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Norway Travel Guide

In Norway, over 1,000 grand fjords grace the western coast. Idyllic towns out of a fairytale set against impressive valleys pepper the eastern side. And in the Arctic Circle, the epic northern lights illuminate the night sky for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. As one of the most beautiful countries on earth, Norway most certainly deserves your time and attention.

The Highlights

Learn more about the fjordlands

  • Ålesund and Sunnmøre

    Enter a world within a world in Sunnmøre. Considered a gateway to some of Noway’s famous fjords, this destination is prime for adventure. Observe wildlife along the coast on a sea safari, take in the views and discover why Ålesund is a special place for architecture. This charming port town is the survivor of a devasting fire. 

  • Northwest

    Norway’s Northwest will literally hit you with its beauty at every twist and turn. To feel the full extent of this sentiment go on a scenic drive along the winding Atlantic Road (which traverses an archipelago) or the Trollstigen mountain road, and experience coastal town life in Molde which is located on the stunning Romsdal Peninsula. 

  • Nordfjord

    Not all coastlines are made equal, and the Nordfjord region is a testament to this. Encompassing Stryn, Hornindal, Gloppen, Eid, Vågsøy and Selje – this stunning stretch of land is engulfed by mountains, glaciers, and valleys. Whether you hike it, bike it, walk it, or bask in it, Nordfjord is a must-visit. 

  • Haugesund and Haugalandet

    If you want to explore the world of Vikings or stand before the Folgefonna glacier – a spectacle of three plateau glaciers, the Haugalandet region is perfect for you. Time your visit with a festival so you can experience the exuberant Norwegian spirit in the main city of Haugesund. 

  • Sognefjord

    Nicknamed King of the Fjords – and spanning 205 kilometres and plunging 1300 metres – Sognefjord is the largest and deepest fjord in Norway. Located near Bergen, travellers can visit this fjord and explore the mountains on foot, indulge in local food traditions and enjoy the idyllic bliss found in nearby villages. 

    Bucket list experiences

    Other places to see in Norway

    • Oslo

      Oslo’s atmosphere is so cultured that it’s contagious. The city has, after all, mastered the art of mixing business with pleasure, innovations with outdoor exploits, and modern architecture with breathtaking natural wonders. There are only a few places in the world where you can kayak down a fjord in the morning, visit a grand historic place at lunch, and see an opera at night.

    • Trondheim

      You don’t have to be a foodie, history buff or a cyclist to enjoy Trondheim, though if you are, then this town is for you. This colourful little city and old Viking capital is charming and energetic at the same time and is also a paradise for culture hounds and beer lovers. Carve your own trail based on your appetite – this is, after all, your adventure.

    • Jotunheimen National Park

      With towering peaks dotted with picturesque lakes and lush valleys, the Jotunheimen National Park in the heart of southern Norway hardly needs a sales pitch. But if we must, then we’ll just say that it’s simply the ideal venue for unforgettable outdoor adventures. Hike, fish, bike, camp, climb, sled, see its myriad wildlife, whatever else you can think of. The entire national park is your oyster.

    • Tromsø

      You might find yourself in Tromsø chasing the Northern Lights, but you’ll stay for the city itself. Start your visit right and slumber in an ice dome. Then, during the daytime, there are many activities on hand including dog sledding and whale watching, or warm up with a couple of drinks at Aurora Spirit, indulge in a delicious feast and shop for local wares. You’ll never want to leave.

    • Heddal Stave Church

      There’s something about grand old churches that are simply appealing, and in Norway, they’re no different. If you were to follow this trail, then do it right by putting Heddal Stave Church at the top of the list. This early 13th-century church, Norway’s largest, boasts a triple nave and beautiful wooden interiors. It’s the stuff fairytales are made of.

    • Låtefossen

      It might be hard to narrow down Norway’s long list of attractions, but your list is incomplete without the unique twin waterfalls of Låtefossen. The spectacular beauty tucked outside the town of Odda is picture-perfect as it pours from Lake Låtefossen past a stone arch bridge into the anticipating stream below. Come in the late afternoon when a warm light casts a soft glow, making for great shots.

    The Basics

    When to Visit

    when to visit
    1. Peak Season

      June to August

      The months of June, July and August see Norway at its busiest. Summertime is the country’s warmest and most comfortable, the days are much longer and public transportation is more frequent, drawing in throngs of people from all over the world. The downside is most tourist attractions are overcrowded and everything is more expensive. Come from September to October when it’s less busy, the weather is cooler, the prices are cheaper and the Northern Lights start their stunning display. Keep in mind that business hours are shorter and public transportation runs less often.

