Norway is an incredible country and one that should be on every traveler’s bucket list. Some of the reasons to travel here include the standard stuff like safety, and overall happiness of the population, and then, of course, the Northern Lights, but there is a lot more to Norway than these simple things.
Norway is a country that is run well, it has an efficient system, and it’s a magnificent place steeped in history and natural beauty. In fact, it is easily one of the most naturally beautiful countries in the world. Norwegians are very passionate about “friluftsliv,” connecting with nature and spending time outdoors, which means you have fantastic opportunities to hike, camp, and fish. And here, you can ditch the hotels and instead opt to rent a cabin, a place where many locals tend to spend their free-time (in fact, according to Scandinavian Traveler, the average Norwegian spends 60 days a year in their cabin).
But with all the good that there is in the country, there are a few things that may make you hesitant to travel here, with one of the biggest drawbacks being the costs involved. Although, the pros far outweigh the cons (and really, the cons are hardly even cons).
20 You Can Relax In This Country Because It’s Really Safe
One of the most appealing things about visiting Norway is that you will be safe, even as a solo female travel. Now, that’s not to say there are not certain areas that you should be cautious in, and you definitely shouldn’t get intoxicated and roam the streets in the middle of the night, but for the most part, Norway is an incredibly safe country with a very low crime rate. Even in major cities like Oslo, Bergen, and Trondheim.
According to Norway Travel Guide, while you should take certain precautions, there is little to be afraid of. The publication also notes that most crime is limited to home and office burglaries.
19 It’s One Of The Few Places Where You Can Possibly See A Polar Bear
Let me start by saying you will definitely not spot polar bears roaming around the streets of Norwegian cities, but there is a special spot where you can travel to see these beautiful creatures. According to Evening Standard, this spot is in the northern Svalbard archipelago, which is north of the Norwegian coast, and this is one of the few places in the world where it’s possible to see a polar bear in its natural habitat.
The best time of year is in the summer months from June to September, and according to GetByBus, you can travel here with direct flights from Oslo or Tromsø.
18 You Won’t Find A Place Much More Beautiful Than Norway
You have to have been to Norway to understand just how incredibly beautiful this country is, and although it’s mostly covered with a thick blanket of white snow in the winter, in the summer you can see everything. And when we refer to everything, we mean mountains, fjords, and impressive coastlines.
Some of the most visited spots include Lofoten, a beautiful spot filled with fishing villages, and the steep cliff of Preikestolen. One thing we can all agree on is this a country where you are guaranteed to get a great Instagram shot!
17 Norway Is Always Topping The Happiness Index
In the winter months, Norway is a very cold place, and you may think because of the darkness and the cold, the people who live here could be susceptible to depression. However, Norway is continuously among the top ten countries on the World Happiness Report.
In 2017, Norway was number one in the index, and then in 2018, they fell two the number two spot, losing the top place to Finland. As for how the happiness index is determined? According to Visit Norway, the decision is made using six variables, some of which include income, freedom, and healthy life expectancy.
16 Be At One With Nature In A Cabin
Every Norwegian has a cabin. This is a place where they go to escape the drone of everyday life, and these cabins are often located in some of the most scenic places in the country, like the middle of the woods, or on side of a lake or coastline.
On average, Norwegians spend 60 days a year in cabins, Scandinavian Traveler reports. Instead of staying in a hotel, you can rent a cottage or a cabin during a visit to Norway, and cabins are being built at a record pace.
15 The Northern Lights Are Something To Marvel At
When you think of Norway, chances are you’re going to think of the Northern Lights, and there is something magical about them because it's as though the sky is dancing, with colors of green and purple moving in a mesmerizing motion. But don’t think you are guaranteed a glimpse of them.
The best time for viewing the Aurora Borealis is winter when the skies are clear, and the further you get out of the cities the better. The further North you go, the more likely you are to see this natural phenomenon.
14 The Towns In Norway Are Steeped With History
The world is becoming more populated, and more built up, and there are a lot of new developments that have taken place. But while some cities are filled with modern buildings that date only a few years back, Norway is home to ancient cities that were founded centuries ago. Take Trondheim for example, which according to GetByBus is over 1000 years old and was once the Viking capital of Norway.
The publication notes how the city was founded by King Olav Tryggvason in 997, and in this city, you will find places of incredible archaeological importance, as well as an interesting museum.
13 The Seafood Is Really Exceptional, Especially The Salmon
A trip to Norway would be incomplete without trying their salmon, which is considered by many to be the best. Visit Norway points out that many people around the world already consume fish from the Norwegian coastlines, but nothing compares to a fresh catch.
In fact, the salmon is so good that according to Norway Travel Guide, it was the Norwegians who introduced salmon sushi to the Japanese back in the ‘80s. The publication also notes that one of the must-do things when in the country is to enjoy a salmon meal.
12 Or Catch Your Very Own Salmon Meal And Get Passionate About Nature
The seafood is fresh and tasty in Norway, but you can also fish for yourself when you visit, although there are rules that need to be followed should you wish to do this. For example, if you want to catch anadromous fish, only a hand line or rod can be used and you need a fishing license (you can be advised on where to get this at a tourist information shop).
