Norway is one of the most scenic, hospitable and peaceful countries in the world. There are two primary travel experiences: The first is a cruise along its island-dotted, fjord-indented coastline. The second is the one that I made last summer: a two-week mix of land- and sea-based adventures. The trip allowed us to take our time and to chat with the friendly locals — almost all of whom speak perfect English — as well as to get off the beaten track to view landscapes of unique and unmarred beauty. We also stayed in some well-run and spectacularly located hotels and made delicious discoveries while sampling the inventive restaurant scene. Norway is not only a very wealthy country — due to its massive oil reserves — but also a sophisticated one. Since the beginning of the oil boom in the 1970s, the Norwegians have developed a discerning taste for luxury and comfort, which is complemented by the purity and simplicity of Scandinavian design.
We began our journey in Oslo, the country’s capital and largest city, then traveled to Bergen by train, visited that city and the surrounding region, continued north from Bergen to Alesund via an overnight voyage on the famous Hurtigruten shipping and cruise line and then explored Alesund and its environs by car and ship for several days. Though this itinerary may sound ambitious, it is very easy and comfortable to travel in Norway since excellent roads, a small but impressive rail network and an excellent system of coastal steamers and ferries link the country together.