If you haven't seen Frozen yet, chances are you're living under a rock (or a troll, as luck may have it). The blockbuster film secured Norway's reputation as a winter wonderland packed with snow-covered peaks and exquisite ice castles—all under the fluorescent green glow of the aurora borealis. But you don't need a parka, a reindeer or a talking snowman to find Frozen in Norway. In fact, the beauty of Norway's southern fjord region—the main inspiration for Frozen's Kingdom of Arendelle—is truly at its best during the summer months.
Per Disney, Arendelle gets its name from Arendal, a 16th-century shipping town about a three-hour drive southwest of Oslo. But the Southern Fjords along the country's lower western coast, 186 miles away by car, inspired Arendelle's verdant mountainsides and deep, granite-lined waters—as well as the kingdom's whimsical architecture, with its steep-pitched roofs and turreted, medieval-style castle. Disney Cruise Lines now offers Frozen-themed summer cruises to the region. But if you'd rather experience 'Arendelle' on your own, here are a few southern fjord stops not to miss:
While Bergen has a lot to offer, it's the city's Bryggen—or Hanseatic wharf—that looks the most like Arendelle. Along the bustling waterfront, dozens of tall wooden structures with steeply pitched roofs form a compact row. These are the mostly reconstructed remains of a colony of German merchants who once traded in the area. Nearby is a fish market where you can stock up on flowers, king crab and other delicacies. For a breathtaking view more than 1,000 feet above the city, catch Bergen's Fløibanen Funicular up to the top of Mount Fløyen. Not only is the quick ride an adventure (you can pretend you're on the run from Marshmallow, the Frozen snow monster), but it features incredible views fit for a queen, a forest filled with walking paths and—being Norway—lots of carved, life-size trolls.