A Visitor’s Guide To Norway
This Scandinavian nation lies at the northern end of Europe and the country’s territory includes several northern islands as well as the mainland which has links to the rest of Europe. The country was once the stronghold of a Viking empire that covered much of Northern Europe as far west as the British Isles, but the arrival of Christianity saw the empire’s enthusiasm for conquest begin to wane. Along with large amounts of natural resources, much of Norway’s terrain is beautiful, ranging from high mountains and glaciers down to low lying flats and coastlines, while the country also experiences long days in the summer and periods of almost constant night in the winter.
>Norway has suffered some terrorist attacks over recent years, and the US State Department advises visitors to the country to be cautious, and to report any suspicions or suspicious activity to local police.
Top Sites To Visit In Norway
The West Norwegian Fjords – The stunning fjords of Western Norway are among the country’s most popular attractions, with the best way of seeing the scenery by taking a cruise around the coast in a smaller ship that is small enough to explore the stunning scenery within these fjords.
Oslo – The capital of Norway enjoys an impressive modern skyline, but those exploring beyond the first impression will find some beautiful historic sights such as the Akershus Fortress and the Norsk Folkemuseum, while the city also hosts several popular music festivals every year.
Svalbard Islands – Located far to the north of mainland Norway are these cold but beautiful islands with stunning snow and ice landscapes, while this is the only area of the country where it is still possible to see polar bears in the wild.
Stavanger – First founded in the twelfth century this city was one of the first bastions of Christianity in Norway, and while it is an industrial city it also has the oldest cathedral in the country and has an interesting museum looking at the city’s history as the herring fishing capital of Norway.
Bryggen – Located in the city of Bergen, this World Heritage Site has a series of historical and colorful wooden buildings, many of which date from the eighteenth century, when this was one of the busiest commercial areas in the region.
The Oslo To Bergen Railway – This is the highest railway route between two European cities, and offers stunning scenery with beautiful rivers and lush green valleys in the summer, and dramatic snow covered scenery during a winter journey.
Jotunheimen National Park – Located in central mainland Norway, this mountainous park has hundreds of mountains and is a popular area for hiking and fishing, while many mountains are separated by spectacular glacial lakes.
Lofoten Islands – This stunning archipelago off the north west coast of Norway offers a fascinating look at traditional Norwegian life within the Arctic Circle, with great biodiversity and good access to mountaineering sites and cycling routes, while also being in the ‘Land of the Midnight Sun’.
Lillehammer – A former host city for the Winter Olympics, Lillehammer is a great place to enjoy winter sports such as skiing and ice skating, while it also has a lovely outdoor museum and is the home port of the PS Skibladner, which is the oldest paddle steamer still operating in the world.
Urnes Stave Church – This historic wooden church is nearly nine hundred years old, and enjoys a spectacular location overlooking a glacial valley, while the interior is ornately decorated with carvings and shields in the wood itself.
Where To Stay In Norway
Anker Hotel – This clean modern hotel is a nice place to stay that is well located in the city center, and has rooms with a distinctive Scandinavian design and a spacious bathroom, while also offering a fitness center and access to wireless internet.
Ellingsens Pensjonat Hotel – This pleasant hotel is located in the Frogner suburb of Oslo, and is a good choice for those looking for a budget hotel with good links to the city center. The rooms are simple and comfortable and are available at a reasonable price.
Rica Forum Hotel – From the stylish bold design of the lobby through to the comfortable and attractive rooms, this is an attractive hotel that is just a short drive from the city center, and offers great views and wi-fi internet in the rooms.
St Svithun Hotel – Enjoying great links to the city center, this hotel offers reasonably priced rooms that are compact and well designed, with large double beds and modern features including a flat screen television.
Thon Hotel Bergen Brygge – This traditionally decorated hotel enjoys a good location for those looking to enjoy the sights of Bergen, while the clean and comfortable rooms are fine, with an attractive log fire included in the communal lounge area of the hotel.
City Apartment Hotel – Providing guests with a balance between price and features, the simply decorated rooms are comfortable with televisions and wireless internet access, while the location is within walking distance of the main sights.
P Hotels Brattora – With a lovely location overlooking the waterfront, this hotel is within easy reach of the main transport terminals, and has lovely colorfully decorated rooms that are comfortable and well designed with nice bathrooms.
Scandic Solsiden Hotel – This pleasant hotel is within walking distance of the main tourist area and sights of the city, and has tastefully decorated rooms with access to a lovely roof terrace and a nice bar downstairs.
The food in Norway developed largely apart from the influence of the rest of Europe and is based on what is readily available in the country, including fish and game. Smoked salmon is a dish that first developed in Norway, but because of its exquisite flavor and texture quickly became a favorite around the world. Reindeer meat is quite popular and is frequently available sauteed, while the seasoned Kjotballer meatballs are another traditional dish in Norwegian cuisine. One of the more unusual delicacies in the country is Rakfisk, which is made from fermented trout and can be quite an acquired taste.
Currency And Visa
Norway is one of the major European countries that opted to maintain its own currency instead of joining the Euro, and the Norwegian Krone is a currency that generally exchanges with the US Dollar at around 6.10 Krone per Dollar. Norway is a member of the Schengen Agreement, which means that visitors from the US staying in these European countries for under ninety days will not need to arrange a visa.
One thing that is worth noting about travel in Norway, and in Scandinavia in general is that it can be very expensive, and this post looks at the costs of exploring this beautiful nation. Trying to explore the north of the country during the off season for tourism can often be a challenge, and this article looks at some of the challenges and the generous nature of Norwegian people in helping out visitors.