Most people think Norway is small, with its population of only 5.2 million, but it is the longest country in Europe, spanning more than 1700 miles. Driving between the northernmost and southernmost cities takes 38 hours. So, definitely, it is full of natural resources that can attract any travel enthusiast’s mood. Traveling in Norway will cherish your desires in full swing.
So when you consider traveling in Norway, you may want to learn what to expect from each region. You can then focus on one or two areas, instead of trying to take in everything on one trip. Each region is like a country in itself in this diverse Scandinavian nation.
Norway is a northern country with numerous access to the sea and northern (that is, dark) winters, so fish, lamb and root vegetables are at the heart of the local cuisine.
Norway is rich in fish and seafood, so in supermarkets, you will always find fresh trout and cod, king crab phalanxes, and other seafood. Here you should definitely try fresh oysters, shark meat, mussels, and fish, whale steak – for a large selection, go to the local fish market.
Pay attention to the Norwegian fish soup (this is an analog of our Karelian one), made from several types of fish, potatoes, and milk, as well as gravlax (a salted salmon appetizer), local salted herring, and a classic sandwich with a heap of shrimp, lemon and dill. Among the fish dishes there are also unusual ones – for example, lutefisk, a jelly-like baked white fish, pre-soaked in a solution of water with alkali.
The mountainous regions of the country are known for their love of lamb, which is salted, dried, and stewed. Try the Christmas dish pinnechet – aged lamb meat served with boiled turnips, and forikol – lamb stew with white cabbage, which is usually washed down with local strong alcohol akevit.
From sweet dishes, you should pay attention to lefse – thin flour cakes with sugar, as well as brunust – brown sweet cheese, similar to boiled condensed milk. Its Norwegians love to eat it for breakfast, spread on toast, and in the store, you will find options for different fat contents.
What to Expect in Southern Norway
Southern Norway is known for its beautiful seacoast and relatively warm weather. At this hotel in Farsund, you can easily rent a 22-foot outboard boat and spend happy hours and days fishing — in the deep sea or among the small rocky islands called skerries.
You can give the fish a break with visits to nearby beaches, a water park, a children’s zoo, and an adrenaline park with go-carts, escape rooms, and paintball. You can also go rail-cycling on a tandem tricycle through 10 miles of beautiful countryside, including 17 tunnels — bring a flashlight and a jacket!
What to Expect in Northern Norway
Thinly populated Northern Norway, also known as the land of the midnight sun, is where to go for northern lights, Arctic adventures, and Sami culture. Even further north, the archipelago of Svalbard, covered with national parks and nature reserves, has more polar bears than people.
What to Expect in Eastern Norway
Eastern Norway is home to half the population of Norway, and includes the capital city of Oslo, known for its high quality of life and its many museums on subjects including Vikings and skiing. Here in the east, you’ll find vast valleys and forests, large lakes, big rivers, and tall mountains where you can ski, sometimes even in the summer.
What to Expect in Western Norway
Famous for its fjords, Western Norway is one of the world’s most coveted tourist destinations. A boat trip down these narrow, steep-walled bays carved by glaciers should not be missed. Many of the fjords have spectacular waterfalls flowing into them. If you want still more icy splendor, Western Norway also offers impressive ice fields and glaciers. You can warm up in its charming historic cities, such as Stavanger, the birthplace of Erik the Red, and Bergen, said to be Europe’s rainiest city.
What to Expect From the Weather in Norway
The weather in Norway is basically on the cold side, but it changes considerably depending on the season, the region, the altitude, and the topography. Much of the country is very mountainous, which keeps the mild Gulf Stream winds from reaching the interior.
Temperatures are also affected by the length of the days — in winter, in the southern region, the days are very short and cloudy, and the nights can last for six months in the north. In summer, days everywhere in Norway are long, and there’s sun at midnight in the north.
What to Expect Throughout Norway
Regardless of which areas of Norway you visit, some things remain the same:
- Norway does not use the euro but has its own currency called the krone. Norwegians don’t use much actual cash, preferring to pay for almost everything with a bank card.
- Norway is very safe. The crime rate is extremely low, even in the cities.
- Almost everyone in Norway speaks English. If you want to try out your Norwegian, be prepared for some impressively different dialects in the various regions.
- Norway is expensive. Eating out is especially costly since restaurants are not part of Norwegian culture. To maximize your travel budget, you’ll want to shop for groceries and cook at home.
Wherever you go in Norway, spectacular scenery and high quality of life surround you. Just remember to take a sweater!
How to save while traveling in Norway
Norway is one of the most expensive countries in the world. Nevertheless, you can relax for a reasonable price. Here are some tips on how you can save money while traveling.
- BUY PRODUCTS IN THE MARKETS AND IN SUPERMARKETS AND COOK AT HOME
Food prices tend to be slightly higher than in Russia, the exception – the meat. Available supermarkets – Rema 1000, Kiwi and Joker, Spar, Bunnpris. Cheap cafes in Norway are an oxymoron.
- FORGET ABOUT ALCOHOL IN BARS AND RESTAURANTS. THE
starting price of a cocktail is a thousand rubles, and a bottle of good wine in a store will cost no more than in Russia.
- BUY A PUBLIC TRANSPORT PASS
You are almost 100% likely to save a lot. More information about travel cards in Norway – in the section “Transport”.
- COMPARE DIFFERENT MODES OF TRANSPORT
A trip from Oslo to Bergen by train is very beautiful, but it will be much cheaper to fly to the city in an hour with Norwegian, and instead of a tourist cruise through the fjords, you can ride a river tram – the only difference is the speed and services on board.
- BE CRITICAL IN YOUR CHOICE OF HOUSING.
This is one of the biggest expenses, so it is wise to save on it. Choose rooms instead of entire apartments, forget about hotels, and if you are traveling in nature, take tents with you. If you are not ready to part with comfort, pay attention to the national tourist association DNT, which has a large number of summer cottages, forest houses and mountain modules throughout the country.
What to watch out for
- Most shops close very early and are often closed on weekends.
- Alcohol is only sold in Vinmonopolet stores, which are closed on Sundays and public holidays and close early on Saturdays. Check their opening times in advance.
- It is forbidden to drink alcohol on the streets, for this they are fiercely fined.
- Norway is generally very safe, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to keep an eye on your belongings.
- Norwegians plan their holidays in advance, but there is really not a lot of accommodation. If you do not want to get into an unpleasant situation, be puzzled by organizing your trip at least six months in advance.
Thanks to its large oil reserves and a sound economic system, over the past 30 years, Norway has become one of the most prosperous and wealthy countries in the world. Despite the fact that it is very expensive there, Norway attracts many tourists – mainly due to its incredible nature: stunning fjords, waterfalls, mountains, islands.
And of course, people come here to watch the northern lights and white nights. In addition, Norway is the birthplace of Vikings, troll tales, and Scandinavian myths.