Norway: Odda

Odda was an industrial town for the most of 19th and early 20th century with hydroelectric plant built to provide electricity for massive smelters and arc furnaces for iron production (in fact, these were the largest arc furnaces in the world at the time). Then in 1891, the German Emperor Kaiser Wilhelm II came to visit and got instantly hooked on the incredible fjord scenery – he kept coming back to Odda every year until 1914. This firmly established Odda as a tourist town and hotels and infrastructure sprang up. Odda’s location is truly stunning – its at the mouth of an absolutely stunning Sorfjord, houses cling to vertical walls, a narrow valley continues above the town with several cascading waterfalls, two national parks are writhing hiking distance – Folgefonna NP with a massive glacier and the Hardangevidda NP, a high elevation snow-covered plateau.