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Norway Travel Guide: Everything you need to Visit Norway

by Lisa Stentvedt
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Being born and raised by the beautiful Norwegian fjords, I often get asked to share my best travel tips for Norway. Through my years as a travel blogger I have written several helpful guides to visiting Norway, but I realised I’ve never actually created one, big resource for travelling to Norway – kind of like an ultimate Norway travel guide!

So, that’s what this is.

In this post, I aim to share EVERYTHING you need to know before your trip to Norway, including the best places to visit in Norway, when to visit Norway, and what the expectations are when it comes to tipping in Norway.

I’ll also link to all my best Norway resources and articles where they are relevant, which you can also find by heading to the Norway travel category where I have collected all posts about travelling to Norway. 

Don’t forget to join my Norway Travel Tips Facebook group to connect with others who are currently planning their trips, discover new Norway travel hacks and share inspiration to make the most of your travel plans! JOIN HERE!



All Norway travel guides on Fjords and Beaches:

Norway travel guide
Here’s the ultimate Norway Travel Guide – by a local!

Since this post turned out to be massive, feel free to use this table of contents to navigate! Just click the little button on the right of it to expand and click your way through my guide!

Norway Travel Guide: Welcome!

The photo above is the view from my house. I’m serious. This is what Norway looks like, and it’s no wonder publications and travellers alike call Norway one of the most beautiful countries in the world.

I grew up by the fjords, and not just any fjord. the Aurlandsfjord, with Flåm at its end and the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Nærøyfjord as one of its ‘arms’, is one of the most popular fjords in Norway. This means that my little municipality of 1700 people (my village has around 600 inhabitants) is visited by over 1,5 million tourists a year.

It wasn’t until I moved to Wales, followed by London and Florida that I started realising just how beautiful and special Norway is, and now I love sharing my Norway travel tips and guides with visitors from all over the world.

As mentioned, I want to share EVERYTHING you need for visiting Norway in this post, and in order to do that, I need your help. If you were hoping to find the answer to a specific question here, but you couldn’t; please leave a comment or send me an email so I can update the post to include it!

I really mean it when I want this post to be the ultimate Norway travel guide, and so I want to make sure I haven’t left anything out. So do let me know if anything is missing.

travelling in Norway
Growing up by the Norwegian fjords meant waking up to this view every day

Things to know about Norway before visiting

In order to cover all the best places to visit in Norway, I’d first like to point out that there are a few things you should know before you book a trip to Norway. 

One of those things is that Norway is expensive as hell. There’s no denying it, and you’ll be better off by knowing this in advance. By saving and budgeting, your trip to Norway will go a lot smoother, and being prepared for high prices will save you any frustration during your trip. Especially in the more touristy areas you’ll find that the prices are quite high.

Another thing to know about Norway is that the Norwegian language can come across as quite rude. This is not to say that Norwegians are rude, but a result of the lack of ‘polite filler words’ in our day-to-day language.

By this, I mean that we don’t add ‘please’ to the end of a sentence when ordering food or asking for something, we very rarely say ‘excuse me’ if interrupting someone, and the language generally lacks the politeness of English. You may come across exceptions to this rule, but it’s still worth being aware of so you don’t get offended when someone bumps into you on the street without apologising.

One last thing worth knowing before you visit Norway is that in general, Norwegians speak and understand English very well. This is something we are aware of and are proud of, and I believe it is a result of all English/American TV shows and movies aired in Norway simply being subtitled, and not dubbed.

This means that a Norwegian might get a little offended or annoyed if you speak English as if we don’t understand you, by over-pronouncing or speaking extremely slowly. I have personally gotten slightly defensive when a tourist was extremely surprised by the fact that I speak English. So ask us politely and normally if we speak English, don’t act surprised when we say ‘of course’, and comment on how Norwegians speak very good English in general, not in a surprised tone on how one specific person speaks it so well.

There we have some of the things I think you should know before visiting Norway. Now, let’s get down to business!

