Travel to Norway

Cozy towns and the most beautiful fjords in the world: a guide to Norway

See the very fjords, climb the “Troll’s Tongue”, go skiing, catching the northern lights, watching whales and even surfing – Forbes Life tells what travelers can do in Norway, which has removed most of the anticlimactic restrictions for tourists

Norway has lifted almost all coronavirus restrictions and opened its doors to tourists, including those from Russia. Neither a PCR test nor a certificate of vaccination is needed anymore for entry. Against the backdrop of positive news, the growth in hotel reservations by Russian tourists increased 3.7 times. Why fly to Norway and what is worth seeing in this northern country?

What you need to know before a trip to Norway

Norway is an expensive country with a high standard of living. The average salary of the Norwegian is 51,000 NOK (about 433,500 rubles at the Central Bank exchange rate) per month. Therefore, tourists from Russia will find prices here high.

Oslo has a great choice of hotels and apartments. A night in a 3* hotel starts at 6,000 rubles per night. For 5* you will need to pay around 20,000 rubles. Hotels can be found in other major cities such as Bergen and Olesund. But the closer to nature, the easier the facilities will be. For example, in such a popular location as the rock “Troll’s Tongue,” will have to settle for a mest-house or campsite (from 5000 rubles per night) with a minimum set of amenities. Very often the price does not include even bedding – this point is better to specify when booking.

Food and Alcohol

You will not get a cheap snack in Norway. Even the dinner at McDonald’s will exceed 1000 rubles. A dinner for two at a restaurant will cost about NOK 850 (7300 rubles) excluding alcohol. In the big cities there are a lot of good restaurants, awarded with international awards. In the villages will have to make do with a simple meal like fish and chips. Separately, it is worth saying about alcohol: you can not buy it in a regular supermarket, there are specialized stores for this. Usually they are open until 18:00, but some close earlier.

In Norway – one of the most beautiful countries in the world – is not worth going for the gastronomic delights, and for nature. Forbes Life tells about the most beautiful places and picturesque cities of this northern country.

Oslo region

Most tourists begin their acquaintance with Norway with the country’s capital, Oslo. Despite the fact that Oslo is the third largest city in Scandinavia, it is very cozy and quiet: there is no bustle of the metropolis, but it has its own charm. In 2019, Oslo was recognized as the Green Capital of Europe. Once in this city, it is worth a walk along its main street – Karl-Johans-Gate – from the train station to the Royal Palace: at 13:30 near it you can see the change of the guard of honor.

History buffs will love the Kon Tiki Museum, the exposition of which tells about the adventures of seafarer Thor Heyerdahl, who crossed the Pacific Ocean on a wooden raft. The museum is located on the Bugdoi Peninsula, where you can also explore the Viking Ship Museum, the Fram Museum, the Norwegian Folk Museum and the Norwegian Maritime Museum.

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Good weather is an excuse to explore the bizarre figures in Frogner Park. Its grounds feature installations created by Norwegian sculptor Gustav Vigeland. On the southern border of the park stands a beautiful neoclassical mansion that houses the Vigeland Museum.

Close to the city. For those who dream of seeing the fjords, but don’t plan to go too far, you can take a tour of Oslo-fjord Bay: scenic views and beautiful photos are guaranteed. An hour’s drive from Oslo, Hadeland is home to the Kistefos Museum with its spectacular exhibition space The Twist. The Oslomarck forest offers 2,600km of cross-country skiing trails, as well as cozy cafes serving fresh rolls and hot chocolate.

Bergen

Bergen’s most photogenic neighborhood is called Bryggen: its calling card – wooden colorful houses that stand on the very beach. Around the city are seven peaks: any of them offer a breathtaking panorama. A cable car takes you directly to the top of the 425 meter high Fløyen mountain, only 150 meters away from Bruggen.

Once you’ve admired the views, it’s time for the cultural program. It is worth a visit to Trollhaven, the home of Edvard Grieg, where he spent the last 20 years of his life. Today there is a chamber and very cozy museum of the composer. Four museums, united by the common name of KODE, have an impressive collection of art – from classics to modern works.

