Southern Norway's coastline attracts crowds in the summer due to its deep blue waters and green hills framing seas full of islands, and during the height of tourist season, most of the travelers you meet are domestic.
It's the villages that attract the natives; picturesque and panoramic Grimstad, Risor and Kragero are camera-ready and charming. However, farther inland, you'll find wooded areas and grassy meadows in Setesdalen, the country's largest stave church in Notodden and caverns and passageways in Kongsberg, a city of silver mining.
All of the southern country isn't unsettled, however. Oslo offers visitors the chance to view Edward Munch's classic painting The Scream, visit a Viking ship, and see what kind of courage ski-jumpers must muster, all in one day, at the city's museums. There's also a vibrant coffeehouse culture and a healthy dose of cosmopolitan living, but what sets Oslo apart from other sizeable European cities is the expanses of woods, islands and lakes within the city's domain. The Oslo Fjord is surrounded by cities of picturesque and historic interest. Manor houses, stone churches, prehistoric sites and more museums are ample and scattered along the area.
And when you're exploring is done, nestle into one of the cottages or lodges we feature to unwind and soak in the spirit of the Norwegian way of life.
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