Spectacular fjords flanked by the jagged peaks and steep cliffs, the gush of water cascading through the world’s greatest waterfalls, grand and glorious glaciers travelling down from one of Europe’s largest ice fields, and the rocky coastal islands that emerge from the water like commanding sentinels guarding the splendour of their territory—the Kingdom of Norway—is undoubtedly world’s most dramatic terrain designed by nature. However, the famed narrow inlets are not the only identity of the country, but the land of Midnight Sun and White Nights is also known for its equally alluring and vibrant culture—brim-full of fine and exemplary architecture exhibiting the renowned Scandinavian flair for design for centuries.
Norway Travel Guide
If the abundance of exquisite landscape and Scandinavian sophistication aren’t enough, Norway is also home to some of Europe’s most fascinating wildlife— reindeer, polar bears, and musk oxen are just to begin with. And if you still insist for more, Norway is also a destination to pump up some adrenaline and quench your thirst for adventure with world-class hiking, dog-sledding, cycling, skiing, snowmobiling in winter and white-water rafting in summer. One of the most scenic countries in the world, Norway is also one of the most sparsely populated countries in Europe with a population of about 5 million and King Harald V is the official Head of State.
With more than perfect setting for a stunning wooden village, Norway is unquestionably ‘at least, once in a lifetime’ destination. Pack your bags and get the travelling shoes on, if you haven’t already. Here’s your travel guide to Norway.
What to do in Norway:
Although, a trip to Norway should primarily be aimed at soaking into the glamour of nature, here are some things not to be missed in Norway
Nærøyfjord & Geirangerfjord: Listed as UNESCO’s world heritage sites, Nærøyfjord and Geirangerfjord are the most visited fjords in Norway. Nærøyfjord is an 18-kilometre long fjord and one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. Inspiration for Arendelle in ‘Frozen’—the Disney movie released in 2013—Nærøyfjord has also been rated as the world’s number one natural heritage site by National Geographic Society. At the end of the Nærøyfjord the famous Gudvangen village is located. The length of equally famed Geirangerfjord is 15-kilometre.
Hardangervidda National Park: Spanning across the area of 3,422 square kilometres, Hardangervidda national park is the largest in Norway. Ideal for fishing, hiking, cycling, hunting, canoeing, and various other summer activities, the national park close to Berge city is a must-visit.
Heddal Stave Church: Located in Notodden, Heddal stave church is straight from the fairy-tales. It is also one of the most beautiful and largest of just 28 remaining stave churches in Norway.
Wildlife Safaris in Svalbard : Don’t miss the huge range of wildlife safaris from bird watching to polar bear spotting in the glaciated landscape of this stunning Arctic Archipelago in Norway.
Nasjonalgalleriet: One of the most famous landmarks of Oslo—the capital city of Norway— is the National Gallery, which displays the country’s largest and most impressive collection of Norwegian art.
The Flåmsbana: The steepest train line in the world— Flamsbana— is an exciting train journey, which offers the most panoramic and also the closest view of the Norwegian fjord landscape.
The Northern Lights: Named after the Roman Goddess of Dawn, Aurora Borealis or the northern lights are the natural light display in the sky. Head to the northern Norway to witness the most bewitching and incredible show by nature called The Northern Lights. This is an experience that will take a permanent residence in your mind
Where to stay in Norway:
There are sufficient number of hotels in Norway. The tariff can be a little steep with a single hotel room costing you around 800 NOK (around 100 USD) and above. Also, you need to book in advance. Camping huts, mountain cabins and youth hostels are more popular and reasonable lodging options, only if, you are ready to cook your own meal, bring your own linen or bed sheets and wash before departure. Rent an apartment or a cabin for longer stays.
Travel Tips: Cabins and houses rented out by local farmers is far more interesting lodging option than the standard hotels.
Getting Around: Norway has far-flung geographical boundaries, therefore the most convenient way to travel from one city to the other is by air. Trains generally connect the capital city Oslo to other major cities and some areas have no train lines. Easy to book, trains in Norway are comfortable and well maintained. Buses have good frequency, but the seats are limited. Therefore, plan in advance if you wish to travel by train in Norway. Boat ferries are a popular way to commute, and taxis are expensive, therefore, less preferred to trams, buses or trains. You can also explore a city on foot. Fully-equipped motorhomes or campervans can also be opted for a mode of transport. Hitching is not uncommon here. Cycling is the most recommended and best way to explore Norway’s striking cities.
Travel Tip: For night trains as well as long-distance trains, seat reservation is mandatory. Booking can be done on a short notice.
Shopping: Vestkanttorget Flea Market: Apart from specialty stores, art galleries and factory outlets, Vestkanttorget flea market offers a unique shopping experience amidst heaps of junk.
Entertainment: The entertainment scene in Norway is limited and mostly about the bars and clubs. The clubs fill up post mid-night around 1 AM. However, if you have a Norwegian friend, ask the venue of vorspiel. Norway has a culture of Pre-party and Post-party and it’s a lot of fun to attend Vorspiel and Nachspiel.
Food: Eating out in Norway is expensive and you have to dig deep into your pocket to fine dine at a restaurant, which can easily cost you more than 200 Norwegian Krone (Approx 25 USD) and a fast food take away, as basic as a sandwich can cost you 60-70 NOK (7-8 USD). The most sustainable eating options in Norway is self-catering. Guesthouses and hostels often offer the kitchen to their guests. There are plenty of grocery stores in and around each locality. For a quick bite, head to a convenience store offering hotdogs, sausages and some other munching delights. Norwegian breakfast is hearty and mostly a buffet. You can carry a tiffin box to save some portions of your breakfast for lunch. The hotels don’t mind. Drinking in public is prohibited. You can drink the tap-water. Vatnestrom in Norway is home to Hollywood A-lister’s favourite Voss water
Travel Tip: Although, it may be overly expensive, if you are really keen, you can eat a Minke whale (not regarded as endangered) in one of the specialty restaurants.
Points to remember: Norway is one of the most expensive countries on earth, but don’t crib about it in front of a Norwegian. They don’t like it. Norwegian may appear a little rude, even if they don’t intend to. Blame it on their somewhat straightforward language, ‘Please’, ‘You’re welcome’, ‘Thank you’ are not a part of daily lives. Norwegians are very patriotic and violating flag rules is always frowned upon.
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