Close to the city. Bergen is an ideal starting point for exploring the fjords. It takes about two hours to reach Hardanger Fjord, the second largest in the country. In its vicinity is the famous Trolltung (“Troll’s Tongue”) plateau. This rocky outcrop is a broken-off piece of rock, frozen horizontally on its edge.

Lillehammer

Lillehammer owes its international fame to the Winter Olympics held here in 1994. Today tourists are attracted here by its ski infrastructure: the area of skiing stretches for 1300 km. Season starts in November and lasts at least half a year: even if the natural snow cover begins to decrease, it is maintained by modern cannons. There is no wild nightlife at the resort, but it is ideal for family holidays. In Lillehammer is one of Norway’s best art museums: its exposition includes works of prominent local artists. Lillehammer’s pride and joy is its wooden architecture. You can appreciate it in all its glory on Storgata Street, where the houses of the late XVIII century are still standing.

Near the city. The mountains, rivers and Norway’s largest lake make Lillehammer and its surroundings a paradise for lovers of outdoor activities. Those who do not ski can learn cross-country skiing: the tracks are laid in the woods, between the snow-covered fir trees. Travelers with children will be interested in visiting the adventure park Hunderfossen, the entrance to which is guarded by a giant troll.

Olesund

Olesund is a beautiful Art Nouveau city located in western Norway. It occupies seven islands: the center is on the islands of Asprey and Nerei. Thanks to the proximity of the Gulf Stream, winters are mild but windy: temperatures rarely drop below freezing, making Olesund comfortable for walking at any time of year. To see the city from above, you can climb the 418 steps up to the Fjelstua Lookout. It is this panorama is printed on postcards and magnets. Three kilometers west of Ålesund is the Atlantic Park, one of the largest aquariums in Scandinavia. Olesund has its own ski resort – Sunnmorsalpane. He welcomes guests from December to April.

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Near the city. Olesund is located between two fjords: Herund and Geiranger. They are both listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Herund Fjord is a classic of the Norwegian landscape with majestic cliffs against the blue sea. It is especially beautiful here in the fall. Geiranger Fjord is famous for its waterfalls, the most famous of which are “Seven Sisters”, “The Bride’s veil” and “The Bridegroom”. Along the banks are steep cliffs up to 1400 meters high and glaciers.

Tromsø

Tromsø is the capital of the Arctic. Go to the north of Norway is worth it for those who dream to watch the whales and see the northern lights. There is no need to be afraid of the cold: in winter the temperature rarely drops below minus 3C in the city and its surroundings. The central street of Tromsø is called Storgata: restaurants, cafes, stores and souvenir shops are concentrated here. You can admire the view of the harbor from Storget square.

One of the most interesting buildings in Tromsø is the Arctic Cathedral, which resembles an iceberg. You can learn about life in the northern regions at the Polaria Museum, after which it makes sense to go on a tour to the local brewery, the closest to the Arctic Circle. Troms is also home to the world’s northernmost zoo. You can see the city from above by taking the funicular up Mount Stursteinen.

Near the city. The area around Tromsø is suitable for observing the northern lights: it is desirable to go at least 30-50 km away from the city in order not to be disturbed by the light pollution. Popular activities include boat cruises to see whales in their natural habitat and dog sledding.

Stavanger

A visit to Stavanger allows you to combine Michelin restaurants, historical monuments and trendy street art all in one trip. Stavanger has many wooden buildings whose facades are painted yellow or white. They have been pleasing locals and tourists for centuries. In Stavanger is the oldest cathedral in Norway: it was built by the Crusaders in 1100. Every year, the city hosts the NuArt festival of street art, so you can see many unusual and very impressive works on the walls of buildings. Stavanger’s restaurants deserve a special mention: lovers of haute cuisine should check out RE-NAA and Sabi Omakase. Here they cook from local products according to author’s recipes.

Near the city. Stavanger is the largest city in the southwestern part of the country and a great starting point for those who want to see the famous natural monuments: Lyse Fjord and Prekestulen (“Preacher’s pulpit”). Luce Fjord is popular not only with hiking fans, but also with basejumpers. Prekestulen is a giant cliff 604 m high. Its top is square and almost flat. From here you can enjoy a fantastic view of the surrounding area.

