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Norway Travel Guide

Last Updated: September 13, 2023

scenic fjords in Norway with a red cabin in the foreground along the rugged coastline

To top it all off, Norwegians are wonderful people, almost everyone speaks fluent English so it’s easy to navigate, and the scenic fjords are never far from sight.

And, since Norwegians love nature, there are a lot of free outdoor activities that can fill your days without emptying your wallet. Wild camping is also free here as well, making it the perfect destination for outdoorsy travelers.

I’ve loved all my visits to Norway. I am always blown away by the landscape, architecture, and friendly people. It’s definitely not a country to be missed, even if you are on a budget.

Use this travel guide to Norway to plan your trip, save money, and make the most of your visit to this beautiful nation!

Table of Contents

  • Things to See and Do
  • Typical Costs
  • Suggested Budget
  • Money-Saving Tips
  • Where to Stay
  • How to Get Around
  • How to Stay Safe
  • Best Places to Book Your Trip
  • Related Blogs on Norway

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Top 5 things to see and do in norway.

The beautiful, rugged mountains overlooking Lofoten in northern Norway

1. Check out the fjords

Surrounded by high cliffs, the fjords of Norway are world renowned and breathtakingly beautiful. Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord near Bergen are two of the most popular. Other fjords worth seeing include Aurlandsfjord (near Flåm), Lysefjord (near Stavanger), and Trollfjord (near Tromsø). There are tons of ways to experience Norway’s natural beauty whatever your style is, from doing a fjord cruise , a kayaking tour, or going on a scenic hike to fully take in the unique landscapes.

2. Explore Oslo

Oslo is a beautiful small city of just under 700,000 people. Here you can browse the National Gallery, explore the Akerhus fortress, check out the Viking Ship Museum, see the Royal Palace, spend an afternoon strolling the Aker Brygge wharf, or sail around the city on a boat tour . Don’t miss Vigeland Sculpture Park either, with its 200 unique statues. The city is also surrounded by wilderness, offering plenty of places to hike, bike, swim, and camp (and, of course, cross-country ski in the winter).

3. Visit Bergen

Bergen is home to tons of hiking trails as well as some of the most scenic fjords in the country. Check out the fish market, stroll through the historic Gamle Bergen, climb the medieval Rosenkrantz Tower, or hike up Mount Fløyen to get a picturesque view of the city below. Just two hours outside Bergen, you can enjoy the guided walks (suitable for all levels) on the Folgefonna Glaciers and marvel at the colors of the spectacular “blue-ice” hike. Folgefonna National Park, home to the massive golden eagle, is accessible by public transportation too.

4. See Lofoten

Lofoten is a picturesque scenic area in the far north well worth the effort (and cost) to get to. There are beautiful fjords to cruise , mountains, wildlife, and a slower pace of life that makes this place seem magical. Plus, there’s no shortage of activities to take advantage of, from excellent fishing and plenty of opportunities for kayaking, photo tours, sailing trips, horseback riding, and more. This is also one of several spots to see the Northern Lights mirrored in the water of this unique archipelago. It’s one of the most sought-after photography destinations in the world.

5. Tour Trondheim

Known for its bright and colorful buildings, Trondheim is a laid-back city filled with students. Located in the middle of the country, it’s a fun destination to party and enjoy late nights out. Be sure to take a stroll through the Bakklandet neighborhood, see the Old Town Bridge, and visit the spectacular medieval Nidaros cathedral that has attracted pilgrims from Oslo for the last 400 years. The Rockheim culture center is a tribute to the history of Nordic rock music from 1950 to the present with interesting interactive exhibits and displays. If you visit in winter, don’t miss the Ice Domes (an ice hotel that you can visit on a tour or stay at overnight — for a hefty price!).

Other Things to See and Do in Norway

1. take a free walking tour.

One of the best things you can do when you arrive in a new city is to take a walking tour. It’s a great way to get the lay of the land and learn about the culture, people, and history of the destination. You can find free walking tours in Oslo and Bergen — tours that give you much more insight than any guidebook. Just be sure to tip your guides at the end!

2. Hike to the Preacher’s Pulpit

Preikestolen (Preacher’s Pulpit or Preacher’s Chair) is one of the most famous landmarks in Norway (you’ve probably seen it on Instagram). An unusually flat and wide surface located atop a cliff, the iconic Preikestolen is only reachable by hiking a 4-kilometer (2.5-mile) trail. With around 200,000 visitors per year, you’ll want to make sure you arrive early in order to take some photos without all the crowds. The hike is free and relatively easy though you’ll need to pay 250 NOK to park your car. June-September is the best time to go. Guided hikes of Preacher’s Pulpit (with transportation) start at 990 NOK.

3. See the stunning national parks

Norway is host to some of the most spectacular natural beauty in the world. With 47 national parks (and over 3,000 protected areas), Norway offers everything from waterfalls and glaciers to reindeer, lynx, and wolves — and much more! You can also enjoy all sorts of outdoor activities, from caving and canyoning to rafting and ziplining. Consider a visit to Jostedalsbreen National Park, home to the largest glacier in continental Europe; Blåfjella-Skjækerfjella National Park, which has tons of hiking and also lots of wild reindeer; or Jotunheimen National Park, which is home to over 200 mountains you can hike and climb. The national parks are all free to enter (though there are fees for parking).

4. Journey to the North Cape

The northernmost tip of Europe, Norway’s North Cape is great for hiking, trekking, road trips, and more. Located almost 2,000 kilometers (1,242 miles) from Oslo, here you can explore the jagged coastline of Finnmark county, which includes six national parks. In the summer, the midnight sun shines for 2-3 months straight (May-July), while in the winter there are 2-3 months of complete darkness (November-January). You don’t get more remote than this!

