Norway is home to dozens of protected national parks, all offering a diverse and different view of the spectacular landscapes that this country has to offer. No matter where you are, there is likely to be at least one major national park within easy driving distance. Norway’s parks are one of the country’s major attractions.
Most of the parks are maintained with visitors in mind, and have miles of marked hiking trails and staffed tourist centres. Some parks contain endangered ecosystems and are more limited to visitor activity. Yet all parks offer travelers both breathtaking scenery and wildlife viewing in the country’s natural habitat, with more than enough to see and explore.
Though there are more than 40 parks, here is a selection of good options from various regions of the country. Many national parks are near one another, so when visiting one, chances are that you’ll discover several others nearby.
Hardangervidda National Park
Hardangervidda, Norway’s largest national park, is to the south of the country between Oslo and Bergen. Distinguished by its rolling hills and open grasslands throughout, it is also marked by crystal clear lakes and gurgling streams. The Hardangerjokulen Glacier is one of the many sights to see, as is Harteigen Mountain. Hardangervidda is home to some of the largest herds of reindeer in the world who move from east to west each year as they migrate. For those who want to explore some human history as well as natural wonders, several Stone Age ruins dot the region. The park offers great tourist facilities, making this a good adventure destination for both young and old.
Dovrefjell-Sunndalsfjella National Park
Looking farther north, the Dovrefjell-Sunndalsfjella park sits amid several others in the region. The flat lowlands of the park are set to the backdrop of the picturesque Dovrefjell mountains, creating a striking contrast. Herds of reindeer and musk ox are the most common large animals to be seen here. Leisurely hiking trails are abundant around the low hills, but heading up to the mountain peaks is reserved tor those in good shape and with some mountaineering experience.
Blaffjella-Skjaekerfjella National Park
North of the city of Trondheim sits Blaffjell-Skjaekerfjella, a rugged park set off the main roads. Not as popular with travelers as some of the other parks, the wild beauty of the mountains, lakes, and forests make it a breathtaking place to visit. Most people venturing out here seek rugged hiking experiences and will find many marked trails to explore. Hunting, fishing and camping all add to the rustic feel, while cabins are available for overnight stays. Though reindeer aren’t part of the local landscape, deer, moose, wolverines and lynx make this park their home. As well, the occasional bear or wolf may be spotted here. The park is more rugged and rustic than others and is perfect for those seeking an off-the-beaten-path adventure.
Nordvest-Spitsbergen National Park
This Norway attraction stands apart from the rest and will appeal to adventurers seeking to get away from it all. Located several hundred miles off the northern coast of Norway on Svalbard Island, it can be reached only by plane. This high Arctic location boasts numerous caves, mountains and hot springs throughout its grassland setting. Polar bears can sometimes be spotted offshore on the ice, and the coastal areas often house groups of walrus.
With so many splendid parks to choose from, adventure abounds to suit every age and interest in Norway’s national parks.
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