A land where fjords, isolated inlets and snow-capped mountains glisten beneath the Midnight Sun. Where scenic towns such as Oslo, Trondheim and Bergen showcase Nordic style-conscious design and cosmopolitan city-life. Norway is a country filled with natural wonders and man-made marvels, from the glacier-covered peninsula of Svalbard in the far north, with its indigenous Sami people and free-roaming polar bears, to the white painted wood towns and archipelago of the south.
Food stores aren’t allowed to open on Sundays, but petrol stations and kiosks are.
The members of the 1985 Eurovision Song Contest winning group Bobbysocks were awarded the Peer Gynt Prize by the Norwegian Government for their achievement.
Scenes from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back were filmed in Norway.
The 15 mile-long Lærdal tunnel on Route E16 is the longest in the world.
What to see
Oslo is wonderfully diverse. It caters for city-types in the shape of its classic Scandinavian design, buzzing nightlife and a vibrant cafe and arts scene, while there are forested suburbs, hiking, swimming and winter skiing for fans of the fresh air. There are plenty of world-class museums and galleries, not to mention the striking 13th-century Akershus Fortress, overlooking the fjord.
A maze of narrow streets characterise Stavanger; an international oil town with a lively nightlife andbags of energy. It’s just a short boat trip to some of Norway’s most staggering scenery, with rocky peaks and inky-blue fjords aplenty. Take a trip to Pulpit Rock (Preikestolen), a table-top rock offering sublime views over Lysefjord.
Bergen is one of Norway’s prettiest cities, surrounded by seven soaring mountains and edged by a beautifully sheltered harbour. Bergen is also home to some of the country’s most respected art galleries and museums, including The Bergen Art Gallery, featuring works by Paul Klee, Edvard Munch and Pablo Picasso.
Geilo is one of Norway’s most popular and well-known ski resorts and is conveniently located between Oslo and Bergen. There are 40 slopes designed to both suit seasoned skiers and beginners, with Hardangervidda and Hallingskarvet national parks on its doorstep.
Top experiences / sites of particular interest
The Northern Lights
Wrap up and head to Norway’s Arctic region between October and March for a once-in-a-lifetime glimpse of the majestic Northern Lights.
Book an organised tour of Lapland for the chance to stay in an authentic Sami tepee. You can also learn more about Lapland’s indigenous culture at the Várjjat Sámi Museaat varangerbotn in eastern Finnmark.
Jostedalsbreen is mainland Europe’s largest glacier and is a must-visit for outdoor enthusiasts. Located in the heart of a stunning national park there’s plenty of activities to choose from including mountain kayaking and glacier hiking.
Visit the world’s most powerful whirlpool, known as Saltsraumen, located east of Bodø. Plan your visit carefully as the currents only spring into action four times a day.
Southern Norway is home to 28 beautifully preserved wooden medieval churches. Urnes Stave Church is the oldest, dating back to the early 12th century and is recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Hit the slopes
Norway attracts some of the planet’s top Alpine snowboarders and skiers, and is home to thousands of miles of marked trails in breathtaking scenery.
When to go
Weather and Seasons: Norway has a typically Scandinavian climate with severe winters and mild summers, when temperatures can reach up to the low 30s in the south. Coastal regions enjoy a gentler climate, while inland areas see harsher seasons and much colder temperatures during the winter. In the northern areas of the Arctic Circle there is continuous daylight during summer and darkness throughout winter. The best time to visit for city breaks and sightseeing is between May and August, when the Norwegian countryside is at its best. The ski season typically lasts from December to Easter.
Important Dates and Festivals: Norway’s event calendar is packed with festivals and celebrations. Key diary dates include Norwegian Wood in June, considered to be Norway’s equivalent to Glastonbury, Oslo’s International Ibsen Festival in August and Kapittell, Stavanger’s International Festival of Literature and Freedom of Speech, held in September.
Getting there / around
Flights: It takes around two hours to reach Oslo from London.
Boat:The Svalbard Peninsula, Tromsø, Trondheim, Hammerfest, Honningsvaag and Ålesund are all popular cruise ship destinations.
Coach: An excellent long-distance coach service operates across Norway. Look out for services from Lavprisekspressen, an affordable budget operator with routes from Oslo to Stavanger and from Oslo to Trondheim.
Ferry: Ferries serve all coastal towns, plus a variety of ferry tours and fjord cruises are available throughout the year.
Car: Norwegian roads tend to be good quality and there are numerous car ferries for crossing fjords. Smaller mountain passes can often close at short notice due to adverse weather.
Weekend trip: At just two hours away, Oslo is an excellent weekend city-break destination.
7-night stays: Take a week-long driving tour of the fjords. Start in Ålesund, and then drive east to the resort of Åndalsnes, surrounded by the Romsdalen Alps.From here take the 20-hour drive to Geiranger along Route 63, a marvel of engineering with hairpin turns and breathtaking views from 2,034 ft. From here you can take the car ferry across to Hellesylt, Stryn and the Jostedalsbreen National Park before continuing to Fjaerland, Balestrand and Voss.
14-night stays: Start in Oslo, in the east of Norway, taking the time to visit the world-famous Scream in The Munch Museum. Head to the harbour, and take the ferry to the peninsula of Bygdøy. Next, follow the south eastern coast to Kristiansand S, home to the Agder Museum of Natural History and Botanical Garden and Kristiansand Zoo and Amusement Park, before turning tail northwest to Stavanger, with its fabulous Old Town.Take the scenic, yet complicated, road to Bergen and book a full-day tour to see some of Norway’s most dramatic fjords and towering mountain peaks.
Fish and seafood are staples of the Norwegian diet, along with speciality meats such as wild elk and reindeer. Traditional ingredients to look out for include brunost (sweet whey cheese), lutefisk (baked cod) and Multer (cloudberries). Popular dishes include bacalao (cod stew) and meatballs. Visit a roadside restaurant, known as a kro, during your trip for the best in affordable, authentic Norwegian fare.
Socialising in Norway can be expensive and has created a late-night culture, with many Norwegians enjoying drinks at home before venturing out – sometimes as late as midnight. You’ll find a healthy pub and club scene in Oslo, mainly around the Aker Brygge waterfront area, the Majorstua and the city centre itself. You’ll also find plenty of pubs and restaurants in towns like Bergen, Stavanger and Trondheim, plus a vibrant arts and culture scene.
Three-month visa-free stays are available to EU citizens.
No particular vaccinations are recommended.
Safety, FO travel advice
FO travel advice: Generally safe.
Useful Telephone NumbersNorwegian country representatives can be found
in the UK at25 Belgrave Square, Belgravia, London. SW1X 8QD. Tel:-0207 591 5500.
and in the US at 2720 34th Street, NW Washington, DC 20008. Tel:- 202 333 6000.
Thereis a tourist board
in the UK atCharles House, 5 Lower Regent Street, London, SW1Y 4LR. Tel:- 0207 389 8800.
For more information visit www.norway.org.uk/ and www.visitnorway.com/uk/.
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