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10 Days in Norway: Summer

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After a night in Oslo, rent a car and head west to Bergen, spending a day and riding the funicular. Continue onward to Aurland, where spectacular fjords and hikes await. From there, it's a beautiful, winding 250-mile drive (including ferries) across fjords and north to the mid-Atlantic coastal town of Alesund. Complete the loop through spectacularly forested countryside back to Oslo, stopping in picturesque towns and villages along the inland fjord Mjøsa, including Lillehammer, Gjøvik, or Lena.
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Stortingsgata 24/26, 0117 Oslo, Norway
With a history dating back to 1900 and a deep connection to the National Theater (which sits just across the street), the Hotel Continental is a venerable figure in Oslo’s arts scene. The family-owned hotel has long prided itself on being a...
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There’s no better view than from the top of 320-meter-high Mount Fløien. Ride up on the Fløibanen Funicular, just a short walk from the cruise ship dock on Bryggen wharf. The ascent takes less than 10 minutes, with sprawling...
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Nordnesparken, 5005 Bergen, Norway
It was August, so it seemed a perfectly sensible idea. I'm in Norway, land of the fjords—let's go for a splash in one! Bergen has a lovely little lido that offers you just that opportunity. Sure, you can swim in its heated outdoor pool, but the...
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Finse, 5719 Finse, Norway
Finse, an easy-to-miss railway stop high in the mountains on the popular Bergen-to-Oslo train route, draws hardy urbanites year-round. The town offers access to some of the most remote and beautiful alpine hiking territory in southern Norway...
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5743 Flåm, Norway
This really doesn't look like the kind of place where one would want to spend more than a few minutes in transit. Not because it is shady or unsafe - quite the contrary. But because it's so small, and virtually empty. Not a soul in sight except...
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Scandinavia
Reminiscent of building of the kingdom of Rohan from Lord of the Rings, Norway's stave churches are impressively built in a Viking style featuring incredible craftsmanship and inspiring spiritual contemplation. On our visit to Norway, we visited...
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Aksla, 6007 Ålesund, Norway
Surrounded by barrier islands and mountains alike, Alesund is a little speck of color on Norway's mid-Atlantic coast. The history of this town is a sad one. On one night in January, 1904, a fire spread, destroying the entire island. The town was...
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Jernbanetorget 2, 2609 Lillehammer, Norway
The few episodes of the Netflix show Lilyhammer didn't prepare me for my visit to the actual town of Lillehammer itself. With its bricked pedestrian mall filled with boutiques and other high-end shops, the town seemed more like a nordic Boulder, ...
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Øvre Torvgate 24, 2815 Gjøvik, Norway
Meaning "Lye Fish," this quintessential Norwegian dish is much maligned, as I well know, having much maligned it myself. I'm not the only person to have spoken ill of the dish. Esteemed American author Garrison Keillor describes Lutefisk as "...a...
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Bryggevegen 2, 2821 Gjøvik, Norway
The Skibladner is the world's oldest preserved paddle steamer. It does daily cruises in the summer up and down the length of Lake Mjøsa. Lake Mjøsa is either a long lake or an inland fjord, depending on whom you ask. The 150-year old Skibladner...
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Skolegata 24, 2850 Lena, Norway
With a population just above a thousand, the town of Lena hardly seems a likely candidate to experience a tourism explosion and is thus unlikely to warrant a multi-page guidebook feature anytime in the near future. This isn't to say Lena isn't...
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Tømmerholsvegen 116, 2849 Kapp, Norway
Norway's rich folk history comes to life at the workshop and store of the revered Henning family. Located in the rolling hills just outside of the town of Lena and overlooking the western bank of Mjøsa, the Henning family workshop has drawn people...