Norway is a beautiful country, with breathtaking views and great opportunities for adventure. One of the best parts about traveling to Norway is that you are never far from the water! Whether it’s fjords or lakes, there are plenty of places to explore nature up close. So it is no wonder why Norway has been ranked as one of the top destinations in Europe by National Geographic Traveler. Anyway, If you are planning to visit Norway, there are some things that you need to know before your trip.
- Norway’s main attraction is its natural beauty
As Norway has fjords as the top attraction, you can skip Oslo in your Norway tour itinerary, as the country’s main draw is its natural wonders, in particular its fjords. Bergen and Stavanger are the two largest cities in Norway, the country’s oil production centers. Go to these cities if you want to sample their uniqueness and greatness. The rocky ledges of Trolltunga (“Troll’s Tongue”) and Prekestulen (“Preacher’s Pulpit”), the Kjeragbolten stone (Kjeragbolten) will give you an unforgettable experience for a lifetime. Picturesque mountains, forests with fabulous flowers, streams, rivers — it’s all about Norway. If you need help selecting attractions and places to visit in Norway, you can use an innovative (vacation planner) “Triptile” to create your personalized Norway trip.
- Various weather conditions
It is crucial when and where exactly you are going – the climate in the north and the south of the country differs most radically.
In Norway, the summer months are the most popular months for tourists. Summer is the best time to explore the fjords and sea cruises in the country’s south and a great opportunity to see the polar day in the north. In summer, the temperature can reach +25-30 degrees, including in the northern regions. Nevertheless, the Norwegian weather is extremely changeable – during your stay on the fjords, it can be warm during the day, and in the evening, it can be cold even in a jacket.
Winter in Norway is quite severe, with freezing winds, but not everywhere. In the southern regions, the climate is temperate, especially in the fjords area, which does not even freeze in winter. Polar Norway in winter is, of course, a unique opportunity to see the northern lights and the polar night. But here, you need to have your sweaters and socks – in the country’s north, the Arctic climate and frosts can be very fierce.
- Book your accommodation in advance
Tourists flock to the country in large numbers, so accommodation is in high demand. Book your accommodation at least six months in advance for the best deals and the most beautiful spots.
Prices for accommodation in Norwegian hotels are higher than the average in Europe, but there are discounts, and the choice of places is huge. Here you can choose hotels in old buildings and live in traditional farms, huts, fishing houses “rorby” surrounded by fjords. Budget option – campsites and hostels.
- Currency and payments
Norway has its own currency – the Norwegian krone. Almost everywhere (even in villages) accept cards, cash, in principle, is not needed anywhere. You can change the currency in Norway at any post office and bank, and here you can also cash traveler’s checks.
Bank opening hours are from 8:30 to 15:00 on weekdays. Some banks in tourist areas are open from 8:00 to 19:30-23:00 on weekdays and until 17:00 on Saturdays.
- Check the bus schedule
If you have enough money, you can rent a car and travel at your own pace. The gas price in Norway is one of the highest in Europe, so if you want to save money, you can count on the bus as a means of transportation. In more secluded places in Norway, buses run twice a day.
Therefore, always check the bus schedule and plan your trip according to them. It isn’t easy to rely on buses entirely in rural areas, so if you have enough money, you should rent a car.
- Things that are definitely NOT to do
Foreign visitors are expected to follow the rules of behavior of their host country and should not defy them. Norway has such rules too. There some of them:
- No bargaining ( The price of every product in Norway is set, so there are no mass discounts or haggling );
- Eat with your fork, not your hands (many Norwegians even eat sandwiches with cutlery);
- Don’t compare Norway with the rest of Scandinavia ( If you compare Norway with other Scandinavian countries, be prepared because the locals are unlikely to be happy about this. Norway is an independent and unique country, and Norwegians want everyone to know about it.);
- Don’t judge or criticize them (Norway is a country with broad views, like its people, but one thing they can’t put up with is a criticism);
- Don’t drive when you are drunk (If the slightest dose of alcohol is detected in the blood, the driver can not only be fined, deprived of the car and documents, but also sent to prison.).
- Don’t smoke in public places.
What is more, in any situation, the inhabitants of Norway remain unperturbed and calm. Although it is also worth adhering to strict moral rules, hefty fines are levied for violating generally accepted norms.
- What to eat
Norwegian cuisine is simple and healthy. Excellent fish and meat dishes with wild berry sauces will satisfy the most spoiled taste. Here you should definitely try fresh oysters, shark meat, mussels, and fish, whale steak — for a large selection, go to the local fish market. Also, pay attention to the Norwegian fish soup, made from several types of fish, potatoes, and milk, as well as gravlaks (a snack of salted salmon), local salted herring, and a classic sandwich with a mound of shrimp, lemon, and dill.
- National day of Norway – the main public holiday
May 17 is a holiday in honor of the signing of the Constitution in 1814. Norway has no other celebration that compares to National Day in scope. On this day, the main activities include eating ice cream and hot dogs, listening to performances, and playing games at local schools. Each year, hundreds of thousands of people attend the largest of these parades. Everyone is waving flags and shouting ” Hooray!”. In Oslo, the royal family welcomes the marchers from the balcony of the palace.
The world is a big place, but it’s not always easy to know how to prepare for the next destination you’re visiting. After reading through these tips and insights about what you need to know before your first visit to Norway, we hope you will be excited to plan your next trip.