Norway holidays

Experience Norway

Best Places to Visit

Oslo is a stunning city, with some amazing restaurants and nightlife. Hiking, ice skating and skiing are all possible within the city limits, while museums, parks and impressive architecture adorn the landscape.

In eastern Norway, there is Velmunden, a canoeing paradise thanks to the Randsfjord and Sperillen lakes. The landscape is unspoilt, with many canoeing routes to explore. There are also several historic Finnish settlements here for those wanting to experience some of the history of the country on holidays to Norway.

In southern Norway, visitors will find the Setesdal Valley. The landscape here is perfect for hiking, with extensive woodland and mountains surrounding the area.

In Setesdal, tourists will find the Haugeburet building, one of the oldest structures in Norway, having been built in 1219.

Touring the coastal road is a great way to take in some scenery. Running from Mandal to Hafrsfjord, the road is more than 6,000kms long and is best enjoyed by cyclists.

The Southern Norway archipelago is a popular tourist spot. Made up of thousands of islands, this area is particularly popular with sun worshippers in the summer months, but is also a perfect place for beginners to try sea kayaking, as the waters are perfectly calm.

Nidaros Cathedral was an incredibly important pilgrimage destination throughout the Middle Ages, and it's easy to see why. The cathedral, located in Trondheim, is enormous and beautifully decorated.

Canals play a significant part in Norwegian life and one of the best is the Telemark Canal. This beautiful waterway extends from the birthplace of Norway's most famous playwright, Henrik Ibsen, all the way to Dalen. The canal can take a few hours to explore, particularly if visitors stop off to see the many sites along the way, such as the Nutheim art hotel, the Hardangervidda plateau and Morgedal, which is famous for its excellent skiing. A series of intricate locks can make for slow going, but this is one of the most peaceful and serene ways to travel on Norway holidays.

Top Landmarks

Norway is a stunning country with some amazing scenery and plenty of history. The Rock Art of Alta, a UNESCO World Heritage site, shows evidence of human activity in Norway as far back as the prehistoric period. The area with rock paintings, Transfarelvdalen, was discovered by scientists in the 1960s, but the panels appear to have always been known to the local people. The drawings are well preserved and have become a tourist hot spot. There's also the Alta Museum, for those wanting to know more about the carvings.

Another UNESCO World Heritage site is the little town of Røros. This old mining town may be small, but it retains many long-established traditions and is known for producing arts and crafts. Many of the picturesque 17th and 18th-century buildings that make the town so unique are inhabited by local residents.

Oscarsborg Fortress is a coastal fortress in the Oslofjord and is was given protected status in 2014. The fortress itself is impressive, but the island itself is equally as spectacular.

Norway has many national parks that are worth paying a visit. Femundsmarka and Gutulia national parks are among two of the most popular among tourists on package holidays to Norway, along with Tofsingdalen on the Swedish side of the border.

Geirangerfjord is a popular tourist hot spot. It offers everything from snow-topped mountains to lush green vegetation and a number of stunning waterfalls. Cruises and sightseeing boat trips are available throughout the week, each offering the chance to see the “Seven Sisters”, “Bridal Veil” and “Suitor” waterfalls up-close. This is also a popular hiking spot.

Entertainment

All of the big cities in Norway have enough clubs and bars to satisfy those visitors looking for nightlife. Some of the best nightlife in Oslo can be found in the Youngstorget area, which has a variety of bars to suit all tastes.

Oslo also has many quirky bars that offer something a little different. The Library Bar allows customers to sip a pint surrounded by leather bound books and crystal chandeliers while Tekehtopa is an ex-pharmacy which has been converted into a trendy drinking spot.

If you're looking for fantastic live music venues on holidays to Norway, look no further than Hulen i Bergen. Set in a converted bomb shelter, it showcases a wide variety of live music styles and hosts a heavy metal festival in November.

Olavshallen in Trondheim is home to the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra for those seeking something more classical, with jazz concerts on throughout the year.