5. Explore Tromsø

Perfect for a 24-hour party, Tromsø in the summer is a city that doesn’t sleep because the sun is up 24/7! Located in the Arctic Circle over 1,700 kilometers (1,056 miles) north of Olso, tourists come here to experience unbroken sunlight amidst the city’s many pubs. Or, if you happen to visit in the dark and cold of winter, you can catch the vibrant northern lights . It’s also a world-famous fishing destination and home to incredible, postcard-perfect fjords. Like Lofoten, this is one of the best destinations in the country for photography.

6. Enjoy some winter sports

Norway is one of the top ski destinations in the world. Rauland, Geilo, Skeikampen, and Hemsedal are all great options for snowboarding, telemark skiing (which mixes Alpine skiing and Nordic skiing), and 2,600 kilometers (1,615 miles) of cross-country skiing paths — and they’re all just a few hours from Oslo. Lift tickets range from 300-450 NOK per adult. Expect to pay more on the weekends (the slopes are busier on the weekends too).

7. Eat at the Bergen Fish Market

Open daily, this market offers more than just fish. Come here for a glimpse into the local culture and history of the city (this market dates all the way back to 1200 CE). Explore the many stalls, snap some pictures, and check out the waterfront. It’s just a short walking distance from many museums and galleries too (the Art Museum, the Hanseatic Museum, and the Leprosy Museum are all nearby). If you have access to a kitchen, grab some fish to take back for dinner. It’s one of the more affordable places to buy fresh fish in the city.

8. See the Vigeland Sculptures

If you are in Oslo, don’t miss these sculptures. Located in Frogner Park, this unique collection is the world’s largest display of sculptures created by a single artist. Gustav Vigeland created all 212 statues in this 80-acre open-air “gallery.” It’s one of the most popular places in the summer to have a picnic, relax, people-watch, and enjoy the fleeting summer sun. It’s free too.

9. Stroll around Gamle Stavanger

One of the oldest parts of Stavanger, this area is composed of narrow cobblestone streets lined with old wooden homes built during the 18th century. Taking a walk down here is like stepping back in time. After World War II, all of the city’s wooden buildings were replaced with concrete and stone buildings — except for this section. Be sure to check out the various paintings, pottery, and other artisanal works by local artists in the area.

10. Check out the Royal Palace

Built during the first half of the 19th century, the Royal Palace in Oslo was the creation of King Charles III who ruled both Norway and Sweden at that time. Today, it’s the official residence of the monarch (Norway is one of a dozen countries in Europe that still has a monarch). Be sure to see the changing of the guards at 1:30pm each day (it lasts around 40 minutes) and spend some time relaxing in the 54-acre park that surrounds the palace. The palace is open during the summer for guided tours (self-guided tours are not permitted) which cost 175 NOK. (Currently closed for guided tours until June 2023).

11. Wander the Ringve Music Museum & Botanical Garden

Located in Trondheim, this unassuming museum has an awesome collection of unique musical instruments from all around the world (there are over 2,000 in the collection). The museum is in the botanical gardens so there are 32 acres of plants and trees to see as you stroll around. The museum also has rotating exhibits from time to time so check the website to see if anything is on during your visit. Admission is 140 NOK and children under 15 enter free. Closed Mondays.

12. Visit the Norwegian Folk Museum

There are many museums throughout Oslo showcasing Norwegian history and Viking tales, but this is the most interesting. Home to over 150 buildings, this open-air museum lets you immerse yourself in the history of the country. The biggest attraction is the Gol Stave Church, which dates to 1200 CE. Other incredible sights to see are the 14th-century farmhouses and the 18th-century tenement buildings. This is a fun activity that blends entertainment and education, so it’s a great choice for anyone traveling with children. Admission is 180 NOK in summer and 140 NOK in winter.

13. Attend Stavanger’s jazz festival

Held every May, MaiJazz is a weekend-long festival featuring some of the most well-known jazz artists in the world. The city gets bustling and crowded so be sure to book your accommodation well in advance. The weather might be balmy as well so make sure you bring a coat too. Ticket prices vary for each performance (you pay per performance, not for a festival ticket). Most are between 450-750 NOK.

14. Hike Trolltunga

Located 4 hours from Bergen, this is one of Norway’s most famous hikes. Trolltunga (which means “troll’s tongue” in Norwegian) is a 12-hour hike that takes you to a long outcropping of narrow stone that towers over the landscape (the rock looks like an outstretched tongue, hence the name). The journey is challenging but the reward is one of the most scenic views in the entire country. You can only access the hike from June-September without a guide (you need a guide for the other times of the year). Parking is 600 NOK per vehicle but be aware there are also toll roads en route.

  For more information on specific cities in Norway, check out these guides:

  • Bergen Travel Guide
  • Oslo Travel Guide

Norway Travel Costs

A row of colorful old buildings along the calm shores of Bergen, Norway

Accommodation – Accommodation (much like everything in Norway) is not cheap. Hostels start around 300 NOK per night for an 8-person dorm. Private rooms start at 700 NOK. Free Wi-Fi is standard and most hostels also have lockers and self-catering facilities if you want to cook your own food.

Most hostels charge a 50 NOK surcharge for linens, as is the custom in Scandinavia. You can bring your own but you cannot use a sleeping bag instead.

Budget hotels begin at around 700-900 NOK for a basic double room, however, budget hotels are also rare. Mid-range hotels (think 3-star hotels) are much more common, with prices starting around 800 NOK. For a hotel with a pool, expect to pay at least 1,200 NOK per night.

Private rooms on Airbnb can be found around 500 NOK per night while a whole apartment or house costs at least 750 NOK per night. Be sure to book early, otherwise prices can double (or even triple).

Wild camping is a budget-friendly option as it is legal (and free) to camp almost anywhere in the country. Norway has ‘Freedom to Roam’ laws (called “Allemannsretten”) that allow anyone to camp anywhere for up to two nights as long as it’s not on cultivated land. You’ll need to make sure you are not camping near someone’s house, that you take all trash with you when you leave, and that you aren’t in a farmer’s field or garden. But other than that, you can pretty much pitch your tent anywhere!

