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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