Travel to Norway

Norway is the westernmost, northernmost and easternmost country of the three Scandinavian countries. Bordering Finland, Sweden and the northwestern tip of Russia. Norway is most famous for its complex and deep fjords stretching along the west coast.

Norway is all about unspoilt natural beauty. From the deep fjords and glaciers to steep gorges and the wilderness of the Arctic north – one of the few places where the sun shines at midnight during the summer months. The Northern Lights Norway can also be spotted from the northern parts of the country during the long winter nights.

Besides from the natural beauty, you’ll also find some buzzing modern cities in Norway. Further down south is main Norway cities Oslo, Trondheim and Bergen. Oslo is the capital and financial centre of Norway while Bergen is the picturesque gateway to the fjords of Norway. Trondheim is the long-established centre of Christian pilgrimage along with being the centre of technical research, more recently.

Norwegian fjords cruises (like this one) are among some of the most popular Norway tours or ways to enjoy Norway holidays. Boat trips along Geirangerfjord is one of the prettiest voyages passing pine-topped cliffs, icy green water and cascading waterfalls. It is undoubtedly the most beautiful area of Norway.

Norway is not known as a budget-friendly destination. Like most of its surrounding countries it is an expensive destination to travel to. We hope that you can still travel to Norway!

Travel tips for Norway

Things to do in Oslo, Norway

Cheap Things to do in Oslo in Summer, Norway

It's possible to do Oslo on a budget, here are a few fun and cheap things to do in Oslo in the summer months.

Visa Requirements for Norway

Norway is part of the Schengen agreement, which allows most of the EU citizens to enter the country with only their ID. Visitors from certain countries like the USA, Canada and New Zealand can visit visa-free for up to 90 days in Norway. A stay of longer than 90 days for non-EEA or non-Swiss citizens usually requires a visa, which you need to get before your trip.

Other nationals, like those from Russia, Asian countries and South Africa, will need to apply for a Schengen Visa before arriving in Norway. For more information about what type of visa you will need to visit Norway, visit this website.

Important Cultural Information

Norwegian is the official language of Norway but Northern Sami, Lule Sami, Kven and Southern Sami are also recognised languages. English is widely spoken and understood, so you shouldn’t have much trouble with communicating. A lot of Swedish and Danish is also spoken.

Norwegians are generally open-minded and tolerant. Normal courtesies should be observed, much like you would in other European countries. When being invited to a local’s house, punctuality is generally expected, while many would also bring the host/hostess a small gift.

It is important to understand that Norwegians are direct communicators, often skipping the small talk and pleasantries. They are very direct in how they ask for things, but will always remain polite. The Norwegian culture is also mostly informal, usually addressing each other by first name only. They are also a very patriotic nation, with the Norway flag commonly used in celebrations and on public Norway holidays.

Norway is considered one of the countries with the best quality of life.

Banking & Money in Norway

The Norwegian currency is the Norwegian crown (norske krone, in Norwegian), sometimes abbreviated to just the two letters kr placed after the amount. A 1/100th krone is called øre. Coins come in 1, 5, 10, and 20 kroner. Paper notes come in NOK50, NOK100, NOK200, NOK500, and NOK1000 banknotes.

The largest banks in Norway include DNB Bank, Nordea Bank, Sparebanken Vest and Danske Bank. ATMs in Norway are called Minibank. There is no problem locating an ATM in urban areas. Note that some banks will only have ATM’s in specific areas, eg. Sparebanken Vest has branches and ATMs in Western Norway only.

Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Diner’s Club Cards are all widely accepted in Norway. But it’s always useful to have a few crown notes.

Medical Emergency Information

In an emergency situation call

112 for the police,

110 for fire engines and

113 for an ambulance.

All of these numbers are available to call at no extra cost.

Make sure to get good travel insurance for Norway beforehand. Compare options with both WorldNomads and SafetyWing.

Wi-Fi and Internet in Norway

There are two main network operators in Norway: Telenor and Telia. Both of these networks are known to have substantial coverage and speeds across Norway. You may experience coverage issues when traveling in the mountainous regions.

You will find several shops selling SIM cards around Norway – either from the operators themselves or from various convenience stores like 7-Eleven.

Wi-Fi is easily available at restaurants, cafes, hotels and some public spaces across the country. Look out for ‘Wi-Fi’ or ‘@’ signs on the doors. Make sure to set-up a VPN (like ExpressVPN) before using public Wi-Fi spots.

You will also find a few coworking spots in Norway, with most based in Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim and Stavanger.