If wild camping is not your thing, campgrounds are also common though many require a Camping Key Europe card. You can purchase it for around 200 NOK. Most campsites have modern facilities, including toilets and showers. Expect most plots for two people without electricity to cost 150-350 NOK per night.

Food – Norwegian cuisine focuses heavily on seafood. Smoked salmon is a local favorite and one of the country’s staples. Cod is also super popular, as are prawns and crab (locals host “crab parties” when they are in season). Lamb is the most popular meat, and open-faced sandwiches are the go-to choice for both breakfast and lunch (usually composed of dark bread, cheese, and either meat, seafood, or vegetable topping).

Overall, the food is expensive here. A lot of food has to be imported so anything that isn’t grown here is going to be pricey. Street food like hot dogs cost 45 NOK and you can usually find “cheap” meals for under 200 NOK at inexpensive restaurants. For a multi-course meal with table service, expect to pay double that.

Fast food (think McDonald’s) costs around 120 NOK for a combo meal while Chinese food starts at 150 NOK per main dish. A basic large pizza starts at 110 NOK (140 NOK for one with more toppings).

Beer at the bar costs around 95 NOK though you can get it for less than half that price if you buy it at the store. Lattes/cappuccinos cost around 45 NOK while bottled water is 30 NOK.

Grocery shopping here is the cheapest way to get by on a budget. Expect a week’s worth of groceries to cost around 725 NOK. This includes basic staples like rice, pasta, vegetables, and some meat or fish.

Backpacking Norway Suggested Budgets

On a backpacking budget of 600 NOK per day, you can stay in a hostel dorm, cook all your meals, take public transportation to get around, limit your drinking, and do free activities like swimming and hiking. If you plan on drinking, add 50-150 NOK per day to your budget.

On a mid-range budget of 1,500 NOK per day, you can stay in a private hostel room or Airbnb, eat out for some meals, take the occasional taxi to get around, enjoy a couple of drinks, and do paid activities like museum visits or opera performances.

On a “luxury” budget of 2,600 NOK or more per day, you can stay in a hotel, eat out for all your meals, drink more, rent a car to get around, and do more paid activities and guided tours. This is just the ground floor for luxury though. The sky is the limit!

You can use the chart below to get some idea of how much you need to budget daily, depending on your travel style. Keep in mind these are daily averages — some days you’ll spend more, some days you’ll spend less (you might spend less every day). We just want to give you a general idea of how to make your budget. Prices are in NOK.

Norway Travel Guide: Money-Saving Tips

Norway is expensive. There’s no two ways about it. It’s one of the most expensive countries in the world and you will be hard pressed to save money if you aren’t cooking all your meals or camping. Ultra-budget is not impossible, just difficult. Here are some tips to help you save money in Norway:

  • Cook your own food – Food is very expensive in Norway so the best thing you can do is cook your own meals. Go grocery shopping and stick to cheap local staples. Avoid eating out!
  • Eat cheap – If you do decide to eat out, your cheapest options are shawarma and pizza. They can be found all around the country.
  • Couchsurf – Use Couchsurfing to connect with locals and get free accommodation. It’s the best way to save money and make new friends who can share their insider tips and advice.
  • Camp – Free public camping laws allow you to wild camp in the parks and public lands for free. You can generally stay 1-2 nights in an area as long as you are quiet and respectful. Make sure to leave the area as you found it!
  • Get a tourism card – The best way to afford all the attractions in a city is to get a city tourism card. Oslo and Bergen both have tourism cards that can save you money if you plan on seeing a lot (they include free public transportation too).
  • Book in advance – If you can plan your transportation in advance, you can save up to 50% off the cost of your train or bus tickets. Buying last-minute tickets means it’s going to be more than any budget traveler can afford, especially if you want to visit a number of destinations in Norway. Book in advance and save money!
  • Stay sober – At 100 NOK per drink (or more!), going out for drinks destroys your budget. While Norwegians love to go out and have a good time, if you are on a tight budget, skip the booze!
  • Buy your drinks at the store – If you do plan on drinking, buy your drinks at the Vinmonopolet (the state-run chain of stores that sell alcohol). You’ll save 50% or more doing this!
  • Travel with friends – If you rent a car (which is the best way to get around) try to find people to join you to share costs. You can use the Couchsurfing platform or just ask around in hostels to find people. This will help you save money on gas and rental prices — which can eat into your budget quickly!
  • Bring a reusable water bottle – The tap water in Norway is super clean, so bring a reusable water bottle to save money and lower your plastic usage. LifeStraw makes a bottle with a built-in filter so you can always ensure your water is clean and safe.

Where to Stay in Norway

Hostels are not all that plentiful across Norway (they’re usually just in the larger cities) so be sure to plan accordingly. Here are my suggested places to stay while you’re in Norway:

  • Anker Hostel (Oslo)
  • Cochs Pensjonat (Oslo)
  • HI Bergen Hostel Montana (Bergen)
  • Lillehammer Hostell (Lillehammer)
  • Tromsø Activities Hostel (Tromsø)

How to Get Around Norway

The beautiful wilderness area just outside of Oslo, Norway during a sunny summer day

Public transportation – Public transportation in Norway is modern, clean, and reliable. Buses and trams are common in each city; only Oslo has a metro system. Single tickets cost around 39 NOK and are usually valid for one hour. You can get a 24-hour pass in Oslo for 117 NOK and a 7-day pass for 323 NOK.

You are able to get on most buses and trams without showing a ticket, however, patrols are common and the fines are heavy if you get caught without a ticket. Don’t risk it — always buy a ticket!

Bus – Buses are a cheap way to get around the country, though they are slow and rather limited since the distances between cities can be large. For example, the 8-hour journey from Oslo to Stavanger costs around 115-450 NOK each way while the bus from Oslo to Trondheim takes around 9 hours and costs around 780 NOK. Prices can double when not booked in advance.

