By Hazel Bye

Twisting and turning along snaking roads as the leaves turn red and yellow, then thrusting into tunnels carved out of the granite mountainside before the road drops down to run alongside the calm water’s edge. It could so easily be Scotland in the autumn, but this is Norway’s scenic Discovery Route 13, where heart-stopping views await around every bend. From awe-inspiring waterfalls to breathtaking sunsets that filter into the steep-sided fjords, Norway is like Scotland on steroids.

Autumn and winter is one of the best times to visit this natural wonder, and with a new Loganair service from Edinburgh to Stavanger, the timing couldn’t be better. Here, we have chosen 10 of the best places to visit on your Norwegian odyssey.


1 Preikestolen BaseCamp

Just 40 minutes from Stavanger airport puts you in the heart of the mountains and at Preikestolen BaseCamp you can take part in activities that range from kayaking and golf to a floating sauna and stargazing. But the main attraction is hiking and from Preikestolen BaseCamp, a two-hour yomp takes you to Norway’s famous Preikestolen (literal translation Pulpit Rock). A massive slab of rock jutting out above the Lysefjorden and surrounding hills and valleys, the views here are unrivalled. A guide can be hired to lead you to some of the lesser-known highlights along the trail.


2. Road trip on Discovery Route 13

Running from the southern city of Stavanger northwards to Bergen, where Loganair also operate flights to Edinburgh and Aberdeen, this culture-rich journey takes you along Norway’s most scenic roads, passing fjords, mountain passes, forest trails and, for engineering fans, even through incredible 14-kilometre tunnels that drive deep underground. Stops on the way include the architectural award-winning Høsebrua bridge that spans the beautiful salmon-rich Suldalslågen river in Ryfylke and, for foodies, a visit to the Swiss-style Thon Hotel Sandven is a must.


3. Hardanger Folk Museum

Be transported back in time at this fantastic folk museum, where you will learn about the rich history of Norway, from its farming background to the brightly-coloured traditional costume. Museum staff are on hand to explain the intricate and painstaking work that goes into making these beautiful garments. A highlight of the museum however, is having lunch in one of the wood and mud huts that have been recreated in the ancient style. Step out of the cold and into warmth as a fire blazes in the centre of the hut, billowing smoke up to the central chimney, while sampling local meats, cheeses and cider, which is something of a Norwegian delicacy – it even has protected status much like Champagne and Stornoway Black Pudding.


4. Cider tour

While the UK experienced a craft beer and gin boom in recent years, Norway saw a cider revolution growing throughout the country – and nowhere more so than in Hardangerfjord. The area has a unique climate – fjords amplify the sunlight and its high-side valleys keep the temperature mild – that is perfect for apple cultivation. Expect to have your cider served in wine glasses rather than in pints, making the whole experience more sophisticated. You can visit the orchards where the apples are grown, see small-scale cider producers at work and choose cider pairing with dinner in many of the area’s restaurants, where you will sample the likes of full-bodied tipples, rose ciders and even dessert ciders.


5. Agatunet

A cluster of farm buildings dating back to 1220, Agatunet is living, breathing history. The settlement is believed to have had people living there for at least 3,700 years and with such a deep history, it is little wonder that staff at Agatunet are full of fascinating stories, like the local resident who took the leaders of the commune to task after her route through the village was blocked off during a rebuild. At a hearing, she insisted her right of way be maintained, even though it meant walking through someone’s house – unbelievably, she won her case!


6. Waterfalls

At almost every turn on Norway’s southwest coast, another stunning waterfall hoves into view.

Låtefoss Waterfall in Odda is one of the most accessible, as it runs right along the roadside. The roaring water pouring down this double waterfall so close to the road has to be seen to be believed. At

Steinsdalsfossen, the waterfall is not just spectacular, it is unique, as it has a path running directly under the crashing water, offering visitors an unforgettable view.


7. Hardangerfjord Maritime Centre

No trip to this part of Norway is complete without a visit to this maritime museum and boatyard. With over 1,700 fjords, Norway’s history is tightly bound with boats. At Hardangerfjord Maritime Centre, master boatmaker Peter Helland-Hansen and his team of apprentices are busy keeping the tradition of boatbuilding alive. From massive icebreakers to tiny wooden row boats, the artisans here are more than happy to explain their craft as they chisel, hammer and plane wood painstakingly collected from the local forests to create little pieces of history.


8. Wine tasting at Midtsommar Hebnes Vineyard

While cider is enjoying a boom, there are a small number of producers forging small-scale commercial wine businesses in this most unlikely of climates. At Midtsommar, Hebnes in Suldal, Toyni Tobekk and Arild Hebnes have diversified from pig farming to create a tiny but mighty vineyard on the shores of the fjord. They offer winetasting on site, where you can sample their fantastic white, red, sparkling and even orange wines.


9. Fjord swim and crossing on ferry

While not for the fainthearted in autumn and winter, the icy-clear waters of the fjords call out to those who love to wild swim. At Hardangerfjord Hotel in Oystese, a quick jump in the fjord can be countered with time in the sauna and a few lengths of the pristine public swimming pool. If you want to experience the fjords without getting wet, take a trip on one of the many ferries that shuttle back and forth along the waterways. On the Utne to Kvannda ferry, the electric-powered engines make sailing across the fjord one of the most calming experiences you can have in Norway and, for just 47kr (about £4), it is a bargain.


10. Energihotellet, Nesflaten

Architecture fans will want to head straight to Energihotellet at Nesflaten in Suldal. The hotel was once part of the hydroelectric power plant next door and first-time visitor will be immediately stuck by its James Bond villain vibe. Brutalism and minimalism are the orders of the day here, with huge concrete slabs paired with minimalist Scandinavian interiors. Designed by famed Norwegian architect Geir Grung in the 1960s, the hotel has been maintained in its original style and stepping through its doors is to step back in time. The restaurant, complete with a massive gold fireplace mantel, commands stunning views of Suldalsvatnet lake and the fine dining menu includes highlights such as brown cheese ice cream – a local delicacy and delicious.


Travel info:

Loganair, flies from Edinburgh and Newcastle to Bergen and Stavanger as well as Aberdeen to Oslo. or call 
0344 800 2855.