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Norway Travel Guide

Norway is home to some of the most dramatically beautiful landscapes in the world, where staggering, snow-capped mountains and glacier-carved fjords cover a strikingly rugged strip of Scandinavia. It is no exaggeration to say that the icy allure of the Arctic Circle and the breathtaking spectacle of the Northern Lights are, very nearly, too beautiful to be believed.

All this natural splendour is popularly enjoyed through adventure-tourism activities such as hiking, white water rafting, skiing and even dog-sledding. However, those who want to experience the massive glaciers, fairytale forests, fjords and jagged coastline in a slightly more laid-back manner and without exerting themselves too much can enjoy some of the most scenic cruises, and bus and train routes in Europe.

The intriguing heritage of the Vikings and nomadic Sami people of the north complement this beauty magnificently, as does the seamless balance between Norway's sophisticated modern cities and its quaint and charming fishing villages.

The capital Oslo is an attractive, cosmopolitan city boasting worthy museums, galleries and a fun nightlife, while the historic port city of Bergen is another popular destination, and the gateway to the fjords. Those looking for the Arctic experience and a potential glimpse of the famous Northern Lights should head to Tromso, another incredibly picturesque city.

Although Norway is an undeniably expensive travel destination, it is a richly rewarding one, bursting with once-in-a-lifetime sights and experiences.

Best time to visit Norway

June and July are considered the best months to visit Norway, during which visitors can experience long days, warm weather and thundering waterfalls. Keep in mind that crowds are at their peak, though.

March is the best time to go skiing in Norway, and May and September offer nice weather and slightly smaller crowds. The Northern Lights are famously elusive and unpredictable, but there is a possibility of seeing them any time between late September and March.

What to see in Norway

-Visit the stunning Arctic Cathedral up north.

-Picnic in Vigeland Park and take in the more than 200 sculptures displayed there.

-Take a walk in Bryggen with its 14th-century wooden houses, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

-Go hiking in the hills around the former Olympic site of Lillehammer.

What to do in Norway

-Take a scenic train to Tromso to see the Northern Lights in winter.

-Enjoy a cruise in Norway's famous fjords to see spectacular waterfalls.

-Spend a night at the Snow Hotel in Kirkenes and mingle with other guests at the Snow Bar.

-Experience some of Europe's best whitewater rafting on rivers in Norway.

Getting to Norway

There are regular direct flights to Norway from the UK, which take only two to three hours. Most flights to Norway land at Oslo International Airport (OSL), though there are also airports in Bergen and Stavanger. There are some direct flights to Oslo from the US, but there are many options with layovers in London or Amsterdam.


The Snowman by Jo Nesbo, Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder.


Asterix and the Vikings (2006), The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2011), Dancer in the Dark (2000).




Royksopp and A-ha

What to buy

Hand-knitted woolen sweaters and socks, and silver 'Viking-style' jewellery.

What to pack

Warm clothes, even for peak summer when it can still get chilly.

What's on in Norway

Many of the festivals and events occur in summer, such as the Bukta-Tromso Open-Air Festival in July, and the Norwegian Wood Festival in June, which both make the most of the long days and good weather with live music at outdoor venues. For a flurry of patriotism and traditional dress visit during Norway's Independence Day, in May.

Did you know?

-Wine and liquor can only be bought from special outlets called Vinmonopolet in Norway.

-Whale hunting is a traditional Norwegian pastime.

-Norway has some of the world's highest petrol prices, despite being one of the world's biggest oil exporters.

A final word

With its breathtaking fjords, popular ski resorts, and quaint historical cities, a holiday in Norway is fascinating at any time of year.


Norwegian and Sami are the official languages, but English is widely understood.


The official currency is the Norwegian Krone (NOK), divided into 100 ore. Credits are accepted for almost all transactions, with Eurocard/Mastercard, Visa, American Express and Diners Club being the most common. Foreign currency can be exchanged at banks and major post offices, as well as many hotels and travel agents, although for poorer rates. ATMs are available in all towns and cities.


Electrical current is 230 volts, 50Hz. Round two-pin plugs are in use.


Norwegians generally earn good salaries and, while it's perfectly all right to tip, a tipping culture doesn't really exist in the country. But customers do usually round up bills to the nearest 10 or 100 NOK.


Norway is a safe country in which to travel. However, travellers should still take sensible precautions to avoid petty theft, as they would anywhere in the world. Petty theft is most common at airports and bus and train stations in Oslo.


The international access code for Norway is +47. Hotels, cafes and restaurants offering free wifi are widely available. As international roaming costs can be high, purchasing a local prepaid SIM card can be a cheaper option.


There are no real health risks associated with travel to Norway and the standard of healthcare is high throughout the country. A reciprocal agreement exists between the UK and Norway under which British nationals are covered for emergency treatment while visiting Norway as long as they hold a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Travellers should ensure that they have adequate travel and medical insurance.

Public Holidays

Whit Sunday31 May23 May
Easter Day12 Apr4 Apr
New Year's Day1 Jan1 Jan
Maundy Thursday9 Apr1 Apr
Good Friday10 Apr2 Apr
Easter Monday13 Apr5 Apr
Labour Day1 May1 May
Ascension Day21 May13 May
Constitution Day17 May17 May
Whit Monday1 Jun24 May
Christmas Day25 Dec25 Dec
Boxing Day26 Dec26 Dec


Business in Norway is conducted formally, with an emphasis on punctuality and direct communication. Business attire is usually smart and fashionable, though not ostentatious. Titles and surnames are predominantly used on introduction, but may be dropped later, and greetings are usually made with a handshake.

Business cards are commonly exchanged. Expect business to be conducted in a direct and forthright manner, with little small talk or socialising. It is worth bearing in mind that Norway is an expensive country and that any services from lawyers, consultants etc. are subject to hefty VAT charges.

