheltered inlets – all set against a backdrop of lush green forests and lakes, and a mountainous and majestic hinterland.

See Kristiansand and the surrounding region by foot, bike or coach. Take a vintage railway trip through a narrow inland gorge or enjoy a glorious boat trip along the island-speckled coast.

Attractions

The Setesdalsbanen Vintage Railway
This narrow gauge (1067 mm) railway is powered by a steam engine dating from 1901. The track section covers 7 kilometre through tunnels, under avalanche shelters and across dams. The trip recreates the special atmosphere of a turn-of-the-century railway journey.

Vest-Agder Museum, Kristiansand
One of Norway's largest museums, featuring the culture and history of Kristiansand and the county of Vest-Agder has an old town street of authentic houses, with interiors from the second half of the 19th century. There are also well-preserved farmyard houses, dating back to the mid-17th century.

Kristiansand Wildlife Park
Norway's most frequently visited attraction covers an 150 acres of wild Nordic terrain. Nordic and other exotic animals may be experienced here in their natural environment, including lynx, wolves and Siberian tigers. Many activities can be partaken here. There are also theme parks and entertainment to be found.

The Mineral Park
More than 1000 exceptional minerals are exhibited in underground tunnels, including a unique private collection of shaped crystals, colourful minerals and precious stones from around the world. The park is situated approximately one hour's drive from Kristiansand town.


An exhibit at The Mineral Park

Kristiansand Cannon Museum
This is an historical defense museum that features a heavy German coastal defense battery from 1940–45 and has the world’s largest land-based cannon (337 tons). The museum also contains plenty of other material from world war two.

Agder Natural History Museum and Botanical Garden
Southern Norway's natural history from the ice age to the present, and from the coast to the mountains can be found here, with geology, flora and fauna and a colourful mineral exhibition. There is an historical rose garden dating back to 1850 that also has modern rose varieties.

The Archipelago
Explore the magic waterways off the Kristiansand coastline with many tiny rocky islands and picturesque white-painted houses in sheltered inlets. The waterway is a passage protected from the open sea by an elongated archipelago of skerries. Enjoy a boat journey through one of the well-preserved old outports or to the historic coastal town of Lillesand – characterised by narrow streets, white houses, picket fences and rose gardens.

Posebyen – the old town of Kristiansand
Northern Europe's largest collection of low-rise, wall-to-wall wooden houses. This district, originally inhabited by working class people and artisans, was unaffected by the 1892 fire that ravaged much of the town. Today it is the most characteristic residential area in Kristiansand, and the picturesque white-painted wooden houses are synonymous with towns on the southern coast of Norway.

The Fish Market
The fish quay, Kristiansand's most vigorous and inviting area, is much more than a fish market. Lively restaurants, canals and small boat traffic, and of course excellent fresh fish, prawns and other shellfish, make it a favourite location for both locals and visitors.

Ravnedalen Valley and Baneheia Nature Park
Vigorous and “mystical” this nature park was established in 1876 beneath the precipitous Ravneheia. The heath, lake and nesting pairs of swans are distinctive features, as well as a wealth of plants and trees. Extending into Baneheia recreational area, it is situated within walking distance from downtown Kristiansand. Enjoy rambling paths, culture trails, swimming and fishing spots, lookout points, and a thriving bird and animal life.

Opening hours shopping/banks
Shops: Weekdays: 09:00 – 18:00
Banks: Weekdays: 09:00 – 15:00

Climate
You never know for sure when the sun will shine, but Kristiansand Airport registers more hours of sunshine than any other weather station in Norway. Average temperature between June and August is 20°C. For more detailed information go to www.worldweather.org

Airport Information
Kristiansand Airport is 8 kilometres north east of the city. For the latest visa requirements visit www.projectvisa.com

Oslo – Capital City of Norway

Oslo is situated at the head of the spectacular Oslo Fjord. The proximity of great and vastly unspoilt nature lends a special atmosphere to the city. The city centre of Oslo is relatively small and compact, with most attractions within walking distance. Karl Johan is Oslo’s main street. A walk from one end to the other will take you past the cathedral, Norway’s parliament, the Grand Hotel where Nobel Laureates sleep and finally up to the Royal Palace at the top of the hill.