The list of places to visit in Norway is endless.

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The Best places to visit in Norway

Norway is quite a large country, in spite of only having a little over 5 million inhabitants. Out of all the great places to visit in Norway, you’ll find that some are more popular to visit than others. Most travellers, unless they are on a cruise, will arrive by plane into one of the two main airports in the country; Oslo or Bergen. From there, they’ll either have a packed itinerary taking them through all the best places to visit in Norway or play it by ear.

In this section, I have tried to break down the most popular places to visit in Norway.

Oslo

Naturally, Oslo is one of the top places to visit in Norway. The capital of Norway has a variety of fun attractions, and you’ll find that there are a plethora of fun things to do and see. You can enjoy a boat ride or go swimming in the Oslo fjord, take a stroll through one of the city’s many parks, or rent a bike and explore Oslo on a budget. The Akerselva River runs through the city, and the path alongside it makes for a lovely stroll.

Head this way to read the ultimate guide to things to do in Oslo. You’ll need more than a day to get through all the 30+ activities on the list!


The fjords

Obviously, I couldn’t write a list of the best places to visit in Norway and not include the famous fjords. However, they are in need of their very own section, as there are several of them worth visiting. Norway is actually the country in the world with the highest density of fjords! Considering that the word itself is Norwegian, I’m not surprised.

Read more about the best fjords in Norway in the section below!

Bergen

The second largest city in Norway is a very popular destination for travellers to Norway due to its proximity to the famous fjords. Bergen is famous for the wooden houses along the docks of the city; Bryggen, and some incredible hikes overlooking the city. Many tours to the fjords start in Bergen, and it is the perfect starting point for a Norwegian holiday.

Bergen is not only one of Norway’s major cities, but it is also the largest cruise port in the country. So if you are visiting Norway on a cruise you are very likely to be dropping by Bergen.

When you are visiting Bergen, don’t miss my guide to these great Bergen tours (to help you make the most of your trip)!



Bergen Hotel Deals

Booking.com

Trondheim

Trondheim is known amongst Norwegians for their killer student community, and amongst visitors for the beautiful Nidaros Cathedral. This is the perfect city for a stroll, and both the main square and the pathways along the Nidelva River are beautiful areas to visit.


Lillehammer

Lillehammer gets an honourable mention on this list of places to visit in Norway thanks to the hilarious Netflix show Lilyhammer. Lillehammer was also the host of the 1994 Winter Olympics, which many Norwegians still remember and remind people that they hosted.

Northern Norway

I’m sorry to put this as one item on the list, as I know that there are many beautiful places to visit in Northern Norway. Alta, Bodø, Tromsø and Lofoten are amongst popular destinations in Northern Norway, and visitors from all over the world travel to Norway to head up North in the winter in order to see the Northern Lights, as well as experience incredible activities such as dog sledding, learning about Sami culture and sleeping in an igloo hotel. Northern Norway is actually where you’ll find several of the world’s best places to see the Northern lights.

Heading up north? Don’t miss these Northern Lights photography tips to make sure you capture them, or more specifically, my guide to shooting the Northern lights with a GoPro!

Northern Norway Hotel Deals

Booking.com

The Lofoten Islands

The Lofoten Islands (or just Lofoten) is an archipelago of islands located in Nordland county in Northern Norway. If is an incredibly popular destination for photography enthusiasts, and with good reason. This destination boasts of incredible nature with steep, alp-like mountains, stunning white-sand beaches, and even some killer waves for anyone who’s into surfing. I couldn’t possibly write a Norway travel guide without mentioning this place (even though I have a separate section for Northern Norway in general). I didn’t visit Lofoten until I was 28, and I couldn’t believe I had taken that long to explore the place. Absolutely stunning, is the only way to describe it.

Curious about visiting Lofoten? Here are 23 reasons you need to visit Lofoten now!

In my collection of itineraries, I have now added self-drive Lofoten itineraries! Head this way to find them!