Lofoten Islands

Lofoten is one of the most beautiful places in all of Norway. Here travelers will find everything at once: fjords, mountain peaks, northern lights, fishing villages and postcard views. Come to the islands is better in low season, such as in March and April: it will avoid the accumulation of tourists. Outdoor enthusiasts can learn to surf here, and wildlife aficionados can watch whales and other wildlife on a boat cruise.

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The most intrepid will be offered to climb Mount Swolvergate or hike one of the hiking trails in the region. Connoisseurs of modern art can visit the KaviarFactory, a museum showcasing the work of some of Norway’s most progressive artists.

Norway

Norway is an amazing country which it is every traveler’s dream to visit. The majestic fjords and rugged mountains, mighty waterfalls and ancient glaciers, breathtaking serpentine roads and pretty cozy town. And also the midnight sun, the aurora, whale watching and royal fishing.

Believe me, Norway can find a key to the heart of everyone and surprise you!

Motorists will be interested to test their strength on the serpentine mountain roads (such as the Troll or Eagle Road). The Atlantic Ocean Road, one of the most scenic highways in the world, can be a real adventure. It connects small islands surrounded by ocean waters and includes unique bridges.

Take the rare opportunity to drive through the longest (24.51 km!) road tunnel in the world, the Lerdahl Tunnel, which has unique lighting and three grottoes with the possibility of stopping for a driver’s rest or a U-turn.

When traveling by car in Norway will be a must-visit ferry crossings. If they are long in time and distance, then this method of travel can become a separate attraction. For example, choosing the ferry Lysebotn-Forsand, you can not only enjoy the beauty of Lyse-fjord and the surrounding views, but also try to discern high above the two stunningly interesting mountain formations – Preikestolen (Preikestolen) and Kjerag (Kjeragbolten).

You might want to have a thrilling experience and decide to rent one of the Tesla electric cars, which are incredibly common in Norway.

For those interested in rail transport, the Flom Railway is surrounded by mountains and waterfalls and has the steepest gradient in the world.

Cyclists will appreciate the quality of the roads as well as their scenic beauty.

Fans of water sports can rent a motorboat or kayak to fully enjoy the beauty of the fjords.

Capital city: Oslo Area: 385,207 km 2 Population: 5,328,212 (2019) Language: Norwegian, Saami Official website: https://www.visitnorway.com/

Flight time: from Moscow – from 2 hours 40 min. from Saint-Petersburg – from 3 hours 15 min. (1-2 connections) from Kazan – from 6 hours 10 min. (1-2 connections) from Ekaterinburg – from 6 hours 30 min. (1-2 connections) from Novosibirsk – from 9 hours 40 min. (1-2 connections)

For those who want to enjoy the silence and unity with nature, but not to lose the comfort, in Norway built camps – a place to rest in a tent or a house. And guests who are accustomed to resting in hotels, can stay in one of the unique options with an unforgettable view. For example, on the shore of Geirangerfjord or over the waterfall Vöringsfossen.

Hiking enthusiasts will enjoy the numerous hiking trails, the most popular of which are world-famous. As a warm-up, you can climb Preikestolen, the “Preacher’s pulpit”. Even old people and children can climb to a height of 604 meters above the Luce Fjord and be amazed by the beauty of the views. Ready to remember your stepper class and climb 1,560 steps (and that’s only one way)? The Reinebringen is your first choice. Want to get your knuckles in a twist while balancing on a round rock above a chasm? Kjeragbolten, the “Pea”, is an easy way to do that. But be warned, getting there is a lot of work and energy required. But the real test of physical and moral strength is the trek to Trolltunga. You will have to go 22 kilometers, spending a whole day on the road. The reward is a photo on the famous rock above the cliff.