Rådhus Gate in Olso

The city centre offers a wide selection of museums and galleries and an unusual variety of affordable bars, cafés and restaurants – five of them with Michelin stars. In summertime, the harbour-side Aker Brygge complex is a very charming and lively area. It was originally an old dockyard that has been converted to outdoor bars, restaurants, shops and upmarket apartments. Enjoy a walk along the waterside where locals and visitors mingle.

Attractions


A small sample of Vigeland's work

The Vigeland Sculpture Park and Museum
The Norwegian artist Gustav Vigeland has created some 200 sculptures in granite and bronze, and all on display here in this wonderful park. A must see in Oslo.

The Opera House
The new spectacular Opera House, located at the waterfront within walking distance from the cruise terminals, is already one of Norway's most visited attractions.


The Oslo Opera House

The Viking Ship Museum
See the restored Oseberg, Gokstad and Tune ships as well as other findings from royal burial mounds around the Oslo Fjord. The world’s best-preserved Viking ships, housed here, were built in the 9th century.

The Akershus Fortress and Castle
Dating back to 1299, this medieval castle and Royal residence developed into a fortress armed with cannons in 1592. See the changing of the guard daily at 13:30.

The National Museum of Art, Acrhitecture and Design
Experience Norwegian and international art, architecture and design at four different locations in the city centre. The National Gallery's permanent exhibition includes a collection of Edvard Munch's most famous paintings. The National Museum of Architecture re-opened in March 2008 in a completely refurbished building.

The Polar Ship FRAM museum
The entire original Arctic exploration ship FRAM, built in 1892, is exhibited here with its original interior and objects.

Norwegian Museum of Cultural History
Experience the whole of Norway in a day! See one of Europe’s largest open-air museums, showing rural and urban houses from all over Norway, including a 13th century stave church.

The Kon-Tiki Museum
This museum contains the original Kon-Tiki raft from 1947 and the papyrus raft RA II from 1970 along with objects from Thor Heyerdahl’s many exhibitions

The Munch Museum
This museum contains Edvard Munch’s bequest to the city of Oslo, a vast collection of his own paintings, drawings and graphic works.


An example of Munch's work

The Nobel Peace Center
The centre tells the story of Alfred Nobel, peace prize winners and their work. Permanent and changing exhibitions in a modern interactive center designed by world famous architect David Adjaye.

City Card
The Oslo Pass gives free entry to museums and attractions, free travel on public transport, discounts on sightseeing excursions and a range of other benefits. The Oslo Pass is available at tourist information centres, hotels, camp sites and other official sales points in Oslo. The Oslo Package includes hotel accommodation, breakfast and an Oslo Pass for your entire stay. For details visit www.visitoslo.com

Shop opening hours / banking
Opening hours for most banks are 08.30–15.30 Mon-Fri (Thu 08.30–17.00), Sat–Sun closed. Most banks close earlier during summer.
Post offices are open 09.00-17.00 Mon-Fri, 09.00-13.00 on Saturdays.
Most shops are open 10:00–17:00 or 10:00–19:00 Mon–Fri and 10:00–16:00 or 18:00 Sat. Sun closed.
Shopping centres and grocery stores have longer opening hours

Climate
Despite being on the same latitude as St. Petersburg, Russia and Anchorage, Alaska, Oslo's climate is temperate due to its favorable location near the Gulf Stream and the protection provided by the mountains from the Atlantic rainfall. Statistically, Oslo is Scandinavia's sunniest capital. Average temperature May–Sept 20°C. For more detailed information and statistics please go to www.worldweather.org

Airport Information
Oslo Gardermoen Airport is 48 kilometres north of Oslo city centre. For information about transport to/from the airport visit www.visitoslo.com/en/transport-airport.
For visa requirements please go to www.projectvisa.com

Currency
Norwegian krone. 1 krone = 100 øre. For current exchange rates please go to www.xe.com

Destination Information

Weather

www.worldweather.org


Currency

www.xe.com


Additional

 www.projectvisa.com

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