A stop in Amsterdam offers the chance to explore the sights of one of Europe’s most colorful, dynamic and historic cities—one with a well-earned reputation as a laid-back and inviting place for people of all stripes. Visitors are naturally drawn to the historic city center where you’ll find some of the world’s top art museums, including the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum. And at Dam Square, the Amsterdam’s largest public square, you can tour the Royal Palace before continuing to the tourist attractions on the Canal Belt. The iconic network of waterways that surrounds the downtown area offers a picturesque backdrop for sightseeing by bike or canal boat. Be sure to visit the floating Bloemenmarkt to peruse famed Dutch tulips, and take time to wander and window-shop among the narrow lanes of de Jordaan. And you won’t have to look far in Amsterdam to find delicious Dutch treats along the way. Just duck into a cozy brown café to sample a plate of bitterballen with mustard and a beer, and grab a gooey sweet stroopwafel from a street vendor as you stroll.
In the shadow of snowy peaks and near stunning blue-green fjords, Eidfjord is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful villages in Norway. Even though it has a population of less than 1,000, scores of visitors come here each year to bask in the area's natural splendor. Hardangervidda, near Eidfjord, is Europe's largest mountain plateau as well as Norway's largest national park. Interestingly, the legendary polar explorer Roald Amundsen, who led the first expedition to reach the South Pole, and Fridtjof Nansen, who made the first successful crossing of the Greenland interior, both used Hardangervidda to prepare for their expeditions. Walking, hiking, cycling and cross-country skiing are popular, and the area is home to Europe's largest population of wild reindeer.
Alesund is tucked amongst coastal islands separated by fjords, the city of Alesund is north of Bergen and south of Trondheim on Norway’s western coast. Ålesund is known for its beautiful Art Nouveau architecture which give it its distinctive fairytalelike character. A busy harbor – active for centuries – is where fishermen go to sell their cod to merchants who pack and ship the fish around the world. Local residents buy their shellfish, salmon and cod right off the boats moored in the Brosundet – the canal that bisects the city. Connected to the mainland by three of the world’s longest sub-sea tunnels, Alesund’s Giske Islands are home to a 12th century marble church, the historic Alnes Lighthouse and preserved Stone Age dwellings at Skjonghellaren Cave. Ornithologically minded nature lovers will want to visit Runde, Norway’s southernmost and largest bird rock, located near Alesund. Geirangerfjord and Hjorundfjord – two of the country’s most beautiful and well-known fjords – entice visitors and locals alike, who explore their beauty aboard boat tours that leave from downtown Alesund.
Geiranger is a small tourist town in the western part of Norway in the region called Sunnmøre in the municipality of Stranda. It lies at the head of the Geirangerfjord, which is a branch of the Storfjord. The nearest city is Ålesund. Geiranger is home to some of the most spectacular scenery in the world, and has been described as the best travel destination in Scandinavia. In 2005, the Geirangerfjord was listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site. Impressive waterfalls gush down almost vertical mountainsides, among them the famous falls, De syv søstrene (the Seven Sisters), Friaren (the Suitor) and Brudesløret (the Bridal Veil). Other attractions include the Trollstigen mountain road, the Gudbrandsjuvet Gorge and Geiranger Fjordsenter With exhibits about the history, the colourful people and the fabulous natural scenery of the area.
Beautiful Bergen, Norway’s second-largest city, is one of the most popular ports of call on a cruise up the fjords. Step off the ship into the medieval Bryggen wharf area, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979, where small boats line the harbor and wooden gabled buildings stand proud along the waterfront. Bergen’s rich maritime tradition goes back nearly 1,000 years, including the years the town played an important part in the Hanseatic League, the trading empire that dominated maritime commerce in the region between the 14th and 18th centuries. The city is one of Europe’s oldest settlements, and its cobblestone streets and narrow alleyways lead to emerald-green parks, medieval cathedrals and stone fortresses that kept enemies at bay centuries ago. It's also eminently walkable, with historic buildings and excellent markets selling everything from fish and produce to trinkets and souvenirs.