Norway Travel Guide

Starkly beautiful, with glistening deep blue fjords, rugged mountains, and waterfalls at every turn, Norway is a country to meander through as you gasp at each new landscape, thrill at every hair-pin bend, and explore cool and stylish cities.

Find out everything you need to know before you visit Norway, including trip highlights, travel tips, road trip guides, and city itineraries, with our Norway visitor’s guide.

Intro to Norway

Norway is a vast country with only five million inhabitants, shaped by its Viking history, geography, and unique farming culture, which is still alive and kicking today.

Nearly half of the inhabitants of the country live in the far south in the region around Oslo, the capital city. Norway’s other cities may feel small and intimate in comparison to their larger European neighbors, but this only adds to the feeling of community and harmony that exists in the country.

About two-thirds of Norway is mountainous, and its ragged coastline, carved by deep glacial fjords, is home to over 50,000 islands. This makes for incredibly scenic driving roads across bridges, over mountain passes, under fjords, and on ferries. Don’t underestimate how long it takes to get anywhere in this country.

Ripe for adventurers, Norway is famous for its hiking and Northern Lights. Head for the Lofoten Islands to combine the two, but be prepared for unforgiving terrain, unpredictable weather, and some of the most breathtaking views you’ve ever seen.

Best Time to Visit Norway

November, December and January are dark months in the north of the country and the days are very short.

If you’re travelling to Norway for winter sports, or to see the Northern Lights, then this is the perfect time – just make sure you’re well prepared.

The weather starts to warm up, with July and August being the warmest months. Fjord swimming without a wetsuit is possible, and you’ll be comfortable during the day in shorts and a t-shirt.

Between (roughly) 14th May and 29th July, you’ll experience the midnight sun phenomenon in the far north of Norway.

Norway Travel Tips

  • The main language spoken in Norway is Norwegian. English is widely spoken, especially in cities.
  • CEST – Central European Summer Time
  • To enter Norway, a valid passport with at least three months remaining is required. You may also need a visa to visit Norway and non-EU nationals may be required to show proof of funds and a return ticket.
  • Norwegian healthcare is not free to visitors and will only be provided in an emergency. We recommend taking out travel and medical insurance for your trip. 
  • The currency in Norway is the Norwegian Krone kr and ore.  
  • ATMs which accept foreign cards are widely available in all cities and towns.
  • Credit cards are widely accepted, with Visa and Mastercard being the most common.
  • Plugs in Norway are type C and F. The standard voltage is 230 V, and the standard frequency is 50Hz. We recommend using a universal adapter with surge protection like this one.
  • Some city municipalities provide free wifi zones which you have to register to use. Most hotels now provide free wifi. All of Norway’s cities and towns have good 4g coverage with 5g available in major cities. Find the best EU SIM card for your trip here.
  • Tipping is not compulsory, however, it is usual for Norwegians to leave a 10-20% tip in restaurants and bars if they are happy with the service. It is not expected to tip taxi drivers or cleaning staff at hotels.
  • Norway is a very safe country in which to travel, with crime rates that are low by international standards. Though crimes against travelers rarely occur rarely, you should still take all the usual precautions and be aware of your surroundings at all times. In an emergency, the number for police, fire, and ambulance is 112. 

Norway Packing Tips

  • Pack lots of warm layers and be prepared for all weathers in one day, even in summer!
  • Winter visitors should bring a quilted down puffer coat, warm layers and sturdy boots.
  • A warm hat, scarf, gloves and thremals will also be needed for the colder months.
  • Sun protection, sunglasses and a cap or hat are a must in summer, when it will be warm enough for a t-shirt and shorts.
  • Make sure to bring a waterproof jacket, or showerproof top, even in summer.
  • If you’re visiting Norway to hike, get the best outdoor gear you can afford. Norway is a tough cookie and you need to be well prepared!
  • Technical gear that washes easily and dries quickly is a great option if you’re road tripping or moving about a lot.
  • Don’t forget an easy-to-manage day bag, such as a rucksack or day sack.

Norway Highlights

Things to Know About Norway

  • Norwegian (and in fact most Scandinavian) society is based on Janteloven (the law of Jante) which at its simplest describes the way that all Norwegians behave – placing society ahead of the individual, practicing humility, equality, respect, and simplicity. Wealth is not flaunted, people don’t criticize others, and egalitarianism is key. 
  • Almost all Norwegians speak English at an intermediate level unless they are older and live rurally. 
  • Norwegians work to live; koselig has no direct translation but influences Norwegian behavior at weekends and holidays. This post by our friends at the Life In Norway blog explains the concept visually.
  • Norway is on the verge of becoming a truly cashless society and is streets ahead of many other EEA countries. It is completely normal to pay for a €3 iskrem using a card or ApplePay.
  • Recycling is important here; a pant (pledge) is charged on all bottles. You can return the bottles to the panteroom to get your deposit back or press a button and give your deposit to charity.
  • Norwegian people like their personal space. They will not willingly sit next to a stranger on the train or bus and prefer not to stand too close to others in queues. This is because there are so few Norwegian people in their huge country that they are used to having lots of room to move!
  • Most grocery shops will be closed on Sundays. Garages will sell basic groceries but at inflated prices, so better to be prepared and shop on Saturday.
  • Alcohol in Norway is sold mainly by the state. Beer can be found in most shops but is only sold before 8pm on weekdays or 6pm on Saturdays and not on Sundays. For wine, spirits, or stronger beer, you must visit one of the Vinmonopolet (wine monopoly), known to locals as pole, found in most large cities and towns. Tax is levelled on all alcohol with more than 0.7% by volume of alcohol and is pretty hefty, making booze expensive. 
Germany

Norway Travel Resources

Getting There

Fly into one of eight international airports, with Oslo and Bergen serving the most routes.

Driving

Drive and get a ferry from Europe into Norway or hire a car in the country.

Need a Visa?

Many countries need a visa to visit Norway – find out if you need one here.

Travel Insurance

Cover medical expenses, delays and lost luggage.

Hotels & Places to Stay

Hotels, guesthouses, AirBnBs, hostels and homestays.

Tours & Activities

Find city guides, ancient sites tours, quad biking, sailing and extreme sports.

Essential Travel Products for Your Norway Trip

iBlock Universal Adaptor

Lonely Planet Norway Guide

Berghaus Nula Long Jacket

Under Armour Coldgear

Ultra Lightweight Backpack

Eastpack Springer Bum Bag

Gonex Wheeled Duffel Bag

GolocalMe G4 WiFi Hotspot

Essential Oils Hand Sanitiser

Collapsible Water Bottle

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