| Unquestionably, Fjordland
and the Southwest is Norway’s most
important tourist area, due to its breathtaking scenery.
Many visitors arrive on cruise ships working their way north along
the coast from Stavanger via Haugesund
to Bergen and the best known fjord of all, Sognefjorden.
Førdefjorden, Hardanger Fjord
and Nordfjord are among other notable scenic attractions
in the region.
Near Sogndal, at the head of Sognefjorden, lies
Urnes, whose wooden stave-built church is a UNESCO
World Heritage Site.
Inland are the Hardangervidda Mountains, which
rise to over 1700m (5600ft) and incorporate the National
Park. To the north of Sognefjorden lies Europe’s
biggest glacier, the Jostedalsbreen, and its surrounding
National Park. Immediately to the east of this area is the Jotunheimen
National Park, which contains Norway’s highest mountain,
Away from the fjords, on the southern coastline of Vest-Agder, Fylke,
is the port of Kristiansand, from which ferries
serve Denmark and the United Kingdom.
Former Hanseatic port and medieval Norwegian capital, the city’s
appeal centres on the Hanseatic Bryggen harbour-side
district, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with many
of its buildings dating from the 17th century and earlier. Cable
cars take visitors to the summit of Mount Ulriken,
and a funicular railway climbs Mount Fløyen
to give outstanding views over the city and coastline. With its
Museums and a large aquarium and a broad choice of boat excursions
around the city this is one Norway’s busiest tourist destinations.
Centre of the country’s North Sea oil industry,
Stavanger is Norway’s fourth largest city after Oslo, Bergen
and Trondheim, with 96,000 inhabitants. Old Stavanger
is Europe’s largest collection of wooden buildings. Other
attractions here include the Norwegian Oil Museum,
the unique Fish Cannery Museum with sprat-smokehouse,
and the Rogaland Art Gallery.