Growing up in one of the most breathtaking landscapes on earth means you do take it for granted, until you realise just how special it is. Having visited more than 50 countries, I still find the beauty of Norway mind-blowing every time I go back home. It is something about the air. It tastes different than it does in other places; it is so clean and so pure.
The sheer fjord landscape and magnificent coastlines make Norway a paradise for photographers and tourists alike. Norway’s landscapes rank among the most beautiful and varied in Europe and go hand-in-hand with outdoor activities.
Western Norway reveals stupendous fjord sceneries, tremendous plains and towering mountains, all working together to create a breathtaking view. On both sides of the swirling fjords, eminent mountains confine rural districts, while isolated farms are hidden between thick areas of woods.
One of the biggest tourist destinations is Geirangerfjord, with its jagged coastlines and waterfalls dropping from ridiculous heights. On both sides of the swirling fjord you can see snow-topped peaks almost all year round. In summer, locals hike, kayak and fish, and cruise ships drift with the current, the tourists on board filling their memory cards with photos that don’t quite do the scenery justice.
If the city life attracts you more than hiking up towering mountains, visit Bergen and be sure to stop by the Bergen Fish Market. Located on the waterfront, the market attracts hundreds of visitors daily and fish is only one of the many delicacies up for sale. Bergen is also renowned for the Fløyen railway, where you can experience a breathtaking panorama view over the city.
Norway is a great skiing destination. In winter, locals in colourful ski gear hit the slopes in various locations throughout the country such as Hemsedal, Trysil and the Lillehammer region, which hosted the Winter Olympics in 1994 and also held the 2nd Winter Youth Olympic Games from 12-21 February 2016. Ski or snowboard down the vertical hillsides or go cross-country through the local ski-tracks surrounded by red-painted cabins; the choice is yours.
Up north, a world of adventure awaits you. Here the awe-inspiring Northern Lights takes place, a spectacle that will fill a memory card or two on its own. Watch nature’s own theatre unfold above you as the most captivating light show you have ever seen flickers above your head.
The darkness will be your friend as you warm up by a fireplace in Tromsø during winter. The city is left in total darkness for months, but in summer it is perfect night owl territory as it is still light at 4am.
The Lofoten Islands are a hidden gem located just north of the polar circle. Whether you’re after relaxation, kayaking, hiking, skiing or learning to fish like the locals, you’re in for a unique experience. And further north still, Svalbard is a group of islands located between Norway and the North Pole. The 2600 inhabitants will make sure you get a warm welcome, even though the temperature seldom rises to more than 8°C. Encounters with seals and polar bears occur on a daily basis near the glacier-encrusted areas. •
Photography by Erlend Honningdalsnes, who used a Canon EOS 5D Mark II, with the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM II and Canon EF 70-200MM 4L USM.