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You need only have a quick glance at a map of Norway to guess where the main attractions are: that jagged coastline is home to Norway's world famous Fjords. Almost 22,000 kilometers of dramatic coastline, glacial melting waters plunging down cliffs into fjords more than 100 kilometers long, tens of thousands of islands and skerries, and none of it is off limits. If the outdoors is where you feel comfortable, and if you would rather not stand in line to look at nature, welcome to Norway!

Located on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northwest Europe, Norway's geography is a constant reminder of the last Ice Age. In the central high plateaus of Southern Norway, the alpine terrain culminates at the peaks of Glittertind (2470m.) and Galdhøpiggen (2469m.). Several glaciers, most famous of which are Jostedalsbreen and Svartisen ("The Black Ice") are present day remains of ice that carved the many deep fjords and left behind fertile valleys with meandering rivers. Although home to the northern tip of Europe--Nordkapp, or North Cape--the country enjoys a mild climate for its latitude, in part due to the warm currents from the Gulf of Mexico. Apart from its awe inspiring fjords (the biggest of which are Sognefjord and Hardangerfjord), popular sights are the Lofoten islands, the beautiful Sørlandet (the South Coast), and the many charming towns and cities, most of which are found along water's edge. Norway is home to 4.5 million people, and occupies an area of 323.759 square kilometers.

The principal cities are Oslo, the Capital of Norway; Bergen, the historic port city on the West Coast, and Trondheim, the Viking Age Capital and home to Northern Europe's only medieval Gothic Cathedral. Tromso, the "Gateway to the Arctic" is a lively city, centrally located among Northern Norway's spectacular scenery.

If you want even more adventure, head for the Arctic islands of Svalbard (a.k.a. Spitsbergen) where Polar Bears frequent the (usually snowcovered) streets of Longyear City.


BERGEN

Bergen, the capital of Western Norway, also known as the city between the 7 mountains and the gateway to the fjords. The city is the second largest in Norway, with its 247 123 inhabitants (updated 1st of October 2007).

It was founded by Olav Kyrre in 1070, and became capital instead of Trondheim (Nidaros) until 1299, when this function was moved to Oslo. Bergen was the largest city in Norway until the 1830s.

The climate is mild, caused by the Gulf Stream, however even in summer it tends to rain a lot, and the temperatures normally don't go past 225-28 degrees. Because of it being surrounded by lots of mountains, Bergen gets a lot of rain - normally more than 200 days per year. In 2007 it rained continously for 84 days.


Sightseeing and activities

Bergen is nicely located for outdoors activities, walking/ hiking in particular, on the coast and surrounded by mountains. The mountains are very popular destinations for the locals at weekends, especially Ulriken and Fløyen - where you also can get to by cable car and funicular.

As for other places to see, there's Akvariet (the Aquarium), Trollhaugen (the home of the composer Edvard Grieg), Fantoft Stave Church, Bryggen (the Harbour), the Rosenkrantz Tower, Old Bergen Museum and various other museums and attractions.


Nightlife

As a large-ish city Bergen has quite a varied nightlife. It has a large student population, for whom places such as Kvarteret and Hulen are popular. There are also loads of different cafés and bars, such as Bocca, Café Opera, Era and Aroma. Other places to go (clubs) are Ovenpå, Z-Club, Mojo, C49 and Exodus. For food, try Bølgen & Moi, Enhjørningen, To Kokker, or for cheaper stuff - Egon or Peppes, or one of the Chinese or Indian restaurants.


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