Vy Buss is the most common bus company, though you can also find deals with Nor-Way Bussekspress and Flixbus .

Train – Trains are the best way to get around Norway (unless you’re on a road trip). They are often faster than buses without costing much more — and they are much more comfortable. The 7-hour trip from Oslo to Trondheim costs as little as 360 NOK while the 6.5-hour trip to Bergen from Oslo can cost as little as 290 NOK. The trip from Oslo to Gothenburg, Sweden takes under 4 hours and can be done for less than 250 NOK.

Reservations should be made in advance as you can often find great deals that way. Last-minute tickets can be double what I quoted above!

Flying – Flying around Norway isn’t super cheap, but it’s also not that expensive. From Oslo, you can reach most destinations in the country (as well as destinations in Sweden) for as little as 500 NOK (one way) if you book early and are flexible. Norwegian Air is the main domestic carrier, though SAS also flies several major routes.

Car Rental – Renting a car is the best way to explore the country, however, it’s not cheap if you’re a solo traveler. Expect to pay 470-900 NOK per day for a vehicle if you rent for at least a week. Most rental vehicles are manuals as well, so keep that in mind when renting (you usually have to pay more for an automatic). If you don’t have someone to travel with to keep costs low, check at the local hostels or on Couchsurfing to find people to travel with so you can split costs.

For the best car rental prices, use Discover Cars .

When to Go to Norway

The ideal time to visit Norway is from June to August when the weather is warm and the days are long. The country is at its liveliest during this time and locals take advantage of the good weather at every opportunity. The parks are always full, and there are usually fun events happening on the weekends. Temperatures are often in the 20s°C (60s and 70s°F) during the summer. Not too hot, but warm enough to swim, hike, and lounge about.

The downside to visiting then is that, since Norway has a very short summer, the cities can get busy so be sure to book your accommodation in advance. That being said, “busy” in Norway is a far cry from “busy” in cities like Paris or London.

The shoulder season (May-June and August-September) makes for a good time to visit as well, with temperatures ranging from 4-10°C (40-50°F). May typically has decent weather with occasional rain, while September gives you cooler temperatures and changing leaves. You’ll beat the crowds and still be able to explore on foot without the weather getting in your way (too much).

Attractions begin to close around September/October (including some hiking trails). The days get dark early in October and temperatures start dropping around this time too. However, prices also decrease and you’re likely to find cheaper airfares and accommodations during this time. Be sure to pack layers (and rain gear) if you plan on visiting during this time of year as it can be quite cool — even during the day.

The winter is very cold and sees a lot of snow and darkness. Temperatures plummet below freezing. The plus side of traveling during the winter is that accommodation is cheaper and fees for certain attractions are lower. This is also the prime time to see the northern lights or go skiing, so there is still plenty to do if you plan on visiting during the winter.

How to Stay Safe in Norway

Norway is one of the safest countries in the world. In fact, it ranks 17th on the ranking of the world’s safest countries! However, in cities like Oslo, it’s still good to keep an eye out for pickpockets, especially around the train station and on public transportation. Incidents are very rare, but it never hurts to be aware of your surroundings.

Solo female travelers should generally feel safe here. However, the standard precautions apply (never leave your drink unattended at the bar, never walk home alone intoxicated, etc.) but it’s unlikely anything will occur. Check out one of the solo female travel blogs on the web for more specific information on safety.

If you go hiking, always bring water and sunscreen. Be sure to check the weather before you go as well.

If you rent a car, don’t leave any valuables in it overnight. While break-ins are rare, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Scams here are rare here but you can read about common travel scams to avoid here .

If you experience an emergency, dial 112 for police, 110 for fire, and 113 for ambulance services.

At the end of the day, always trust your gut instinct.Make copies of your personal documents, including your passport and ID as well. It never hurts to be prepared!

The most important piece of advice I can offer is to purchase good travel insurance. Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. You can use the widget below to find the policy right for you:

Norway Travel Guide: The Best Booking Resources

These are my favorite companies to use when I travel. They consistently have the best deals, offer world-class customer service and great value, and overall, are better than their competitors. They are the companies I use the most and are always the starting point in my search for travel deals.

  • Skyscanner – Skyscanner is my favorite flight search engine. They search small websites and budget airlines that larger search sites tend to miss. They are hands down the number one place to start.
  • Hostelworld – This is the best hostel accommodation site out there with the largest inventory, best search interface, and widest availability.
  • – The best all around booking site that constantly provides the cheapest and lowest rates. They have the widest selection of budget accommodation. In all my tests, they’ve always had the cheapest rates out of all the booking websites.
  • HostelPass – This new card gives you up to 20% off hostels throughout Europe. It’s a great way to save money. They’re constantly adding new hostels too. I’ve always wanted something like this and glad it finallt exists.
  • Get Your Guide – Get Your Guide is a huge online marketplace for tours and excursions. They have tons of tour options available in cities all around the world, including everything from cooking classes, walking tours, street art lessons, and more!
  • The Man in Seat 61 – This website is the ultimate guide to train travel anywhere in the world. They have the most comprehensive information on routes, times, prices, and train conditions. If you are planning a long train journey or some epic train trip, consult this site.
  • Rome2Rio – This website allows you to see how to get from point A to point B the best and cheapest way possible. It will give you all the bus, train, plane, or boat routes that can get you there as well as how much they cost.
  • FlixBus – Flixbus has routes between 20 European countries with prices starting as low 5 EUR! Their buses include WiFi, electrical outlets, a free checked bag.
  • SafetyWing – Safety Wing offers convenient and affordable plans tailored to digital nomads and long-term travelers. They have cheap monthly plans, great customer service, and an easy-to-use claims process that makes it perfect for those on the road.
  • LifeStraw – My go-to company for reusable water bottles with built-in filters so you can ensure your drinking water is always clean and safe.
  • Unbound Merino – They make lightweight, durable, easy-to-clean travel clothing.
  • Top Travel Credit Cards – Points are the best way to cut down travel expenses. Here’s my favorite point earning credit cards so you can get free travel!

