Molde, Norway

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All of the stunning beauty you associate with Norway is on display in Molde, a city roughly 400 kilometers (240 miles) north of Bergen with white clapboard houses sitting alongside a sparkling fjord. On a clear day, more than 200 peaks are visible from this part of the Romsdal Peninsula. (The Varden Viewpoint, 10 minutes by car from the center of town, is the best place to take in the breathtaking panorama.) Even when the weather is less cooperative, there is plenty to do, with cozy cafés, boutiques selling woolen sweaters and the Romsdal Museum, an open-air folk museum where you can literally stroll through the region’s history and traditional homes. Molde is also one end of one of Norway’s most beautiful coastal drives, the Atlantic Ocean Road (in Norwegian, the Atlanterhavsvegen), which crosses spectacular bridges and a number of islands. Around every bend, there are magnificent views of mountain peaks, the Atlantic and the fjords that notch Norway’s coast. From mid-June through August, Molde lives up to its nickname—the City of Roses—with flowers blooming everywhere, from the roof of the town hall and the university grounds to the picket fences around houses.
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