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Time to visit Norway

4 November 2015

Norway does a fair few things better than any other country, and one amplifies the song of all the other strings of its nomadic bow. Norway's magnum opus is the incredible scope of natural theatre it displays. The landscape is capricious and implacable. However, the plucky Norwegians have managed to build around it and create a country that has nature so intrinsically threaded into its DNA that its essence radiates, just as the Northern Lights do, over one of the 'happiest' countries on earth. 

There has never been a better time to experience Norway, the Aurora is at the height of its powers in the winter months and the exchange rate between the krone and the pound is the best it's been in 10 years. Inevitably superlatives for Norway usually keep their orbit close to its landscapes, though you would be remiss for missing out on its cities, especially Oslo. 

The Urban Canvas

Sitting at the head of the Oslofjord, Norway's capital is hemmed in by nature, from the hilly environs to the north and the great expanse of its fjord to the south, the city cannot escape its influence. You may expect Oslo to be dwarfed by its surrounding landscape, this however, is not the case. The Norwegians have created a city that not only embraces nature, but sometimes surpasses it. And as nature is capable of painting a masterpiece on a natural canvas, man is equally as capable of designing an urban landscape that oozes sophistication and artistry.

And so it is with Oslo, amongst its most striking examples of architecture is the remarkable Opera House. A truly contemporary piece of design that channels the ice cool demeanour of the country itself. Although not initially that impressive, the Opera House's magic takes a little longer than love-at-first-sight admiration, though as sure as Norway's glaciers run deep with ancient ice, this man made glacial showpiece will eventually leave you spellbound.

Oslo also has an emergent art scene, with galleries and museums that can stand toe-to-toe with the best in Europe, and with its expansive 'green space' Norway's capital is as good as any other reason to visit the country. Some of Europe's most spectacular railway lines make their home here too, the Ofoten, Dovre and Nordland Railways traverse the fjord-ridden wilderness with the latter passing into the Arctic Circle, the only train on earth to do so. 

The Ever-moving Aurora

No trip to Norway would be complete without trying to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights, a sight for anyone's bucket list, this natural phenomenon lights up the skies with extra-terrestrial magnetic radiation, creating and out-of-this-world atmosphere. It is one of the reason Norway is such a coveted destination. Winter sees the Aurora come to its zenith in terms of visibility and amongst the best places to see this spectacle is in Tromsø.

You can experience Oslo and have a chance to see the Aurora on a Great Rail Journeys Arctic Circle Express and Northern Lights and Lapland tour.