Europe’s true wilderness is found not in the Alps, but the northern reaches of the continent from the 57th parallel north into the Arctic Circle. It is land commanded by glaciers, sheer fjords, otherworldly mountain terrain, and extensive coastline. Norway is not conventional wilderness, but is as expansive, uncultivated, and uninhabited as anywhere on the continent, and its wonderlands speak directly and loudly to those who love wild country.

People often imagine the Nordic countries as geographic equals, but in reality Norway stands apart from its relatively flat neighbors. Norway is mostly mountainous, reaching a crescendo in the Jotunheimen range, the home of Northern Europe’s highest peaks. It also has the good fortune of being located along the Gulf Stream, which keeps temperatures considerably more moderate than Sweden, Finland, and places of similar latitudes such as Alaska and Siberia.

Wherever you go in Norway, the landscapes will be austere but as beautiful and wide open as any. The country is made for exploration; one can hike its entire length from north to south exclusively by way of public huts. In the winter, the land is frozen but the Norwegian people may be even more active. A devotion to nature is ingrained in Norwegian culture—embodied by the word friluftsliv, or the open air life—and after going there you will have a fuller understanding why.

Lofoten Islands, Norway

Lofoten Islands, Norway

Norway’s Lofoten Islands are referred to as the Lofoten Wall because, quite literally, they are vertical rows of granite shooting out of the Arctic Sea. A number of colorful fishing villages hug the shoreline and a majority...
Hardangervidda, Norway

Hardangervidda, Norway

The Hardangervidda Plateau is one of Norway’s and Europe’s most wondrous open spaces, encompassing nearly 10,000 square kilometers of varied Arctic wilderness—bigger than Yellowstone...
Dovrefjell Musk Oxen, Norway

Dovrefjell, Norway

The Dovrefjell-Rondane corridor is Norway’s closest approximation of Montana’s Big Sky Country in the United States: a supreme stretch of wide-open, rolling mountainous terrain. The area is home to the mighty musk ox...
Jotunheimen, Norway (s)

Jotunheimen, Norway

The Jotunheimen Mountains are a place of superlatives. Translating to the “home of the giants,” they are the highest mountains in Norway and Northern Europe, Jotunheimen National Park is the country's...
Fjords of Norway

Fjords of Norway

It’s nearly impossible to envisage the scope of Norway's fjords. Many of us have seen photos of the country’s most famous fjords—the Geirangerfjord, Sognefjord, and Hardangerfjord—but even the best images can’t do justice...
 Geirangerfjord, Norway

Geirangerfjord, Norway

The UNESCO World Heritage Geirangerfjord may be Norway’s single most dramatic stretch of water. It’s particularly narrow and steep with tall surrounding mountains—the closest thing in the country to a “box” fjord. The walls...
Northern Norway

Northern Norway

Europe’s true wilderness is found in Norway, and some of the country’s wildest terrain is in its northern reaches. Above the Lofoten Islands are the Arctic regions of Troms (home to the bustling island city of Tromsø)...
Finnmark, Norway

Finnmark: Norway's Far North

Finnmark is vast and barren country—it's the coldest and least populated region in Norway. The Finnmarksvidda Plateau dominates the interior, while the coastal areas on the Barents Sea...
North Cape (Nordkapp)

Nordkapp (The North Cape)

Nordkapp, also known as the North Cape, is one of Norway’s most spectacular natural settings. Located at the tip of the remote Finnmark Region, which borders Finland and Russia, the cliffs at the point tower...
Tromtinden Norway

Tromsø and the Island of Kvaløya

Located 350 kilometers inside the Arctic Circle along Norway’s rugged northern coastline, Tromsø is a small city surrounded by vast wilderness. With 65,000 residents, Tromsø is small by most standards but...
Hiking Signs in Norway

Hiking in Norway

Norway usually isn’t listed among the world’s premier hiking destinations. It should be. Few countries manage the outdoors as well—the open spaces are big, the trails are meticulously marked and mapped, and...
Norway DNT Hut

Norway's Unrivaled Public Huts

Norway is home to the largest and best public hut system in the world, a way of life for locals and a novelty for visitors. The Norwegian Trekking Association (DNT) oversees 460 cabins...
Camping in Norway

Camping in Norway

Norway has some of the most liberal public access and camping laws in the world, formalized by the Outdoor Recreation Act of 1957. They are great for Norwegians and travelers alike; below is background...
Norway Gulf Stream

Norway Climate and Weather

For a place as far north as Alaska and Siberia, cold and unpredictable weather comes with the territory. Yet Norway’s favorable location next to the Gulf Stream keeps the country’s climate milder than expected...
Hiking Reinebringen Norway

10 Great Hikes in Norway

From the famous fjords to the far reaches of Northern Norway, the following list represents 10 of the country’s premier hiking trails. Many other hikes are worthy of consideration, but these in particular embody Norway’s...
Rorbuer Lofoten Islands, Norway

Rorbuer of the Lofoten Islands

The brightly colored seaside wooden huts of the Lofoten Islands (rorbuer plural, or rorbu singular) are steeped in tradition, once housing scores of hardened fishermen who made the winter pilgrimage to the world’s most fertile cod fishing...
Hurtigruten to Lofoten

How to Get to the Lofoten Islands

Bodø is the main point of departure for the ferry to the Lofoten Islands. Taking the ferry saves significant time compared to driving and the port of arrival at Moskenes is less than 10 kilometers west of Reine.​..
Lofoten Beach

Lofoten Islands Outdoors

Despite the Arctic location, the Lofoten Islands present myriad ways to get outdoors, and no setting is cooler or more unique. You can bike scenic roads, kayak between fishing villages, climb sheer granite walls, fish like a local...
Lofoten Hiking

Lofoten Islands Hiking

The Lofoten Islands are a grand stage for hiking. Many of the trails have far-reaching views of the mountain spires and sea, and they range from easy beach walks to steep, challenging treks into the Lofoten backcountry...