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Countries Information & Lifestyle
 Norway Norway

Country Information & Lifestyle

Romasdal is the deep valley stretching some 40 km from the county line near Bjorli to the Romsdal fjord at the small town of Andalsnes. The valley features some of the most spectacular scenery in the entire country. Gorges with lovely rapids and waterfalls, and some of the highest cliffs in Europe. Romsdal with Isterdalen and nearly Isfjorden and Elkesdalen valleys are home to the Romsdal Alps a group of breathtaking alpine summits. Easily viewed from the main road and the railway runs close.

Andalsnes sits at the mouth of Rauma river, opposite the village of Veblungsnes. It is also the terminal station for the Raumabanen railway line running through the valley. Near Andalsnes the main Romsdal valley converges with the shorter but even more dramatic Isterdal valley, home to famous Trollstigen hairpin road and mountain pass as well as more wild summits.

Andalsnes with its valleys (Romsdalen and Isterdalen) is the centre for Norwegian alpine sport, rock face climbing and mountaineering. There are also endless opportunities for pleasant walks on paths in the mountain valleys as well as challenging scrambles to impressive summits.
Drive,or go by bus, up Trollstigen road which is located some 15 kilometers outside Andalsnes. Trollstigen is a road that is encircled by enormous mountains and goes in sharp curves up the mountain side. The road is normally closed from October to May, but is open during the summer months. On the top one has a spectacular view over the valley and the Trollstigen road itself. Route 63 through Trollstigen is Andalsnes-Geiranger is a national scenic road.

Romsdal Outdoor Folk Museum based in the town of Molde is one of the largest and most extensive folk museums in Norway. It is an aspect of life in the Romsdal valley from the 14th to the 20th century.

The Lofoten Islands in Norway offer epic vistas, remote art installations The E10 highway winds sinuously along the Lofoten archipelago. Hopping between islands over a series of bridges, the road comes to an abrupt end at the village of (pronounced o in English), which, fittingly enough, is the last letter of the Norwegian alphabet.

The landscapes in this corner of the world are breathtaking, particularly on the western coast of Lofoten, where, you will drive past shimmering fjords, soaring mountains and white sandy beaches. Past old, brightly-coloured fishermen's cottages clustered together in small coastal villages, and epic panoramas appear at every turn. Eagles soaring through the skies above,scanning th ocean for prey.

Floating 200km (124 miles) north of the Arctic Circle, Lofoten juts out from Norway's island-studded coastline and into the chilly Norwegian Sea, which has sustained the archipelago's fishermen for well over 1,000 years. Fishermen's cottages, known locally as rorbuer, are the quintessential form of accommodation on the islands.

Simple but atmospheric, these stilted properties are usually perched above the shore and offer stunning vistas as standard. From a cottage in Olenilsoy is something to behold, across the fjord you will see a cluster of yellow cottages, framed by fang-like mountains, all of which reflect in the limpid waters of the Reinefjord.

Lofoten is reached by ferry from Bodo on the mainland, cruising over a sea flat as glass, but Lofoten is renowned for its phenomenal tidal currents, which were the inspiration for Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Edgar Allan Poe's dramatically titled A Descent into the Maelstrom.

The archipelago is certainly a land of contrasts. In the summer months the midnight sun never sets, instead rolling lazily along the horizon, with sandy beaches such as Utakleiv, Unstad and Eggum providing spectacular spots for midnight sunbathing.

During the winter, however, the darkened islands provide one of the best locations in the world for viewing the northern lights an unforgettable sight as they flush green across the sky, above glittering silhouettes of snow-streaked mountains and the red and yellow fisherman's cottages.

As if the landscape weren't enough, there are plenty of cultural attractions to be found on Lofoten. The island of Vestvuguy has a reconstruction of the largest Viking longhouse ever found. Historians believe it may have been the seat of one of the most powerful chieftains in northern Norway. The stone fort of Eggum is the site of a German radar station during WW2.

Despite the islands' apparently unspoiled beauty, and their recent submission to be on UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites, there remains a note of uncertainty to their future. Plans for oil exploration and possible offshore drilling in the sea around Lofoten, though postponed, have not been shelved, and many believe the threat this poses potentially catastrophic for the environment and fishing, not to mention tourism may have been only temporarily averted.

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