Norway has a good range of theatres across the country. Agder theatre in Grimstad is an old quarry that has been adapted for performance purposes.

The National Theatre in Oslo is a more lavish affair. Constructed specifically to showcase the work of Henrik Ibsen, a famous Norwegian playwright, the theatre features his plays throughout the year.

All of the cities and many of the big towns have cinemas, with most showing the latest films in English, although children's films are sometimes dubbed. Oslo is home to the Cinemateket, an art-house cinema that shows alternative films alongside old classics.

Dining Out

Norwegian traditional food varies from region to region. For example tørrfisk, dried cod, or klippfisk, salted cod, are main dietary staples, but only in the northern coastal communities.

However, it is widely agreed that forikol is the national dish of Norway. This stewed casserole contains lamb and cabbage and is the perfect dish to enjoy on a cold night. Steak is a common menu staple in most restaurants, with game, deer, elk and reindeer all commonly enjoyed. Fish, such as smoked salmon, also makes an appearance on most menus. Cheese is hugely popular in Norway, especially geitost. This smoked cheese is soft and mild in taste.

Whale was once commonly eaten in Norway, however, due to whaling laws, it is now uncommon.

Lunch on Norway holidays tend to involve a small meal, such as a sandwich or snack, with a much heartier and more drawn out evening meal. Hot stews and soups are popular, and sliced bread is eaten with almost every meal. Pastries, such as lukket valnøtt, are a must-try for visitors.

Beach

South-western Norway is known for having the best beaches in the country, particularly around the city of Stavanger. Here, there are a number of white sandy beaches such as Sola strand, Vigdel and Orrestranda. All are only a short drive away from Stavanger (Orrestranda around 40 minutes’ drive) and due to the size and number of beaches, there's never any need to fight for towel space.

Romance

Few experiences on earth are as amazing or romantic as witnessing the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, with a loved one. The best time to see the lights is from September through April. In the city of Tromsø, it can be seen on clear nights during this period. With plenty of cosy hotels here, it's the perfect spot for romantic package holidays to Norway.

Family

Camping in Norway is popular and a great way to explore the country, with campsites all along the coast, in the mountains and by many of the lakes. Camping by one of the fjords means enjoying all of the hiking trails on offer, but many of the campsites have heated outdoor pools, barbeques and kids' clubs. Hot water and other amenities come as a standard at many campsites.

Adventure

Norway is something of a mecca for adventure holidays, with skiing, canoeing, hiking and skydiving all possible. Likewise, those seeking some real adventure can head to Spitsbergen. Here, it's possible to hike to one of the largest glaciers in Europe. Although it's not for the faint-hearted, it is certainly a thrilling experience. Spitsbergen is also a great place to see polar bears roaming the ice and seals and walrus.

Our best deals in Norway

Need to know

Language

Norwegian, which has some similarities to Swedish and Danish, is the official language of Norway. Because it was, until relatively recently, a series of unconnected regions, there are significant variations in dialect. Norwegian is used by 95 per cent of the population as a first language, while there are two separate written standards: Nynorsk ("New Norwegian”) and Bokmål ("Book Language "). As English is taught in schools from a young age, around 90 per cent of the population are fluent in the language. Many people within the tourist industry speak fluent English, with German and French also commonly spoken.

Currency

The official currency of Norway is the Norwegian krone, which is made up of 100 øre. Foreign currency can be exchanged at many airports, banks or money exchanges, and all three can be found throughout the country. In Norway, ATMs are called 'Mini-Banks' and accept foreign cards. Credit cards are widely used, except in small shops and post offices. Anyone wishing to use their credit card will have to show photo identification, such as a passport or driver's licence.

Visas

Norway is a signatory to the Schengen Agreement, in which 26 separate European Nations have opened their internal borders to other member nations. As a result, Norway is open to citizens of all Schengen states. Citizens of EU countries which have not signed the agreement, including the UK, are also granted access to the country without a visa. However, it may still be worth carrying a passport, credit card and driving license in the event of needing to hire a car.

