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Norway Travel Guide: All you need to know to visit Norway in 2023

Welcome to Norway

Norway is a magical country to explore. A nation that is full of myths and legends that have reigned since the Viking era, and its historical and natural monuments will take your breath away. It’s a fantastic destination to explore the outdoors and try new activities; it's the perfect destination if you like nature, history, art, and architecture.

Of course, not forgetting one of the main attractions, the Northern Lights, many travelers come from around the world to witness the famous spectacle. Here we present you ultimate Norway travel guide so that you can organize your trip easily before arriving in Norway.

Document checklist for country

  • Visa
  • Valid passport
  • Sufficient funds
  • Return airline ticket

Essential Norway travel information

  • Currency - Norwegian Krone (NOK). USD 1.00 is equivalent to approx. NOK 9,96.

  • Daily budget for 1 person - A daily budget for one person is around NOK 1,026 (USD 103,05) on your vacation in Norway.

  • Languages - The official language is Norwegian; however, other national languages exist: Bokmål, Nynorsk, Sami, Kven, Romani, Scandoromani, and Norwegian Sign Language. English is widely spoken as a second language.

  • Socket type - For Norway, there are two associated plug types, types C and F. Norway operates on a 230V supply voltage and 50Hz.

  • Time zone - Central European Standard Time (CET), ET +6.

  • Top 3 cities to visit - Oslo, Trondheim and, Bergen.

  • Top 3 landmarks/monuments - North Cape, Voringsfossen, and Urnes Stave Church.

Visa information for Norway

Norway is part of the Schengen Zone, which means that most nationalities are eligible to enter the country for 90 days without a visa for tourist and business purposes. You can check your eligibility using our visa checker.

From May 2023 some visa-exempt nationals will need to apply for the ETIAS visa waiver, and those who are not currently excempt will require a Schengen visa

ETIAS for Norway explained

The Norway ETIAS is a newly enforced European visa waiver that allows entry to the Schengen area to those citizens that did not require a visa to enter the Schengen countries before 2023. However, from 2023 onwards, applying for this travel document is mandatory, even if you don't need a visa to enter the European Union.

Your approved ETIAS is valid for three years. You can use it to travel within the Schengen zone for 90 days. It also allows you to travel between any member country, as long as your entire trip does not exceed 90 days within a 180-day period, and your passport remains valid throughout your trip.

You will be able to easily apply online for the Norway ETIAS with iVisa. If you are not eligible to apply for an ETIAS and cannot currently enter the Schengen zone visa-free, you will need to apply for a Norway Schengen Visa, as of mid-2023.

Typical costs and budget for Norway

A basic guide to what you'll spend daily to explore the spectacular natural beauty and main cities in Norway on a mid-range budget.

Daily spending per person - Daily spending is around NOK 1,026 (USD 103,05).

  • Meals - NOK 278 (USD 27).

  • Transport - For local transportation NOK 162 (USD16).

  • Hotel - For a solo traveler, a room can cost around NOK 528 (USD 53) and 1,056 NOK (USD 106) for a couple.

A week-long vacation to Norway usually costs around NOK 7,182 for one person. And a two-person trip to Norway costs around NOK 14,365 for one week.

Transport and best ways to travel around Norway

Norway is a country that has a significantly developed public transportation system, so you won't have a problem moving from one place to another, whether you use the bus, train, boat, car, or plane. Here we recommend the most frequented means of transport by travelers visiting Norway.

  • Bus- This option is much cheaper than a train and has excellent connections for short and long distances. Note that on weekends there is less service available. Also that there can be many routes that connect with the ferry. So you’ll get where you need to go very quickly.

You can look at the routes on Nor-Way Bussekspress and Lavprisekspressen to plan your trip.

  • Train - The train has connections with Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim, and Bodø and even with other Scandinavian capitals such as Stockholm and Copenhagen. The trains are very comfortable and clean, and it is also one of the best options to go on an adventure and observe Norway's incredible landscapes, such as lakes, fjords, mountains, and fields.

