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    Everything you need to know about Norway before visiting the country

    Who I am
    Lluís Enric Mayans
    @lluísenricmayans
    EXTERNAL REFERENCES:

    travellerspoint.com

    SOURCES CONSULTED:

    tripadvisor.com logitravel.com lonelyplanet.com

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    The wide open spaces of Norway are a treat for travelers who, from Oslo to Trondheim, can meander between fjords, mountains and vast meadows. Visit Norway, it is also to discover the North Cape and the Arctic Circle. A trip to extremes, which completes the picture of this Nordic stay where nature and city attractions combine.

    Oslo, an international capital

    At the end of the 60s, Norway discovered immense deposits of oil and gas off its coasts, which have since provided it with significant wealth and the assurance of seeing its economy grow. The capital of Norway, Oslo, is thus a city of global importance., where many travelers circulate who begin to visit the country, before embarking on an adventure in the great spaces of the North.





    Oslo

    One of the best ways to discover Oslo is to walk there! From strolls along the harbors to shopping in the boutiques of the city center, to lazing around in the Frognerparken, the city's largest park, the trip to Norway begins smoothly. Unfortunately, Oslo is also famous for being one of the most expensive cities in the world.

    When is the best time to visit Norway?

    Located on the same latitude as Alaska or Siberia, Norway experiences a capricious and very changeable climate, be warned! The best time to visit Norway is undoubtedly summer: the weather is often good, even if it can turn very quickly. Suffice to say that the appearance of the sun is a real gift that will snatch you some “Wahou”! The full tourist season therefore extends between mid-June to mid-August.





    Lofoten in bloom

    A golden rule to respect, even during this period: never go out without an additional sweatshirt and a raincoat. Rain is an integral part of the life of the country, better to expect it and be equipped accordingly! There are also important differences depending on where you are: the south coast and Oslo are more temperate thanks to the Gulf Stream, while the north and the western fjords experience cooler temperatures. If the cold doesn't scare you, autumn and its flamboyant colors all over the country, can be a good time to visit Norway. In winter, you can contemplate the splendid Northern Lights and spring is a great season to explore the ski slopes.

    Northern Lights

    What budget is to be expected on site?

    This is the subject that immediately comes to mind when considering a visit to Norway. Let's get it straight: yes Norway is one of the most expensive countries in the world and yes it is worth going! The cost of living is very high there and this concerns all expenditure items: accommodation, food, transport, visits… Unsurprisingly, small budgets will surely have to lower their aspirations, but the mission is not impossible! Some details to note to prepare your stay: the currency is the Norwegian krone and breakfast is usually included in hotels. Be careful to take into account the prices of ferries and tolls, very common in the region of fjords, and which can quickly lead to a budget. 




    Concretely, here are some examples of budget to plan:


    • For around 70 € per day and per person, you will have to make do with a bed in a dormitory or go camping. You will have to prepare your meals or eat on the go in the cities (kebabs, sandwiches, etc.) and take free tours, such as nature walks.
    • Those with an average budget will have to count at least 120 € per day and per person. You can then enjoy a bed in a cabin, chalet or pension; eat once a day at the restaurant, being satisfied with the dish of the day and offer you a few affordable visits.
    • If you want more comfort, plan at least 200 € per day and per person. You will then have the opportunity to sleep in a pleasant hotel, eat in the restaurant for lunch and dinner and travel the country as you wish.

    How to get to Norway from France?

    The easiest solution to visit Norway is by plane, so allow 2h30 for the journey. Several companies serve Oslo or Bergen (ideal for going to the fjords). Air France offers several direct flights (around € 230 round trip) as does SAS, the national company. In low-cost, Norwegian connects Oslo and Bergen from Paris and some provincial towns in season.

    Create an alert when the price of the plane ticket is at its lowest.
    We advise you to follow the price variation 3 to 4 months before purchasing the ticket.



    Bergen

    If you live in the north of France and want to visit the south of Norway, it may be interesting to go there with your own car. Plan the following route:



    • 1 Day: journey to Hamburg through the Netherlands and Germany.
    • 2 Day: drive to Hirtshals in Denmark, where you will take a ferry to Larvik, Norway. (4 hour crossing)

    Formalities side, a valid identity card or passport is sufficient to enter Norway. Only the Svalbard archipelago, which does not belong to the Schengen area, is only accessible with a passport.

    How to get around the country?

    To be completely free of your movements to visit Norway, the ideal is to rent a car. Rental prices are however very high, so it is a preferred means of transport if you are traveling with a minimum of four, or with your family. Be careful to check that the mileage is unlimited and remember to add the price of insurance.

    The public transport network is very dense and well organized throughout the country. In summer, remember to book in advance to have more choice. Depending on the time spent there, find out about the Interrail Pass, which can quickly turn out to be interesting. When you arrive, remember to get le guide NSB Togruter, which lists all train timetables, as well as possible connections with buses and ferries. It is available free of charge at most stations.

    Cross stunning landscapes by train

    Plane can also be a great way to get around Norway. The country being very extended from North to South, it saves time. By booking well in advance and being flexible on the dates, you may find journeys barely more expensive than the train, especially if you are traveling as a couple or with children, the prices being often decreasing. 

    What to eat and drink in Norway?

