- Gudvangen (Sognefjord), Norway
at the end of Aurlandsfjord, an arm of the mighty Sognefjord, this
village nestles between two cliffs streaked with waterfalls. Here,
aboard the Flam Railway, you can take an incredible mountain train
ride that climbs to a lofty 2,800 ft. above sea level, where the
views are beyond description. Later, rejoin the ship at the
village of Gudvangen.
ancient port, founded in 1070, figured in many Viking sagas. In
its heyday it was the trading headquarters for Germanys Hanseatic
League. You'll find architectural reminders of this past
everywhere you turn: in old Bryggen, with its gabled merchants'
houses, museums and shops; in the 13th century Bergenhus fortress;
and at Hakon's coronation hall. And just outside town is the
"Hill of Trolls" and the lakeside Victorian villa of
composer Edvard Grieg.
- Geiranger, Norway
cliffs descending to calm waters. Green forests dotted with quaint
villages. The fjords are a sublime experience. And the
Geirangerfjord, with its Seven Sisters and Bridal Veil waterfalls,
is known as the most beautiful of all. We'll pause in the hamlet
of Hellesylt, tucked at the end of Sunnylvsfjord, where you can
disembark for a drive along the heights of Geirangerfjord before
rejoin-ing the ship at the town of Geiranger at the innermost part
of the fjord. From the top of Mount Dalsnibba, the Marco Polo
seems like a tiny floating toy in the fjord far below.
Viking days, life in this city at the head of a fjord has revolved
around the water. Maritime museums offer visions of the past with
their Viking burial ships and Thor Heyerdahl's Kon Tiki. While
today's harbor-front charms are evident at the Aker Brygge
complex. For another perspective, take the tram to the 154-foot
Tryvann Observation Tower for sweeping views of the giant Oslo
Marka forest. Or see the unusual Vigeland sculptures of Frogner