You can buy tickets online, book your train tickets on the Vy app or website, or pay for tickets at the train station. It’s up to you!

  • Boat- This is also one of the most popular transport methods, as well as connecting with other European countries such as Denmark, Sweden, Germany, and the Netherlands. You can find travel discounts for students, children, and seniors. There are always promotion packages available.

Norway has a long coastline, many fjords, and islands, making it much easier to travel using ferries or boats. It's perfect if you want to take a trip to several islands or towns or go to other cities. There’s a lot to do!

The famous Norwegian coastal ferry Hurtigruten calls at 34 ports from Bergen to Kirkenes. So remember that you can use cruise ships or experience a fantastic ferry ride.

Safety in Norway

This Scandinavian country is among the safest in the world, so you can travel with 0 worries. There are very low crime rates, and the most common type of theft is that of bicycles, a transport system very popular with Norwegians. So if you rent or buy a bike, lock it safely or always have it in your sight.

You should also keep in mind the grandeur of nature here. Trails may be difficult to follow at times for visitors, so always be cautious with warning signs along the way. It's best to visit these outdoor locations with a trusted and experienced company. Make sure to have travel insurance when you explore Norway, just in case!

Weather in Norway

Norway is at the same latitude as Alaska, Greenland, and Siberia. But thanks to the temperate waters from the Gulf Stream, the country has a much warmer and milder climate.

The coast generally has mild and wet winters, with snow in the mountains. In contrast, the inland regions present a cold winter with plenty of snow, and hot and dry summers, especially in the east part of the country. In the shoulder season, you’ll find good weather and fewer tourists.

  • Spring (May - June): between 14ºC (57,2ºF) and 18°C (64,4ºF).

  • Summer (July - August): between 17ºC (62,6ºF) and 18°C (64,4ºF).

  • Fall (September - October): between 7ºC (44,6ºF) and 16°C (60,8ºF) .

  • Winter (November - April): between -6ºC (21,2ºF) and 7°C (44,6ºF).

Popular cities and towns in Norway

Norway is a perfect destination for those who love wild camping or want to be amazed by small and unforgettable villages. The country is highly visited by tourists who wish to witness natural phenomena, the Northern Lights. There are a lot of fantastic places to go, but below, we present the five most popular locations in Norway.

  • Oslo is the capital of Norway and one of the greenest cities worldwide for its organized and natural system, making it a fantastic city to explore. You can also breathe art, architecture, and history. Visit Oslo’s Opera House, the National Theatre, and popular restaurants to try local food or cuisine.

  • Trondheim is one of the larger cities in Norway, an incredible place to explore, as its combination of modernity with antiquity makes it a remarkable city. Do you like Viking history? If so, you will be pleased to know that Trondheim was the country's capital during the Viking period, and you can visit places such as Sverresborg Castle (12th century) and Nidaros Cathedral.

  • Bergen is the second largest city after Oslo and is the entrance to beautiful fjords like The Sognefjord, the most profound and longest fjord, so this city should be on your travel map. Seven mountains surrounding the city will give you fantastic views to enjoy the beautiful natural landscape. There are also fish markets to explore and cobbled streets to take pleasant walks between the colorful buildings.

  • Tromso is located about 350km north of the Arctic Circle, one of the best places in Norway to see the northern lights. It also has exceptional museums, such as the Polar Museum, where there are exhibitions on scientific research, expeditions of arctic wildlife, and the effects of climate change, among others.

  • Alesund Visiting Norway, don’t forget about this city, a magic one. This place is located on the peninsula on the west coast and is considered the gateway to the majestic northwestern fjords and alpine mountains. It is a picturesque and vibrant city. You can tour the Alesund fjord while you marvel at its beautiful landscape.

