Rick Steves

4 Adventurous Ways to Enjoy Western Norway's Natural Beauty

Rugged yet serene, Norway's western region, with its mountainous landscapes and breathtaking fjords, offers the perfect combination of relaxation and adventure for the nature lover.

To help kick off an invigorating sightseeing voyage there, Rick Steves breaks down the best places to visit and activities to do. Whether you're planning an upcoming trip to Norway or just enjoy daydreaming of one, this episode of "Rick Steves' Europe" features some great ideas to give you some inspiration...check them out!

Get more details on western Norway by watching the full episode. The program airs weeknights at 7:30 p.m., so be sure to catch it for even more travel inspiration.

1. Hike Europe's biggest glacier

What better way to start a quintessential Norwegian outdoor adventure than with a glacier visit? Norway is home to mainland Europe's largest surviving glacier, the Jostedal, which covers more than 150 miles. You can experience the majesty of this natural beauty by visiting the glacier's most accessible branch -- The Nigard Glacier. You'll catch a boat to get there, and then a park guide will prep you for an unforgettable icy hike along its blue cliffs. The views and journey look unbeatable.

2. Cruise through scenic Norwegian fjords

For a relaxing yet thrilling view of the country's most scenic fjord, Nærøyfjord, hop on a ferry. Traditional ferries are popular among tourists and locals alike and offer an awesome visual tour of the narrow, 10-mile long fjord.

Thrill seekers will get a kick out of the speedier Fjord Safari boat tour. For this high-speed ride, participants get all covered up in full-body weather suits, hats and goggles, and enjoy the included guided tour.

3. Jaunt through Norway's mountainous spine

A great complement to visiting Nærøyfjord is to do a guided daytrip along the rest of fjord country. The "Norway in a Nutshell" tour, which Steves recommends in the episode, takes visitors from steep mountains down to the fjords and back -- by way of train, boat, and bus -- stopping at the area's most scenic sights. It's the perfect way to see the natural wonders Norway has to offer.

4. Take a funicular to the top of Bergen

No trip to western Norway would be complete without seeing it's second largest city and historic capital, Bergen. With its charming cobbled streets, colorful wooden houses, and spectacular views, the city is understandably popular with visitors. The best way to take in those views is to take the hillside funicular above the city. You'll climb 1,000 feet to the top of Mount Fløyen, where you'll enjoy the best views of the town, as well as its surrounding islands and fjords.

Imagine looking out at the sunset with a picnic dinner and good company...it doesn't get much better than that.

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Nærøyfjord | Photo: Andrew Macpherson/Flickr/Creative Commons License

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European Travel Skills, Part II

The second episode in this three-part mini-series distills Rick Steves' 30 years of travel experience into 30 minutes of practical advice on how to have a fun, affordable, and culturally broadening trip to Europe. Shot on location in Amsterdam, Germany's Rhineland, Venice, Siena, the Italian Riviera, the Swiss Alps, Paris, and London, these episodes cover Rick's favorite 3,000-mile European loop while providing viewers with essential travel skills.

  • 2019-12-05T01:00:00-08:00
    KCET-HD

European Travel Skills, Part III

The last episode in this three-part mini-series distills Rick Steves' 30 years of travel experience into 30 minutes of practical advice on how to have a fun, affordable, and culturally broadening trip to Europe. Shot on location in Amsterdam, Germany's Rhineland, Venice, Siena, the Italian Riviera, the Swiss Alps, Paris, and London,these episodes cover Rick's favorite 3,000-mile European loop while providing viewers with essential travel skills.

  • 2019-12-06T01:00:00-08:00
    KCET-HD

Western Turkey

From the port of Kusadasi, we wander the streets of ancient Ephesus, soak in a natural spa at Pamukkale, learn why the dervishes whirl at Konya, munch lunch in a Turkish pizzeria, and cruise the Mediterranean on a traditional Turkish gulet from Antalya. Turkey is a mighty nation whose ancient heritage, Muslim faith, and western ways are coming together...and we'll see how.