Climate

Norway is often thought of as a wet and bitterly cold country, however there is some variation in climate that may surprise you. The countries position in the westerlies means that there is a strong and warm current that passes its shores, bringing small spells of pleasant weather. Unlike other countries that have a high latitudes; such as Greenland and Siberia, Norway is much more temperate. This also means that the snow that falls along the coast melts almost immediately. For around three months of the year snow can be seen quilted across houses and streets inland, and on average, temperatures vary between -10°C in the early part of the year, to +16°C in the summer months.

Main Airports

Oslo Airport (Gardermoen) is by far the biggest airport in the country, at around 50kms to the north of Oslo. It receives many flights from the UK. Sandefjord Airport in Sandefjord, 120kms from Oslo, is the primary destination for some budget airlines arriving from the UK. Moss Airport in Rygge also charters scheduled UK flights.

Flight Options

Local airlines fly from London-Heathrow, Manchester and Dublin direct to Oslo Airport (Gardermoen). Some budget airlines fly from several UK airports to Sandefjord Airport, including from London-Stansted, Birmingham, Liverpool, Edinburgh and Glasgow. Flight time from London to Oslo is around 2 hours.

Travel Advice

Flight fares tend to be consistently priced throughout the year, but there is a marginal rise during the peak season, June through August. Some of the charter airlines sometimes have online deals, so it is worth checking. Flying into Sandefjord Airport rather than Oslo Airport can be cheaper, however visitors have to travel a further distance to Oslo on arrival.

Other Transport Options

Several international bus lines cross the border from Sweden. Eurolines and SwebusExpress run bus services from Copenhagen and Denmark to Oslo several times a day, and buses run far more frequently than the trains. Although there is currently no ferry service from the UK, there is a daily ferry service from Kiel in Germany to Oslo, taking around 20 hours. There are also ferries from Copenhagen and Denmark to Oslo.

Getting Around

Domestic flights are extremely popular. Flights are limited in the north but run far more frequently in the south. Unlike the train network, the bus network is extensive. Driving is the best way to reach rural areas.

Bus

There in an extensive bus network that connects cities to many of the national parks. NOR-WAY Bussekspress, Timekspressen and Veolia Transport Nord are some of the largest bus companies.

Car

Although some cities are confusing to navigate, the roads are well signposted (in Norwegian) and the network is extensive. Roads are well maintained, but petrol stations can be infrequent. Norwegians drive on the right-hand side of the road, and from November to April, winter tyres are essential.

Train

Norwegian trains are run by the Norwegian State Railway, which connect Oslo with other large cities such as Kristiansand and Stavanger. Rail passes allow for unlimited rail travel, but for single tickets, it can be cheaper to book online. Advance booking for overnight trains is mandatory.

MAP

NORWAY`S WEATHER TODAY

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AVERAGE RAINFALL (mm)

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FACTS

  1. Norway introduced salmon sushi to the Japanese during the 1980s.
  2. Norway's national symbol is a yellow crowned lion on a coat of arms.
  3. 15 miles in length, the Laerdal Tunnel is the longest road tunnel in the world.
  4. When authors publish a book in Norway, the government purchases 1,000 copies to distribute to libraries.
  5. Grimstad is the sunniest spot in Norway.
  6. The pop group, A-ha, comes from Norway.
  7. Around half of the world's Sami population live in Norway.
  8. Norway was one of the founding members of the United Nations, established in 1945.

FACTS

  1. Norway introduced salmon sushi to the Japanese during the 1980s.
  2. Norway's national symbol is a yellow crowned lion on a coat of arms.
  3. 15 miles in length, the Laerdal Tunnel is the longest road tunnel in the world.
  4. When authors publish a book in Norway, the government purchases 1,000 copies to distribute to libraries.
  5. Grimstad is the sunniest spot in Norway.
  6. The pop group, A-ha, comes from Norway.
  7. Around half of the world's Sami population live in Norway.
  8. Norway was one of the founding members of the United Nations, established in 1945.

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