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When planning your itinerary around Norway, be sure to include not only the capital, Oslo, which has an impressive list of attractions, but also other cities. In Bergen, take a walk along the historic Bryggen promenade, sample the freshest seafood at the Fish Market, and be sure to take the Fløibanen funicular up for a panoramic view of the city. In what the Norwegians themselves say is the most beautiful city in the country, Olesund, enjoy the Art Nouveau architecture. Take a tour of Trondheim, once the capital and one of the oldest cities in the country. Stavanger, the city of white houses and the oil capital of Norway, is also worth a visit. And do not forget about the small towns and villages, such as Reine or O, which can sometimes surprise no less than the big cities.

History lovers will be incredibly interesting to visit museums in Norway, such as the Viking Ship Museum, Kon-Tiki Museum, the Historical Museum in Oslo, Lofotr Viking Museum and numerous ethnographic centers.

Skiers and snowboarders will be pleasantly surprised by the length of skiing season in the resorts, good conditions and well-prepared slopes. And tired of skiing, you can ride a dog or reindeer team, as well as on a snowmobile.

Norway will be a real discovery for photographers. There are even organized photo tours, as in the “Kingdom of Fjords” – the south-western part of the country, and in the Arctic Circle in pursuit of the northern lights.

Dream, plan, and travel with a guide to Norway, and you’re sure to see some of the most beautiful places on earth, get to know the country well, and truly love it.

How to get to Norway

Traveling to Norway is interesting, easy, convenient, though not cheap at all. Excellent quality roads, numerous bridges and tunnels and ferry crossings will make your trip comfortable and fast. To get to the country of fjords and trolls is possible in several ways.

Airplane

Norway has about 50 airports, including some in the most remote areas, allowing you to reach, for example, Lofoten Islands, Cape Nordkapp or Spitsbergen.

The main airport is located in the capital – the city of Oslo. Here daily arrive most international flights. Also, foreign flights are made to airports in Stavanger, Bergen, Tromsø, Trondheim, etc.

The fastest way to get to or from Oslo airport is by Flytoget/Airport Express Train. Another option is a cab, but in the Norwegian capital is very expensive.

From Oslo to other cities in Norway fairly convenient and cheap connecting flights offer airlines SAS and Norwegian.

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Car

The most convenient way to travel in Norway is by car.

Some rent it on arrival, while others prefer to get to Norway by car (for example, from St. Petersburg). Undeniable advantages of the latter option – it is possible to take the necessary things for camping (tents, sleeping bags, tables and chairs) and food, which will save a lot of travel budget.

Another popular topic is traveling in a motorhome. This kind of vacation is extremely popular with residents of Finland, Sweden, Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands.

If you’ve always wanted to travel in a house on wheels, do not miss this chance! And in Norway and in neighboring countries, many firms engaged in renting this comfortable and cozy vehicle.

Ferry

It can be a small ferry crossing, for example, across the Norwegian fjord, or travel by water from a neighboring country.

If you are traveling by car, you will sooner or later use the ferry.

This way you can get to Norway from Denmark, Germany and Sweden.

And to Sweden, in turn, there are ferries from Finland (Helsinki, Turku) and St. Petersburg.

Bus tours

If we talk about budget holidays in Norway, in addition to personal cars, it is worth considering the proposed options for bus tours. Most often they start from Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Bus tour is a good opportunity to see the main sights of the country in a short time. However, you should keep in mind that long journeys can be very tiring. If you want to have a really good rest, choose at least tours without overnight travel.

Cruises on the fjords

The most relaxed and comfortable type of travel to Norway was and still is a cruise.

It is one that allows you to enjoy the picturesque scenery of northern nature, not to think about moving between cities, not to deal with repeated unpacking and packing luggage when changing hotels, as well as solves the issues of food and entertainment.

Cruise ships sail to Norway from various ports in Europe, and you can always fly to Norway by plane and start your cruise from there.

Train

Norway is closely connected by rail with other Scandinavian countries, as well as with the rest of Europe.

For example, from Stockholm to Oslo there is a daily train that takes you about 6 hours.

From Copenhagen, the train runs less frequently – several times a week.

The total length of the railroad tracks laid on the territory of Norway, more than 3,000 kilometers. The most famous section is the Bergen Railway (Bergensbanen), which connects Oslo and Bergen. It is one of the best panoramic routes, during which passengers enjoy spectacular mountain views right from the train car.

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