If He Had To Live In A Country That Wasn't The US, Here's Where Rick Steves Would Choose

Travel extraordinaire and TV host Rick Steves has been gallivanting through Europe for decades. He helps fellow explorers build their perfect European travel itinerary via his company, Rick Steves' Europe. Although his passion for the continent cannot be denied, Steves is based in his home state of Washington. 

However, in a 2020 virtual event with KCTS9, Steves revealed that if he didn't live in the United States, he would live in Norway. "I really like their social sensibilities, and I have Norwegian heritage, so I feel very at home there. But I have to admit that I would miss the free-wheeling business atmosphere that entrepreneurs enjoy here in the USA," he explained. Steves' appreciation and connection with the country has been widely documented.

When the travel expert was 14, he took his first trip to Europe, visiting Norway, where three of his grandparents grew up. This trip ultimately changed his perspective on life and, perhaps, influenced his career. During the virtual event, Steves even praised Norwegians for their courteous and intellectual nature. Steves featured Norway on Season 6 of his PBS show "Rick Steves' Europe" and published a travel guide on the Scandinavian country. The best time of year to visit Norway, according to Steves, is late spring, seeing as there are fewer tourists. As for where to go, the travel guru endorses Oslo (pictured), Norway's capital.

Rick Steves' Oslo recommendations

The travel guru observes that Oslo is a serene city that prioritizes the well-being of its citizens. The metropolis has endless attractions and has gained a reputation for being culturally significant. So, what does Steves suggest you see? For one, visit Oslo's many museums, including MUNCH (seen in the TikTok above), which displays the work of late Norweigan artist Edvard Munch. He famously painted "The Scream." Another option is The Fram Museum, where Norway's polar explorers and expeditions are at the forefront. Famously, the museum is home to its namesake, the Fram, a vessel that made three polar expeditions in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Steves also advises visitors to explore Oslo's open spaces, including Vigeland Park. This free outdoor attraction is located in Frogner Park (also a must-see) and is a breathtaking sculptural garden. It holds hundreds of works by Gustav Vigeland, a Norweigan artist who died in 1943. 

In an interview with the fraternity organization the Sons of Norway, Steves disclosed that he enjoys walking to Oslo's Vår Frelsers Cemetery and into the Grünerløkka district. The former is a historic cemetery that dates back to the early 1800s, and the latter is a trendy neighborhood located on the banks of the Akerselva River. If travelers are weary of a language barrier, fear not; Steves says English is commonly spoken in Norway.

The Norway in a Nutshell tour

According to Rick Steves, one of Norway's defining features is its fjords. Fjords are glacial bodies of water surrounded by valleys, and Norway is said to have more than any other place in the world. Steves says the best way to experience fjords is via the Norway in a Nutshell tour. He writes of the experience, "The Nutshell route starts with a spectacular train ride, leaving Oslo at about 6:30 a.m. for Bergen. As the train roars over Norway's mountainous backbone, the windswept heaths, glaciers, deep forests, countless lakes, and a few rugged ski resorts create a harsh beauty. This stretch of railroad is an amazing engineering feat."

What makes the Norway in a Nutshell tour so unique is that it can be tailored to the traveler's specifications. They can follow the entire route to Bergen on Norway's West Coast for a grand fjord sightseeing adventure. Note that this journey involves boat and bus rides and takes a whole day. Alternatively, travelers can stay the night at one of the stops, like Flåm (pictured), a village on the astonishing Aurlandsfjord. Steves admitted to the Sons of Norway that the country, one of the happiest in the world, is pricy. To lower the cost of your trip, he suggests staying in a hostel and purchasing street food.