Stavanger

Stavanger is an incredibly pretty city, and one I didn’t actually visit until I was in my twenties. I wish I had sooner because it really took my breath away! From the pretty Fargegaten (the coloured street pictured below) to walking through the Old Town, Stavanger has plenty of reasons to visit.

Head this way to read my favourite things to do in Stavanger!



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The best fjords to visit in Norway

Below is an overview of which fjords to visit in Norway, but you can also head this way to read my extensive guide to the 5 best fjords to visit in Norway!

I told you the fjords deserved their own section in this post. Basically, most people who travel to Norway come to experience the Norwegian fjords, and with good reason. The fjords offer breathtaking scenery, majestic mountains and a landscape that will stay in your memory forever.

First things first.

What is a fjord?

You’ll be surprised with the amount of people who arrive in Norway with no clue what a fjord actually is. Some think it’s a lake, others think it’s the name for Norwegian mountains. We have had people ask us if we drain the fjords in the winter (?) or if we turn off the waterfalls at all (??). My friend once got asked if we built the visiting cruise ship on the fjord in order to get it there, because apparently, it was too hard to believe that it had sailed its way there.

A fjord is a body of water that fills a deep and narrow valley created by a glacier, often with steep, dramatic mountains surrounding it. As it is connected to the ocean, it is not a lake. As it is not flowing anywhere, it is not a river. It is a fjord.

How do I use ‘fjord’ in a sentence?

I wanted to mention this briefly as I have heard (and read) too many fun variations of sentences including the fjords. Here’s my low-down of how to use the fjords in a sentence;

  • You are by the fjords, not at the fjords when you are in the area surrounding it, such as in my village Aurland.
  • You are only on the fjord if you are on a boat, on the fjord. If you are going for a swim, you are in the fjord.
  • The mountains are not fjords, so you cannot ‘hike a fjord‘. You can hike by or near a fjord. However, you can hike in the fjord landscape.
  • The fjords as a plural is used to describe several of the fjords in Norway, which are mainly found in the west. Thus, the term ‘the fjords’ could also just mean ‘the area in Western Norway spreading across the Lysefjord, the Sognefjord and the Geirangerfjord. Don’t ever call it the fjords (plural) if you are only talking about one of them.

Now that we’ve got the technical stuff covered, let me share the best fjords in Norway with you. There are only 3 you need to know, in my opinion.

The Lysefjord – Lysefjorden

Lysefjorden is a small fjord near Stavanger, and it is the location of the famous Pulpit Rock and Kjerag/Kjeragbolden. These two popular hikes have incredible views of the fjord below and are both worth a try if you are in the area. 

The Lysefjord ends in Lysebotn, a small village at the bottom of the mountain and at the end of the fjord. The fjord can be explored by ferry, and there are also car ferries running there in the summertime, allowing you to bring your own car on the fjord adventure.

Along the Lysefjord you’ll also find Flørli, which is the last ferry stop before Lysebotn. Here you can hike the famous Flørli 4444, which is the world’s longest wooden stairs. They consist of (you guessed it) 4444 wooden steps going up the mountainside along the old water pipes.  The pipes are reminders of Flørli’s rich hydro energy history.

Please note that there are limited schedules for the ferries on Lysefjorden in the winter, and so I advise you to do your research before heading to the pier for pickup.

The Geiranger fjord – Geirangerfjorden

One of the busiest little villages in Norway, mainly thanks to the cruise traffic visiting this fjord, is Geiranger. This quaint little place is neatly nestled at the bottom of a mountain, and looks tiny when pictured with the majestic fjord landscape surrounding it.

The Geiranger fjord is one of two fjords in Norway (the other one is next) that have been included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The area surrounding Geiranger boasts some incredible viewpoints, such as Dalsnibba and Ørneredet (the Eagle’s Nest). A popular hike overlooking the fjord goes to Westerås Farm, where you can even spend the night if you book in advance.

