Famous for its beauty that spans from its people to the culture and the land, Norway is one of the world’s most lovely places. Home to stunning fjords, the area nation is intertwined with glaciers, lakes, and rivers.
The jagged rocks and vibrant greenery are an impressive backdrop to small villages that are popping with color. Dense forests are also scattered throughout the land, and their isolation brings forth nature’s true personality. Travelers can go to the edge of the world in Norway and peer into its wonders, whether they’re atop a towering rock or deep into the pine trees.
Velkommen – Welcome to Norway!
Norway’s fantastic appearance is only part of the appeal. Sophistication runs deep through Scandinavia, and the impressive design and aesthetics of the culture are also displayed throughout Norway. The graceful architecture of major cities like Trondheim and Bergen has made them the muse of many photographers.
While the perfectly plated cuisine is just another showcase of Norway’s unique culture and character, with plenty to see and do, Norway will fill your trip with endless entertainment.
Boasting one of the lowest carbon footprints in the world, Oslo is Norway’s ultra-green capital. With sustainable food practices, production, and space, Oslo and its people thrive. Tourists can indulge in the Michelin-starred restaurants or keep it casual and try a pølse, Norway’s famous hot dog.
No matter what you choose, Norway will have something to ease your hunger. Plus, aside from food, Oslo is becoming one of the best places in Norway to enjoy the nightlife. With DJs filling the local hotspots and the alcohol flowing, Oslo is packed with fun.
- Culture and History
- Spending Budget
- How to Get Around
- Top Cities to Visit
- Points of Interest
Culture and Language
With a culture and history similar to the other Scandinavian countries, Norway was once actually a part of a unified kingdom with Sweden and Denmark. The Kalmar Union brought the three Scandinavian countries together in 1397. However, Sweden left the union in 523, which means that Denmark and Norway stayed unified until 1814 when Norway declared its independence.
Vikings are also an important part of Norway’s identity, and it’s part of what makes it one of the three Scandinavian nations. In Norway, the Vikings built their longhouses and the longship, which gave them the ability to travel through the rivers and oceans. One of the most famous Norwegian Vikings is Erik the Red, who is the father of Leif Erikson.
While Leif Erikson is most famous for discovering North America in the year 1000, well before Columbus set sail. Since the days of old, Norway has expanded to become one of the most prosperous countries in the world. Hydroelectricity, oil, and gas are major productions for Norway, and it brings in a large percentage of the country’s economy.
With expansive oil revenues, Norway has become a very wealthy sovereign. Norwegian culture is very similar to the rest of Scandinavia, and sophistication, simplicity, balance, equality, and humility are integral to its people.
While the strong leadership leftover from the powerful Vikings has driven the country to be successful, the people today are rather laid-back. Most often called Jante Law, these concepts are the backbone of Norway and its people.
Visitors don’t have to feel excluded because Norwegians are very welcoming and eager to share their customs with international travelers. Norwegian is the official language in Norway, and it is the most widely spoken amongst the population of 5.4 million people (as of 2021).
However, surprisingly 4.3 million people are estimated to be able to also converse in English. For many travelers, this means navigating and connecting with locals is not an issue because the English language is common knowledge.
Yet, visitors should still expect to hear plenty of Norwegian on their journey. It’s not very common for Norwegian people to converse with each other in English, and you will mostly hear English during tourist interactions.
An outline of expenses will give you the best idea of the cost of things in Norway and allow you to determine how much you have to spend for the duration of your trip. With a spending budget, you can also save some money for unexpected or emergency costs to ensure that you don’t come up short on funds.
Norway is an expensive country to visit, and it isn’t a place for budget travelers. Even the most experienced budget travelers will find it hard to save money when traveling. The high cost is the only downside to traveling to the country, and many travelers are willing to save up more money to visit Norway.
However, with a larger budget, it is important to remember that some of Norway’s best places are in the great outdoors, which means that you won’t have to break the bank to see beautiful places and landscapes.
Norway’s northern location in Europe makes it an expensive place to visit, and travelers should expect to pay a decent amount from the United States to the country. Flights are not always that expensive, and travelers may be able to find a special deal or budget website that lowers the cost of a ticket.
You will also likely see and notice that the price of airline tickets changes with the time of year and level of tourism in Norway. Norway’s high tourist season is summer, with the months of June, July, and August at their peak. Norway is a popular destination all year long, and you may also see prices spike in the winter or fall months.