  • 2019-12-09T01:00:00-08:00
    KCET-HD

Central Turkey

We marvel at the fascinating landscape of Cappadocia from high above in a balloon...and from deep below, prowling an underground city where Christians once hid out. We'll join a circumcision party, explore troglodyte ghost towns, shop for sheep at the market, and chat with an imam. Then we enjoy the modern capital, Ankara, and pay our respects to the father of modern Turkey, Ataturk.

  • 2019-12-10T01:00:00-08:00
    KCET-HD

France's Loire: Chateau Country

Along the Loire River Valley, the beautiful French countryside is studded with evocative chateaux. Home-basing in Amboise, we visit four unique castles: elegant Chenonceau, massive Chambord, stately Cheverny, and fragrant Villandry. Along the way, we tour Leonardo's home, feed hunting dogs, enjoy the local cuisine, and savor a princely garden.

  • 2019-12-11T01:00:00-08:00
    KCET-HD

Paris Side-Trips

Side-tripping from Paris into the Ile-de-France, we indulge in the world of royal and aristocratic extravagance in the pre-Revolutionary playground of France's elite. We explore Versailles, Europe's palace of palaces; exquisite Vaux le Vicomte; and extravagant Fontainebleau, home to centuries of French rulers. We'll also marvel at the glass and statuary of Chartres cathedral and dine like kings.



  • 2019-12-12T01:00:00-08:00
    KCET-HD

The Best of Israel

We start in Jerusalem, alive with religious tradition and passion - Christian, Muslim, and Jewish. We then visit cosmopolitan Tel Aviv, with its in-love-with-life beaches; ponder the sad fortress of Masada; and join pilgrims at biblical sights around the Sea of Galilee. We'll also pay our respects at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, drop into an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood, and savor the local cuisine.

  • 2019-12-13T01:00:00-08:00
    KCET-HD

Palestine

Palestine is the Muslim and Arab half of the Holy Land. After visiting Jerusalem, we harvest olives near Ramallah, follow pilgrims to the place of Jesus' birth in Bethlehem, approach Abraham's tomb - as both Jews and Muslims do - in Hebron, drop in on friends for dinner, and bob in the Dead Sea. We'll also learn about walls, Israeli settlements, and the challenges facing this region.

  • 2019-12-16T01:00:00-08:00
    KCET-HD

Italy's Riviera: Cinque Terre

Exploring Italy's most remote and romantic stretch of Riviera, we visit five tiny port towns: dramatic Vernazza, surrounded by vineyards; reclusive Corniglia, high on its bluff; pastel Manarola; hardscrabble Riomaggiore; and the pint-sized resort of Monterosso. Fishing for anchovies, sipping wine out of rustic barrels, and savoring twinkling Mediterranean vistas, we enjoy the ultimate Riviera adventure.

  • 2019-12-17T01:00:00-08:00
    KCET-HD

Italy's Veneto: Verona, Padua, and Ravenna

In the shadow of Venice, we visit three great cities. Padua is famed for its venerable university, precious Giotto frescoes, and pilgrim-packed Basilica. Verona is a hit with aficionados of Roman ruins and Romeo and Juliet fans. And Ravenna, with its shimmering mosaics, was once the western bastion of the Byzantine Empire. We enliven each stop with a tasty dose of Italian dolce vita.



  • 2019-12-18T01:00:00-08:00
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Amsterdam

Europe's best-preserved 17th-century city, Amsterdam is quaint and jarring, traditional and modern. Filled with history and happy-go-lucky, it's a delight to explore. Uniquely entertaining Amsterdam shows us Rembrandts and Van Goghs, more bikes than cars, flirting prostitutes, and pot-filled coffeeshops - all under tall, skinny facades leaning out below quaint church towers.

  • 2019-12-19T01:00:00-08:00
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The Netherlands Beyond Amsterdam

By train, bike, and boat, we visit the top Dutch sights outside of Amsterdam: from Haarlem to Rotterdam, and from Delft to the Zuiderzee. Along the way, we enjoy charming towns with fragrant cheese markets, soggy polderland, mighty dikes, and windmills both new and old. Rolling through the Netherlands and connecting with its people, you can't help but think, "Everything's so... Dutch!"

  • 2019-12-20T01:00:00-08:00
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