Top events in Norway

June
11

This annual rock-fest features a veritable who’s who of local and international bands in the picturesque Frogner Park. Recent years have...

August
11

One of Europe’s oldest jazz festivals, the Oslo event celebrated its 25th birthday in 2011 with an impressive line-up that included the...

August
16

First held in 1989, the annual Oslo Chamber Music Festival has developed into one of the most significant events of its kind in the country....

A port on the Lofoten islands, Norway
Pin This
Open Media Gallery

A port on the Lofoten islands, Norway

© 123rf.com

Norway Travel Guide

Key Facts
Area

385,155 sq km (148,709 sq miles).

Population

5.1 million (2014).

Population density

13.3 per sq km.

Capital

Oslo.

Government

Constitutional monarchy. Declared independence from Sweden in 1905.

Head of state

King Harald V since 1991.

Head of government

Prime Minister Erna Solberg since 2013.

Electricity

230 volts AC, 50Hz. European round two-pin plugs are standard.

From precipitous glaciers to steep-sided gorges and crystalline fjords, Norway’s natural beauty is impossible to overstate. The unspoilt wilderness of the Arctic north is one of the few places where the sun shines at midnight during the summer and where the magnificent Northern Lights brighten the skies during the long winter dark. Further to the south, the picturesque cities of Oslo, Trondheim and Bergen are brimful of buildings showing off Scandinavia’s age-old flair for design in cosmopolitan surroundings. Oslo is the present-day capital and financial centre, while the country’s second city, Bergen, is a picturesque former Hanseatic trading port and gateway to Fjordland. Stavanger is the focal point of the Norwegian oil industry and former capital, Trondheim, is a long-established centre of Christian pilgrimage, and more recently, technical research. Beautiful though the cities are, the real wonders of Norway are to be found outdoors, with ample skiing, fishing and rock-climbing opportunities for the adventurous and nature lovers alike.

With so many natural marvels to choose from, the hardest part of planning a trip to Norway is working out where to start. In the far north, the glacier-covered subpolar peninsular of Svalbard is one of the few areas where polar bears can easily be seen and was made famous as the home of the polar bear kingdom in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. Elsewhere, a ferry trip along Geirangerfjord has to rank among the world’s prettiest voyages with pine-topped cliffs giving way to icy green water, regularly topped up by the waterfalls that cascade down the fissured sides of the ravine. Away from Norway’s scenic splendours, the UNESCO-listed Bryggen waterfront in Bergen is a colourful jumble of picturesque wooden warehouses overlooking the busy harbour. Oslo’s waterfront is no less beautiful and has a brand new, ice-white Opera House that could give Sydney’s version a run for its money. Waterfronts and fjords aside, one of the highlights of a trip to Norway has to be getting to grips with the indigenous Sami people whose territory forms part of the northern tip of Norway as well as neighbouring Sweden and Finland. The traditional sleds might have been dispensed with in favour of snowmobiles, but the culture lives on in the form of the joik (a rhythmic poem) and handicrafts such as leatherwork and smithery.

Travel Advice

Last updated: 30 October 2014

The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. 'We' refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.

Around 581,000 British nationals visit Norway every year. Most visits are trouble-free.

The Norwegian authorities have issued landslide warnings in 11 counties – Akershus, Buskerud, Flam Valley, Hedmark, Hordaland, Oppland, Oslo, Sogn og Fjordane, Telemark, Vestfold and Østfold – due to heavy rainfall over a long period. There is rail and road disruption in these areas. The police have closed the Rauma railway line and evacuated farms near Mannen mountain in Romsdal due to the high risk of a major rock slide. For the latest information, visit the kriseinfo.no website.

There is an underlying threat from terrorism.

Petty crime does occur but at a low level compared to other European countries.

There has been an increase in avalanche activity. Follow local advice, stay on piste and only ski in recommended areas.

The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.

You should apply for a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before you travel. If you already have an EHIC, make sure it hasn’t expired. Some medical costs aren’t covered by the EHIC so you should take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling.

Newsletter