Norway Shopping and nightlife

Shopping in Norway

Most towns have plenty of shops selling Norwegian handicrafts such as traditional Fair Isle knits, silverwork and woodcarving. Silversmiths and potteries are common and well worth visiting for unique homeware and jewellery. Traditional items include printed textiles and silver, enamel, pewter, glass and porcelain jewellery, crockery and trinkets. In the major cities, expect to find branches of all the major international chains but don't forget to check out the work of the excellent local fashion designers such as Per Spook.

VAT, known as MOMS, is levied at 25% on most goods, which considering that nearly everything is horribly expensive, feels pretty steep. However, you can obtain tax-free cheques from any of the 3,000 shops carrying the sticker 'Tax free for tourists'. These shops save visitors between 11 and 18% of the price paid by residents. VAT refunds are paid in cash at airports, ferries, cruise ships and border crossings.

Shopping hours

Mon-Wed and Fri 0900-1700/1800, Thurs 0900-2000 and Sat 0900-1300/1500. Supermarkets are normally open Mon-Fri 0900-2000 and Sat 1000-1800. Shops are closed on Sunday. Kiosken (small shops offering limited essentials) and petrol station shops are open late in the evenings and on Sundays.

Nightlife in Norway

Most villages have at least one café/restaurant where you can find a decent meal, although you can expect to pay handsomely for the privilege. Bigger towns and cities boast a thriving arts scene including theatre, music and cultural events. Restaurants and nightclubs tend to be concentrated in city centres, while recent years have seen the arrival of pub culture in the shape of an influx of Irish bars. Bergen, Oslo, Stavanger and Trondheim are well supplied with a wide array of watering holes, many of which also offer food.

Oslo's nightlife centres on the Aker Brygge waterside area, the city centre, and the Majorstua district. Most Norwegians tend to go 'out on the town' only on Fridays and Saturdays. This is in no small part due to the high prices of food and drink, and the fact that the working day starts early. At weekends, it is normal for Norwegians to enjoy a forspiel (drinks at home), before venturing out as late as 2300.

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