Known as ‘The Land of the Midnight Sun’, Norway is not only for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts but offers a rich cultural heritage thanks to the Vikings and traditional nomadic Sami people of the remote northern regions. Norway's most spectacular geographic feature is undoubtedly the fjords - the narrow inlets that are located all the way along the west coast.
Enjoy the best of Svalbard, a world of endless daylight where polar bear sightings quicken your pulse, guillemot cries echo from sea cliffs and beluga whales rise from the sea.
Take a cruise around Spitsbergen and explore the icy waters of the North Atlantic.
Take in the fantastically beautiful landscapes, the thousands of seabirds, and of course the star of the show, the polar bear on this expedition of North Spitsbergen.
Norway Facts & Tips
Did you know?
- The Lærdal tunnel, which was opened in 2000, situated on the Oslo-Bergen highway, is the longest road tunnel in the world… a staggering 24.5 kilometres in length!
- The Jostedalsbreen in Norway, is the largest glacier in Northern Europe.
- The sparsely populated country of Norway is divided by mountain ranges as well as a long coastline bordering the North Atlantic Ocean on its west, extending over 21,000 kilometers, which is gashed by its famous fjords, of which the Sogne Fjord, or the Sognafjorden, is the deepest and longest.
- Norway and Russia share a border… the Storskog border crossing is the northern most road border crossing in Europe.
- Norway is the sixth largest country of Europe, in terms of land mass. However, in terms of population, it ranks only 28th.
- The Nobel Prize is awarded in Norway every year.
- The sea has always been Norway’s source of strength, ever since the Vikings set out in their sea going vessels in the 9th century. Nowadays, Norway’s fleets of oil-tankers and merchant ships can be counted amongst the largest in the world, while its fishing boats boast of getting the largest catch in Western Europe.
- Norway has been most successful at the Winter Olympics, winning more medals than any other country.
Visas & Passports
Australian passport holders travelling to Norway do not need a visa at this time.
We require that your passport is valid for travel for at least six months from the date you are planning to return to Australia. Your passport must be valid to travel internationally and must be machine-readable. You also need to carry a valid return ticket on you.
Whether travelling on an Australian passport or the passport of another country, all travellers require visas for a number of countries, and it is your responsibility to secure what may be required before departing Australia. You can consult with your travel agent, but it is also recommended that you check the foreign embassy website for your respective destination as it can also provide you with useful information.
The Australian Embassy in Denmark is responsible for Norway:
Dampfaergevej 26, 2nd floor
Ph. +45 7026 3676
Fax. +45 7026 3686
The official currency of Norway is the Norwegian Krone. Notes come in denominations of kr1,000, 500, 200, 100 and 50.
The recommended currency to take to Norway is the Norwegian Krone or the Euro. Ensure you change a small amount into small denominations.
Advise your bank of your travel plans so that they can make a note of it, otherwise they may cancel your credit card as a safety measure due to the overseas transactions. Also make a note of the 24-hour emergency contact number of the bank or building society which issued your credit card in the unlikely event that your card is lost or stolen.
Whenever possible use ATMs when the banks are open (Mon – Fri) so that if a machine ‘eats’ your card you can then deal with it straight away. It is always advisable to carry a supply of cash in addition to your credit card.
If you don’t have Euro’s with you on arrival, we advise you to exchange some money into the local currency at the airport even if the exchange rate is not the best, this way you’ll have money to get a drink, snack or give a tip during those first few hours of arrival. Your guide will be able to advise you on the best places to exchange money.
Small change is also useful for paying for toilets while on tour which is customary in many places outside of Australia.
- The price of a cappuccino in Oslo is approximately kr40-50.
- The price of an inexpensive lunch is approximately kr200.
- The price dinner in a moderate restaurant is approximately kr700.
- The price of a beer in a local pub is approximately kr90-100.
The Norwegian cuisine, from its very beginning, has relied on raw materials available in nature, and it makes particular use of meat derived from game and fisheries. In Norway, breakfast is a rich buffet (sweet/salty) with a coffee. Lunch is very fast, usually based on smørbrød (canapés assorted seafood, vegetables and sauces) or home-made sandwiches (matpakke). Dinner is the main meal, and is consumed very early, usually consists of an appetiser, a main course and dessert. Among drinks, the most consumed is beer (Øl).
Important: When dining at buffets (i.e. breakfast) please refrain from taking food away with you to ‘save’ for later! If you feel that you’ll need snacks between meals, pack some dried fruit, nuts, muesli bars etc.
If you have specific food allergies and/or preferences, we highly recommend you take every precaution before your tour, including carrying a small card with your food allergy listed in each language of every country you are travelling to show to table staff when ordering. Whilst we take all dietary requirements seriously, due to the serious nature of potential allergic reactions, it is your responsibility to be as prepared as possible.
Norway's weather is warmer than might be expected from its geographical location. Due to the warmth of the Gulf Stream, most of Norway falls within temperate climate. An interesting phenomenon in Norway (and some other parts of Scandinavia) is the seasonal change in the length of day and night. In midwinter, daylight lasts 5-6 hours in southern Norway and in the north, darkness prevails. Those dark days and nights are a Scandinavian phenomenon called the Polar Nights. In midsummer, daylight takes over and there is no night darkness during June and July, even as far south as Trondheim.