Once you’ve determined what season to visit Norway, you’ll also need to begin the next step of planning your vacation, which is determining your accommodation arrangements. All accommodation in Norway is expensive, and you’ll likely see that even hostels start at a moderately high price.
Many hostels also have a surcharge, which covers the cost of linens. You cannot use a sleeping bag in hostels, though you could bring your own linens if you want. Since most travelers won’t pack a set of bed sheets, they prefer to pay the extra fee. Budget hotels are also a popular choice for travelers who prefer a little more privacy and personal space.
A 3-star hotel would be a little more comfortable and expensive, meanwhile, hotels with pools are even more pricey. The nicest or luxury hotels will come with the highest nightly fees and will normally cost hundreds per night.
For travelers who are navigating Norway in a group, Airbnb is a great option for larger but affordable accommodation. A couple may be interested in a private room rental, but you can also find some apartments listed for a fair price if you need more space and privacy.
When you aren’t in your room, you may be out on the streets exploring the local cuisine. Norwegian cuisine is often based on three major parts, which include characteristics from the local landscape and region.
Mountains, coasts, and the wilderness play a large part in Norway’s local dishes, and many will feature raw materials that require minimal cooking.
Sursild is Norway’s version of pickled herring, which is a common dish found throughout all the Scandinavian countries. Finnbiff is a more Norwegian dish, which features reindeer meat in a stew and a hearty sauce.
Kjøttkaker is a Norwegian meatball, which is more like cake with potatoes and carrots. However, all of kjøttkaker is served with a delicious sauce smothering the top of the dish. Smoked salmon is another tasty meal, which is often fried or served as filets with vegetables and sauce.
Pølse is another famous dish, which is just Norway’s take on a traditional hot dog. Finally, for those with a sweet tooth, Norwegian waffles are a popular breakfast item and snack. These heart-shaped waffles are often served with fresh cream and jam.
The downside to Norway and its delicious dishes is that, much like everything else in the country, food is expensive. Even the cheapest meals, which are often the pølse or hot dogs, are a few dollars.
Inexpensive restaurants will still cost you a fair amount per person, and nicer restaurants will double or triple that price. If you’re looking for quick snacks like a slice of pizza or a sandwich in a café, you’ll be able to save a bit of money.
Travelers who are really on a tight budget will want to avoid eating out as much as possible. This means that you’ll want to peruse the aisles of local supermarkets and cook the food for yourself. Similar to food, alcohol is also very expensive in Norway. Purchasing a beer at a market versus a restaurant can help reduce costs.
Mixed drinks are expensive, particularly for popular cocktails in nicer establishments. For many travelers, drinking is an option to cut out of the budget so that you can spend money on the experience in Norway and not just on the alcohol.
How to Get Around
Norway is a large country, and that means that transportation is important to consider before you make your trip to this Scandinavian wonderland. Certain parts of Norway can also be quite remote, especially as you begin to head north.
The most common transportation methods are domestic air, buses, trains, boats, and cars.
Longer journeys can take too much time for some travelers, especially if they are looking to go to different regions of the country. Domestic flights are the fastest way to travel around Norway, although they are rather expensive, and there are a few different domestic airlines servicing the country.
Buses are a more affordable option with a longer journey. The downside to buses is that Norwegian roads are rather windy and often cause motion sickness. There is a rather decent bus system throughout the country, and even remote locations have limited bus services available.
Buses are also a great way to get around cities. Local buses in Oslo have a pass that can be loaded up with money and used for getting around a concentrated area. There are also 24-hour and 7-day unlimited passes available.
If you ‘te planning ahead and taking the time to book in advance, trains are a great transportation option that is affordable and fast. While trains don’t service the entire country, there are available in some of the more touristy areas.
For travelers who are looking to visit some of Norway’s islands, a ferry will take you there. Longer ferry rides will cost a moderate price, while shorter rides will be cheaper. Many ferries are also equipped to load cars if you’ve got a rental with you.
Car rentals are a popular option in Norway because of the convenience they give travelers to set their schedule and the reliability of always having a ride. However, cars are expensive, as is gas, and the roads are often slow due to the numerous twists and turns. Many roads are also only two lanes, which makes passing difficult.
