Official language: Norwegian with English being widely spoken throughout the country as well as Swedish and Danish
Currency: Norwegian krone
Welcome to the land of glacier walks and Flåm rides, fjords and Viking history!
What seems like a remote destination to the outside world, Norway is a sleeping diamond in the rough just waiting to be explored. Located close to the very heart of Europe, it’s tragic that Oslo and the fjords are about all that non-Norwegian folk know about because a trip off the beaten path is exactly where Norway’s treasures lie. From the vast stretches of serene landscapes filled with bountiful wilderness to the deep, blue-black fjords and roaring snowcapped peaks, the jagged forested hills to the limitless expanse of the Arctic tundra, Norway is the soul searcher’s paradise in every sense of the word.
With the Skagerrak channel separating the country from neighboring Denmark, Norway’s coastline is an Atlantic Ocean heaven with rocky coasts, splendid mountain ranges and a little more inland, the forests and mighty fjords with their unsurpassed beauty. Whether you choose to explore the country by boat, car or bike (heck even skis or husky-drawn sleds), Norway begs to be uncovered by tourists from all walks of life. Make sure that you revel in the sheer brilliance of the Norwegian locals. They’re one of the most civilized, educated and tolerant societies out there.
Don’t make the same mistake that millions before have and skip Norway because it appears to be and expensive destination. Sure, it’s not a budget friendly option, but if you’ve got some savings stashed away, Norway’s beauty is something that has to be seen, and better so sooner rather than later.
Must see places in Norway
As the capital of Norway, it’s pretty understandable that Oslo boasts a lot for tourists to see and do. It’s a beautify city located on a fjord, and with its harbor tours, islands in the area, museums and great locals and food, you might need an extended stay to explore Oslo in all its glory.
Bergen’s city center is a great place to start your travels up Floyen Mountain for some of the best views over the second largest city in Norway. It might be smaller in size compared to Oslo, but its rich in history and it’s filled with beautiful sights and delicious seafood. Like Trondheim, Bergen is a university town, so it has a lot of energy going around, which should definitely cheer you up since the weather is mostly rainy here.
As one of Norway’s most popular tourist destinations, the area of Ålesund is best known for its Art Nouveau architecture, its high Sunnmøre Alps peaks and many new cultural and entertainment hotspots.
Norway’s second largest fjord spans 111 miles and extends from Herøysund to Odda on the Sørfjord and its probably one of the most popular areas for tourists to visit thanks to the mild climate and awe-inspiring natural surroundings. From the glaciers to the waterfalls, the bountiful fruit trees in the area and the picturesque spring blossoms, Hardangerfjord is a beautiful and captivating place.
It’s a very laidback town filled with heaps and bounds of students, making Trondheim a colorful experience that has to be seen. It’s a fun place to enjoy a good Norwegian party and meet the locals, but you might also be interested in the great local restaurants, bars, pubs and clubs that are bound to keep you occupied for more than just a day.
Stavanger is a bustling city on Norway’s southwest coast, and it’s the country’s 3rd largest city. As one of Norway’s oldest communities, Stavanger dates back as far as the 12th Century that has become a popular recreation area in modern times. With its collection of nearby lakes and a great mild climate, Stavanger is the perfect place to explore the vibrant culture and popular events held here annually.
The Lofoten Islands
The archipelago in Norway’s Nordland region called the Lofoten Islands might wel be situated in the Arctic Circle, but the area experiences one of the world’s largest elevated temperature variances for its latitude. The average temperate here is nothing compared to mainland Norway and you’ll enjoy the mild winters and warm summers. Resembling a single mountain range, the 4 main islands (Austvågøy, Vestvågøy, Moskenesøy and Flakstadøy) coupled with the small surrounding islets is a paradise of inlets and fjords, some towering up to 3,300 feet.