    2. Low Season

      November to February

      Skip November as it can be cold and dreary. December, January and February are too, but if you’re looking for magical flurries and opportunities for cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and dog-sledding, they’re the best months to indulge. Be warned: the days are very short and the nights are excruciatingly long. March is just a little warmer and offers excellent chances for Northern Lights viewing. Come from April through early June when spring is in full swing, the landscape is bedecked with wildflowers, rates are low and festivals are aplenty (especially in May).

    Norway Tours

    • Visit Responsibly

      Travelling responsibly means respecting the communities, culture and environment of the places you visit. Keep these tips in mind when travelling to Norway:

      Go green. Be environmentally conscious on the road by taking short showers; turning off the lights in your hotel room when you leave; and resisting the urge to collect any plants, seashells, or other natural flora.

      Respect cultural differences. Before travelling, read about the local culture and customs – even just knowing the dress code and a few basic phrases in the local language will go a long way.

      Support local businesses. Enjoy a more authentic experience and directly support the local economy by travelling with a local guide, eating in local restaurants, buying from local artisans, and staying in locally-owned and operated accommodations.

      Wherever possible, avoid single-use plastics. Pack reusable items such as your own shopping bags, utensils, a water bottle, and a straw. These items are typically lightweight and compact, and will greatly reduce your consumption of plastics.

      Be conscious of overtourism. Opt to visit the lesser-known regions of Norway or travel outside the peak season – you'll likely even get a better deal and won't have all the crowds!

    • Sustainable Tourism in Norway

      It's been said that one of the reasons why Norway consistently ranks highly on the UN's World Happiness Report may be the unparalleled scenery in the country. Norwegians are very adamant about protecting their precious nature, and take it seriously to ensure that tourism does not have a negative impact on the land. Here are some things being done in Norway to make it possible to tour sustainably:

      Sustainable Destination Designation in Norway
      Innovation Norway, a state-owned company that guides development of the Norwegian tourism industry, launched the Sustainable Destination designation in 2013. With 10 key principles that must be met by a city or region to qualify, UNESCO sites like Røros, the city of Tromsø, and theisland of Svalbard are a few destinations with this designation.

      Future of Tourism Coalition
      Innovation Norway is also one of the founding signatories of the Future of Tourism Coalition. The Future of Tourism Coalition consists of global tourism organizations that commit to using tourism to shape a more sustainable, equitable, and responsible future through the Coalition's 13 guiding principles.

    FAQs about Norway

    • Do you tip in Norway?

      While not mandatory, tipping in Norway is customary. A tip of 5% to 10% of your total bill – 20% if the service is exceptional – at restaurants is the norm, as is the rounding up of your cab fare. Tipping to hotel staff and tour guides is not necessary.
    • What is the internet access like?

      It’s great! WiFi is easily accessible and even free in a lot of places including hotels, cafes, restaurants, trains and even some buses.
    • Is the tap water safe to drink?

      Absolutely! Norway has excellent tap water so unless otherwise stated, drink to your heart’s content.
    • Can I use my credit cards?

      Most businesses in Norway accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express and even Diners Club. Keep some cash or at least your ATM card handy as there are still some that might not like gas stations and supermarkets.
    • What are the public holidays?

      Maudy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Monday are celebrated public holidays in Norway, as are Constitution Day (May 17), Ascension Day (39 days after Easter), Pentecost (49 days after Easter), Whit Monday (the day after Pentecost) and St. Stephen’s Day (December 26).
    • What are the toilets like?

      Toilets in Norway are modern; however public toilets are not as common. Establishments like restaurants, museums and attractions will have toilets for their patrons while a small few like shopping malls might charge a small amount for use of theirs.
    • How do I get around Norway?

      Because of its unique topography, you’ll most likely end up using several means of transportation. Hiring a rental car is best, as Norway is great for road trips; and ferries are reliable for getting around in the fjordlands as long as you check the schedule.
    • Can I travel to Norway on a budget?

      It’s true that Norway is an expensive country. However, if you plan right – keep your eating out to a minimum, find cheaper accommodations and travel during the low season, for example – you’ll do just fine on a budget.