Norway

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Norway Guide: Spend Less, Do More

Welcome to Norway 

Norway-Geiranger-FjordBeautiful Norway is one of the five Nordic countries that are situated within the northern stretches of the European continent. Famous for its incredible views of the northern lights above the Arctic Circle, Norway is filled with luscious and diverse landscapes of tall mountain peaks and towering glaciers. 

The Scandinavian country of Norway is well known for its deep and complex fjords that trail along the west coast. The wilderness of the fjords - deep inlets from the sea that give the coastline its character, snowy mountains, islands, waterfalls and impressive glaciers make up Norway's magnificent scenery seducing everyone who loves nature. 

The exciting glaciers, constantly changing in shape and colour, are a remainder of the Ice Age when the entire country was covered in ice and they never cease to intrigue travellers. 

Norway-Lofoten-IslandsWith accommodation to suit all budgets, Norway is an ideal place to visit for any traveller.  

Top Things about Norway

Norway is home to many distinguishable landmarks, such as great architecture, monuments, and natural phenomena that have become UNESCO World Heritage sites. 

The Nidarosdomen Cathedral is the country’s most important church and national sanctuary. Situated in Trondheim, the Nidarosdomen Cathedral is a prominent destination for pilgrims from all over the world, and each year the cathedral receives over 400,000 visitors.

Another important landmark in Norway is the Oscarsborg Fortress. This coastal fortress, which became famous during World War II, was once military territory but in 2003 became an open resort for tourists. Located near the quaint city of Drobak, on the Oslofjord, the scenic surroundings make Oscarsborg Fortress an ideal place for families and travellers who are interested in nature, history and culture. 

Norway-Traditional-Food-Meat-Turnip-MashNorway’s main attraction is most certainly the fjords. The fjords have become the most recognisable landmark in Norway due to their immense size and grandeur. The major fjords in Norway include Sognefjord, Nordfjord, Geirangerfjord, Lysefjord and Hardangerfjord. The sheer scale and beauty of these fjords is what draws so many tourists to the area, and many of them have been made into UNESCO World Heritage sites. 

Northern Norway is known for its wildlife safaris and its natural phenomena, particularly the midnight sun and the northern lights. From mid-May to July, the sun is visible in the sky 24 hours a day. In the east you can indulge in outdoor excitement exploring wild mountains in Jotunheimen National Park or soak up the cultural urban atmosphere of Norway's capital Oslo. 

The South is the perfect place to enjoy the Norwegian summer in charming villages along the rocky coastline and devour plates of freshly caught fish. Norway's long maritime history is revived in museums throughout the country and the treasures brought back by the Vikings when they plundered Europe in the 10th century are still being excavated by archaeologists today. Winter sports are incredibly popular here but if you prefer hiking, fishing or bird watching, you will find plenty of opportunities to do so in the most striking and spectacular landscapes. 

Best Cities to Visit in Norway

Between the vibrant forest of Marka and Oslofjord lies the Norwegian capital city of Oslo. Oslo offers a variety of hotels and accommodation options for all price ranges, as well as campsites and youth hostels. Although Oslo is a city, there are still numerous outdoor activities to get involved in.

The Oslofjord is perfect for sightseeing, boating, swimming and many other water sport activities, and the city’s forest is ideal for those who enjoy hiking, biking and cross country skiing. One of the best ways to see the city is by guided tour, by bus or boat. There is always something taking place in the form of evening entertainment, and there is nothing quite like a trip to the magnificent Opera House to witness world-class ballet or opera.

Another popular city to visit whilst in Norway is the beautiful city of Bergen. This lively city hosts various activities and events, ranging from football matches at the Brenn Stadium to the fine arts. Renowned for its contemporary design and vibrant culture, Bergen has cultivated many musical and artistic acts. Hiking, cycling, kayaking, rafting and climbing are only a few of the activities on offer in Bergen, which is why it is an ideal destination for any outdoor enthusiast. If a spot of shopping is desired, Bergen is the perfect place, with plenty of small speciality shops and large department stores. There is a good selection of accommodation that caters for all budgets and party sizes.