Arrival in Norway

If arriving to Norway by plane you will most likely be landing at the Oslo Airport, Gardermoen which is the biggest airport in the country and the main international hub. The airport is located 60km outside of Oslo. It is serviced by most major international and all domestic airlines. There are several direct flights from various locations in the UK, Ireland (Dublin) and the US. Scandinavian Airlines and Norwegian Air Shuttle are the two major airlines flying to Norway.

Other international airports in Norway include Sandefjord Airport Torp, Stavanger Airport Sola, Bergen Airport Flesland, Trondheim Airport Værnes and Tromsø Airport.

Search for flights to Norway on Expedia.

There is also the Norway train to arrive by. Norwegian trains are run by Norwegian State Railways and there are trains from Sweden to Oslo, Trondheim and Narvik, with onwards inland connections.

There are several international bus lines that run into Oslo from Sweden, with the main operators being Nettbuss Bus4You and Swebus. A service to Gothenburg and Copenhagen runs almost hourly and is a faster and cheaper option than the train. There are also buses from Denmark, Poland and other European countries.

It is also possible to arrive to Norway via car from Sweden, Finland, or Russia. Full passport control checks are found in the lone Norwegian-Russian land border crossing between Borisoglebsky and Storskog. Consider Europcar for car hire in Finland.

You can also arrive via a Norway cruise or boat ferry. There are regular boat trips to Norway from Denmark, Belgium, Germany, England, Faroe Islands and Iceland.

Areas of Norway

Norway can be split up geographically into the southern, northern, eastern and central regions. Oslo, Trondheim and Bergen are the three major cities in Norway.

Southern Norway

Southern Norway is known for its coastline along with its amazing hiking, skiing, fishing, museums and events. It is a very outdoorsy area of Norway.

Northern Norway

Northern Norway is the largest and most sparsely populated area of Norway – covering more than a third of the country. Stretching from the Helgeland region in the south through to Europe’s northernmost point near the North Cape. Tromsø is Northern Norway’s largest city. Here, summer nights are long and bright and winter nights are long and cold. You can head to Northern Norway to witness the Northern Lights in winter.

Eastern Norway & Oslo

Oslo, the capital city of Norway is located in eastern Norway. Oslo’s urban vibe is packed with new architecture, exciting food, and a lively music and art scene. It’s also a good base to explore the rest of the region. There is also ample hiking, boating, cycling and fishing opportunities in eastern Norway. The Besseggen ridge is one of many popular mountain routes in the area.

Trøndelag

Located in the middle of Norway, Trøndelag is a perfect base for experiencing nature, culture and the exciting history of Norway. Highlights include the seven national parks and two nature reserves are suitable for hiking, cycling, hunting and fishing. This is where you go hiking in Norway! Trondheim is the major city in the region while Røros is a charming mining town which was included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1980.

Fjords Norway

The beauty of Norway! Here you will find deep blue fjords, flowing waterfalls, and sharp, snow-capped mountains everywhere that you look. In Fjord Norway you’ll find everything from solitary islands to some of Norway’s largest cities – including Bergen.

The Svalbard Islands

Located in the Arctic Ocean, between Norway and the North Pole. The Svalbard Islands are all about untouched arctic wilderness and unique wildlife. Note that the islands are not part of the schengen area – so all travelers will need to bring their passports and special visas may be required.

Transportation in Norway

Because Norway is a big country, getting around can be expensive and time-consuming. When traveling between the regions the best option is usually to fly. The largest domestic airlines are SAS, Norwegian and Widerøe. Flying is especially common in Northern Norway where cities and towns are widely spread out.

There is an extensive bus network throughout the country, with the main operators being Nettbuss express, Nettbuss TIMEkspressen and NOR-WAY Bussekspress. Buses in the mountainous areas typically only run between May to September as several of the mountain passes are closed during winter.

Norwegian State Railways (NSB) operates the Norway trains. The Norway rail network mostly just connects Oslo to other major cities, with no rail lines North-South in West Norway between Stavanger and Trondheim. There are also no rail lines North-South in North Norway north of Bodø. You can buy a Norwegian Rail Pass or the equivalent InterRail One Country Pass to travel cheap by train through Norway.

Car ferries are frequently used along the coastal regions. Because of the many deep fjords and islands, driving in West Norway and Northern Norway will almost always involve ferries. An extensive network of catamaran express boats are also available to shuttle between towns and cities along the coast from Stavanger to Tromsø.