Must do and see in Norway

From natural beauty to art and medieval architecture, here are some of the things you shouldn’t miss on a trip to Norway:

  • North Cape- It is a place you should visit under the midnight sun because the sun never sets between May 14 and July 29. A perfect summer destination for holidays, you can have a panoramic view and take walks enjoying the arctic sun.

  • Voringsfossen- The most impressive waterfall in Norway, dropping 180 meters (600 ft) into the falls. You will find it in the narrow valley between Oslo and Bargen. In addition, it has a hotel with an enviable view where you can stay and have a very memorable experience.

  • Urnes Stave Church- A medieval wooden church that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site; it demonstrates the Viking era and Celtic and Romanesque elements that will make you curious about the past. It is also located in a forest, which makes it more vibrant and exotic. Urne is one of the 28 wooden churches in Norway and one of the oldest of the 12th century. This is where Norse, pre-Christian and medieval Christianity come together.

  • Viking Ship Museum-The Vikings sailed through the northern seas, conquering lands and being strong warriors. They used big and powerful wooden ships for their battles, so in this museum, you can find the exhibition of boats of some Viking warriors; among them, the ship of Oseberg, the most well-preserved. You’ll learn much more about Viking history firsthand.

  • Svalbard-When you travel to Norway, don’t forget to go to Svalbard, the arctic sea, where there are only three seasons: polar summer, northern lights winter, and sunny winter. Svalbard is the entrance to the North Pole. Its glaciers and mountains are majestic, an experience that you'll never forget. You can ride a dog sled, watch polar bears while taking a boat ride, or hit the northern lights.

Typical Norwegian food to try

One of the best ways to learn about Norwegian culture is by trying its traditional food. Norwegian cuisine has several popular dishes among the locals that will make you feel like part of this country and culture.

  • Brunost- A sweet and caramelized brown cheese that is not salty, a typical local dish. It can be made with goat's milk and cream accompanied by cookies or bread.

  • Smoked Salmon- Fish has been very traditional for this country since its beginnings; being an excellent fishing country, the tradition continues, so fish is fundamental in their dishes. Smoked Salmon is a dish sprinkled with ground black pepper and served on rye bread.

  • Vafler- This is one of the local favorite traditional desserts. They are heart-shaped waffles and can be found in Norwegian cafes, restaurants, and homes. Vaflers are covered with whipped cream, sour cream, brunost (brown cheese), gomme (sweet cheese), berries, jam, and sugar. It is a dish you can eat at any time of the day.

Vaccine information for Norway

Here you can find all the info about the Covid vaccine and other requirements you need to have to enter Norway. Click on the CDC website to get the most up-to-date health advice about your trip to Norway.

Watching the Northern lights in Norway

Tourists from all over the world travel to Norway to witness these two world-renowned phenomena, which can only be seen from land close to the North Pole.

The Midnight Sun happens from May to July; it’s when it is light for 24 hours a day, even if the sun is just below the horizon during nighttime hours. The best destinations to witness this are Helgeland Coast, Lofoten, and further North in Tromsø. It’s a beautiful experience for those who love sunset skies and long summer days.

The Northern Lights are another Arctic phenomenon. Due to the North Pole's magnetic belt, the Northern lights are regularly seen from September to January, painting the night sky with vivid colors. The best destinations to visit and experience this are Lofoten and Tromsø.

Fun facts about Norway

Five curious facts about Norway:

  • You can see wild polar bears. You can do this in Svalbard, one of the northernmost places on earth.

  • While sushi is absolutely a Japanese creation, they did not use salmon on the plate until Norwegians suggested it in 1980.

  • More than a thousand Norwegians live in hell, interesting? In Norway exists a town called Hell. Quite a curiosity for tourists.

  • No one has any idea how long the coast of Norway is. Although it is a country known for its fjords and mountains, people are still determining how long its coast is.

  • Norway has a king penguin. Sir Nils Olav, the mascot of the Norwegian Guard, was initially named King Penguin Sir Nils Olav, a position title in the Norwegian army since 1972.

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