Going on a fjord cruise in Geiranger is a must if you want to see the famous waterfalls ‘De Syv Søstre’ (the Seven Sisters) or ‘Friaren’ (the Suitor). These waterfalls face each other along the fjord, and have a pretty interesting backstory, which I’ll tell you if you ask!

The Aurlandsfjord and the Nærøyfjord

These two fjords, the Aurlandsfjord and the Nærøyfjord, are actually ‘fjord arms’ of the Sognefjord, which is the largest fjord in Norway. A fjord arm is simply a smaller fjord connected to the main fjord, which is connected to the ocean. I really should be a teacher with these amazing explanations.

The Aurlandsfjord is the name of the fjord where you’ll find my village, Aurland, as well as the famous neighbouring village Flåm. Flåm is one of Norway’s largest cruise ports, after Stavanger, Bergen and Geiranger. You can imagine how busy it gets in a village of 300 inhabitants when 4000 cruise passengers embark.

One of the best activities in the area is the newly opened Flåm Zipline, which is Scandinavia’s longest (and fastest)! Read my review (and watch my video) here!

Flåm is home to the famous Flåm Railway, one of the world’s most scenic railways. Aurland is home to the impressive Stegastein Viewpoint, a viewing platform built 650 metres above sea level and offering panoramic views of the fjord below. It’s with good reason that I love this area.

The Nærøyfjord is a fjord arm of the Aurlandsfjord, and has been granted UNESCO World Heritage status along with the Geiranger fjord (above). This is where the Sognefjord is at its narrowest, which provides for some impressive sceneries.

If you are heading to the Flåm area you’ll love this guide to the fjords in a weekend!

Before heading to the Aurlandsfjord area, don’t miss the travel guide I have written about it! It’s a 30+ page eBook, and I am so excited to have finally published it!

Things to do in Norway

Now that we have covered the different places to visit in Norway (and I’m sure I’ve missed a few), it’s time to cover another important topic; what is there to do in Norway?

Naturally, each of the places above will have their own distinct activities and things to do, and some are very location specific. However, there are some experiences in Norway that are more popular than others, and they are worth knowing about before visiting Norway.

I also have a separate post on what to do in Oslo specifically.

Hiking in Norway

There are many popular hikes in Norway, and you’ll see photos of them everywhere and anywhere you turn online. The most famous ones are Pulpit Rock, and the dreaded 10-hour hike Trolltunga (which some tourists still manage to complete in sandals and jeans), but there are loads of great lesser known hikes in Norway too!

Here are two of my favourite unknown hikes in Norway!

Explore the fjords by boat

As mentioned above, the fjords are some of the main reasons people visit Norway. Naturally, heading out on the fjords by boat is a must during your trip to Norway, and luckily there are several ways to cross this on your list!

On all three of the fjords I’ve listed in this post you can go on a fjord cruise which will take you through the fjords so you can enjoy the scenery. Most of the companies have classic car ferries covering the routes, but if you go on a fjord cruise in the Nærøyfjord from Flåm to Gudvangen or back) you can travel on fully electric vessels, which is an experience on its own.

Another fun way to explore the fjords is to go out on a FjordSafari, which is in a smaller boat allowing you to get much closer to nature. These tours are popular in Flåm and Geiranger.

If you prefer a more active approach, kayaking on the fjords is always an option, and you can choose between renting your own or joining a kayaking tour. There are even tours that include an overnight stay along the fjord, giving you a fjord experience to remember for life.

The Flam Railway – Flåmsbana

Named one of the most scenic train rides in the world, this is at the top of many people’s Norway bucket list. The Flåm Railway runs between Myrdal and Flåm, and takes approximately one hour each way. This is the #1 attraction in Flåm, and tickets sell out extremely fast, so do make sure to book early.

Originally, the Flåm Railway was constructed with the purpose of connecting the Oslo-Bergen Railway with the boats coming into the Sognefjord (Flåm is literally at the end of it), but today its main job is transporting almost 10’000 tourists a day to the top of the Flåm Valley and back down to the fjord.

