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 culture.

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 agriculture.

Norwegian flag Capital: Oslo
Languages: Bokmal Norwegian,
Nynorsk Norwegian, Sami
Time: GMT +2 hrs
Currency: Norwegian krone (NOK)
Tourist Board: Visit Norway

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.

Sherpa Expeditions

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 ยป