• Lustrafjord (Sognefjord), Norway

Norwegian Fjords

While Oslo and Bergen are the big draws for tourists, Norway is first and foremost a place of unforgettable natural beauty — and Norway's greatest claims to scenic fame are her deep, lush fjords. The surrounding countryside is decorated with medieval stave churches, fishing boats, cascading waterfalls, dramatic glaciers, and brightly painted shiplap villages. There's a certain mystique about the "land of the midnight sun," but you'll get the most scenic travel thrills per mile, minute, and dollar by going west from Oslo rather than north. The entire west coast is slashed by stunning fjords, and the seductive Sognefjord is tops, with tiny but tough ferries, towering canyons, and isolated farms and villages marinated in the mist of countless waterfalls. Travelers in a hurry zip through the fjords on the "Norway in a Nutshell" route. Their heads spin from all the scenery, and most wish they had more time to linger in fjord country.