Norway’s dramatic fjords lie within a rugged mosaic of more than 30,000 islands and skerries -- dotting the west coast of the country for more than 60,000 miles, from Bergen to Kirkenes. The best way to take it all in is from the water, where the magnitude of the coastline soars overhead. But do get off the boat when you can; that way, you’ll have the chance to delve into green valleys, hike to scenic overlooks, and explore towns and villages that have relied on the endless water for centuries. We recently did just that with Norwegian cruise line Hurtigruten, which has been plying these waters for more than 120 years to immerse travelers in midnight sun, winter snow, and Northern Lights. Here, nine gorgeous photos of Norway for some Monday morning travel eye candy.
Just outside Bergen, the landscape changes from city to country, with pretty settlements set below forested slopes on the banks of the fjords.
In southwestern Norway, the waters of Bringeelva waterfall cascade over more than 1,300 feet of sheer granite before tumbling into Geirangerfjord.
The cliffs that line the Geirangerfjord soar hundreds of feet into the air. Many are lined with their own waterfalls beyond the Bringeelva.
A 500-foot long sea serpent was reportedly seen in nearby Vikna -- a group of 6,000 islands and rocky peninsulas -- in 1926 by two boys who'd forgotten a camera. We didn't see any creatures of giant proportions, but this sunset from the deck of Hurtigruten's MS Polarlys was just as spectacular.
Set on Vikingen Island, this golden globe marks the invisible line of the Arctic Circle.
We cruised through the islands surrounding Harstad, some of which have been inhabited since the 9th century, in the early evening.
Just before reaching this river on the island of Mageroya, a sign reads, "Welcome to our Arctic Paradise." Thousands of reindeer roam here, all owned by local Sami, the region's indigenous people.
This fishing lodge sits just a few miles from the North Cape, Europe’s northernmost point.
Late summer sunsets in the fjords often light up the sky until 10 p.m.
The Norwegian Army ferries thousands of reindeer each spring to their summer feeding ground on Mageroya Island. At the end of the summer, when the water is still warm, they’ll swim back across the channel.