“The Faroe Islands are even further isolated, leaving only nesting puffins and a few intrepid adventurers to admire Europe’s tallest sea cliffs.”
While Jess Peterson has crisscrossed nearly all of Northern Europe, the North Atlantic region’s dramatic topography always stops him in his trail boots. “These remote landscapes are actually quite distinct,” he says, “with everything from lush greenery to barren volcanic terrain.” There’s the take-your-breath-away beauty of Norway’s Geirangerfjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; and the rugged, wild Shetland with her miniature ponies and heather moorlands. It’s here where you’ll find Jarlshof, an amazing archaeological site with 4,000 years of human history on display; while hundreds of prehistoric monuments — including the UNESCO-designated Skara Brae and Ring of Brodgar — lie sprinkled across the Orkneys’ pastoral grazing lands. The Faroe Islands are even further isolated, leaving only nesting puffins and a few intrepid adventurers to admire Europe’s tallest sea cliffs.
Amidst all this natural splendor sit lively Bergen, whose colorful, Hanseatic wharf earned UNESCO status; as well as the art nouveau town of Alesund, where Jess prefers to “just sit down in an inviting café and people watch.” Add few extra days in Reykjavik, he says, and you’ll “fully experience some of the most beautiful, rugged areas in the world by land and by sea.”