Norway Travel Guide: Related Articles

Want more info? Check out all the articles I’ve written on Norway travel and continue planning your trip:

How to Spend 48 Hours in Oslo

How to Spend 48 Hours in Oslo

The 22 Best Things to Do in Oslo

The 22 Best Things to Do in Oslo

The 14 Best Things to Do in Bergen, Norway

The 14 Best Things to Do in Bergen, Norway

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Quiet for a thousand years since the marauding days of the Vikings, Norway often seems remote to outsiders, even mysterious – remarkable given its geographical position close to the heart of Europe. Beyond Oslo and the famous fjords , the rest of the country might as well be blank on the map for many visitors. Yet it’s out of the cities and off the major roadways that you’ll experience Norway at its most magical: vast stretches of serene, postcard-perfect landscapes where it is at times possible to travel for hours without seeing a single soul. There is nothing tame – and precious little tamed – in this wilderness where everything is on a grand scale, from the deep, blue-black fjords and rearing snowy peaks to jagged forested hills and seemingly limitless expanse of Arctic tundra.

Where to go in Norway

New norwegian cuisine.

Norway stretches north in a long, slender band from the Skagerrak, the choppy channel that separates the country from Denmark, its coastline battered and buffeted by the Atlantic as it juts up towards the Arctic Sea. Behind this rough and rocky coast are spectacular mountain ranges, harsh upland plateaux, plunging river valleys, rippling glaciers, deep forests and mighty fjords of unsurmounted beauty – an exhilarating landscape begging to be explored by car, boat or bike, on skis or even husky-drawn sled. Perhaps inevitably, the fjords are the apple of the tourist industry’s eye – with the infrastructure to prove it – though when well-heeled English and German gentlemen travellers arrived here in the late nineteenth century on the hunt for the Scandinavian exotic, Norwegians were so poor that you could hire a gillie or two for next to nothing. It is this stark contrast – between a severely impoverished past and an astoundingly wealthy present – that, for locals at least, remains a salient characteristic of life up here. Since the country happened upon vast oil and gas reserves under the Norwegian Sea in the 1960s, Norway has managed to assemble one of the most civilized, educated and tolerant societies in the world – one that its population maintains a deep loyalty for and pride in.

Norway may have a clutch of attractive, cosmopolitan cities , appealing destinations in their own right, but where the country really shines is not in its urban culture, but rather in the low-key, amiable small-town feel that pervades throughout its settlements. This is not to say that Norway suffers from provincialism – Munch, Ibsen, Grieg and Amundsen, to name but four, were all Norwegians of international importance, to say nothing of the many millions of Norwegian descent today successfully making their way somewhere off in the greater world. But one thing is for certain: every Norwegian you will ever meet will at some point make their way back to this remarkable country, put on a pair of old hiking shoes and head off on foot for yonder mountain, reminding themselves how lucky they are to have one of the world’s most ravishing landscapes right at their back door.

Though for the most part its people live in small towns and villages, Norway’s five largest cities are the obvious – and the most popular – initial targets for a visit. They begin with urbane, vivacious Oslo, one of the world’s most prettily sited capitals, with a flourishing café scene and a clutch of outstanding museums. Beyond Oslo, in roughly descending order of interest, are Trondheim, with its superb cathedral and charming, antique centre; the beguiling port of Bergen, gateway to the western fjords; gritty, bustling Stavanger in the southwest; and northern Tromsø. All are likeable, walkable cities worthy of time in themselves, as well as being within comfortable reach of some startlingly handsome scenery. Indeed, each can serve as a starting point for further explorations or as a weekend destination in their own right. And wherever you arrive, the trains, buses and ferries of Norway’s finely tuned public transport system will take you almost anywhere you want to go, although services are curtailed in winter.

Bergen and the western fjords

Outside of the cities, the perennial draw remains the western fjords – a must, and every bit as scenically stunning as the publicity suggests. Dip into the region from Bergen or Ålesund, both accessible by public transport from Oslo, or take more time to appreciate the subtle charms of the tiny, fjordside villages, among which Balestrand, Lofthus, Loen, Flåm, Ulvik and Mundal are especially appealing. This is great hiking country too, with a network of cairned trails and lodges (maintained by the nationwide hiking association DNT) threading along the valleys and over the hills. However, many of the country’s finest hikes are to be had further inland, within the confines of a trio of marvellous national parks: the Hardangervidda, a vast mountain plateau of lunar-like appearance; the Rondane, with its bulging mountains; and the Jotunheimen, famous for its jagged peaks. Nudging the Skagerrak, the south coast is different again. The climate is more hospitable, the landscape gentler and the coast is sprinkled with hundreds of little islands. Every summer, holidaying Norwegians sail down here to explore every nautical nook and cranny, popping into a string of pretty, pint-sized ports, the most inviting being Arendal and Mandal, the latter the proud possessor of the country’s finest sandy beach.

Hiking remains the most popular summer pastime in Norway, but there are alternatives galore, from whitewater rafting – for example at Voss – sea-kayaking at Flåm, and guided glacier walks on the Jostedalsbreen. In winter, it’s all change when the Norwegians take to cross-country skiing in their droves, shooting off across the Hardangervidda mountain plateau, for example, from Finse, though some prefer Alpine skiing and snowboarding at specialist ski resorts like Geilo and Oslo’s Holmenkollen.