Want to get out and explore on your own?
The Norwegian public transport system is extremely efficient and often different modes of transport are timetabled to connect. A great way to experience the cities you are visiting is to explore on foot. You’ll see some amazing scenery, historic buildings and witness the locals going about their daily business.
When catching taxis, have small change on you and choose one with a meter, if it doesn’t have one then negotiate the price before getting in. Also, ask your guide or hotel staff the names of reputable taxi companies.
So, you’d love to bring home a special souvenir from Norway…
Traditional items you can buy as souvenirs include porcelain, handmade glass, textiles of various sorts, pine furniture, ski equipment, Helle hunting knives, toys, wood carvings, and chunky hand knitted jumpers. Viking styled souvenirs are also very popular. Viking jewellery is amongst the most common with items ranging from chunky silver necklaces to brooches. Pewter goblets and drinking bowls are always a popular gift.
The poet Aksel Sandemose put Jante Law into words and they convey an important element of Norwegian culture: humility. Jante's Law teaches people to be modest and not 'think big'. It is demonstrated in most people's refusal to criticise others. Norwegians try to see all people as being on equal footing. They do not flaunt their wealth or financial achievements and look askance at those who do.
Greetings are casual, with a firm handshake, direct eye contact, and a smile.
Celebrations & Public Holidays
Norwegians love to throw a good festival and some of these include Bergenfest, held in Bergen in June, an extreme sports week, a Bollywood Fest and a frozen waterfall festival in February.
Other national public holidays to be aware of include:
- New Year’s Day
- Easter Friday and Easter Monday
- Labour Day (May 1st)
- Constitution Day (May 17th)
- Ascension Day (40 days after Easter)
- Whit Monday (50 days after Easter)
- Christmas Day
- Boxing Day
The biggest city in Norway, Oslo has been the capital since 1814. The name of the city has changed from time to time as it was called Christiania from 1624 to 1878, and Kristiania from 1878 to 1924. Oslo first founded its own municipality in 1837, a county of its own was formed. The Royal Family of Norway, the Government and the Parliament are based in Oslo. As it is located at the head of Oslo Fjord, the city is surrounded by a lot of greenery and woody hills. All the attractions are nearby to each other and most of the parks are a ten minute walk. During the winter season, one can access all eight ski centres in the city or for the adventurous there are hundreds of kilometres of cross-country trails in the snow-covered forests and mountains.
Bergen is the second largest city in Norway and is the administrative centre of Hordaland county. Its city centre is situated among a group of mountains known as "De syv fjell" (literally translated to The Seven Mountains), although which mountains these are is a matter of definition. Bergen is an important cultural centre in its region and was one of nine European cities honoured with the title of European Capital of Culture in 2000. The old wharf area, Bryggen, is listed as an UNESCO World Heritage site because of its characteristic wooden houses that used traditional patterns and building methods.
Tromsø is the self-proclaimed “capital of the Arctic” and lies 350 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle. The city experiences the warming effect of the Gulf Stream and as such is often warmer than many other cities situated on the same northern latitude. Tromsø’s centre contains the highest number of old wooden houses in Northern Norway with the oldest house dating back to 1789. Whilst here, visits to the Arctic Cathedral, Tromsø’s most famous landmark, and the Tromsø Museum are a must. The city is a cultural centre for its region, with several festivals taking place in the summer
Flåm & Flåm Railway
The Flåm Railway is an incredible train journey from the mountain station at Myrdal on the Bergen Railway, down to Flåm station nestled in the innermost corner of the Aurlandfjord. Each year, this exciting stretch of railway attracts people from all corners of the world, making the Flåm Railway one of Norway's major and most spectacular tourist attractions. On the 20 km-long train ride you can see rivers that cut through deep ravines, waterfalls cascade down the side of steep, snow-capped mountains and mountain farms cling dizzily to sheer slopes. The Flåm Railway is one of the world’s steepest railway lines on normal gauge. At the foot of the mountains you can enjoy the natural beauty of the Flåm Valley and admire the majestic Aurlandfjord, a branch of the world's longest fjord, the Sognefjord.
A picturesque resort town, Lillehammer is best known as hosting the 1994 Winter Olympics, and is a wonderful place for winter sports. The town itself is a lovely mixture of wooden houses and buildings, situated on the Lake Lagen and surrounded by stunning mountains. The most visited attraction in Lillehammer is the Olympic Games site and also well worth a visit is the Norwegian Olympic Museum, one of the most thorough Olympic Museums in the world and Maihaugen, the largest open-air museum in Norway, with its 185 buildings on display. Having said that, no matter what the season, the most popular things to do in Lillehammer are nature-based activities.
Home to some of the most picturesque scenery in the country, more than 80% of the Oppland region is over 600 metres above sea level and is a well-loved ski resort destination.
Straight out of a fairy tale picture book, Geiranger is arguably one of the most picturesque spots on the planet! Some of the highlights of Geiranger lie to the north – the beautiful deep crystal blue of the fjords, the lush vegetation and snow-capped mountains, whilst the village itself is charming and well worth a wander.
