Norway is coming, from Oslo to the Arctic Circle - Hoboh
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Norway is coming, from Oslo to the Arctic Circle

by Manon Darde from France

Norway is a mysterious country that borders the North Pole at the gates of the Arctic. We spent a week discovering the country in two different atmospheres: the city and its capital and an immersion in the lands of the North; The Lofoten Islands. In winter to enjoy the true Norwegian beauty under the snow.

The first part of the trip took place in the small capital of Oslo under the snow, I recommend three major places for all tastes, city, museum and nature :

The first thing you see when you arrive at the train station is the Oslo Opera House. Figure of the modern architecture and very photogenic building. You can go through it all, enjoy a panorama of the old town on the roof and participate in the visits inside. From above you can also see the islands around Oslo.

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Norway, Oslo Opera by Manon Darde

As you walk through the harbor, you will discover the fishermen and this new town, which blooms to the rhythm of modern construction, and arrive at the Fearnley Astrup Museum at the end of the dock. The museum, created by Renzo Piano, contains an incredible collection of modern art from around the world.

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Norway, Fearnley Asturp Museum by Manon Darde

After crossing the city center, don’t forget the Bigdoy peninsula, which regroups many city’s museums. Accessible by boat in summer but only by bus in winter. We had to choose either the Viking museum or the maritime museums and it was finally the Fram that attracted us. A very playful museum of polar expeditions from Norway to the discovery of the North Pole and its mysterious oceans.

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Norway,  Bigdoy by Manon Darde

For the second half of the trip, it was more adventurous. After 17 hours of train trip through Norway and 6 hours of boat trip in the fjords at sunset it is finally the small town of Svolvaer stuck between the mountains that we reached late at night. The archipelago of the Lofoten is located above the Arctic Circle and we felt the negative temperature fast. It’s essential to bring a good mountain equipment to enjoy hiking in the mountains and the well-known three layer system for clothing. It is also a strategic place to observe the northen lights but you must arm yourself with patience!

The town of Svolvaer is one of the largest of the Lofoten islands, but it doesn’t lose its charm with its many colorful houses known as “rorbu” and its fishing port. Many activities are available from Svolvaer if you have financial means: fishing, northern lights, horse riding, eagle and whale watching…

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Norway,  Svinoya Island Svolvaer by Manon Darde

We also discovered other cities of Lofoten. First Kabelvag, a small town near Svolvaer where it is absolutely necessary to climb the hill of King Oystein which offers a 360 ° panorama on the city and the fjords. He built the first Lofoten church around 1103.

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Norway, Kabelvag by Manon Darde

We took the bus to Henningsvaer, 30mn through the fjords on the main road through mountains and sea. The city is made up of small islets connected by bridges: the Venice of the Lofoten. The dock is colorful and the town very lively.

Norway, Svolvaer by Manon Darde

So this is the end of this trip in the Lofoten, very disorienting, a beautiful feeling of the end of the world. Here are some tips :

  •   Taste local specialties: dried cod and reindeer
  •   In Bodo (port to the Lofoten Islands) avoid the express boat if you have time for a longer butmore comfortable boat at the same price in a cruise ship offering jacuzzi and sauna
  •   Prices are high in Norway and even higher in the Lofoten Islands
  •   Think to take train, longer but you benefit so much more from the landscapes !
  •   Airbnb with incredible views in Oslo and Svolvaer
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Norway, from above by Manon Darde

Do you like this post about Norway ?

You can read also “A guide to hiking Trolltunga” and  “Five days in Norway“!

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