If you are one of those travellers, do read this sarcastic mini guide by yours truly on how to be a tourist in Norway. Remember that offence is taken, not given.

Norway in a Nutshell

This isn’t technically a ‘thing to do in Norway’, but more like a way to explore Norway. Norway in a Nutshell is a popular non-guided tour, starting in either Oslo or Bergen.

Basically, it takes you from either city via train, connecting you to the famous Flåm Railway at Myrdal. On the train to Myrdal you will have already seen some of Norway’s beautiful nature, and experienced the impressively poor wifi they advertise on the NSB trains.

From Myrdal to Flåm you not only get no wifi at all, you also won’t have any phone signal. So grab your camera and enjoy the stunning views of the Flåm Valley. One of the most impressive things about the Flåm Railway, in my opinion, is the fact that in one of the tunnels the train turns almost 180 degrees, and you’ll exit the tunnel with the view you had on one side of the train on the opposite side. That’s all happening inside a mountain, guys!

The next step of the classic Norway in a Nutshell itinerary is to get on a fjord cruise from Flåm to Gudvangen. On this cruise you’ll sail through the Nærøyfjord, and get to cross off the UNESCO listed area from your list. From Gudvangen you continue on to Voss by bus, where you will jump on a train back to either Oslo or Bergen.

Do note that this is mainly the classic Norway in a Nutshell itinerary, and that there are many variations of it, for example allowing you to end in a different city from where you started.

Here’s my guide to booking the Norway in a Nutshell tour on your own (saving you quite a bit of $$$)!

What to see in Norway

Okay, I understand that some of these could have been included on the ‘things to do’ list, but as they are more on the scenic side,  it made sense to add them in their own category. Naturally, the Norwegian nature is a big reason many people come to visit, and so naturally, these things are mostly natural phenomenon, with a few buildings sprinkled in.

In no particular order, these are the things people come to see in Norway:

  • The fjords, mainly the Nærøyfjord, the Geiranger fjord and the Lysefjord
  • The Northern Lights
  • Famous mountains such as Trolltunga, Pulpit Rock and Kjeragbolten
  • Snow (seriously)
  • Impressive structures such as the Opera House in Oslo and the Stegastein Viewpoint
  • Historic buildings such as Bryggen in Bergen and the ships at the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo

The Best Time to Visit Norway

This is another question I get a lot; when is the best time to visit Norway? I have dedicated an entire blog post to it here, but you can also keep reading for an overview.

Side note: if you are planning your trip to Norway around the Aurora Borealis, read my post covering the best times to see the Northern Lights in Norway!

Naturally, every season has its charms, and there are pros and cons for visiting Norway at any time of year. Visiting Norway in the summer is naturally the most popular time to visit Norway. This is when it is warmest, and many would say the country is at its prettiest in the summer. Summer is high season for tourism in Norway, and this also means that there are more people. Everywhere.

Visiting Norway in the winter is becoming increasingly popular, as people want to venture away from everyone else and experience something unique. Norway in the winter is cold, dark and quiet, and that’s exactly what many people are looking for. I have also written a complete guide to visiting the fjords in the winter, which I update yearly to ensure that all the latest info is there.

Don’t miss this complete packing list for visiting Norway in winter!

Onto spring, which is when many locals will advise you to visit Norway. April is still considered to be shoulder season in Norway, but more and more tour companies and providers are offering high season opening hours and schedules. It is a little colder than summer, so you’ll have to dress well if you visit in the spring (seriously, we sometimes have snow in May!). but it’s worth it to beat the crowds.

The same can be said for visiting in the autumn, which is personally my favourite season. If you visit in September you’ll enjoy similar opening hours as August, and still catch the end of summer beauty of the country.

Unfortunately, there is no right answer to the question of when to visit Norway, and it is a decision that has to be made by each traveller. If your priority is to have the most off-the-beaten-track experience of Norway, I would say autumn, while if it’s really important to you to have the green grass and good weather, you may have to brave the crowds of July. Either way, I hope you’ll have an amazing time in Norway!

