WITH Emirates Airline’s daily connection to capital Oslo, Norway is likely to become a prime winter destination for travellers from the Middle East this year. The Land of the Midnight Sun by summer, Norway is also a popular ski destination. The country was home to the Vikings, who have left their mark in history and to the legend of trolls, who have left their mark on forklore and children’s tales. There are a number of reasons to head to Norway, not least of which are:
The Scandinavian country is famous for its deep fjords, two of which, the Geirangerfjord and the Nærøyfjord, feature on the Unesco World Heritage list. The Sognefjord, the longest of them all, and the Hardangerfjord, famed for its cherry and apple trees, are among the most visited.
The northern lights are a common natural phenomenon in northern Norway, and are most commonly observed above the Arctic Circle between late autumn and early spring.
The sun does not set in summer over the Arctic Circle, meaning visitors to northern Norway enjoy 24 hours of daylight this time of year.
The weather in Norway is much milder than one would expect. Because of the Gulf Stream and warm air currents caused by the ‘coriolis effect’, temperatures along the coast of Norway are 5 to 8°C higher than at comparable latitudes elsewhere.
The Vikings have a bad reputation as raiders, but they were also traders, explorers and settlers, and the legacy from the Viking Age (AD 800-1050) lives on.
THE SAMI PEOPLE
The Sami are the indigenous people of Norway. Known for their colourful clothes and the huge herds of reindeer they look after, the Sami have been living in northern Scandinavia for over 10,000 years, and today they have their own parliament in Karasjok.
Norway’s success in the Winter Olympics is unrivalled, and the country has a total of 329 medals (118 gold, 111 silver and 100 bronze) to its tally. The best ever games for Norway were the Lillehammer winter games in 1994, when Norway, which was competing on home turf, topped the medal table, having won 26 medals, of which 10 are gold.
Trolls are an important part of Norwegian folklore. They vary in size and appearance, but are invariably ugly and messy creatures, and always mischievous. They usually live in caves or deep in the forest, and only emerge from their hiding places after sunset - legend has it that they turn to stone upon contact with the sun. Several places in Western and Northern Norway have been named after them, such as Trollheimen, Trollstigen, Trollhatten and Trollveggen.
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