Five Things First Time Travellers To Norway Should Know
- Norway is an expensive country to visit. Compared to some of the other European countries, you'll find that prices for food, accommodation and transport are much higher. Give yourself a much bigger budget to work with, so you don't come up short.
- Norway doesn't use the Euro. The country has its own currency called the Norwegian Krone. But don't worry about carrying cash with you; you can buy almost anything with your credit card including hot dogs.
- Most Norwegians speak English. You shouldn't have much of a communication barrier to overcome, and locals will be able to help you with any questions you may have.
- Tipping is not compulsory. However, it is common courtesy to round up your bill to the nearest ten. But if you're happy with the service you received and want to leave a tip, 10% to 20% is more than enough.
- Don't try to haggle. In Norway, everything has a fixed price tag that is not negotiable. The only time it would be acceptable is if the item is damaged.
Best Time To Visit Norway
The best time to visit Norway all depends on what you want to do. If you're not a fan of the cold and want to maximise your sightseeing time, plan your trip around the summer months.
From June to August, the days will be long thanks to Midnight Sun, and if you head far north, you'll have sunshine around the clock. With all the attractions open and so much to do, you'll be thankful for the extra time to explore.
But the season is also one of the busiest times for Norway. It's the European summer holidays, and the top attractions will be full of crowds. If you're planning your trip during these months, you'll need to book your flights and accommodation well in advance.
If you're looking to escape the crowds, head to Norway in May, or September to October. These two shoulder seasons are a great alternative to the summer months, with the weather warm enough for outdoor activities. You'll also find better deals on tours, hotel rooms and flights.
While Norway's winters might see temperatures drop to −25 °C, it's the best time of year to see the Northern Lights. If you avoid the Christmas rush, you'll also find low hotel rates and cheaper airfares.
Bergen is Norway's second largest city and is known as the "gateway to the fjords". Its port has been in operation since the 15th century, and it attracts visitors from near and far who want to sample its fresh seafood.
Bergen's UNESCO-listed town quarter is full of traditional wooden houses that line the city's cobbled streets, while the more modern parts create an interesting juxtaposition with their Art Nouveau and contemporary design.
Bergen is an excellent place to base yourself if you want to explore Norway's famous fjords. The city is surrounded by dramatic waterfalls, towering mountains and breathtaking views.
Oslo is the capital of Norway boasting a history that dates back more than 1000 years. Today, it's the epicentre of a vibrant culture complete with some of Norway's best museums.
Make sure you visit the Munch Museum to catch a glimpse of Edvard Munch's famous painting "The Scream". Folkemuseet is an outdoor museum that also shouldn't be missed. It's made up of over 150 historic buildings, including a traditional Stave Church.
Once you've had enough of the bustling city life, head to the nearby forests and parks. Spend a day hiking or biking through the pristine nature trails.
Trondheim is Norway's third largest city and the country's former capital during the Viking Age. Founded in 997 AD, the Vikings controlled the area for almost 300 years.
As a result, the city is full of beautiful architecture that looks like something out of a fairytale. Visit the beautiful 12th-century Sverresborg castle, the northernmost Medieval cathedral in the world and wander around the charming historic districts.
Top Attractions in Norway
Geirangerfjord is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the crown jewel of Norway's natural heritage.
Located near the small coastal town of Alesund, the fjord stretches across the landscape for 15 km. The towering mountains are more than 1,000 metres high and are framed by deep blue water and lush green scenery.
Visitors can book one of the many cruises or tours, but one of the top ways to appreciate Geirangerfjord is to hire a car. Drive down the winding Eagles Road, past its 11 hairpin bends and breathtaking views.
But if you're feeling adventurous, you can hike to the summit of Dalsnibba. At 4,905 feet it offers intrepid travellers some of the best views of the fjords.
The Arctic Circle is home to two of Norway's most impressive natural attractions: The Midnight Sun and the Northern Lights.
During Norway's summer months, the Arctic Circle sees endless days where the sun never sets. While it is disorientating, it's a unique experience that only occurs in this region of the world.
On the other end of the spectrum, is the Aurora Borealis. This spectacular natural light show is best viewed in the winter months when the skies are clear and the nights are dark.
With the Arctic Circle being so far north, you'll have a better chance of witnessing this phenomenon than anywhere else in Norway. There's also an array of accommodation options, like glass hotels, where you can watch the lights without even leaving your room.
Atlantic Ocean Road
The Atlantic Ocean Road is only nine kilometres long, but it's one of the most scenic coastal highways in the world.
As the road zigzags between bridges, you can spot a variety of marine life including whales, orcas and seals. Along the way, you'll have the chance to visit quaint fishing villages, stop at traditional Nordic wooden churches and explore the famous Trolls' Church Cave.
If admiring the scenery is not enough for you, visitors can also explore the ocean's depths. Scuba divers will find pristine dive sites, and the less adventurous can also go on guided sea safari trips.
Located in Oslo, Vigeland Park is one of the top attractions in Norway's capital city. It's the largest sculpture park in the world that contains the work of a single artist.
More than 200 pieces by famed Norwegian sculptor, Gustav Vigeland are on display. The collection is one of the weirdest, with sculptures that include a naked man fighting flying babies and a woman hugging a giant lizard.
It's a must visit for any art lover, as well as those that want to escape the city for some tranquillity and crazy pieces of art. Entrance is free, and the park is open at all time, year around.
Viking Ship Museum
No trip to Norway would be complete without revisiting the country's Viking ancestry.
Once home to fierce warriors battling the seas, the 9th-century vessels are now on permanent display in Oslo.
Inside the Viking Ship Museum, you'll find five of the world's best-preserved ships. It's one of Norway's most popular museums with more than half a million people visiting each year.
The museum also has other exhibits displaying artefacts found in Viking tombs, as well as tools, textiles and household items. Another highlight is the Vikings Alive film. Projected onto the ceiling of the museum, it takes guests on a visual journey through the Viking Age.
Major International Airports in Norway
- Oslo Airport
- Bergen Airport
- Trondheim Airport
- Stavanger Airport
- Tromso Airport