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Autumn in Norway is my favourite time of year!

Visiting Norway on a budget

Now onto something else completely. Is it possible to visit Norway on a budget? Well, it depends on how you define budget.

Personally, I wouldn’t recommend visiting Norway on a backpacker budget, simply because you won’t get the real experience of the country if you can’t afford to join any of the activities on offer and have to spend half your trip trying to hitch-hike a ride and finding a spot to set up your tent.

Visiting Norway on a budget in the sense that you can be smart about your money and not break the bank completely, however, is completely doable!

Here’s how you can visit Oslo on a budget, with tips that are valid for any of the Norwegian cities.

It’s all about doing your research in advance, checking for price increases and asking locals for tips. For example, in both Bergen and Oslo you can skip the expensive airport express and go by local transportation, paying less than half the price.

Instead of joining the Norway in a Nutshell tour, why not set it up on your own? As you saw above from my outline of the itinerary, it’s pretty straight forward, and completely doable to book separately. Here’s exactly how to do it on your own!

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It’s definitely possible to visit Norway on a budget if you plan well!

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The Best Hotels in Norway

There are lots of great places to stay in Norway, from the ultimate luxury hotels to budget-friendly Bed & Breakfasts. You’ll find that there are many historic hotels across the country, offering unique experiences and fun stories to share with their visitors. These are often members of De Historiske, which is a collection of historic hotels, and an affiliate of Historic Hotels of Europe.

If you follow me on Instagram you’ll have noticed that I often stay at Thon Hotels when I’m travelling somewhere and I can’t stay with friends & family. I love these hotels for their fun style, signature Nespresso machine in every room, and home made breakfasts. You can find them all across Norway and really experience why I love them yourself.

Here are some of my favourite hotels in Oslo!

Amongst my favourite hotels by the fjords you’ll find Vangsgaarden, which I’ve dedicated a post to on the blog, in addition to Hotel Union in Geiranger (where they also have a killer spa). 

Oslo Hotel Deals

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where to stay in norway
There are loads of great hotels in Norway

Travelling in Norway – How to get around

When visiting Norway you’ll want to get around in the most efficient (and budget friendly) way. There are three main modes of transport in Norway, in addition to each city having their own system. If you are visiting Oslo, the public transport system is called #Ruter (yes, with the hashtag), and in Bergen it’s called Skyss. Both systems have apps where you can check schedules, plan your trip and buy your tickets, so I suggest downloading these before you leave. Just search for their names in your respective App store.

Want specifics? Here’s how to travel from Bergen to Flåm (and back).

IMPORTANT UPDATE (Added March 2019): In Spring 2019, NSB (the national rail company) and Nettbuss (my favourite bus company) announced that they were joining forces and rebranding as Vy. Nettbuss is already owned by NSB, so by “joining forces”, I mainly mean that they are to be seen as one company publicly. This will be a long process, and for now, you can still book tickets on their websites separately. But, their end goal is that both bus and train transportation (schedules, prices and tickets) will be found on one common website. When they finalise their rebranding, I will be updating this post, so you can trust that this is the most up to date information for anyone planning to visit Norway.


Travelling Norway by car

Many people decide to rent a car in Norway and getting around that way. Renting your own car is a great way to explore the country, as it will allow you to take things at your own pace and set your own itinerary. Most car rentals are found near the major airports, and so it’s quite common to rent your car where you first arrive in Norway.


IMPORTANT TIPS FOR RENTING A CAR IN NORWAY

I’m sorry to have to caps lock that heading, but this is important. If you are renting a car in Norway and driving yourself, please read my advice very carefully.