    The staple diet of Norwegians consists of local products: cereals, vegetables, lamb, cured meats and fish. Depending on where you stay, your breakfast will generally consist of a varied buffet, perfect for calming your stomach before going for a walk. You will find a whole assortment of breads and rusks, cold cuts, cheese, fish, cereals, etc. 

    Note that most youth hostels offer a lunsj pakke: for a few euros, you can make sandwiches for lunch using the breakfast buffet.

    Specialties side you can enjoy elk, reindeer or deer meat, often served with potatoes, cooked in different ways. Fish will also be in the spotlight with a wide variety of preparations based on salmon or herring, not to mention the fresh shrimps which are a pure delight. On weekends they like to prepare porridge or waffles topped with brown cheese. Sweet lovers will appreciate muffins, brownies and other raisin breads.

    Salmon fishing in Norway

    On site you may be surprised to find that Norwegians like to eat foreign dishes: kebabs, hot dogs, hamburgers, pizzas, etc. and that they eat a little at all hours of the day! As in all Scandinavian countries, Norwegians dine very early, often before 18 p.m. For non-alcoholic drinks, prefer tap water (very good) to mineral water which is very expensive. You will find a wide choice of berry juices (blueberries, cranberries, etc.) that the locals love. The quintessential Norwegian alcohol is Aquavit, a potato-based eau de vie flavored with spices and herbs. You will also find beer, wine and cider in specialty shops.

    Salmon and Aquavit ... the Norwegian tradition

    Where to sleep in Norway?

    You will find everywhere youth hostels or hotels, perfect accommodation options if you are visiting Norway by public transport. If you are going on a road trip and want to sleep in the heart of nature, prefer campsites. They offer a good level of comfort and allow you to be in the heart of magical places. If you are not equipped, they often offer hytter (cabins), but the best is still to have at least duvets and sheets to avoid having to pay for the rental.

    Camping in Norway

    In the south of the country, some farms also offer hytter, nice with children who can go see the animals! In the Lofoten archipelago you can stay in rorbuer which are small red fishermen's houses so typical. In the countryside or in small villages, homestay accommodation has developed, so follow the “Rom” or “Husrom” signs.

    The typical cabins of Lofoten

    All along the coast, some accommodation has been fitted out in lighthouses, an original way to fall asleep to the sound of the waves! Small budgets and adventurers will be delighted to be able to go wild camping, authorized outside cultivated land and more than 150 m from homes. 

    What are the main visits to the country?

    Most travelers will start by visiting Norway in Oslo, before going further:

    • You can do there the museum tour, each more interesting than the last: Munch, the Historical Museum, the Fine Arts, the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art and the Akershus Festning.
    • Public chat the Bygdøy peninsula you can visit the Fram, Kon Tiki, Navy, Viking Ships and Norwegian Folklore museums.
    • On the way to Bergen, stop in the Numedal valley to see its beautiful wooden churches.
    A typical church of Nuvedal
    • In the fjord region start by visiting the beautiful city of Bergen: Bryggen Pier, Hanseatic Museum, Kode Bergen and Fløyfjellet Hill. From there you have two options, depending on the time you have: follow the fjord route north, or head south towards Stavanger.
    • If you choose the first option, getting closer to Trondheim, the fjords appear: Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord are among the 2 most visited in Norway. These are immense glacial valleys within which cruise ships can navigate. The region is also home to the impressive Briksdal glacier. Trondheim is also worth a detour, especially to discover the cathedral of Nidaros, a monument in Gothic style.
    Briksdal glacier
    • If you choose the second option, you can walk around Stavanger's old town, visit the museums of the Conserve, the museum of the Navy and the Trade. You can also take a trip to the Preikestolen before heading to Oslo in a leisurely way.
    • For those who have more time, push to the splendid Lofoten. This archipelago, made up of thousands of rocky peaks, will offer you breathtaking landscapes. 
    • Finally, travelers with several weeks in Norway can leave storming the North Cape. Following the west coast of Norway and crossing new mountain landscapes and fjords, we reach the Arctic Circle. This is the limit beyond which, for a day, the sun does not rise in winter, or does not set in summer. The North Cape is accessible by road, via a tunnel, or by boat. Then all that remains is to admire this landscape at the end of the world!
    Flight over the North Cape

    The great outdoors of Norway

    From Oslo, direction Trondheim, via the Hardangervidda plateau and the Numeda valley. Welcome to these famous great Norwegian spaces. Here, it is nature that prevails and the villages located all along these roads have adapted to it.. For the anecdote, it is on the set of Hardangervidda that George Lucas shot the scenes taking place on the ice planet Hoth in "The Empire Strikes Back"!

    The Hardangervidda plateau

    Useful information

    Finally, here is all the practical information you will need to visit Norway:

    • Formalities: Although it is not a member of the European Union, Norway is part of the Shengen area. The French, Swiss and Belgians can therefore enter Norway with a simple identity card.
    • Cash : The currency is the Norwegian Krone (Krone), divided into Ores.
    • Health : You can obtain a European health insurance card before your departure. This is valid in all European countries and in Norway too!
    • Tourist Office : Visit Norway is the official website of the Norwegian tourism agency.

    The great Norwegian spaces await you!

    Are you planning a trip to Norway soon? Let's talk about it in the comments!

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