Although not as steep and breathtaking as the fjords in the west of the country, the southern Norwegian fjords are just as beautiful. Crystal-clear sea sparkles around smooth rocky islands. Everyone seems to spend a huge amount of time in the summer by the sea or in boats just enjoying the beautiful, clear and clean waters.
I have a few requirements when it comes to beaches: sand, sun, warm sea and a lack of crowds. Hallelujah! I have found it in Norway. I don't even want to count the beaches, but I promise you there are lots. Many are small, secluded, clean and by the time late July comes, the sea is a nice warm 21 degrees C (70 degrees F). Another thing I have noticed with Norwegian beaches is that they are well signposted from the main road (great if you are driving) and they have plenty of parking.
Norway is, not unsurprisingly, proud of its seafood and summer is the time to enjoy this bounty of the sea with prawns, crayfish (salt and freshwater), smoked salmon and gravadlax, to name but a few.
Norway and Vikings go together like fish and chips. The world famous Viking Ship Museum is located in southern Norway (in Oslo) and some of the most spectacular Viking finds were discovered in Sandefjord about 120 km south of Oslo. No visit to Norway would be complete without a visit to this museum. You'll be surprised at just how cultured the Vikings were, with beautiful silks and intricate carved furniture. A far cry from the image of the pillaging barbarian.
You can't escape skiing in Norway. Having no snow in the summer is no excuse not to get out on those grass skis ready for the winter. And if you are a serious skier you will find something to excite you, be it the Holmenkollen ski jump or the small ski resorts such as Kongsberg. During the winter months a great deal of time (and expense) is spent in creating and maintaining cross-country (Nordic) ski routes across the snowy fields. Seemingly everywhere you look there are ski tracks, a Nordic skier's dream come true.
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