Top Cities to Visit
While Oslo is Norway’s capital, there are a few other famous cities to visit in the country too. Often located on the water, these locations are great for those who want to take in everything Norway has to offer. To help you decide where to visit, here are the best Norwegian cities to visit.
Not only the capital of Norway and also the heart of its culture Oslo. Oslo is a beautiful city that is filled with galleries, museums, architectural wonders, and culinary delights. The eco-friendly design has made it world-famous and one of the cleanest cities.
With peaceful waterways and wide-open spaces, the city is a great place to take a stroll and explore. The nearby location to some of Norway’s highlights like the fjord lands, skiing, and hiking, Oslo is also a great base to jump off to your next adventures.
The main center for trading and commerce, the waterfront area, is now a popular scene with locals and visitors who enjoy the enthusiastic nightlife offered. However, visitors need to pack a rain jacket because there is almost always precipitation falling in Bergen.
Another colorful marvel, Trondheim, entertains with its harbor, quiet streets, calm cafes, and tasty restaurants. A large university in the city also gives it younger energy and a great place to explore local art and music.
The proximity to northern Norway also makes Trondheim the last great stop before you step into the remote wilderness and forests.
With a mishmash of architecture, Alesund is an interesting sight. Art Nouveau and mock-Gothic architecture are often mixed with folklore roots and painted in bright colors.
Even though the city may not be as uniform in appearance as others, it’s still a place worth exploring. In Alesund, you can stay at the bars or jump off into the nearby fjords for a wild encounter.
Bodo is a small and rather remote town; however, it makes the list because it is the most popular place to visit before heading out toward the Lofoten Islands. While the actual streets are rather bland, the amazing mountainous background makes up for the drab appearance of Bodo.
In the winter, the snow-capped peaks are a wonder and showcase the rugged beauty of Norway.
Points of Interest
Cities may lead to many interesting adventures, but sometimes there are also specific points of interest that draw your attention. With plenty of incredible outdoor areas to explore, your itinerary will be packed with activities. Here are Norway’s top tourist attractions that consistently amaze and awe tourists.
Discover the best of Norway’s thermal springs to add to your itinerary, on our sister site, Top Hot Springs.
Sognefjord is the largest fjord in Norway, which is 127 miles long. The network of waterways cut through the fjords and leads you to towering cliffs and breathtaking beauty. The fjord can be explored by boat and see some of the best sights in the area, including Jostedalsbreen, which is the largest glacier in Europe.
Pulpit Rock is the reward after a long journey and a difficult two-hour hike. The rock famously juts out from a cliff, and its flat top is the perfect spot for a picture.
The view is amazing, and visitors can take a peek over the edge to see Lysefjord, which rests 600 meters below. Just watch your footing and don’t step too close to the edge because there are no barriers in this natural wonder.
One of the most beautiful settings in Norway, the Lofoten Islands, is a popular spot because of its outrageous beauty. The islands are formed from large stone peaks, which drastically emerge from the water to create a masterpiece.
The landscape is also spotted with small villages, which happily rest at the base of these stone giants. Visitors are mostly attracted to the Lofoten Museum and the Lofoten Aquarium, which give you more background on the area.
A hotspot year-round, Lillehammer is a great place to go whether you’re exploring in the summer or winter. Summertime is perfect for exploring Malhaugen Park, which is an open-area museum.
While winter is great for sports like curling, cross-country skiing, and sleigh rides, with 18th-century architecture, Lillehammer is also an old area that displays the history of Norway.
Another fjord area in Norway and a World Heritage Site, Geirangerfjord is popular for tourists to take cruises and boat rides out on the water to view the spectacular scenery. Eagle’s Road is another popular place in the area, which takes tourists through 11 hairpin turns to the best sites of the fjord.
Atlantic Ocean Road
The Atlantic Ocean Road connects various islands together and is considered to be one of 18 National Tourist Routes in Norway. With amazing views, this is one of the best scenic drives in the world.
As you explore the route, you’ll also run into small villages and the Trolls Church Cave. Other hotspots along the route include restaurants and outdoor excursions.
“Land of the Midnight Sun”
With beauty that can’t be believed until you see it, Norway is a magical place to visit. With a high price comes an even higher reward, and tourists here can indulge in the wonders of nature and awe at its beauty. With friendly people and vibrant cities, Norway also captures the attention of every visitor and makes their eyes shine in amazement.
A trip to Norway will be unforgettable and an experience worth every penny.