When it comes to truly feeling at one with Nature, Scandinavia is one of the Earth’s greatest treasures. Majestic fjords, serene archipelagos and icy mountain peaks bring us a little closer to Odin and the Gods, and we can almost savour the feast promised only to the brave and the true. Marisa Cutillas presents a selection of top natural areas to visit.

Sailing the Norwegian Fjords

The dramatic Norwegian coastline is home to hundreds of dreamlike fjords, whose beauty is best contemplated from within the waters themselves, sailing slowly along serene, serpentine lakes.

The most spectacular of all the fjords is surely the Nærøyfjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a short 17km stretch of the longest fjord in Norway (the Sognefjord, which twists and turns for an impressive 204km).

The Nærøyfjord is particularly dazzling because of the sinuous nature of its channels; its narrowest point is a mere 250m wide! Time shouldn’t be an issue when fjord travel is on the agenda; enjoy the Sognefjord the way it was meant to be: slowly and leisurely.

The indisputable highlight of your maritime journey will be the impressive Jostedal Glacier, the largest in mainland Europe and part of the impressive Jostedal Glacier National Park, famed for its dramatic contrasts – from barren mountains right through to peaks soaring 2,000m into the sky, and lush valleys peppered with small farms.

Gushing streams, winding rivers and dramatic waterfalls are just some of the park’s most outstanding features; nearby is the Nigardsbreen Nature Reserve, also worthy of a full day’s visit.

Among the world’s most visited fjords are the Geirangerfjord (an S-shaped fjord flowing for 20km, flanked by towering mountains, thundering waterfalls and quaint farms built into the mountainsides); the Hardangerfjord (home to the Voeringsfossen waterfall and Folgefonna glacier); the Lysefjord (housing one of Norway’s most famous landmarks – the Pulpit Rock, a magnificent vantage from which to view the majesty of the Norwegian landscape); and the Aurlandsfjord (a great spot for hiking, known as the Grand Canyon of Norway).

Tempting The Troll

Trolltunga (or Troll’s Tongue) juts out in mocking disregard of the sobriety of its surrounds, from a mountain around 700m above the northern side of Lake Ringedalsvatnet, in the Norwegian municipality of Odda, Hordaland.

If you are visiting the Hardangerfjord, then this rocky formation should form part of your itinerary; it is also a mere 10km away from the Sørfjorden, a smaller fjord emanating from the impressive Hardanger.

Words Marisa Cutillas

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