Norway is a place of awe-inspiring beauty, where many people’s lives are dominated by the sea as in the days of the Vikings. The smaller cities are undiscovered gems.

Here are Ten reasons to visit, to help start your holiday planning and further research

Cruising: The best way of experiencing the coast and fjords is on a cruise ship. Hurtigruten (Norwegian Coastal Voyage) operates departures up and down the coast on every day of the year, with cruise ship standards.

Geirangerfjord

Fjords: Deep inlets from the sea give the coast its character. You will enjoy outdoor leisure activities, such as walking, cycling and scenic tours if you base yourself at Hardangerfjord or Geirangerfjord.

Arctic Adventure: The north of Norway lies above the Arctic Circle, experiencing the midnight sun in June/July and weeks of almost constant darkness in December/January. Go whale watching in summer or snowmobiling in winter.

The Northern Lights: This meteorological phenomenon occurs in winter when the night sky is lit up in a dazzling display. Your best chance of observing them is on a cruise ship or far from civilisation.

Winter sports: The most popular ski resorts of Hemsedal, Lillehammer, Geilo and Voss have a snow record you can depend on, as well as fine facilities for beginners. March and April are the ideal months.

Hardangerfjord, Norway

Glacial attractions: Even in summer, you can experience the majesty of ice. Jostedalsbreen glacier is easily reached from the fjord country north of Bergen.

Food and drink: Prices might be high but you’ll dine well on breakfast and dinner buffets where fish, seafood and maybe reindeer take pride of place.

It’s best to take your own drinks however!

Vibrant cities: Oslo has all you might expect from a capital city, but Bergen has the advantage of a real maritime feel and fascinating medieval history.

Island life: A trip to the remote Lofoten Islands is unforgettable. Fishing remains the country’s main industry and they are served by Hurtigruten coastal ships.

Furthest north: The visitor centre at the North Cape tells you this is the furthest point north on the European mainland, but another promontory nearby claims the same distinction.

Norway has got to be one of the most scenic countries in the world, and one that is increasingly easy to reach as more air links open up – now is most certainly the time to think about a holiday in Norway – it is simple to organise an independent trip, or of course you will find many specialist tour operators who feature city breaks, cruises and special interest holiday packages.

Author: Jimi St Pierre: Jimi St. Pierre, in collaboration with travel correspondent Penny Church, writes for the map-based holiday destination and flight finder Travelwhere. With Travelwhere, you can find cheap flights to Norway along with a wealth of additional information – including the brochures of specialist tour operators to Norway.