Each of the major cities and towns will have their own public transport network. Oslo public transport is operated by Ruter and includes buses, trams, subways, ferries (not the Bygdøy ferry) and local trains. Public transport within zone 1 (Oslo) and zone 2 is free with the Oslo Pass.

Accommodations in Norway

There is a variety of options available in terms of accommodation in Norway. There is a mix of hotels, B&B’s, resorts and camping. Accommodation tends to be quite expensive in Norway, especially in high season. Norwegian hotels are of a high standard: neat, clean and efficient. They will almost always include breakfast in the nightly rate. Local hotel chains include Rica and Scandic Hotels while Norske Vandrerhjem is the local hostel organisation.

Norwegians love the outdoors and because of this there are numerous campgrounds around the country. There are also some places where you can camp on public grounds for free – just be respectful of the land and use common sense on where it is appropriate.

Some other unique accommodation in Norway options include sleeping in a wooden design hotel in the mountains, historic hotels, lighthouses, farm stays treehouses and yurts. If you are planning on staying for a long time, perhaps look at booking an apartment. The Norwegian countryside is also scattered with loads of wood cabins/chalets (called hytter), ranging from simple wooden huts through to more luxurious lodges.

We recommend that you book your accommodation in Norway as soon as you know your travel dates. Especially if you travel to Norway’s fjords in July or August or to Tromsø in February-March. We recommend booking accommodation on either Booking.com or Expedia.

Booking.com

What to Eat and Drink in Norway

A culinary revolution has slowly been happening in Norway over the past few years, with a trend towards local and organic produce. This extends to the menus at local restaurants as well as products at the supermarkets. More and more small-scale producers of cheeses, honeys, pastries and ecologically produced meats are taking up shelf space across the country.

Dried cod was the country’s biggest export for the past decade, now it is fresh salmon and arctic cod. Seafood remains a popular food throughout Norway with smoked salmon, dried cod and herring being the top favourites.

Lamb is another popular meat in Norway. Fårikål (lamb in cabbage) is a popular dish in Autumn, while Pinnekjøtt (racks of lamb) or mutton cured in brine/sea salt is popular during Christmas. Smalahove, sheep’s head, is a delicacy in certain parts of the country.

Cheese is a popular treat in Norway. Brunost (brown cheese) is a sweet, brown cheese made from cow’s milk or a stronger variety made with goat’s milk.

Strawberries, raspberries and other berries are exceptionally tasty and widely available in Norway during the summer season.

There are also hundreds of microbreweries popping up, experimenting with different styles of beer. While the Norwegian local coffee remains one of the best in the world.

Tipping in Norway is not compulsory, however if you are happy with the service at a bar or restaurant you can leave a tip of 10% – 20%.

Things to Do and See in Norway

Being land of fjords, seeing them is the most popular activity here, among the many other things to do in Norway.

No trip to Norway is complete without visiting the fjords. Nærøyfjord and Geirangerfjord have received a UNESCO world heritage site listings and are two of the most popular fjords to visit. Other well known fjords are Lysefjord, Oslofjord, and Sognefjord.

Seeing the Northern Lights in Norway is always popular – Tromsø is a great place to see the aurora during winter (here’s a great tour from Bergen). During summer though, Tromsø is also where you need to go to see the midnight sun. The North Cape, Bodø, and Lofoten are also ideal to experience the Midnight Sun. Hiking or kayaking under the midnight sun are popular activities!

Lofoten Archipelago, north of the Arctic circle is where the summers have 24 hours of daylight. This area is great for cycling, hiking and rock climbing.

There are 47 national parks in Norway, seven of them located on Svalbard. All of them are suitable for hiking in Norway. Some of the parks include Lomsdal-Visten national park, Dovrefjell-Sunndalsfjella National Park, Femundsmarka National Park, Gutulia National Park, Rondane National Park, Jostedalsbreen National Park, Breheimen national park and Forollhogna National Park.

If you’re interested in skiing, then head to Lyngen Alps which are located in the Arctic Circle – it’s a mountain range that stretches for 90 kilometers to the border with Sweden. With almost 300 mountain peaks above 2,000 metres across the country, Norway is not short of skiing destinations when the winter snow rolls in.

A few other things to see in Norway include visiting the Arctic Cathedral, take a tour of the Akershus Castle, exploring the Arctic-Alpine Botanical Garden, visiting Lillehammer which sits close to the scenic Lake Mjosa and visiting the Polar Museum in Tromso.

