When you think of cruises, your mind will probably go to sunbathing on deck and excursions to the Vatican. But why not buck the trend and go north? Norway, while there will probably be no sunbathing, has incredible landscapes and natural phenomena that should be on your bucket list.
The northern lights or Aurora Borealis is a site to behold. The magical moment when you see those green, red or purple lights in the sky is breathtaking and have inspired legends and stories throughout the ages. The lights are produced by the interaction between particles from the sun, from solar explosions and flares, and the earth’s magnetic field. They are most common in winter, between late autumn and early spring, though as you are at the mercy of nature and the universe, there is no guarantee that you will see anything at all. The best place to catch them is in northern Norway, though in theory you could see them anywhere in Norway.
Land of the Midnight Sun
In the summer, the part of Norway that lies in the Arctic Circle enjoys endless days. The days get longer and longer until the sun fails to set at all. This gives the plants and wildlife that inhabit this area an energy boost and is likely to give you one too. The further north you go, the longer the sun is visible for. In very northern Norway, the sun is visible for twenty four hours a day for four months, whereas if you just go to Bodø it is only visible like this for a month or so.
Norway has seven UNESCO world heritage sites. If that isn’t a reason to go, what is? A UNESCO world heritage site is a site that has been deemed to have special cultural or physical significance, so you know you’re in for a treat if you’re off to a UNESCO site. Six of Norway’s UNESCO sites are cultural, and one is natural. The Vega Archipelago is deemed such because of the way that the fisherman and the eider ducks have a mutually beneficial relationship, and the rock carvings in Alta are a UNESCO site because of the importance of these beautifully preserved, prehistoric carvings.
Fjords were formed when glaciers moved during successive ice ages and cut through rock, when the glaciers moved again, sea water flooded them. They are natural works of art, and as such, the West Norwegian Fjords are the single natural UNESCO world heritage site in Norway. Fjords occur all over, but there is no other place with as many as Norway. So if you’re looking for a cruise that will show you the wonders of the Norwegian fjords, as well as the other incredible sights that this country has to offer, then check out Hurtigruten.co.uk.