Norway for the Independent Traveller
An enchanting land of wintry fairy tales and glacial fjords,
visiting Norway means viewing a landscape like no where else. Once
the home of raiding Norseman, the country is today a peaceful
kingdom of glaciers, waterfalls, lakes and fjords. The following
article features discussion of Norwegian landmarks, places and
Norway is a coastal country bordered mainly by sea. By land, it
borders Sweden, part of northern Finland and even a bit of Russia.
Norway is besotted with roughly 1,700 glaciers that create
thousands of waterfalls during melting periods. While the
mountains, glaciers and lakes add a rustic beauty to this nation,
there is not much room between them for good farmland. Only about
three percent of the land can be used successfully for
Languages: Bokmal Norwegian,
Nynorsk Norwegian, Sami
Time: GMT +2 hrs
Currency: Norwegian krone (NOK)
Tourist Board: Visit
Bergen is the main seaport of the western coast and second
largest city in Norway (Oslo is the largest). The economy of this
seaside city revolves around fishing, oil and machinery. The
northern city of Narvik is a major port on the Arctic Sea. This
area of coastland is also dotted with beautiful fishing villages.
Many visitors flock to this area to sail off to the Vesteralen
Islands where whales swim off the coast.
Visitors many also be happy to know that Norway maintains many
national parks; several are even shared with Swedish lands in order
to protect the natural habitats of wildlife. Rondane, just north of
Lillehammer, was founded in 1962 and was Norway's first designated
national park. At many of these parks, visitors can expect to find
old spruce forests, wolves and brown bears.
Naturally, most visitors are well-aware that Norway has long and
cold winters. Surprisingly, one can generally find sunbathers
enjoying mild weather in summer. Norwegian lands extend far north
into arctic regions and these polar lands are sparsely populated.
It may be interesting to note that it was a Norwegian explorer,
Roald Amundsen, who was the first person to reach the South Pole -
a considerable distance from his homeland!
Picturesque features of northern Norway are the reindeer that
migrate through Samiland and the Finnmark Plateau. The Sami people
themselves who live in harmony with many old customs and traditions
of their ancestors. This land was formerly known as Lapland.
Northern Norway is still known as Land of the Midnight Sun because
it is lit up for twenty-four hours during summer months. Arctic
seals and polar bears also reside in the Arctic regions.
Many visitors who travel to Norway do so to participate in
winter sports like skiing. Cross-country skiing is the most popular
form of the sport in Norway. Of course, when the weather is warm,
Norwegians gear up for soccer matches. And, because of all the
glorious lakes and rivers that make up Norway, superb fishing can
be had in every region of the nation.
When planning your Norwegian escapade be sure to include some
prime stops on your trek through the country. Important sites to
see include: Akershus Castle (Oslo), Nidaros Cathedral (Trondheim),
Jostedalsbreen (largest glacier in Europe), Bryggen historic wharf
(Bergen) and Hardangervidda National Park (near Geilo).
Before travelling, to get in the mood for Norwegian culture
immerse yourself in the history of the nation by reading about such
figures as the ancient Norsemen, Thor Heyerdahl, Edvard Munch or
Sonia Henie. Also, read some of Norway's famous writers like Nobel
prize-winning writer Sigrid Undset or playwright Henrik Ibsen.
Norway has also produced the famous composer Edvard Grieg.
Walking Holidays in Norway
Self-guided & 'inn-to-inn' summer walking
holidays in Norway »