Country guides Europe
Norway Travel Guide
Norway is home to some of the most dramatically beautiful landscapes in the world, where staggering, snow-capped mountains and glacier-carved fjords cover a strikingly rugged strip of Scandinavia. It is no exaggeration to say that the icy allure of the Arctic Circle and the breathtaking spectacle of the Northern Lights are, very nearly, too beautiful to be believed.
All this natural splendour is popularly enjoyed through adventure-tourism activities such as hiking, white water rafting, skiing and even dog-sledding. However, those who want to experience the massive glaciers, fairytale forests, fjords and jagged coastline in a slightly more laid-back manner and without exerting themselves too much can enjoy some of the most scenic cruises, and bus and train routes in Europe.
The intriguing heritage of the Vikings and nomadic Sami people of the north complement this beauty magnificently, as does the seamless balance between Norway's sophisticated modern cities and its quaint and charming fishing villages.
The capital Oslo is an attractive, cosmopolitan city boasting worthy museums, galleries and a fun nightlife, while the historic port city of Bergen is another popular destination, and the gateway to the fjords. Those looking for the Arctic experience and a potential glimpse of the famous Northern Lights should head to Tromso, another incredibly picturesque city.
Although Norway is an undeniably expensive travel destination, it is a richly rewarding one, bursting with once-in-a-lifetime sights and experiences.
Best time to visit Norway
June and July are considered the best months to visit Norway, during which visitors can experience long days, warm weather and thundering waterfalls. Keep in mind that crowds are at their peak, though.
March is the best time to go skiing in Norway, and May and September offer nice weather and slightly smaller crowds. The Northern Lights are famously elusive and unpredictable, but there is a possibility of seeing them any time between late September and March.
What to see in Norway
-Visit the stunning Arctic Cathedral up north.
-Picnic in Vigeland Park and take in the more than 200 sculptures displayed there.
-Take a walk in Bryggen with its 14th-century wooden houses, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
-Go hiking in the hills around the former Olympic site of Lillehammer.
What to do in Norway
-Take a scenic train to Tromso to see the Northern Lights in winter.
-Enjoy a cruise in Norway's famous fjords to see spectacular waterfalls.
-Spend a night at the Snow Hotel in Kirkenes and mingle with other guests at the Snow Bar.
-Experience some of Europe's best whitewater rafting on rivers in Norway.
Getting to Norway
There are regular direct flights to Norway from the UK, which take only two to three hours. Most flights to Norway land at Oslo International Airport (OSL), though there are also airports in Bergen and Stavanger. There are some direct flights to Oslo from the US, but there are many options with layovers in London or Amsterdam.
The Snowman by Jo Nesbo, Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder.
Asterix and the Vikings (2006), The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2011), Dancer in the Dark (2000).
Royksopp and A-ha
What to buy
Hand-knitted woolen sweaters and socks, and silver 'Viking-style' jewellery.
What to pack
Warm clothes, even for peak summer when it can still get chilly.
What's on in Norway
Many of the festivals and events occur in summer, such as the Bukta-Tromso Open-Air Festival in July, and the Norwegian Wood Festival in June, which both make the most of the long days and good weather with live music at outdoor venues. For a flurry of patriotism and traditional dress visit during Norway's Independence Day, in May.
Did you know?
-Wine and liquor can only be bought from special outlets called Vinmonopolet in Norway.
-Whale hunting is a traditional Norwegian pastime.
-Norway has some of the world's highest petrol prices, despite being one of the world's biggest oil exporters.
A final word
With its breathtaking fjords, popular ski resorts, and quaint historical cities, a holiday in Norway is fascinating at any time of year.