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Destination: a romantic winter holiday in Norway; the most surprising ideas

Despite the current month being August, with sunflowers in full bloom and vibrant red apples being harvested in the Hardanger region, winter is coming! I understand that for you, the reader, the notion might appear distant, yet in this area, autumn is short. In the higher reaches of Southern Norway, freezing temperatures can make an early arrival as October. Therefore, it's just about time to book your forthcoming winter holiday in Norway. Or to be more precise; I would rather suggest the most romantic Norwegian winter destinations.

Permit me to embark by asserting that the idea of Norway in the throes of winter may carry a more formidable timbre than the actuality it embodies. In reality, the season unfolds with an enchantment that rivals, if not surpasses, that of summer, its allure magnified by virtue of its extremities. A blanket of snow covers the landscape, the chill is penetrating, and the hues of the wintery colours are undeniably beguiling. The soft radiance of twilight confers upon the scenery an air of enigma. Also small villages and townships undergo a metamorphosis, cocooned in an embrace of cosiness. The gentle glow of cheerful lights is ubiquitous, and the warmth of crackling wood fires permeates the atmosphere in the months leading up to the holiday season. Moreover, the cultural season is in full swing, with concert schedules overflowing, stages abuzz with myriad performances, and gastronomic establishments bustling with activity.

This piece of writing is meant to kindle a spark of inspiration within you, impelling you towards a voyage through wintry Norway. Whether it be a weekend escapade infused with romance, a week of camaraderie and skiing, or perhaps an exploration of the most captivating Christmas markets. Take it from me that it absolutely is a unique experience! I no particular order:

Røros may be a name that has yet to grace your ears. Should such be the case, I commend to your attention the series 'Hjem til Jul' (Home for Christmas), which graced Netflix's catalogue a few years ago. The picturesque and kaleidoscopic lanes of this diminutive town, known as Kjerkgata, were the captivating backdrop to this Norwegian Christmas series that interweaves mirth and poignancy. I vouch that after but a few scenes, you shall find yourself ensnared in its spell, a yearning to embark upon a pilgrimage to Røros enkindled within you. Without delay, I propose the epitome of romance in accommodations: Erzscheidergaarden. For those inclined towards leisurely mornings and a breakfast at your own conveiniance, Ålbyggården proffers an equally alluring option.

To fully get the most out of the experience, ensure your presence between the 7th and 10th of December, when one of Norway's most intimate Christmas markets graces the scene. A mere hour's flight from Oslo aboard Widerøe shall deposit you amidst this festive tapestry. For those in possession of a bit more time, the marriage of Røros with a sojourn to Trondheim is a proposition worth considering. The journey, spanning approximately two hours by car, merely necessitates the prudent reservation of a vehicle, ideally one endowed with four-wheel drive. Snow, ice, the lot.

Should the Northern Lights be your prime reason for a visit to Norway, then I entreat you to read my little piece on this celestial phenomenon, or better yet, to swiftly secure a flight to Tromsø. Beyond the town's mantle of inviting charm, it serves as the portal to Arctic Norway. Here, the prospect of witnessing the Northern Lights is most promising, the spectacle of whale sightings beckons, and an array of epicurean restaurants and bars, about which I shall expound further in a separate discourse dedicated to Tromsø, awaits your discovery. For those among us wanting to see the allure of emerald curtains of light waltzing across the night sky, from the comforts of a generous kingsize bed, seek no further. I mean, this is where you fall in love...with the Northern lights.

For those as clumsy as myself, friends compare my physique with that of a llama, the forthcoming passage may hold little appeal. However, for the accomplished sportsperson, prepared to dust off their skiing gear and arrange an icy expedition to Hemsedal or Beitostølen, opportunities await. Mark my words! Each destination is equally worth a winter adventure and are only a several hours' journey from Oslo. Unlike several European counterparts grappling with the ramifications of shifting climatic patterns, an assurance of abundant snowfall beyond December can be secured in these enclaves, complemented by superlative skiing infrastructure. Pray tell, have you seen the utter 'coolness' and elegance of Telemark skiing? How would that look on the slopes.

Naturally, the capital city exudes an inviting ambience during the winter months. In proximity to the parliamentary building, a grand Christmas market is set up every year, summoning enthusiasts to partake in ice-skating, savour mugs of mulled wine, and intermittently engage with the personage of Santa Claus. Yet, it must be acknowledged that elements of kitsch pervade these proceedings, in my modest opinion.

Those who, akin to myself, seek an atmosphere of authentic snugness shall find several options at their disposal. Of these, two stand out as particularly enchanting: the Christmas market within Bærums Verk, and the charming village of Drøbak. The latter warrants special attention, not merely for its picturesque scenery, but also for the profusion of Santa Claus figurines that abound, alluding to a certain seasonal icon. A mere thirty-minute drive from Oslo, Drøbak beckons.

While in the capital, I entreat you to indulge yourself with a few nights at the Amerika linjen, a hotel of absolute distinction. In the downstairs bar, a menu of cocktails awaits that is destined to etch itself into your memory. Once your selection is made, a knowledgeable steward shall tell you with the entire tale of the chosen cocktail (which is often related to Norwegians emigrating to the United States), an experience that transcends the ordinary. Furthermore, nestled in the depths of this establishment is a jazz club, adding another layer to the overall sense of elevated indulgence. A jazzclub! I mean, come on!

As an antidote to the bustling city of Oslo, the allure of an exquisite cabin awaits a mere hour's drive from the capital. Should your heart yearn to immerse itself within the tranquil embrace of this wondrous land, there exists no need to search further. Gazing upon a panorama of snow-laden hills, a riverside sauna, accompanied by an invigorating ice bath for the cold-hearted, and the coveted possession of a private jacuzzi coalesce to create an idyllic setting, especially in wintertime. Few scenarios surpass this in terms of romantic allure. Beside the hearth, alongside a cherished companion, a bottle of fine wine, and the exchange of profound conversations, life is smiling! Book one here, but be swift in deciding. These cabins sell out! No need to question why. And I can tell, because I was there in a brief, precious moment in time.

If you're planning a romantic (long) weekend in Oslo, please do not hesitate to read the separate article I wrote on the matter.

**Getting there: a car makes your life in wintry Norway easy and comfortable. For the best overview of what's on offer, I would like to suggest to have a look here. One could consider a four-by-four. Just slightly more easy to drive on snowy roads. Let the adventure commence!


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