Business hours take place between 6am to 6pm, Monday to Friday. Norwegians highly value family and believe in a healthy balance between work and leisure. They are hardworking but overtime is frowned upon and workers in Norway are entitled to more leave than foreigners may be used to.

Passport & Visa

All visitors to Norway must have sufficient funds, return or onward tickets and all documents needed for further travel. Passports should be valid for at least three months beyond the period of intended stay. Some European countries require only their National Identity Card if coming as a tourist to Norway. The borderless region known as the Schengen area includes the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. All these countries issue a standard Schengen visa that has a multiple entry option that allows the holder to travel freely within the borders of all. It is highly recommended that passports have at least six months' validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.


Smoking is prohibited in all public places and on public transport in Norway, unless otherwise indicated. Norwegians tend to see everyone as being equal; they do not flaunt their wealth or financial achievements and frown on those who do. Travellers should note that whale meat is available legally in Norway, but that it is illegal to bring it into most other countries.

Duty Free

Norwegian residents over 18 years who have been abroad for 24 hours or more don't have to pay duty on goods worth up to NOK 6,000. This includes up to 200 cigarettes or 250g of tobacco products.

The amount of alcohol depends on the purchase of tobacco. In addition to tobacco, one can declare 5 litres of beer or 2 litres of beer with 3 litres of wine or 1 litre of spirits, 1.5 litres of wine, and 2 litres of beer.

Without tobacco, one may include 1 litre of spirits, 3 litres of wine, and 2 litres of beer, or 4.5 litres of wine and 2 litres of beer. The last option is having 6.5 litres of beer only. Travellers arriving from outside of the EU should confirm their duty free allowance prior to arrival in Norway.


Oslo Visitor Centre: +47 23 10 62 00 or

112 (Police); 113 (Ambulance); 110 (Fire).

Entry Requirements

United States citizens require a passport valid for three months beyond period of intended stay, but no visa is needed for stays of up to 90 days within a 180 day period.

British Citizens, British Overseas Territories Citizens, and British Subjects must have valid passports, but require no visa to enter Norway. For British passports with any other endorsement no visa is required for stays of up to 90 days within a 180 day period.

Canadians must have a passport valid for three months beyond period of intended stay, but no visa is required for a stay of up 90 in any 180 day period.

South Africans require a passport valid for at least three months beyond period of intended stay. Holders of temporary passports are not allowed. A visa is required for travel to Norway.

Irish nationals must have a valid passport but no visa is required.

New Zealand citizens must have a passport valid for three months beyond period of intended stay, but no visa is required for a stay of up to 90 days within a 180 day period.

Embassy Consulates

United States Embassy, Oslo: +47 21 30 85 40.

British Embassy, Oslo: +47 2313 2700.

Canadian Embassy, Oslo: +47 2299 5300.

South African Embassy, Oslo: +47 2327 3220.

Irish Embassy, Oslo: +47 2201 7200.

New Zealand Honorary Consulate General, Oslo: +47 923 01 701.

Embassy Consulates

Royal Norwegian Embassy, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 333 6000.

Royal Norwegian Embassy, London, United Kingdom: +44 (0)20 7591 5500.

Royal Norwegian Embassy, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 238 6571.

Royal Norwegian Embassy, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 (0)12 364 3700.

Royal Norwegian Embassy, Dublin, Ireland: +353 (0)1 662 1800.


Norway is a famously good destination for outdoor adventure tourism, with fantastic skiing, cycling, hiking, climbing, river rafting, and even scuba diving opportunities. The spectacular scenery is popularly enjoyed on cruises and train rides, with much of the tourist activity centring on the famous and extensive network of fjords.

Sognefjord is the largest of the fjords and lures many tourists to Norway with its dramatic vistas and the natural and cultural wealth along its banks. Many visitors start their fjord explorations in Bergen, but Tromsø also offers some glorious fjord cruises.

Tromsø is the gateway to the Arctic and the main attractions in the north are the phenomena of the Northern Lights and the Midnight Sun, which keep travellers arriving year round. Like all the main cities in Norway, Tromsø also boasts some good museums, as well as the unique Arctic Cathedral.

Oslo, the capital, is a cosmopolitan, sophisticated city, surrounded by glorious countryside and promising many sightseeing opportunities for rainy days. The heritage of the Vikings and the great Norwegian explorers can be investigated in Oslo, as well as some of the country's best art galleries. Other popular urban destinations in Norway include Stavanger, Trondheim, and Bergen, the gateway to the fjords that also boasts the historic harbour district of Bryggen.


Despite its northerly location, the coastal climate in Norway is temperate, thanks to the warming effects of the Gulf Stream flowing along its coast. Summer, between late June and early August, brings long, hot days with temperatures reaching 86°F (30°C), and sea temperatures averaging a comfortable 64°F (18°C). Even in the north of Norway, summer temperatures rise to 77°F (25°C) or more. However, summer weather can be changeable in Norway and the summer months can be wet.

In winter much of Norway is snow-clad with very low temperatures in the north and the low-lying inland regions of the south. Temperatures can drop below -40°F (-40°C). In contrast, the coast enjoys mild winters, although gales and rain are common. In spring, between May and mid-June, Norway is at its prettiest, with everything coming to life and blossoming and snow melt swelling the waterfalls.

June and July is often considered the best time to visit Norway because of the warm weather and the long days, which see sunlight until nearly 10pm. These peak summer months are also the most crowded in Norway. March is the best time to go skiing in Norway, and May and September offer nice weather and slightly smaller crowds. The Northern Lights are famously elusive and unpredictable, but there is a possibility of seeing them any time between late September and March.

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