  • Do not use the emergency blinkers for anything other an emergency. In Norway drivers are legally required to stop for vehicles with their emergency lights on, and you can only imagine the amount of times I’ve stopped and worriedly ask someone of they are okay, only to have them smile and hold up their camera and tell me that “they were only taking photos”. The emergency light does not allow you to stop in the middle of the road or in someone’s driveway. Please drive safely and keep this in mind.
  • Do not drive slower than 10km/h below the speed limit. It fucking kills to be stuck behind an idiot who is too busy taking photos of the mountain to look at the road. Now before you call me insensitive, I’ve been there and I know how it feels to be insecure of the roads and not comfortable to drive faster. But that’s when I pull over and let other cars past. So please, if you are not comfortable following the speed limits, or you want to take in the scenery as you drive, please pull over whenever you can to let people past. Too many accidents are caused by a mix of insecure tourists and impatient locals.
  • Calculate for extra time, no matter where you are going. The Norwegian roads, especially by the fjords, are narrow, windy, and often end in a ferry port to get you to the other side of the fjord. On our more popular tourist routes, such as the Snow Road (Aurlandsvegen) to the Stegastein Viewpoint, there are several hairpin turns to get through before you’re at the top, and most areas of the road only have space for one car at the time. Then think of the hundreds of other drivers you’ll be meeting on these narrow roads and plan accordingly. 
  • Don’t overestimate yourself or be cocky. i’m sure you’re the man and have a big car back home, but these roads can be insane. It’s not uncommon for locals to to have to get out of their cars in order to help visitors reverse theirs.

Travelling Norway by bus

There are several major bus companies with routes crossing Norway in this or that direction. Personally, I prefer travelling by bus over train, and love to get comfortable in my seat and watching the houses and farms fly by outside the window. 

The major bus companies to note in Norway, and to check if you are planning on travelling by bus in Norway are;

Travelling Norway by train

This one doesn’t require a lot of explaining, because there is only one train company in Norway; the NSB. It’s government funded, and so it is basically the national rail company. Super simple. All train tickets in Norway can be booked on their website, with few exceptions.

As mentioned above, the NSB and Nettbuss announced in early 2019 that they will be rebranding into a new company called Vy (and old Norwegian word for ‘view’). Stay tuned on this post for updates.

Some train routes are owned by private companies, mainly when the purpose of the train is tourism and it’s considered a ‘tour’, and not simply transportation. The Flåm Railway is a perfect example of this, all though the NSB does own a percentage of it and will sell one way tickets to the Flåm Railway on their website.

Tipping in Norway

Out of all the Norway travel tips I’m asked to share, how tipping in Norway works is a big one. Tipping in Oslo is a little different from tipping in Norway generally, so I’ve split them up below in order to make it easier for you. This is mainly because Oslo is a major city with more international influences than the rest of the country. Bear in mind, however, that some of the Oslo tipping guidelines can be used in most of the other major cities in Norway as well, such as Bergen, Trondheim or Stavanger.

It’s worth noting that Norwegians generally do not tip when they are out in Norway, but with the influx of tourism the country has had in the past few years it has become more and more common to expect a tip from visitors. Especially if you are American, as Norwegians are well aware of the American tipping culture. Sorry about that, but at least you’re warned.

Please note that these are guidelines only, and that you should always tip what you are comfortable with. However, I hope this little tipping in Norway guide makes it a little easier for you to decide.


Tipping in Oslo

As mentioned, tipping is not very common practice for Norwegians, other than rounding up the bill to not have to carry change. As a tourist, however, it is more common to round up the bill at restaurants in Oslo to the nearest 100 NOK. This is about the extent of the tipping practices in Oslo.

Norway is a very expensive country, and so the wages of employees are quite high to match, including waiters and bartenders. So don’t feel responsible for paying their ways, as they are more than fine on their own. But, like I said above, due to the many tourists visiting Oslo, tipping in restaurants has become more common practice. Simply round up to the nearest 100 NOK if the meal is more than 500 NOK (or the nearest 50 NOK if it’s below).

It is not common to tip taxi drivers or hotel staff when it comes to tipping in Norway. The exception is private drivers or tour guides that you have hired yourself.

