Norway is one of the most stable countries in the world and it boasts an environment mostly protected from the ravages of progress and modernization. Norway is famous for its thousands of fjords, deep forests and snow-capped mountains. The early Norwegians were the first Vikings (along with the Danes) and when they ceased raiding the coasts, they built some of Europe’s most unique temples to God, the wooden Stave Churches. Modern-day Norway is a safe, convenient, beautiful and expensive place to travel.
Passports & Visas
Passports are required to enter and leave Norway. Visas are not required for US citizens for visits of less than 90 days. For longer visits, contact the nearest Norwegian embassy.
Obtaining a US passport
The US Government Website is where to start.
contact: The Royal Norwegian Embassy in Washington has links and contacts to Consulates near you.
2720 34th Street,
N.W., Washington, D.C.
Norway is a member of the Schengen Agreement. This agreement allows for the free movement of people (tourists included) through 25 different European countries.
Provides consular assistance to U.S. citizens
U.S. Embassy Oslo
Henrik Ibsensgate 48
Tel: (47) 2244-8550 (24 hours)
Fax: (47) 2256-2751
Norway Tourist Information
Culture and History
The Iron Age was a Golden Age of sorts for Norway. Viking warriors and traders left the coasts and founded enduring settlements from Ireland to Sicily to Russia and they invoked the terror of coastal Europe for several hundred years. After the end of the Viking Age, Norway entered into unions with fellow Scandinavian powers Sweden and Denmark and would remain a part of these unions or a quasi-vassal to the Danes for almost 1000 years. During these years, Norway turned to Christianity and built the massive wooden Stave Churches that mirrored the stone cathedrals of continental Europe. After finally gaining independence in 1905, Norway tried to remain aloof from the wars and entanglements of Europe. They succeeded in doing so in WWI, but the German Invasion during WWII forced the nation to choose sides and, after Germany was defeated, execute the traitor Quisling who ran Norway under the German occupation forces. In the modern era, Norway has experienced an economic boom led by the discovery of oil in the late 1960s. Many people do not know that Norway was second only to Saudi Arabia in terms of oil exports during the 1990s. This oil-boom allows Norway to enjoy a stable currency, a solid economy and also gives the country the ability to weather economic storms like the credit crisis of 2008-2009.
Currency in Norway
Norway has one of the most solid currencies in the world, the Norway Krone.
Driving in Norway
Roads in Norway are in good condition, especially around the capital of Oslo. In the countryside, the roads tend to be narrower (two-lane, primarily) and may be subject to extreme weather in the northern latitudes. US driver’s licenses are accepted and for complete rules and regulations, check out Visit Norway, the Tourist Board’s official site.
Electricity in Norway
Americans will need to have a converter and adapter for their appliances here — Norway uses the Europlug Type C (two round plugs) and operates on 220-230v
Emergency Numbers in Norway
In the event of an emergency,call:
- 110 – Fire
- 112 – Police
- 911 – Police (only from cellular phones)
- 113 – Ambulance
- 120 – Emergency at open sea
Etiquette in Norway
Norwegians have a reputation for egalitarianism, a casual air and a sense of humility. While in Norway, keep boasting to a minimum, feel free to introduce yourself by your first name and consider women to be equal.
Public Hours in Norway
Shops are generally open from 8or 9am to 4 or 5pm during the week and later on Thursdays — often 7 or 8 pm. On weekends, some shops will open from 1-3pm and the post office is also open on Saturday from 9am to about 3pm. Oslo hours are later than the rest of the country.
Norway has a very low crime rate and is considered to be a very safe place to travel. There are increasing numbers of thieves in Norway due to open borders, but the number is still very low compared with most other European countries. Some of the more dangerous areas of Norway are in the wilderness, along the coasts and in the mountains, where hikers and travelers often get hurt or lost.
