Norwegians are pretty good at pushing their own limits. So follow their lead and heighten your adrenaline with these unique adventures in and around Norway.
“I can’t believe I’m going to do this,” I think to myself as I glance around the single-engine plane crammed with beaming seasoned jumpers.
I suck in my nerves and focus on the conversations happening around me. A few jumpers are singing, some are discussing tricks they hope to accomplish on the way down, and another is crouched in the corner writing the details of this dive in a well-worn notebook.
Clearly, I am the only one terrified.
All of a sudden, the door is open. One by one, the divers before me jump with glee.
My tandem partner signals me to start moving toward the door. I inch forward with my heart pounding and my mind swirling.
The plane is starting to feel empty now, which signals that it is almost my turn. I feel the wind nipping at my jump suit, as I cover the last inch of the plane floor leaving my feet dangling freely.
In an instant, my partner throws us from the lip of the plane.
We are falling fast through a cloud, and I am shocked how cold it is. I can see rain drops and frost on my goggles as I gasp for air.
Within minutes, we break free and the parachute billows above me.
Instantly a peacefulness replaces my panic as my eyes soak up the view that is all around me. I see sunbeams streaming through the clouds, illuminating snow-capped mountain peaks, gorgeously green fields, fast-flowing white water rivers, and rain spilling from the sky onto a nearby fjord.
It is a splendid view that only required 13,000 feet to see.
WHAT TO DO
Between the months of April and August, take the plunge with Skydive Voss (www.skydivevoss.com), the largest skydiving club in Norway. Whether you are new to this extreme sport or jump regularly, I promise the view is one of a kind.
BIKE, HIKE & CLIMB – Himmelstigen to Trolltunga
Ramp up your heart rate with a breathtaking tour through unspoiled nature with Opplev Odda (www.opplevodda.com). The route is ranked as one of the “top 10 awe-inspiring places around the world” by TripAdvisor. Available between June and October, the eight-to-10-hour tour is only for travelers over 15 years of age.
CLIMB THE HIGH ROPES COURSE
Visit the scenic climbing park at Voss Klatrepark (www.vossklatrepark.com). The park contains four small runs and two major trails with a total of 55 different climbing and balance challenges. Taking their motto “Adventure for Everyone” very seriously, they even have a trail specifically designed for the little ones with no minimum age requirement.
From mid-November to the end of April, hit the slopes at Voss Resort in Bavallen (www.vossresort.com) and Voss Fjellandsby in Myrkdalen (www.vossfjellandsby.com). Voss is one of the most snow-reliable ski destinations in Norway and has 31 miles of well-prepped slopes, ranging from forest trails to high alpine runs.
BLUE ICE WALK
Glaciers are no doubt stunning from any distance, but trekking up close and personal is an experience of a lifetime. Sign up for a guided tour of the Folgefonna glacier with Folgefonni Breførarlag (www.folgefonni-breforarlag.no) between mid-June and the end of August. Each tour is adjusted to fit its participants; for some it will include ice climbing into a crevasse while others will opt for a quiet and peaceful walk.
ON THE WATER
Take the whole family white water rafting with Voss Rafting (www.vossrafting.com). Or don a wetsuit, flippers and a helmet to navigate the rapids on your own terms while riverboarding.
Slip into a kayak for a guided day tour of the World Heritage park with Nordic Ventures (www.nordicventures.com), which includes the Nærøyfjord, rated by the National Geographic Society as the world’s number one natural World Heritage site along with Geirangerfjord. Fun Fact: It was used as the inspiration for Arendelle in Disney’s Frozen.
FOR THE HISTORY BUFF Bergen
Meander the narrow cobblestone streets of Bryggen (Norwegian for wharf), an enchanting area along the Vagen Harbor which was established in the 1360s and includes 61 colorful and often sagging wooden buildings that originally housed trading firms. Book a room at the Clarion Collection Hotel Havnekontoret (www.nordicchoicehotels.com), a hip hotel located in the historical core of the city that caters to celebrities like Rihanna and Kayne West. Hop on the funicular to Mount Fløyen, where the view is astounding and trolls have been spotted along the hiking trails. Head to the Edvard Munch exhibition at the KODE Art Museums of Bergen (www.kodebergen.com) to get a peak at a unique version of The Scream, which Munch drew with pen and ink. Enjoy the sunset over the fjord with a table on the outdoor terrace at Kafe Kippers (www.usf.no). Housed in an old sardine-canning factory, the café has an artsy vibe and tasty cuisine.
FOR THE NATURE LOVER Geirangerfjord – Ålesund & Sunnmøre
Be close to nature with a 3- or 5-hour meditative hike in complete silence with Merete’s Zen Garden (www.mereteszengarden.no). Enjoy a sightseeing cruise aboard the M/S Geirangerfjord (www.geirangerfjord.no) and discover the UNESCO World Heritage Geirangerfjord and the famous “Seven Sisters” waterfalls. Enjoy the stylish, spacious and comfortable rooms at the Quality Hotel Waterfront (www.nordicchoicehotels.com). Lastly, soak up some Norwegian history at the Sunnmøre Museum (www.sunnmore.museum.no) and marvel at around 40 historic seacraft, including replicas of Viking-era ships and a commercial trading vessel from AD 1000.
WHAT TO PACK TO BE WARM
Charger Jacket in Blue Slate $399 Obermeyer
Process NX Ski Pant $299 Obermeyer
Henrik Loen in Burgundy $279 Moods of Norway
Corra Jacket in Black $249.50 Obermeyer
Sunday Beanie $29.50 Obermeyer
Kodiak Ski Pant $249 Obermeyer
Isoline Travel Set $495 Tabula Rasa