The Sognefjord is the longest and deepest fjord in Norway extending some 204km inland to the foot of the Jotunheimen Mountains and is home to some of the most spectacularly beautiful scenery!
The Telemark region is somewhat calmer and flatter than its northern neighbours and enjoys a wonderful tranquility. Its highlights are a series of canals, needed in olden times to get goods to the coast and the Telemark canal itself is a feat of engineering, including 18 locks of the canal, connecting towns upstream as well. For hikers, there is a fantastic hiking trail up Gaustatoppen Mountain, the regions highest mountain, which offers incredible views of the surrounding countryside. Also, the oldest stave church in Norway is located in Telemark. Built in the 1200’s, the Hedddal Stave Church is still standing today.
Norway’s second largest island, Senja sits off the Norwegian coast and is an area of outstanding natural beauty, an enthralling mix of tumultuous sea, rugged mountains, beaches, quaint fishing villages and a huge alpine area, perfect for hiking and biking. Senja is an ideal place to experience the midnight sun during summer and the northern lights during winter. Senja is also home to the northern most zoo in the world, Polar Park, where there is the opportunity to see the Arctic ‘big four’ – wolf, wolverine, bear and lynx as well as many other species from the unique Arctic.
Walk along Sharambeyan street in Dilijan, marvel at some of the oldest Greek, Persian and Arabic manuscripts in Yerevan, and witness the historic cave monastery of Geghard.
From the spectacular snow-covered Alps and picture-perfect panoramas, to the quintessential elegance of its larger cities, Austria is a fascinating country to explore
A relatively untouched country, there is so much to see in Azerbaijan including the Baku Fire Temple, Burning Mountain and the Palace of Shirvanshahs.
Discover intriguing history at the old city centre of Sarajevo, Baščaršija and the Museum of Sarajevo and experience the world-famous Stari Most bridge.
With its magnificent coastline, 1,185 islands, islets and reefs, Roman ruins and picturesque medieval villages, Croatia is alluring for lovers of fun, sun and fascinating history.
From its picturesque capital, Copenhagen, to its windswept coastline and everything in between, Denmark will lure you in with its warmth and welcoming hospitality.
Watch the northern lights dance across the sky, relax and unwind in a Finnish sauna, cruise Lake Inari and visit Suomenlinna, an 18th-century sea fortress steeped in history.
A popular destination with all travellers, you can soak up the glamour of the Eiffel Tower and the Palace of Versailles or sip on a coffee and watch the world go by.
Positioned between Europe and Asia, the country of Georgia has one of the most unique cultures in the world.
Infused with a rich history, Germany offers a fascinating mix of picture-perfect towns, lively festivals, modern, urban cities and beautiful rolling countryside.
Discover ancient sites like the Acropolis and the Agora in Athens, Delphi on the Greek mainland and delicious Greek cuisine in the glamorous Greek islands of Mykonos, Santorini and Crete.
Hungary’s location in the centre of Europe, along with its hospitable attitude, makes it an inviting destination, proudly upholding its Magyar traditions, culture and arts whilst incorporating a fascinating mix of history and the present-day.
Land of la dolce vita, it is little wonder that Italy is one of the world’s most-loved destinations with two-thirds of the world’s historical, artistic heritage coming from Italy.
Otherwise known as the jewel of the Mediterranean, Malta is an island located off the Italian coast packed with stunning scenery and a rich culture.
Experience jaw-dropping coastal views of the Mediterranean Sea, try your luck at the Casino Monte-Carlo or explore the botanical world of Jardin Exotique.
Discover surreal views and charming villages across the Bay of Kotor, explore the old town of Kotor surrounded with ancient medieval architecture and enjoy some local Montenegrin cuisine.
Morocco’s dazzling mosaic of Arab and Berber cultures, with a dash of African and European influence, is at once strange and romantic, alluring and surprising.
From fields of colourful tulips and beautiful canal-lined cities to historic architecture and iconic windmills, the Netherlands is a wonderland for any kind of traveller.
Portugal has it all; the sun-drenched beaches of the Algarve, exclusive golf resorts, medieval hilltop towns, colourful fishing villages, a cosmopolitan capital, the vine-filled valley of the Douro and wild remote mountains.
Slovenia is packed with unusual and often unique experiences, from primeval forests, Karst limestone caves and thermal springs to the lively and architecturally beautiful city of Ljubljana.
Fall in love with Spain’s intriguing history, marvel at the architectural wonders of Barcelona, enjoy a traditional Spanish tapas dinner and people-watch at a terrace café in Madrid.
Snowbound winters, meatballs, herring, Vikings and Volvos, IKEA, ABBA and the Hives - whatever your pre-existing notions about Sweden, a visit to this multifaceted country is bound to both confirm and confound them.
With its snow-capped Alps, emerald green forests, fairy-tale castles and shimmering lakes, it’s easy to see why Switzerland has been one of the world’s top tourist destinations for the past two centuries.
With its covered bazaars, whirling dervishes, sultans’ treasures and Byzantine mosaics, Turkey is both a cosmopolitan and exotic destination.