Norway is on the top list of spectacular nature and hereby a popular destination for all kinds of travellers. Whether it is for exploring the wild, enjoying relaxing day with fishing or motorbiking in the fjords – Norway have something for you. Just beware of your expensive – next to having spectacular nature, Norway is also one of the most expensive countries in the world. Do not worry! This travel article will also give you tips on how to keep the budget down!
Geography of Norway – a country with a long coastline and fjords
Norway is located north in Europe. It shares borders to Sweden, Finland and Russia – known as the Three-Country Cairn or Treriksrøys in Norwegian. Norway has a long coastline filled with fjords and mountains, stretching 25.000 km long! Norway belongs to both the Nordic countries and is a part of Scandinavia. Scandinavia is Norway, Sweden and Denmark, while the Nordic is Scandinavia plus Iceland and Finland.
Short history of Norway – from Vikings, unions and oil
The Viking age is an important part of Scandinavia’s history. It is hard to say exactly when the Viking age stopped as it was a slow change into Christianity, but roughly one can say from 700-1200. The Vikings are mostly famous for their violent plundering of Europe, but they were also excellent explorers, traders and farmers. Vikings where the first to sail to America. Vikings worked for noble people in the Mediterranean. Vikings inhabited Iceland and started colonies on Greenland. They are known for being clean and healthy, equality between female and male and Norse mythology.
After the Viking age Norway has been in many unions, for good and bad. After the Black Plague, Norway was under Denmark for 434 years. These years benefited Denmark a great deal as Norway had many good resources. After the Napoleon War, Sweden took over Norway. Finally in 1905 was Norway declared an Independent country. Norway, even with its long history is not so old of age as independent. Around 1960, Norway found oil fields in the Norwegian Sea. This turned Norway’s economy around and today Norway is one of the riches countries in the world.
Norway is still not a member of EU.
The capital in Norway is Oslo. Currently, the population in Norway is 5 267 146 people. The currency in Norway is the Norwegian Krone (KR or NOK). 1 NOK equals $1.2 or 1 Euro (2017). It is not possible to pay with Euros. The phone code is +47 and it is easy to get a travellers sim-card.
Norway has three official languages – Norwegian (two written types: nynorsk and bokmål), and Sami. Most people talk and write Norwegian, Sami is the language of the Sami people, a minority in Norway. Everyone speaks English in Norway so it is easy to communicate.
VISA in Norway
People who are citizens of EU/EEA and US do not need to apply for VISA when travelling in Norway. For other countries, check the government site if you have to apply.
Norwegian traditional food is simple. Depending on which area you are in, it is most likely something with fish, pig or sheep. The vegetables are usually potatoes, carrots, onions and other root vegetables. The spices are salt, pepper and maybe some herbs. It can be very delicious if you get to eat fresh local food. Today’s catch of cod do not need a lot of work to taste good!
A Norwegian day can look like this when it comes to food
Breakfast: bread with butter and cheese, a glass of milk or juice and coffee.
Lunch: bread with ham, bread with mackerel in tomato sause, water or coffee.
Dinner: steamed cod with boiled potatoes and grated carrots. Water and afterwards coffee.
Otherwise most cuisines are available. Norwegians loves taco, pizza, pad thai and sushi. Also, Norwegians rank very high on coffee!
What to do in Norway as a traveller?
To be honest, you should travel to Norway for the nature. The cities are small and expensive. But the nature in Norway is breathtaking and definitely worth a visit. Depending on what kind of traveller you are, Norway can offer something for any traveller. Here comes a few suggestions to how you can explore the Norwegian nature as a traveller!
Trekking in Norway – endless trails for all levels
Norway is perfect for trekking and day hiking. There are thousands of areas to go to and here many, many trails to chose from. Norway has 46 (!) national parks. Some of the famous ones are Hardangervidda, Jotunheimen, Rondane national park and Isbjørnhamna. Here you can wander in fjords, mountain plains, tundra, pine forests, alpine terrain and deep woods. Trekking is a perfect combination with wild camping. Due to an old viking rule that is still valid – Freedom to roam – as long as you set up your camp away from private property. Remember to leave nothing behind when you move on to next area!