Away to the north, beyond Trondheim, Norway grows increasingly wild and austere – two traits that make it perfect for off-the-beaten-track adventurers – as it humps and lumps across the Arctic Circle on the way to the modern, workaday port of Bodø. From here, ferries shuttle over to the rugged Lofoten islands, which hold some of the most ravishing scenery in the whole of Europe – tiny fishing villages of ochre- and red-painted houses tucked in between the swell of the deep blue sea and the severest of grey-green mountains. Back on the mainland, it’s a long haul north from Bodø to the iron-ore town of Narvik, and on to Tromsø, a delightful little city huddled on an island and with plenty of Arctic charm. These towns are, however, merely the froth of a vast wilderness that extends up to Nordkapp (North Cape), one of the northernmost points of mainland Europe, and the spot where the principal tourist trail peters out. Yet Norway continues east for several hundred kilometres, round to remote Kirkenes near the Russian border, while inland stretches an immense and hostile upland plateau, the Finnmarksvidda, one of the last haunts of the Sámi reindeer-herders. And finally, a short flight away, there is the wondrous chill of Svalbard, rising remote in the Arctic seas, islands of rolling glaciers and ice-glazed mountains where the snowmobile or Zodiac is more useful than a car.

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  • Bergen and the western fjords Travel Guide
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• Norway’s population numbers just under 5 million, of whom 600,000 or so live in Oslo, the capital. Bergen, Norway’s second city, clocks up about 250,000 residents, while around 40,000 indigenous Sámi (Lapps) live mostly in the north of the country.

• Norway has a surface area of 386,000 square kilometres, of which half is mountain and a further third forest, lake and river.

• Norway is a constitutional monarchy and the present king, Harald V, came to the throne in 1991. The parliament – the Storting – sits in Oslo, but many functions are devolved to a complex network of local authorities.

• Forget the seafood – frozen pizza can lay claim to being Norway’s national dish: Norwegians eat over 20 million of them each year.

• Norway is not a member of the EU , but has signed up to the EEA (European Economic Agreement) free-trade deal.

• The Lutheran Church of Norway is the official state church and over eighty percent of the population belong to it, however nominally. Lutheran jokes are legion: one shipwrecked sailor to another “Don’t worry: I make 50,000kr a week and I tithe; my Lutheran Pastor will find us.”

Upon tasting a piece of Norwegian flatbread, a Parisian woman in the mid-1800s described it as having “the shape and size of a plate, and the same consistency”. With images of dried mutton, potato dumplings, cabbage stew and lutefisk , Nordic food has rarely been anything to write home about. That all changed in 2010, when Copenhagen’s Noma was named the world’s top restaurant by a panel of 800 chefs and critics, sending the foodie world into shock and turning tastebuds towards Scandinavian kitchens.

Even before this time, though, Norway had begun to reinvent its culinary identity, with new foodie movements, celebrity chefs and a series of government initiatives, such as the Arctic Menu Scheme and Taste of the Coast–aimed at supporting local food producers , preserving local farming traditions and championing the rich heritage of Norwegian ingredients. The country is now in the middle of a kitchen renaissance, returning to its long-standing local food traditions; once again, Norwegians are consulting their grandmothers’ recipe books.

Given nearly 25,000 kilometres of rugged coastline, 150,000 lakes and some of the world’s best angling rivers, it is no surprise that a huge variety of locally caught fish and seafood predominate in Norwegian kitchens. Norway’s diverse landscape also provides habitat to a range of sheep, elk, reindeer and woodland fowl that graze on some of the greenest, most unpolluted grasses in the world, lending their meat a rich, succulent taste. And the country’s temperate summers allow plants to ripen at a slower pace than elsewhere, infusing fruits and vegetables with a supple flavour that you can taste the instant they hit your tastebuds.

Travel advice for Norway

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tent in norway

17 Things You Need to Know Before Visiting Norway

Christian Hoiberg

  • 1. Norway is a Scandinavian Country

2. Polar Bears do not Walk in the Streets

3. the norwegian currency is nok (norwegian krone), 4. most norwegians speak english, 5. norway is a safe country to visit, 6. winter, spring, summer, fall, 7. always bring an extra layer of clothes, 8. wild camping is allowed in mostly all of norway, 9. national parks and most outdoor locations are free to use, 10. norway has the best salmon, 11. traveling in norway can be expensive if you only eat out.

  • 12. Northern lights aren't visible everywhere
  • 13. Norway is a Long Country
  • 14. There aren't Many Dangers in the Wild

15. Norwegians eat a lot of Taco

16. the difference between southern norway and northern norway is huge.

  • 17. The Midnight Sun Isn't a Different Sun

Are you dreaming of visiting Norway one day? Perhaps you've already booked a flight and have begun planning the trip. Regardless of where you are in the process, here are 17 things you should know before visiting Norway:

1. Norway is a Scandinavian Country 

We Norwegians tend to believe that Norway is the center of the earth and everyone knows who we are. The truth is that Norway isn't as large as we want to believe and everyone doesn't even know that Norway even is a country. 

Norway is a Scandinavian country with approximately 5.2 million people and has numerous times been named one of the best places to live and/or visit. 

(For those who don't know: Scandinavia consists of Norway, Sweden and Denmark; 3 nordic countries located in Europe)

A common misconception is that Polar Bears walk the streets in Norway. This is, fortunately, not the case. In fact, there are no wild Polar Bears on mainland Norway. 

polar bear sign

Norway is actually a really civilized country and you would be surprised to see how modern it is. We even have cars driving in the streets...!

Svalbard, however, is a Norwegian archipelago between mainland Norway and the North Pole where there are more Polar Bears than people. Still, it's rare that there are any incidents between the inhabitants and Polar Bears.

The currency we use in Norway is the Norwegian Krone. So, if you're traveling with only Euro you won't come far. The Norwegian Krone was recently weakened which means that if you're traveling to Norway in the near future it will be cheaper than what it was only one year ago. 

It should be mentioned that Norway is using less and less cash. You can mostly anything with a credit card, even taxis and hot dogs! That means that it's not a crisis if you forgot to bring cash.

norwegian krone

Don't know Norwegian? No problem! The majority of Norwegians speaks English. Even though some are a bit shy to have a full conversation, they are able to understand most and to help you with any questions you might have. 

So, don't be afraid of saying hi to a stranger! 