The Svalbard islands lie halfway between Norway and the North Pole, in the Arctic Ocean. While there aren’t major attractions beside the untouched arctic wilderness and its unique wildlife, it’s as fascinating as the name implies. The old mining towns scattered around the islands have a stark and eerie sense of beauty to them, in a sense they are an attraction in their own right. The islands are home to a few thousand polar bears, roughly 3000 humans and an assortment of concerts, festivals and exhibitions to tell the tale of the islands. Longyearbyen is the main administrative hub and also boasts some great bars and restaurants, but expect to pay big bucks at these first-class establishments!
As the largest of the Norwegian fjords, Sognefjord extends inland for 127 miles from Sygnefest out to the east of Skjolden. The spectacular 3 mile wide fjord is 4291 feet deep and runs along a collection of quaint little fishing communities and farmers nestled in the mountain bases. Hop onboard a train, boat or a car and explore the area’s breathtaking national parks, mountain ranges, glaciers and waterfalls.
As Northern Norway’s largest city, the port of Tromsø dates back to the 13th century and is still one of the country’s most important fishing ports. This is where you’ll have an amazing opportunity to see and study the northern lights, or Norway’s Aurora Borealis. Another great feature of Tromsø is the midnight sun, which is visible from mid-May to mid-July here.
Southern Norway Archipelago
Consisting of thousands of small and large islands and scurries than run from the Ryvingen Lighthouse to Jomfruland Island, the Southern Norway Archipelago is a discovery field as unique as its location. With thousands of smooth rocky shore areas, the archipelago is popular with sunbathers in the summer months and it’s also great for kayaking!
Located in Southern Norway, the valley that stretches from Tovdal to the village of Åraksbø is varied and one of the best mountain biotopes in the south. The fine inland walk that goes down from Dale to Åraksbø in Setesdal leads you to a place where you’ll find the old building Huageburet, which dates back to 1219. You’ll also pass the waterfall Rjukan, Stuvestøyl, Videstøyl, the Juvass stream and the Skuggefjell Mountain along the way.
On the edge of the Swedish border, the wilderness area of Femundsmarka is right on par with the landscapes found in Alaska and the Yukon. The Femundsmarka and Gutulia national parks can be found here, and together with the Töfsingdalen Park in across the border, makes for one of the most distinctive high mountain biotopes in Scandinavia.
Pick the time right!
Tourists travel to Norway from May to September
Norway, just like its neighbors, Sweden and Finland, has extremely cold winters (even more so in the sub-polar regions), and mildly warm summers. Temperatures in the south generally reach the 30°C mark. The Gulf Stream has tempering effects on the coastal areas, which means they enjoy moderate climates, but the inland regions have harsher climates with hot summers and freezing winters. Winter time runs from November to March. Norway has sporadic rainfall throughout the year with frequent inland snowfalls during the winter months. The Arctic Circle has continuous daylight in the midsummer and continuous twilight that lasts throughout the winter. Between mid-May and mid-August would be the best time to visit Norway unless you want to work in a skiing experience, in which case you’ll have to consider December through to April.
Did you know?
Norway introduced salmon sushi to the Japanese
Norway gets 98-99% of its electricity from hydroelectric power
In 2008, Norway knighted a penguin
The people of Oslo, Norway donate the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree in London every year in gratitude to the people of London for their assistance during WWII
- Brunost - a sweet brown cheese made with whey
- Roasted wild elk or reindeer
- Lutefisk - baked preserved cod
- Grøt - a Norwegian porridge
- Multer - cloudberries, a Norwegian summer delicacy
- Aquavit - Norwegian Schnapps
- To save on sightseeing in Norway, make sure you get yourself a city tourism card, which allows you free entry into all the attractions AND free transport
- Make sure you book your train and bus ticket in advance as this can save you up to a whopping 50% on fare
- Plan your trip according to the type of transport available and the travel times, DON’T underestimate Norway’s size. It’s really big!
- Make sure you get specific climate and weather info on the regions you intend to visit before you go