Tipping in the rest of Norway

It’s not necessary to tip, and in many places they’ll follow you to let you know that you forgot your change. If you got outstanding service, feel free to leave a tip, as it will be appreciated. It’s just not necessary.

Personally, I worked as a waitress for a couple of summers by the fjords, and was incredibly glad when customers were happy enough to tip me, all though the 50 kroner they left wasn’t even a third of my hourly pay. But still, I saved all my tip money and bought return tickets to New York at the end of summer! Score.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Norway

Still have some questions about Norway? Well, keep reading. I have answered some commonly asked questions about Norway and travelling to Norway below. If you have a question that’s missing; leave it in the comments!

Where is Norway?

Surprisingly enough, this is quite a common question and shows up rather often on the list of Googled questions about Norway. If you are one of the people who made it to this post by searching ‘Where is Norway?’, then you’ll want to read this.

Norway is a country located in Northern Europe, and borders Sweden along most of its borders, and Finland and Russia in the North. It is surrounded by water on 3 sides, and (you guessed it) Sweden on the 4th. If you are looking at a map of Europe and want to find Norway, just go as far North as you can on the map. If you hit Svalbard or Greenland, you’ve gone too far (all though Svalbard is actually a part of Norway, so you wouldn’t be wrong).

Heading to Finland or stopping over in Helsinki? Don’t miss my guide to one day in Helsinki!

What is the largest city in Norway?

The largest city in Norway is the capital, Oslo. The second largest city in Norway is Bergen, which also used to be the capital, back when it had its original name; Bjørgvin.

Heading to Oslo? Don’t miss this guide!

What is the best time to visit Norway?

This has been answered in detail earlier on in the post, but if you’ve simply scrolled down to the FAQ, I’ll give you a brief answer. Each of the seasons have their charm, and I believe there is no right or wrong time to visit Norway. Personally, however, I think the best time to visit Norway is the autumn, due to the beautiful colours, and the fact that there are less people in the shoulder season. I am also an advocate for visiting Norway in the winter.

Head this way for a month by month breakdown of the best time to visit Norway.

What is the highest mountain in Norway?

The highest mountain in Norway is Galdhøpiggen. Fun fact: it is not only the highest mountain in Norway, but also in Scandinavia and Northern Europe, with its 2469 metres above sea level. You’ll find it in the mountain range Jotunheimen, which has inspired many a song and fairytale. You may remember the ‘Jotuns’ that Thor and Loki fought in one of the Thor movies? They are the troll creatures said to inhabit Jotunheimen.

What is Norway famous for?

I am loving these questions! And well done for wanting to figure this out before your trip. You have no idea the amount of people that come to the fjord wondering what the hell they are there for.

Norway is famous for its stunning nature, which is quite unique due to its fjord landscape. A fjord is a narrow inlet of water deep into the country, often with steep mountains surrounding it. The word ‘fjord’ is Norwegian, and used in the English language as well. If you scroll up to one of the earlier sections of this post, you’ll find a nifty little guide to how you can use the word in a sentence.

Norway is also known for its expensive beer, beautiful people and for winning the Eurovision Song Contest in 2009. We also hosted the Winter Olympics in 1994. But, as mentioned, its the breathtaking nature of Norway that draws the most people, and is what Norway is famous for. Oh, and the Northern Lights.

Final Norway Travel Tips

You’ve almost made it to the end, my friend! Now that you have finished the guide, I hope you are feeling better equipped to visit Norway! It’s such a beautiful country, and one that should be on your list.

My final, and most important, tip for anyone travelling to Norway is make sure to stop and take it all in as often as you can during your trip. The fjords are incredible, and the Northern Lights are nothing short of spectacular. On your trip to Norway you’ll see nature like you’ve never seen before, so please don’t miss it.


Want more?

Here are all my Norway travel guides:

Pin this Norway travel guide for later!

Thank you so much for reading my Norway travel guide! Was anything missing? Do you still have questions about visiting Norway? Leave them in the comments so I can answer you and add it to the blog post for the future!

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