Norway is known to be one of the safest countries in the world. Crime rates are extremely low even in major cities such as Oslo , Bergen , Trondheim , and Stavanger . 

As with any other urban areas, you should take certain precautions but there's not much to be afraid of. Even walking alone during the night is relatively safe and the chances are small that you'll become the victim of a crime.

Most crimes in Norway are related to home and office burglaries. There are some groups of pickpocketers traveling around the most touristic areas during summer so keep an extra eye on your wallet when you're in a crowd (still, the possibilities of anything happening is low).  

There are 4 seasons in Norway: winter, spring, summer, and fall. Be sure to take this into consideration when you're planning to visit Norway . Some attractions are only open during a specific season and certain hikes are unreachable during winter. If your main purpose is to visit one specific location figure out what season is optimal for that. 

pulpit rock norway

Another thing to keep in mind is that the weather changes a lot between seasons. Make sure that you always bring enough clothes when traveling to Norway as it does get cold! Keeping an eye on the weather forecast  is always a good idea.

The weather, as mentioned above, changes a lot between seasons in Norway so you always want to bring enough clothes. Most importantly, if you're planning to go on some hikes during your visit, you need to bring an extra layer of clothes. Even during summer, it's wise to bring a rain jacket and a fleece in your backpack in case the weather changes or the temperatures drop when you reach a higher altitude. 

Due to " Allemannsretten " (every man or woman's right of public access), you can pitch a tent wherever you want in Norway (unless anything else is stated at a specific area). The outdoors is very important for us Norwegians and we do our best to maintain the right of using the outdoors freely. So, make sure that you leave no traces behind and don't do any damage to nature.

tent in norway

There are also several campsites all over Norway that are cheap to stay at. At these sites, you often have the possibility to take a warm shower, clean your clothes and charge any batteries.

Also, due to "Allemannsretten", all public lands are free to access. This means that you don't have to pay an entrance fee for a national park and you're free to go mostly wherever you want. All we ask is that you treat nature with respect and do your best not to leave any traces behind.

It's true, Norway has the best salmon. In fact, it was Norwegians who introduced the Japanese to Salmon Sushi in the 1980's. That's how good our salmon is. 

While salmon isn't cheap, make sure that you have at least one proper salmon meal in Norway even if you're traveling on a budget.

Norwegian salmon

It's no secret that Norway is an expensive country to visit. Even though it's less expensive now that the Norwegian Krone is weak, it's not cheap. One way to avoid spending too much money during your travels in Norway is to eat less at restaurants. Purchasing your own food at a supermarket is much cheaper than going out every day. Unlike many other countries, Norway doesn't have a culture of going out to eat. 

If you are traveling on a budget make sure that you read through our Norway on a Budget Guide .

12. Northern lights aren't visible everywhere

Are you dreaming of seeing the northern lights? Well, Norway is the right place to do it!

There's something magical about watching the sky turn into a green and purple formation dancing all over. I still remember the first time I saw it for myself, it was a moment that changed my life...

Many tourists come to Norway with the intent to see the northern lights . However, the northern lights (or Aurora Borealis) isn't visible all over Norway.

northern lights norway

Since Norway is a long country you're normally only able to see the lady in green in the northern parts of Norway. The further south you go, the fewer lights you will see. Places such as Lofoten, Bodø and Tromsø are popular areas to watch the northern lights .

You should also remember that the northern lights won't be visible during the summer as it is too bright during that season. Typically, you've got the best chance of seeing some activity between October and April.

13. Norway is a Long Country 

Another large misconception about Norway is that it's a small country which is easy to travel around. This isn't the case. Even though only 5 million people live here, it’s a large country by area (148 718 square miles) that stretches from 57° to 81° North. This means that you're not able to spend a couple of days in Norway and see both the west coast, capital and northern parts. In fact, driving from Kristiansand in southern Norway to Nordkapp in Northern Norway takes about 38 hours non-stop.

Therefore, you should plan your trip carefully and look at the distances between the places you want to go. If you want to see places in all regions I strongly suggest you spend some days extra or plan more than one trip. 

  • Press here for self-drive itineraries in Norway
  • Press here for self-drive tours in Norway

14. There aren't Many Dangers in the Wild

Besides the Polar Bears on Svalbard, there are no dangerous animals waiting to attack you in the Norwegian wild. Either you're in the woods, on a mountain or on a glacier, you have nothing to fear. 

arctic fox norway

There are animals that you want to avoid but they will typically run away before you even see them. You can read more about wildlife and animals in Norway here . 

If you visit a Norwegian family on a Friday evening the possibility is high that they are having Tacos for dinner. As a joke, it's said that Tex-Mex is Norway's national food. Yes, it really is that popular - even my grandma makes Tacos on Fridays!

(Ok, you might not have  needed  to know this but it's a fun fact that might work as an awkward icebreaker!)

Since Norway is such a long country it goes without saying that the differences are quite significant. In the southern Norway, you have beautiful coasts and warm (not tropical!) weather, the East has large areas of woods and the capital, the West has the fjords and mountains while the north has the arctic landscapes. 

You might also notice that the dialects spoken throughout Norway are quite different and if you're just learning to speak some Norwegian it might be a bit confusing. 

17. The Midnight Sun Isn't a Different Sun

During winter, northern Norway has polar nights; a period where the sun never rises above the horizon and you have 24 hours of dark. During summer, however, it's the exact opposite; the sun never sets. 

You might have heard of the  Midnight Sun  before. Unlike what a few tend to believe, the midnight sun is actually not a different's just the same sun as during the rest of the year but it doesn't go down; meaning 24 hours of daylight. 

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  • Press here for things to do in Lofoten
  • Press here for things to do in Tromsø

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There's No Way to Make Space Travel Good for Planet Earth Right Now

NASA’s Artemis I Space Launch System (SLS) rocket launched at NASA's Kennedy Space Center on Nov. 16, 2022 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. (Kevin Dietsch—Getty Images)

S paceX has never been reluctant to brag, especially when it comes to its celebrated Falcon 9 rocket. Since 2010, as a company toteboard shows, 217 Falcon 9s have flown, with 61 launches in 2022 alone, making it the workhorse of the current global space fleet. So what’s not to like? Plenty, actually—at least if you care about the environment.

