No matter what time you visit Norway, you’re bound to encounter a celestial spectacle like no other. During the summer months, the Midnight Sun creates endless daylight, creating an ethereal atmosphere. With the sun never truly setting, the sky becomes mesmerising, with hues of gold and pink everlasting throughout the night. Somehow, Norway’s beautiful destinations look even more breathtaking under the Midnight Sun. As autumn approaches and fades into winter, Norway’s skies (mainly in the North) transform into the Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights. Chasing the Northern Lights is an adventure in itself, as travellers venture out into the Arctic Circle in hopes of catching a glimpse of the captivating light show, ribbons of green, blue, and purple painting the sky. Between the magical Midnight Sun and the Northern Lights, Norway’s skies will enchant you, and are truly a sight to behold.
Norway has undergone a fascinating transformation, blending its historical heritage with contemporary innovation. The Viking Age is one of the most prominent and most remembered periods of Norwegian history, spanning from the late 8th century to the 11th century. This era included Viking explorations and conquests that left a legacy worldwide. Historical sites such as the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo display preserved artefacts from the Viking period, offering insight into the culture of this era. After the Viking Age, Norway transformed from a series of independent kingdoms eventually to one unified nation. Distinctive wooden architecture can be seen today, exemplifying Norway’s medieval history, and transporting visitors back to this era. Nowadays, Norway is one of the leading nations, embracing technological advancements, implementing sustainability, and conservation of energy. Exploring Norway offers travellers to understand the rich history of the country, while marvelling at the remarkable advancements the nation has made.
Norway is home to some of the most diverse wildlife on the European continent, and seeing these wild animals in their natural habitat is such a treat to see! Throughout Norway, different types of Whale Watching excursions target the different types of whales in their seasonality. From October to January, expect to catch some sightings of Pilot, Minke, Sperm, Humpback, and Orca whales (although you can spot Humpback whales up until March!) If you venture up to the Svalbard Islands, you may get the chance to see Blue and Beluga whales! The amazing wildlife doesn’t just stop at the whales though! Taking arctic safaris throughout Norway is an amazing way to see polar bears, arctic foxes, walruses, reindeer, puffins, wolverines, wolves, and musk oxen amongst so many other species that wander throughout the country! Seeing these beautiful creatures up close and personal, while also knowing that they’re living their lives free of captivity and being viewed in a respectful, protective manner is quite the treat.
Norway captivates its visitors with its beauty and spirit, embodying the concept of koselig, which roughly translates to cosiness. This unique state of mind embraces the winter, making it a more bearable season. Between comfort and a sense of well-being, embrace the koselig lifestyle in Norway, indulging in the hearty Norwegian cuisine, such as the national dish of Fårikål, a hearty lamb, cabbage, and potato dish that is consumed in the colder months, or perhaps by curling up next to a crackling fireplace while sipping on a cup of hot chocolate. However you embrace koselig, you’ll feel serene and at home, even in the harshest months of Norway’s winter.
Beyond the koselig lifestyle, Norway is a haven for nature lovers. Friluftsliv is a Norwegian concept that encourages its people to live a simple life with nature, indulging in its beauty and tranquillity without destroying or disturbing it. This is clear in daily Norwegian society, as Norway strives to implement sustainable ecotourism throughout the country, in order to protect its enticing natural atmosphere and the wildlife that calls it home. In fact, Norway is one of the greenest countries in the world, always ranking as one of the top countries in the Environmental Performance Index. With all its protection and exploration of nature simultaneously, it's clear that friluftsliv is important in Norwegian life.
Norway has a rich cultural heritage that is amazing to discover, with a Viking legacy amidst folklore. With 8 UNESCO World Heritage sites, history dating back from 4200 BC to modern day is well preserved and protected, and exploring these sites allows for profound insight into Norway’s past and present. Norway currently has a whopping 47 national parks and 3,000 protected areas, ranking amongst the countries with the most National Parks in all of Europe.