With all the mountains, cliffs and rock walls – Norway is a top choice for outdoor climbers.
Norwegian ocean activities – fishing to surfing
Norway is also perfect for sea activities. Fishing – either by your own rented boat or fishing pole or join a fishing trip with a bigger boat. Cold water surfing, a growing sport in the Nordic area, are possible in many locations. Jæren, Hoddevika and Lofoten are the most popular places. Here you can also rent board, wet suits and camp for the night! Ocean kayak is a popular way of discovering the fjords of Norway. Either pick a area or go for the long-run along the coast.
Cruising the fjord roads on your two-wheel vehicle
Another popular way of travelling in Norway to experience the nature is motorbiking. To feel the curves of the mountain roads while looking down some amazing mountain gorge is something to remember. The roads in Norway are mostly of good quality but due to the cold winter and wet autumn, motorbiking is best in the summertime.
King Winter – skiing and Aurora Borealis
Summertime is the best time to explore the nature of Norway if you want to camp and hike around. But wintertime has other benefits!
Norway is known as the birthplace of skiing and numbers of ski areas are … endless. It really depends on where there is snow right now. If there is snow, put on your skis and go! There is also the possibility to go slalom, snowboarding and mountain skiing.
A magical natural event that only happens above the Polar Circle is the Nordic light – Aurora Borealis. This natural lightshow only happens in wintertime in the area where there is no sun during winter. But it is a show on its own. Colors dancing on the sky while the stars blinks modestly in the background. It is impossible to predict precisely when the next Nordic light will happen. Yet, it is something that will give you goose bumps if you are lucky to experience it.
Transportation – how to get around in Norway
Trains – there is a good network of trains in Norway with many departures and comfortable seats. The only problem is if you want to go North as the Northern train station is Bodø (Mid-North in Norway). Tickets are found at nsb.no.
Busses – busses are the most common transportation in Norway as they cover every place, included Northern Norway. There are many companies, so google is your friend on finding good prices.
Flights – flights are more expensive, but time effective. Norway is very long and to get from south to north takes over a day in a car.
Car – if you have your own car, Norway is perfect. The whole country is connected with road. To islands and over fjords there are most often ferries and bridges.
Top tips for budget travellers in Norway
At last, here comes some tips on how to keep your budget down while travelling in Norway. Regardless of these tips, Norway is an expensive country to travel within and it is wise to have a somewhat planend budget.
- Travel during summer so you can rely on camping for free in the wild (Freedom to roam)
- Cook your own food! buy it in the shops and cook it yourself. many camping grounds offer cooking station or bring your own primus. the cheap shops in Norway are: Rema1000, Kiwi and Coop Prix. Avoid Meny and Ica – they are more fancy, but also more expensive.
- Breakfast buffet at hotels: if you book hotell they often come with breakfast buffet – eat all you can and try to make a lunch pack for later. (remember: do not waste food, this tip is ment for you to save money on food, not throw away food)
- Hitchhiking is common in Norway. Find a gas station outside city center and get your thumb up. This can save you a lot of money as busses and trains are not so cheap.
- Volunteer work: check out helpx.com, wwoofing and workaway if you want to stay longer. here you can find guesthouses, farms and hotels giving food and a bed for some hours work
- No smoke or drinks! Drop the alcohol and cigarets. Or at least keep it down. Norway has a very strict alcohol and nicotine law, forcing the prices to be extra high.
- Home party! If you want to party, have a home party first – then go out on time and do not buy more than one drink at the bar. no joke, this is how most young people in Norway party as the prices are even higher at the pubs. OBS: you can only buy alcohol (up to 5 %) from Monday-Friday from 09:00-20:00 and Saturday from 09:00-15:00. If you want stronger alcohol you have to go to the government owned shop called Vinmonopolet.
Get your backpack on and start planning your next trip to Norway. It is a huge country with few people and amazing nature. If you have any questions about travelling in Norway, please ask in the comment section!