The real point here is the Norwegian’s approach to an outdoor lifestyle (“friluftsliv” as Evening Standard notes) because they are passionate about spending time in nature. Whether that be fishing, hiking, camping or swimming.
11 Be Prepared To Experience An Incredibly Modern Society
Norway is an incredibly open-minded society, it’s also one that’s very gender equal. Norwegians do not need to get married to start a family, and TripSavvy notes that many couples live together without a marriage certificate. This is also a country that is filled with mutual respect and the belief that all people are equal, which is why there was even a law called the Jante Law.
This law outlined, among other things, how individuals should not feel they are better than others in any way, and to not laugh at others. Although this law may be outdated now, it's an example of the advanced thinking in Norway.
10 The Police Are Nice, And Their System Works Well
Unlike many other countries where the police are intimidating, the Norwegian police are extremely nice. They do their job well, but they also approach people with respect, and without being trigger happy.
The Norwegian police force has made headlines in major publications, like The Washington Post, for seldom having to fire their guns. In fact, a report from 2014 showed that Norwegian police had only fired their guns twice that entire year, and the bullets did not hit anyone.
What this seems to suggest is the Norwegian system is working, Business Insider reports.
9 There Is No Real Language Barrier If You Speak English
When traveling, you should not determine the country you wish to visit by whether or not they can speak your native language, although it does make exploring a lot easier. In Norway, most Norwegians, especially the younger generation, speak English. This means that they are able to help you if you need to ask questions, or if you get lost.
That said, you should probably not assume that everyone speaks English, as Culture Trip notes that sometimes you may need a map or a photo of a product you’re looking for.
8 The Midnight Sun is Yet Another Remarkable Thing About The North
Some people may not think a reason to visit Norway would be the midnight sun, but if you have never seen something like this before, it’s really quite special. At the country’s most northern point, in the Tromsø municipality, while it is dark for several months of the year, the opposite happens during the summer months. In the summer, the days grow warmer and longer, and there is a period which is known as the Midnight Sun when the sun never sets.
This means you can go outdoors in the middle of the night and it will be light. This period takes place from May to July.
7 There Are Many Top Ski Resorts To Choose From
Not all, but most Norwegians know how to ski and it’s something they started learning from a young age. Norwegians are passionate about skiing and there are many resorts across the country to do just this, and among the top places to go, according to Oslo-based newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (via Visit Norway) is Hemsedal. The reason being that of their professionalism and facilities.
The reason this resort tops the list is reportedly that of it's commitment to developing and improving their facilities.
6 You Can Camp Almost Anywhere In The Great Outdoors
While hiking is probably not appealing in the winter months and many of the routes are not accessible during winter, the summer months are fantastic for hiking. Another major pro about visiting Norway is you are able to enjoy the outdoors, and according to Norway Travel Guide, there is a rule called "Allemannsretten" which allows individuals to camp almost wherever they want.
This is a fantastic opportunity to enjoy the outdoors, but, you should also respect your surroundings and clean up after yourself.
5 It’s Not Exactly A Cheap Place To Visit
Of course, no country is perfect and one of the major drawbacks to visiting Norway is just how expensive it is. Norway has a high GDP per capita, and it’s citizens salaries equate to the prices, but tourists may find that their money doesn’t go as far as they would have hoped.
However, this is a system that really works, and there is a reason for the high sales tax. So, if you do visit Norway, be careful not to criticize.
4 Taxis Are A Luxury, So Be Prepared To Pay
Tying into the above point, another thing that is not all that enjoyable in Norway is taking a taxi, and this can turn into a very expensive trip, very quickly. The public transport is excellent in Norway, which is why taking a taxi is a luxury, and according to The Culture Trip, the tariffs differ depending on the city and the company that you use.
To give an example, the publication notes that to go from Oslo Gardermoen airport to Oslo city can cost around $60 to $150.
3 The Cold And Darkness Can Be A Bit Much
If you prefer a holiday where you lay around the beach all day, soaking up the sun and eating coconuts for breakfast, then Norway would probably have its drawbacks. At least, in the winter time. In winter, the country can reach extremely cold temperatures and can be very dark, especially in Tromsø, which is located more than 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle.
According to The Atlantic, the sun doesn’t rise at all during the Polar Night, which takes place from November to January.
2 Almost Everything Is Closed On Sundays, So Plan Ahead
Coming from a country where everything functions on a Sunday, little to no planning is needed. Meaning, if you run out of something at the grocery store, or feel like shopping for clothes on a Sunday, this can happen. In Norway, most things are closed on a Sunday (as Edge of the Arctic points out, this means shops larger than 1,000-square-feet), and while you can go into the tiny BunnPris convenience stores for essentials, there is not usually much of a selection.
And as a side point, when shopping, don’t carry around too much cash, Norwegians prefer cards to cash.
1 There Are So Many Tunnels And That Doesn’t Do Well For Those Who Are Claustrophobic
This last point is really a personal thing, and anyone who suffers from claustrophobia can probably relate. The Norwegian roads are exceptional, but there are also a lot of tunnels, which are needed because of the landscape, which includes many mountains and lakes.
The tunnels in Norway have even made headlines, and Business Insider notes that there are around 900 tunnels in Norway. And let me tell you, they are not just short roads, because the longest road tunnel measures 15.2 miles.