Events

Norway is full of exciting events and festivals that take place throughout the year. One of the most famous and well know annual events, is the Bergen International Festival. This is Bergen’s greatest artistic highlight, where music, dance, art and theatre can be enjoyed all in one place. 

Another annual event of note is the Tromso International Film Festival. This is the largest film festival in Norway and screens a variety of quality films from around the globe. For many, the northern lights are the biggest draw to Norway. If looking to witness the fascinating northern lights, whilst celebrating and listening to music, then the Northern Lights Festival is the event to partake in.   

Local Cuisine

Due to the cold climate in Norway, the maturing process of berries and fruit is much slower, which makes for a smaller volume of produce that has a more intense flavour. Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, lingonberries and apples are all extremely popular in this area. One of the country’s favourite delicacies is the wild growing cloudberry. Norway is also well known for its traditional brewing and the production of a colourful variety of ales and beverages. Until the last century, the most popular drink in Norway was Blande, which is a water and whey mixture. Another traditional drink of the region is Akevitt, which is distilled from potatoes and then sweetened with caraway. Gapes are not easy to grow so far north, which is why it is not commonplace to find wine producers.

Culture

The indigenous people of Norway are known as the Sami and have been located in the Northern regions of the country for thousands of years. There are a great number of traditional clothes, foods and customs that the Sami people still carry out to this day, and it is possible for tourists to experience a glimpse of this lifestyle during a trip. Karasjok is the Sami capital and is home to around 3,000 locals, as well as 60,000 reindeer during the winter months. 

The Sami National Day is celebrated on 6th February each year, and is to mark the first Sami Congress back in 1917. The Sami people have seen a huge increase in numbers in the last century, and are now one of the largest indigenous populations anywhere in the world.

From the Vikings of the 8th and 9th century to famous artists such as Edward Munch and from its famous fjords to World Heritage monuments, the UN declared Norway to be the best place to live in the world and visitors leave exhilarated, refreshed and satisfied.

Norway Hotels and Accommodation

Norway boasts a wide variety of accommodation options to suit all budgetary requirements. In the main towns and cities there are all of the usual luxury four- and five-star hotels, as well as the more affordable two and three star hotels. There is also a wide range of unique and interesting places to stay in some of the more remote locations; these include fishermen’s cabins, farm holidays and rustic log cabins.

Getting around by car in Norway

Oslo Airport to Oslo:41 min (53.2 km)  via Ring3/Rv150

Malmö (Sweden) to Oslo: 5 h 34 min (562.1 km) via E20

Bergen to Oslo: 7 h 4 min (463.6 km) via Rv7

Trondheim to Oslo: 6 h 21 min (497.8 km) via Rv3

Copenhagen (Denmark) to Oslo: 6 h 31 min (606.3 km) via E20

Top Scenic Roads and Areas to Stay in Norway

Driving in Norway is key to enjoying this country's exceptional scenery and culture.  The Norwegian National Tourist Office recommends 18 top driving routes. Amongst these, we have included a short selection to whet your appetite.

The Atlantic Road: Kristiansund to Molde - 1 h 12 min (71.6 km) via Rv70 and E39 . Considered by the British newspaper The Guardian as one of the world's best road trips.

Hardanger National Tourist Route: Rv. 7 between Halne and Steindalsfossen ( 199 kms)  a 158 kms road to the east of Bergen, in the county of Hordaland in Fjord Norway. The regional centres of Norheimsund, Kinsarvik, Jondal, Granvin and Odda all have accommodation in them should you wish to stay a night here and there.

Accommodation, driving and car rental

At Cheaperthanhotels and Cheaperthancars we have a wide range of car rental discounts at convenient locations and accommodation to meet all budgets and taste. We really do believe that the less you spend, the more you will have to do when you get there.

Your Cheaperthanhotels Team