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    © iStockphoto.com / Marco Saracco
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Discover the fjords and Northern Lights of Norway

By Dmitry Petrounin Dmitry Petrounin Section editor Profile
Located at Europe's northernmost point, Norway stretches all the way to the North Pole. An intriguing country, where summer means constant daylight and winter brings the mythical aurora borealis. Norway is famous for its stunning coastlines and towering mountains. The country's famous fjords dent its coastline at irregular intervals and are ideal to discover by sea. The miles of mountains provide perfect terrain for cross-country skiing and hiking. Its glaciers attract the bravest of climbers who have been entranced by their ancient history. With an exhilarating itinerary all year round, Norway will never fail to capture both the imaginations and hearts of its visitors.

Travel guide

Fjords

Fjords are synonymous with Norway and for a very good reason: Norway boasts the world's largest number of these geographical features. Mainly concentrated in the west of the country, fjords were formed when the glaciers receded and the sea rushed into the valleys. The pleasant climate, which makes Norway's fjords so unique, is due to the warm Gulf Stream which prevents the formation of ice and attracts a multitude if animal species including seals, porpoises and various fish, not to mention a staggering array of birds. UNESCO has included the fjords of Norway, specifically the Geirangerfjord (famous for its beauty and magnificent waterfalls, the most famous of which is known as the Seven Sisters) and the Nærøyfjord, into its prestigious World Heritage List.

Aurora borealis

Few people would disagree that seeing the northern lights, also known as the aurora borealis, is a truly awe-inspiring and mystical moment. For the best chance to catch this natural phenomenon we recommend visiting Norway in late autumn, during the winter or in early spring. The reason for this schedule is that between the autumn equinox and spring equinox (21 September - 21 March), it is dark between 6 pm and 1 am, and so you have the most chances of spotting the lights. However, weather conditions also play an important role and September, October and November tend to be wet and snowless in the north.

Troll Path

Like all Scandinavian countries Norway is known for its abundance of myths. So it is no wonder that one of its most famous tourist destinations, The Troll Path, is named after a mythical being. The Troll Path is a serpentine mountain road in Rauma Municipality located just a few kilometres from the Geiranger Fjord. The path is part of Norway's National Road 63. The path runs along the edge of a mountain and includes an impressive 11 loops. A major tourist facility including a museum was completed in 2012, so visitors will be in for a cultural as well as a natural treat. However we should warn that Trollstigen is closed during late autumn and winter so plan your trip accordingly.

Oslo

Norway is perhaps best known as one of the most naturally beautiful countries in the world, which is why finding yourself surrounded by such beauty can lead you to neglect the wonders of Norway's cities, especially its capital Oslo. It might surprise some to find out that Oslo is home to some of Europe's finest museums, which easily rival those of Europe's artistic capitals. Though saying that Oslo is culturally rich does not mean that it is not naturally beautiful, the city is surrounded by thick mystical forests which provide fantastic opportunities to hike, cycle and ski. Also in Oslo you find a thriving cafe and bar scene, exceptional restaurants, a diverse nightlife, and a large immigrant community which adds its own cultural flavor to this already magnificent city.

Our Editorial team's advice

The most important thing you should know while planning your trip to Norway is that the country changes drastically depending on the season. However that does not mean that there are times when Norway is best avoided, quite the opposite. During the winter months Norway is a paradise for cross-country ski enthusiasts as well as those who love the thrill of racing on snowmobiles on frozen lakes. Summer months offer exception hiking and cycling opportunities as well as the chance to experience white nights when the sun almost never sets. This phenomenon leads a magical albeit slightly surreal experience.

Camping in the wild is permitted, though it is still subject to certain regulations. You are not authorised to pitch your tent or park your caravan within 150 metres of a house or on a lay-by. Lighting a fire in the forest or in the countryside is prohibited from April 15th to September 15th.

If your fishing gear is not new, Norwegian regulations stipulate that it should be disinfected by veterinary services. This measure is aimed at preventing fish from being contaminated by viruses. For the same reason, and so as not to transfer water from one river to another, you must clean boats before using them again. Whether you are interested in sea or lake fishing, research the best seasons before going and apply for a permit from a post office.

If you go hiking in the mountains or canoeing in the fjords, always remember to bring something to drink and warm clothing. Temperatures drop rapidly at altitude.

The cost of living is very high in Norway, so plan your travel budget accordingly, even if you are not planning on staying in a luxurious hotel or eating at renowned restaurants.

