Built on 14 islands at the junction of the Baltic Sea and Lake Mälaren, Stockholm is beautiful no matter how you look at it, but one of the best ways to get a feel for the city’s intricate maze of islands and waterways is to head to one of the viewing towers or scenic viewpoints where you can look down on Stockholm from above. Here are some of the best places to get a bird’s-eye view of the “Venice of the North.”
Off the Beaten Path in Denmark: History and Nature in the Ertholmene Archipelago
Far out in the Baltic, 171 kilometers (106 miles) from Copenhagen, lies the Ertholmene Archipelago, Denmark’s most remote islands. More commonly called Christiansø, after the largest island, the archipelago has been administered by the Danish Ministry of Defense since 1684, when King Christian V had a naval fortress built here during a period of conflict between Denmark and Sweden. The original fortress consisted of the two towers and four batteries that can still be seen today.
Exploring the Norwegian Fjords: The Hardangerfjord
If the Sognefjord is the King of the Fjords, then the Hardangerfjord is the Queen. At 179 kilometers (111 miles) long, it’s Norway’s second-longest fjord and is easily accessible from Bergen and other places along the southwest coast. The main fjord carves inland from the Atlantic Ocean about 80 km (50 mi) south of Bergen before splitting…
Exploring the Norwegian Fjords: The Sognefjord
Sometimes called the King of the Fjords, the Sognefjord is Norway’s longest and deepest fjord, stretching 204 kilometers (127 miles) and reaching depths of up to 1,308 meters (4,291 feet). It’s the second-longest fjord in the world, surpassed only by Scoresby Sund in Greenland.
Hardangervidda High: Crossing Norway’s Vast Mountain Plateau on the Bergen Railway
The railway between Norway’s two main cities, Oslo and Bergen, is one of the world’s most scenic train rides, passing through green agricultural valleys and across the country’s “roof,” the barren yet beautiful Hardangervidda plateau.
Exploring Bergen’s Seven Mountains
The number seven seems to be a magic number when it comes to hills. Rome was famously built on seven hills, and many other cities have made similar claims, including San Francisco, Seattle, Melbourne, Barcelona, and Istanbul, to name just a few. In Bergen, Norway, the residents dream even bigger: The city boasts not seven hills but seven mountains surrounding the city center.
From Mountains to Fjord on the Flåm Railway
One of Norway’s iconic train experiences, the Flåm Railway covers a distance of just 20.2 kilometers (12.5 miles) but changes 863.meters (2833 feet) in altitude, making for a dramatic ride. One of the steepest normal-gauge railways in the world, the route runs between the small highland station of Myrdal on the Oslo-Bergen line and the village of Flåm on the shores of the Aurlandsfjord, an arm of the world’s longest fjord, the Sognefjord.
View from the Top: The Holmenkollen Ski Jump and Ski Museum
If you’ve ever wondered what it feels like to stand at the top of a ski jump, a visit to Holmenkollen is your chance to find out. Located at the top of a hill on the western outskirts of Oslo, the ski jump is the most modern in the world.