While the priority of most tourists visiting Norway is (understandably) seeing the fjords, the lesser-visited central region, in between fjord country and the frozen north, has plenty to offer in itself, with beautiful countryside, pleasant cities and charming hotels.
Norway’s third-largest city, Trondheim, is the biggest urban area in the central region and the country’s former capital. Home to a large student population and some beautiful parks, central Trondheim is largely pedestrianised, making its museums, cafés and restaurants easily traversable on foot. A couple of hours’ drive inland is Kongsvold Fjeldstue, where a historic mountain lodge, parts of which are hundreds of years old, has been painstakingly restored into a characterful hotel using local materials and techniques. At the nearby Rondane National Park, canyoning, horse riding and riverboarding on the Sjoe River are a great way to get to know the beautiful scenery up close.
Undeniably the biggest draw of Norway’s central region, though, is the stunning Lofoten Islands. Second only to the fjords in terms of Norwegian natural beauty, they’re still surprisingly quiet in terms of tourists – in places they make you feel like you’re taking a step back in time. That’s certainly true of Reine, a small fishing village on the island of Moskenosoya which is home to Reine Rorbuer, a collection of luxurious restored fisherman’s huts. This is a place to take things slow and drink in the natural beauty of the islands, their craggy peaks soaring dramatically from the ocean; sea rafting, fishing trips and kayaking are among the outdoor activities on offer here. Climbing the dramatic pinnacle of Svolvaergeita, on the island of Austvagoya, is a popular pursuit which adorns postcards all over the Lofoten Islands for the stunning view afforded from the top.