Norway is an incredibly safe country, in fact its level of crime, or a lack their off, is the envy of most of Europe. Those while crime should not concern you we should warn that summer months are known for an abundance of mosquitoes, that can ruin any holiday, so be sure to bring insect repellent.

pros

  • +The spectacular and varied landscape of fjords, mountains and valleys never get old.
  • +The wonderfully diverse itineraries: skiing, hiking, fishing, museums, festivals and so much more.

cons

  • -Just as other Scandinavian countries, Norway remains an expensive destination
  • -The midnight sun makes skiing difficult during the winter and summer temperatures are only ideal during July and August.

Traditions

The Norwegians can be described as very simple people, but this would not be an insult quite the opposite actually. By simple we mean that they do not harbour any prejudice against those they meet, which is why when in Norway you will not have any issue getting in to conversation with anyone from a baker to a policemen, although you might not be this lucky with Norway's royal family.

While a poster child social and cultural modernity, Norway cherishes its traditions which is why for special occasions Norwegians continue to wear the bunad, which is the national costume. You can admire this colourful folk attire on such occasions as the National Day parade, held annually on May 17, or at private or family celebrations.

Since 1 June 2004, it is forbidden to smoke in all public places, including restaurants, bars and cafes. This measure is primarily intended to protect employees of these institutions against passive smoking, however it also contributes to reducing the overall number of smokers in the country. If that was not enough to make you take a break from smocking be advised that tobacco prices here are considerably higher than in the rest of Europe.

Food

Norway isn't really a gastronomic country and favours healthy food, essentially composed of fish. Cod, salmon, trout, mackerel, are all eaten raw or cooked and in a variety of sauces. The traditional smorbrod is buttered bread or a canapé garnished with herring or small salmon slices. The speciality of Valdres and the interior valleys is rakfisk, a kind of fermented trout. Meals can also consist of elk or reindeer meat, cooked with berries. As for desserts, try the moltes, the yellow Arctic bramble berries which grow in the far north or Norwegian strawberries; simply delicious.

Ideal Weather Search

Find weekly weather forecasts for Norway . Different criteria make it possible to predict with precision the best time of year to go to Norway . A comprehensive weather score, made up of temperature indicators, bad weather predictions, sunshine levels and wind speeds, will allow you to choose the activities best suited to the weather conditions and therefore make the most of your holiday in Norway .

Reviewed hotels

Dmitry Petrounin Dmitry Petrounin

Our journalists' reviews for you 12 hotels Norway . Take a look at our hotels, their facilities or their value-for-money score according to your departure dates so that we can find the best offer to suit you Norway . Book a hotel Norway it's never been so simple !

Souvenirs

Norway is not really known as a country of gourmets, instead it carriers the mantel of one of one of the country's most dedicated to healthy food. Local cuisine, as in other Scandinavian countries, is predominately based around fish. Colin, cod, salmon, trout, mackerel, are either eaten raw, smoked or cooked in any number of ways.

One of the Norway's traditional dishes is the smorbrod which is a slice of buttered bread topped with herring or small slices of salmon trust us when we say it makes for a tasty, healthy and filling afternoon snack. The specialty of Valdres region as well as the interior valleys is Rakfisk which is fermented trout, while undeniably not for everyone we still recommend trying this local delicacy.

The abundance of fish based dishes does not, however, mean that Norwegian cuisine does not contain meat. Sheep, reindeer and elk are common ingredients in a lot of local delicacies.

Those with a sweet tooth can satisfy their cravings with a krumkake. Translated as ?curved or crooked cake', krumkake consists of paper-thin rolls of a waffle-like cake, which are usually filled with whipped cream thought they are also available with a variety of other fillings.

For something to help digest your meal try Aquavit which is the national drink of Norwegians. Aquavit is a potato-based alcohol, which is flavoured with cumin, anise, dill, fennel and coriander, we should warn you though at above 40° it's quite strong.

What to see

The South , The natural landscape in southern Norway , Norway
The South
The North , The Finnmark mountains, Norway , Norway
The North
Aurorae borealis , The phenomenon of the Aurora Borealis , Norway
Aurorae borealis
The midnight sun , The midnight sun in Norway , Norway
The midnight sun
The Lofoten Islands , Norway
The Lofoten Islands
Fjord Norway , Norway
Fjord Norway
, Dollsteinhola Cave, Landscapes, Norway
Dollsteinhola Cave
Fjord landscape seen from the sky, The fjords, Coasts, Oslo, Norway
The fjords
Southern seaside resorts , A boat on the Norwegian Sea , Norway
Southern seaside resorts
Hurtigruten cruises , Greenery in a fjord landscape , Norway
Hurtigruten cruises
Breeding farms , Livestock farming in Norway , Norway
Breeding farms
Musk ox , Norway
Musk ox
Birds , Two puffins , Norway
Birds
Under-water wildlife , Underwater fauna in Norway , Norway
Under-water wildlife
Jotunheimen National Park
 , Jotunheimen National Park , Norway
Jotunheimen National Park