You will most likely be spending some time in Oslo. Things to do in Oslo include visiting the Oslo Cathedral, the Kon-Tiki Museum, the Vigeland Sculpture Park, the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History, taking a tour of Oslo City Hall and the Royal Palace of Oslo. A good way to see Oslo is to join a tour – be it a bus tour, boat trip, guided walk or more specific tour of the museums. We also recommend that you get the Oslo Pass which includes free entry into select museums and attractions along with free public transport.

Things to do & see in Norway

Bryggen, Bergen, Norway

Norway Tips for First-Time Visitors

Norway tips for first time visitors to the country. Including what to expect when travelling to Norway and best time to visit.
Things to do in Norway

Top Things to Do in Norway

Norway is the ultimate vacation destination - because there are many things to do in Norway. Here's the list.
Things to do in Oslo, Norway

Cheap Things to do in Oslo in Summer, Norway

It's possible to do Oslo on a budget, here are a few fun and cheap things to do in Oslo in the summer months.

Shopping in Norway

Oslo, the capital of Norway, offers plenty of shopping opportunities. Offering everything from the latest international trends and brands through to modern Norwegian designs and local crafts. The main shopping areas in Oslo are the city center around Karl Johans gate, Bogstadveien and Hegdehaugsveien in Majorstuen, Frogner with Bygdøy Allé, and Grünerløkka. There is a strong emphasis on home design by local designers and producers – Norway Designs and Pur Norsk in Oslo are just two shops doing this.

Apart of Oslo, there are stylish shopping streets throughout Norway. Bergen, the second biggest city, is now known for local independent fashion shops. While Stavanger and Trondheim also have showrooms for local brands that highlight their respective regions.

Shopping in Norway is all about high quality purchases. High-quality wool and knitwear are worth looking out for if you want to take something home. Typical souvenirs from Norway include cute trolls, glass design, local jewellery, and sheep/reindeer skin. Food delicacies are also popular to take home, like sausages, fenalår (the traditional dried and salted leg of a lamb), mountain cheeses, and local brews.

Norway’s Nightlife

Norway has a buzzing nightlife, from hipster bars in Oslo to smaller local microbreweries in smaller communities, sports bars, traditional pubs and karaoke bars. Nightclubs are popular in the bigger cities.

Live music is a big part of Oslo’s identity. The city hosts thousands of concerts every year, featuring both local and international musicians. The summer also sees big outdoor festivals, with genres ranging from chamber music to heavy metal. In Bergen, many of the pubs are located along the historical Bryggen and Fisketorget – perfect for enjoying a beer outside in the summer months. Tromsø has a buzzing nightlife scene, with a few unique pubs, like in an old cinema or a rorbu cabin. Trondheim is the best place for a pub crawl – with most hosting locally brewed beers.

Safety Tips for Norway

Norway is a safe country to visit, with low crime levels. Though, petty crime like pick-pockets pick up during tourist season, particularly in the busy tourist areas. Make sure to keep your valuables close by and remain aware.

Another safety warning for Norway is driving in the winter months. Driving in Norway in winter can be hazardous with the icy road conditions. Make sure that your car has winter types (these are a legal requirement from 1 December to 28 February) and always keep an eye on the weather reports. Similar safety warnings are given to travelers taking part in hiking or skiing in the mountains – make sure that you are prepared and have all emergency contact numbers on hand.

Here’s a few more Norway tips.

Conclusion

Even though Norway is considered one of the most expensive European countries to visit, it is still definitely worth exploring. The natural beauty of the country is breathtaking – from the snow-capped mountains through the glaciers, fjords and lakes. Getting outdoors in Norway is the most popular activity in the summer months. With hiking in Norway being extremely popular amongst active travelers.

The Northern Lights Norway and the Midnight Sun are another two major attractions for Norway holidays. Another popular activity is joining a Norway cruise, with the Norwegian fjords cruise being particularly popular.

While it’s easy enough to tour Norway by yourself, there are also many Norway tours that you can join. Check out the tours with G Adventures, Contiki, IntrepidTravel and Trafalgar.

Travel tips for Norway

Things to do in Norway

Top Things to Do in Norway

Norway is the ultimate vacation destination - because there are many things to do in Norway. Here's the list.
Bryggen, Bergen, Norway

Norway Tips for First-Time Visitors

Norway tips for first time visitors to the country. Including what to expect when travelling to Norway and best time to visit.
Things to do in Oslo, Norway

Cheap Things to do in Oslo in Summer, Norway

It's possible to do Oslo on a budget, here are a few fun and cheap things to do in Oslo in the summer months.
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