The five major geographical regions of Norway are:
The administrative regions of Norway are divided into 11:
Møre og Romsdal
Vestfold og Telemark
Troms og Finnmark
Artists have long shaped the cultural landscape of Norway, from renowned painters like Edvar Munch whose iconic painting ‘The Scream’ one of the most impactful paintings of the last centuries, captivating worldwide audiences. Nowadays, Norway boasts a vibrant contemporary art scene, exemplifying distinctive and diverse forms of expression that continue to change and reinvent themselves with the help of multimedia installations, as well as conceptual and abstract art. Modern art galleries and museums showcase the everchanging Norwegian art scene that embraces creativity and exploration of a wide range of modern themes.
Norwegian design is another iconic element of expression that has dominated the artistic scene of Norway for many years. Known for its minimalism, the elegant designs have gained international recognition, especially from designers like Peter Opsvik, known for his innovative chairs and designs, and Sverre Fehn, who designed many iconic Norwegian buildings in a contemporary style such as the Nordic Pavilion and Glacier Museum.
While throughout history, Norway has mainly been a country filled with a population of Norwegian descent, in recent years, immigration has significantly increased, creating a multicultural landscape with a blend of cultural influences. Immigrants from neighbouring countries of Sweden, Denmark, and Poland have long had strong communities in Norway, but more recently, migrants from countries such as Pakistan, Iraq, Somalia, and Eritrea have called the Scandinavian country their home, bringing with them their unique cultures and languages, which can often be seen in big cities, with loads of international restaurants and shops. This multiculturalism has only enriched Norwegian society, continuing to evolve the nation’s sense of inclusivity.
Another unique aspect of cultural diversity in Norway is its Sámi population, a collection of several indigenous groups that have inhabited the Arctic regions of Norway, Swede, Finland, and Russia. The Sámi use their surroundings, like natural resources such as reindeer herding, fishing, and gathering, to sustain their traditional communities. Preservations of their unique heritage can be noted in their traditions, including the traditional form of singing of yodelling, and storytelling of folklore that have been passed down through generations. Another crucial part of the Sámi identity is their language, one that continues to be spoken despite efforts to force the people to assimilate them. Despite the difficult history, forced assimilation, and encroachment of lands, nowadays, the Sámi people are appreciated, and their culture is celebrated and respected through museums and festivals, creating a lasting impact on the Norwegian landscape.
Norway is a great country to visit year-round. Summer is a great time to enjoy the city and nature, and mid-September until early April is the best time for travellers hoping to get a glimpse of the Northern Lights.
Norwegian is a Scandinavian language that is spoken by 95 percent of Norway’s population, and is often described as being mutually intelligible with Danish and Swedish, although levels of understanding between each speaker and each respective language may vary significantly. The Norwegian language is based on the latin alphabet, with 29 letters, 3 different from the Latin Alphabet which are: æ, ø, and å.
90 percent of the Norwegian population speaks English as their second language, but you never know when you may run into a situation where English isn’t spoken. In that case, here are some essential Norwegian phrases to get you started.
There are several international airports in Norway that offer flights from continental Europe as well as other international destinations. The biggest international airport in Norway that the majority of international passengers arrive in is Oslo, followed by Bergen, Stavanger, Trosmø, Trondheim, Ålesund, Haugesund, and Sandefjord.
There are trains that connect Norway with Sweden, and provide quite a scenic journey as well. However, most international destinations must stop in Sweden and change trains in Sweden to reach Norway.
Getting to Norway via bus is an affordable option.
In Norway, people drive on the right side of the road and overtake on the left. In order to drive in Norway, visitors must be 18 years old with a valid driver’s licence, and 16 years old for mopeds and light motorcycles. If renting a car, rental car companies in Norway require the renters to be a minimum age of 19, and drivers under the age of 25 are subject to a surcharge.
The public transport in Norway is extremely efficient and reliable. The country’s rail network links major cities, and bus, trams, and trains interconnect cities such as Oslo, Bergen, and Trondheim. The public transport in the larger cities is excellent, well maintained, and easy to follow.
Going on foot is the easiest way to get around cities, as they’re all very walkable. Use our map to find out what’s near you, or combine it with the bus or metro for an easy, hassle-free day out.