Norway is a stunning country and is home to many natural wonders that are too numerous to count. It has many incredible cities rich with viking history and some of the happiest people. It is a bit expensive – just a tad – but you can find ways to do it cheaply and still have an incredible experience.
Why do we want to go?
As native Oregonians, we love being out in nature and taking in the beautiful sights. We have quite an incredible play-land here so it is hard to impress us. We have high hopes for Norway as we have seen some breathtaking landscapes from this magnificent country. They have something called “allemannsrett,” which essentially means you have the right to roam on all unused and uninhabited land. Here in the U.S., we can only venture into federal or state park lands, and even then there are limits on where you can go. This law also allows you to put tents down in these places, so it is essentially free camping wherever you want to go. And since Norway is so expensive, car camping and steering clear of spendy establishments will save a lot. We want to experience this ultimate freedom and see the pristine nature that Norway has to offer.
What are some bucket list contenders?
Trolltunga – This is one of those words-cannot-describe kinds of places. If there was a word that was a hundred times better than EPIC, this place would be it. Wow!
Kjeragbolten – Sure, it is just standing on a rock. However, there is one-kilometer drop if you fall, and if you see the view below, you will truly feel alive.
Geirangerfjord – This fjord is truly amazing with waterfalls streaming from both sides.
Mount Floyen – Beautiful viewpoint of Bergen. You can take a tram up to the top and then enjoy your walk down.
Fredrikstad – Claims to be one of the best preserved Scandinavian towns
Alesund – Small town right on the water with killer scenery.
Northern Lights – This has definitely been on our bucket list. Match the northern lights with Norwegian scenery and you have pure magic.
Oslo – The capital city offers many opportunities to see the history of this wonderful country. Most museums are free to visit.
|COUNTRY | Norway|
|Best Season||March is the best time to get the snowy landscapes with longer daylight hours. April and May are best for the transition period with wildflowers in bloom. Summer is best for maximizing daylight hours.|
|Average Temp / Weather Conditions||Averages are 18°C (64°F) in the summer months and the coldest is January at -3°C (27°F) The climate is generally mild despite being the same latitude as Alaska and Siberia.|
|Key Attractions||Epic landscapes with fjords, over 100,000 lakes, northern lights, 24-hour sun in the Arctic Circle in the summer, wildlife like polar bears and reindeer, year-round skiing, over 240,000 islands, and a 64,000 mile coastline.|
|Entry / Visa Requirements||No visa requirements for U.S. citizens for visits up to 3 months. Is part of the Schengen region, which allows you entry into any of the 26 member countries for up to 90 days.|
|CURRENCY | Norwegian krone (~ 7.92 KR = $1 USD)|
|Daily Budget||1,200kr/couple (~$140 USD)|
|Frugal Tips||Eat at convenience stores and avoid fast food chains which are highly expensive. Book train rides in advance to save money. Use Oslo as a entry and exit point to Schengen area as the flights are cheaper than other major European cities.|
|THE STAY | Possible duration: 2 weeks|
|Lodging Types||Hostels, Airbnb, hotel, couchsurfing, camping. Camping is free if you have a tent.|
|Food||Seafood, game, open faced sandwiches|
|Transportation Options||Bus, train, car, air. Airfare can be cheaper than some land-based options, so keep this in mind if you are going long distances.|
|Driving Requirements||Drive on the right side of the road. An international driver’s license is recommended but rarely checked as they know English pretty well in Norway.|
|Connectivity||Internet is widely available in urban areas.|
|CULTURE | Language: Norwegian (most know some level of English)|
|Customs||Tipping is not common, however you will typically round up your tab to the nearest 5 or 10 NOK. You can add an extra 10% for exceptional service. Service charges are already included in your bill. Handshakes are the way people greet in Norway instead of the kissing on the cheek that is more common in other European countries. Take off your shoes before entering homes.|
|Local Laws||Any blood alcohol level of .02 (about one drink) will put you over the legal limit for driving.|
|Local Holidays/Festivals||Women’s Day – March 8th
Ascension Day and Petecost – 40 days and 50 days after Easter respectively
Workers’ day – May Day or May 1
Constitution Day – May 17
A few holidays common with America (New Year’s, Easter, Christmas, etc.)
|English Availability||English is widely known but not a primary language.|
|Attitudes Toward Americans||Very friendly and inviting to all people, local and foreign|
|Photography Concerns||Ask before taking pictures of people and posting them online. Probably best to avoid taking pictures of people, or identifiable pictures. Blur out faces if you need to before posting them.|
|General Safety||Low crime|
|Emergency Number||110 fire, 112 police, 113 ambulance|
|Location of U.S. Embassy / Phone||Address: Morgedalsvegen 36, 0378 Oslo, Norway Phone: +(47)-2130-8540|
|Medical Facilities||Modern facilities are widely available.|
|Vaccinations Needed||Standard vaccinations recommended|
|Water Quality||Tap water is generally safe to drink and of excellent quality.|
Have you been to Norway? What activities do we have to try out? What other countries should we consider?