28 March 2014

Fjord Fiesta! A Norwegian Road Trip from Bergen to Oslo

Norway is one of the safest places to drive in the world, partly because driving regulations are strictly enforced; instead you have to watch out for elk and deer, which can stray onto the roads without warning. The journey from Bergen to Oslo is ideal for exploring Norway’s most popular tourist areas, passing through a large mountain plateau and Norway’s most expansive national park. There are fjords of course, and you will also see the huge craggy mountains with waterfalls cascading down their sides that inspired stories about trolls; along with some prime examples of the country’s cultural heritage.
Mount Fløyen

The first place to stop is still inside Bergen; close to the Fish Market is the start of the funicular railway that takes you almost vertically up Mount Fløyen. 



At the top you can enjoy a grandstand view of the city below and the fjords that guard the approach from the sea. It is the starting point for a number of walks, or you can simply enjoy the panorama from the comfort of the café and restaurant.
Steinsdalsfossen Waterfall

Rushing down a drop of 46 meters, the waterfall is found near the town of Norheimsund. It is particularly spectacular when the thaw arrives in May and June. Mesmerising from the outside, there is a very different view to be had from a path that takes you behind the cascade; and again at night when it is floodlit.
Hardangervidda Mountain Plateau

Home to the largest highland plateau in Northern Europe, Hardangervidda is the biggest national park in Norway, and home to the largest heard of wild reindeer. Following the herds after the ice age retreated ancient man built over 250 prehistoric dwellings in the area, some dating back as far as 6300 BC. 



Satnavs are useful in this region, you can check if they are available with your hire car online at Alamo Car Hire or Auto Europe.
Hardangerfjord

The second largest fjord in Norway, but definitely the most beautiful; the area is known as the country’s orchard and is especially spectacular in spring when all the fruit trees are in blossom. The ideal way to see the fjord is on a boat trip, where you can imagine what it would have been like when Viking long boats ruled the waters.



Modum Blaafarveværket

These are the Blue Colour Works where cobalt has been mined since the 1770s and used to produce coloured glass and pigment for paints. The buildings now house an important art collection and the mines have been opened as a tourist attraction.
Akershus Fortress

Signifying the end of the trip, the fortress is a medieval castle that was built to guard the capital city of Oslo. Dating back to 1290, it is still in use today as a venue for official functions.


27 March 2014

Explore the Beautiful Belgian city of Zeebrugge


Zeebrugge is a seaside destination on the coastline of Belgium that is a subdivision of the country's capital city, Bruges. It is the location of the city’s international port, but visitors will find so much more than this on a trip. 

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Sights to See

Zeebrugge has a wide sandy beach that is a
popular attraction for locals and visitors alike. The seafront area along this is well developed and there are many restaurants, cafes, and shops to enjoy. Those that travel into the centre of Bruges should visit the Belfort Tower. This is one of the landmark sights and a climb to the top offers a fantastic view out over the city. A more relaxing way to see some of sights is to take a boat tour on the canals, with knowledgeable guides on these providing details of the city’s history. The centre of Bruges is a World Heritage Site and a walk around this is a way to see the many impressive buildings that line the streets.


Other Attractions

Seafront Zeebrugge is a visitor centre dedicated to the sea. It houses exhibits and interactive displays about shipping, fishing, marine animals, and also Zeebrugge’s importance as a port. Visitors can also go on board the Lightship West-Hinder to see how it operated and take a tour around a Foxtrot submarine. The Grooeningmuseum is also one of the cities
famous attractions and houses a beautiful collection of artwork by famous Flemish and Belgian painters Cruise and Explore

One of the best ways to arrive is by sea and a number of cruise operators offer mini cruises that take in the Port of Zeebrugge. Some to consider include MSC Cruises, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, and Royal Caribbean Cruises. They offer short excursions of between two and four days, with Royal Caribbean, for example, offering trips from Southampton that take in Zeebrugge and Le Harve. Ferries also run from Hull for those that want to make the trip by sea.
Other Travel Options

Other options for traveling to Zeebrugge include a train trip through the Channel Tunnel to Bruges or flying to Brussels and finishing the journey by road or rail. There are a few ways to explore the sights once there. Buses operated by the Flemish Public Transport Company connect many places around the city. Cycling is also a popular way of getting around and bicycles are relatively easy to hire, with rental companies across the city offering these.

Zeebruge is a historic destination to visit and spending a day or more exploring the
best tourist attractions in and around it is a fun and interesting experience. This makes it great choice for a short trip or longer vacation and anyone doing this is sure to enjoy the picture-postcard charm of this beautiful location.