The time zone in Norway is GMT + 1:00
Tipping in Norway
Tipping is neither expected nor encouraged. The price given is usually fair and appropriate and giving any more than that is unnecessary. We would recommend giving tips only in exceptional cases.
Weather in Norway
The Gulf Stream keeps Norway a lot warmer than you would expect from a country so far north. Along the coasts, the weather is mild, but the inland gets a more sever winter and a hotter summer. Norway has the Midnight Sun during the summer months, when darkness barely falls, if at all. And during the winter, the Polar Nights last for up to 20 hours in the north.
Getting Around Norway
There are few direct flights to Oslo from North America, but there are frequent flights via Iceland and the UK. A large Norwegian contingent in the Midwest makes for good deals if you are flying from Minneapolis or Chicago.
Boats and Ferries
Ferries and cruises ply the coast from Telemark in the south to Finnmark in the north. Viewing the fjords and mountains of Norway by sea is highly recommended, but also very popular. Be sure to book ahead of time. The Color Line has ferries from Germany and Sweden to Oslo.
Norway’s rails are a destination in and of themselves. The rail lines around Norway are some of the highest and most beautiful in the world. The Flam Line is a very popular route for travelers in the summer. For international rail links, Hamburg in northern Germany is the hub the links to Scandinavia. Most trains go through Malmo, Sweden before heading on to Oslo.
Driving the coastal and inland highways of Norway could be the experience of a lifetime. Renting a car is easy in Norway, all major companies have offices in Oslo, at any airport in and most towns in Norway.
Finnish clinics and hospitals are generally considered to be excellent — they are available for 24 hour emergencies and most hospitals will have English-speaking staff.
No permit is required to carry medication in your luggage for personal use. However, you should pack your medication in its original containers and/or have your doctor’s prescription with you. Customs officials will have to be satisfied that you are not importing more than would be necessary for your personal use, taking into account the drug type and length of stay (for no more than three months).
Lodging in Norway
There are a lot of options available to the traveler in Norway. The cities have first class hotels, the towns have comfortable, personable B&Bs, the parks have camping sites and there are youth hostels scattered across the country.
Main Sights of Norway
The Fjords of Norway — Norway has thousands of narrow bays surrounded by steep cliffs called fjords. Fjords are up and down the coast, from the far north to the far south. Norway’s fjords are on the UNESCO World Heritage list and there are dozens of different excursions you can take to visit them — be sure to make time for Geirangerfjord, one of Norway’s most famous fjords.
Bergen — The old 14th century Hanseatic town is a well-preserved and maintained look into the past. The wooden buildings and winding streets of this seaside town are iconic.
Jotunheimen National Park — a fabulous park accessible by car with some of the best alpine hikes and glaciers in the world.
Heddal Stave Church — the prototype fantasy church from the 13th century with ornate pagan/Christian carvings and the unique design of Norway’s stave church builders.
Oslo — vibrant capital and center of modern Norwegian life
Knivskjelodden — the northernmost tip of Europe; as far as it gets from the masses, but real close to the wild north and the Aurora Borealis.
Public Holidays in Norway
Norway is strict about the religious holidays common to northern European nations and also celebrates Constitution Day and May 1.
Jan 1 New Year’s Day
Apr 17 Palm Sunday
Apr 21 Maundy Thursday
Apr 22 Good Friday
Apr 24 Easter Sunday
Apr 25 Easter Monday
May 1 May Day
May 17 Constitution Day
Jun 2 Ascension Day
Jun 12 Whit Sunday
Jun 13 Whit Monday
Dec 25 Christmas
Dec 26 Boxing Day
Telephones in Norway
Mobile phones are very common in Norway and it is a good idea to buy a second-hand phone at a mobile phone shop or R-kiosk upon arrival along with a SIM card — this will be the cheapest and most convenient option if you are calling people within the country. There are also phone cards for local calls with pay phones and your cell phone will also have roaming coverage.
Useful Country Codes:
USA and Canada 1