The Falcon 9 uses a fuel mixture of liquid oxygen and simple kerosene, and while the oxygen does not do any harm to the skies, the black soot created by the burning kerosene is injected directly into the stratosphere—the layer of air ranging from 12 km (7.5 mi.) to 50 km (31 mi.) above the Earth. There the soot lingers for up to five years , absorbing heat, contributing to climate change, and damaging the ozone layer, which exposes the planet to dangerous ultraviolet (UV) radiation. And SpaceX is not remotely alone.

According to a study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), global rocket launches (of which there were 180 last year, the study notes) inject about 1,000 tons of soot into the upper atmosphere per year. That will only get worse, NOAA warns, as the industry continues to expand. “The bottom line is projected increases in rocket launches could expose people in the Northern Hemisphere [where most rocket launches take place] to increased harmful UV radiation,” environmental scientist Christopher Maloney, the study’s lead author, said in a statement .

By themselves, rocket launches are small contributors to overall atmospheric pollutants. The aviation industry burns 100 times more fuel each year than all of the rockets launched globally combined. But there is a key atmospheric difference: airplanes fly in the troposphere about 11 km (6.6 mi.) above the ground. Soot precipitates quickly from this range compared to stratospheric soot which sticks around much longer. Indeed, according to the NOAA report, a single passenger aboard a rocket is responsible for 100 times more climate-changing pollution than a passenger aboard an airplane.

Not only does all of this warm the planet and damage the ozone, the NOAA scientists warn, but the change in temperatures can also slow subtropical jet streams , worsening summer monsoons in Africa and India. “We need to learn more about the potential impact of hydrocarbon-burning engines on the stratosphere and on the climate at the surface of the Earth,” said Maloney.

A version of this story also appears in the Climate is Everything newsletter. To sign up, click here .

The type of fuel used in the rockets can make a difference. SpaceX’s massive, 33-engine Starship spacecraft , for example, uses methane in place of kerosene. While methane is a powerful greenhouse gas by itself, it does burn cleaner than kerosene, putting out less black soot. Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket is cleaner still, burning liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen, and producing only water vapor as an exhaust—water vapor in the upper atmosphere still traps and retains heat, but not nearly as much as black soot, methane, or carbon dioxide do.

None of this means that the private rocket industry or growing space powers like China, India, and the United Arab Emirates—to say nothing of the U.S.—will be slowing down their launch schedules or becoming less pollution-intensive any time soon. Indeed, NASA’s new Space Launch System moon rocket, which first launched in November 2022, is an especially dirty machine. While it uses a liquid oxygen-hydrogen mix in its four main engines, its two attached solid fuel engines, which account for most of the vehicle’s thrust, produce the ozone-damaging pollutant chlorine.

The thriving space industry is typically seen as a boon for both the economy and for human exploration—and it is. But the launching of a monster rocket—with monster exhaust—like SpaceX’s anticipated Starship is a reminder that there can be too much of a good thing. If we keep increasing not just the size of rockets but the number of launches, we do so at a price; and as with so many other things, it is the climate that pays.

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Write to Jeffrey Kluger at [email protected] .

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Scenic Scandinavia and its Fjords Guided Tour

Scenic Scandinavia and its Fjords

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Your travels will reveal the storybook beauty and colorful history of Scandinavia. On this Scandinavian trip, you'll discover the truth behind the beloved fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen, hop aboard one of Europe’s most exciting train journeys and learn about farm life near Bergen.

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Nordic Adventure Guided Tour

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Don’t miss a thing on this exhilarating Scandinavian trip. Your travels will feature fjords, glaciers and staggering scenery. Meet Santa Claus in Lapland, experience the friluftsliv of your Norwegian hosts and venture across the Arctic Circle to the land of the Midnight Sun.

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Capitals of Scandinavia Guided Tour

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Travel to northern Europe’s historic, stylish and cosmopolitan cities on this fairy-tale tour of Scandinavia. See the iconic mermaid in Copenhagen and visit the grand city hall in Stockholm. During this tour, you’ll learn about the region's Viking history and why Helsinki is the capital of cool.

Best of Norway Guided Tour

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Relax into the simplicity of life along the king and queen of the fjords. Soak up the cosmopolitan vibe of Oslo and the Hanseatic heritage of Bergen as you travel through some of the most spectacular scenery on earth, including views of continental Europe's largest glacier. Viking tales and a visit to a winter Olympics hub round off this epic Norway trip.

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Experience Norway differently. Enjoy one-of-a-kind experiences and uncover local secrets when our friends across the country open their doors to you. Here’s just a sample of the rich experiences you can expect.

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"Scandinavia is just as much and sometimes more about the journey than the destination. It is like watching national geographic out the window as we're driving around the Norwegian Fjords. Driving in to Geiranger in Norway is one of the most stunning drives you can do in the world. I've visited 80 countries and haven't seen any better yet"

Lasse, Travel Director

Explore Norway's rich seafaring heritage in Oslo

Norway’s remarkable seafaring heritage will unfold in the capital of Oslo, which sits at the head of a 60-mile fjord with a mountainous vista. Spend time walking through four nautical museums clustered together in Bygdøy, and be amazed by ships, instruments, treasures and artefacts from saltier days gone by.

Drive north past fjords, lakes and forests

With this country’s astonishing arrangement of sea, sky and rock, there’s no better way to explore than by taking the road. You will find true appreciation for Norway as we wind past fisherman’s cabins, berry farms and tranquil lakes towards the forests and soul-stirring fjords.

See the beautifully preserved wooden buildings of Stavanger

Travel back to the 18th century with a visit to Gamle Stavanger, a neighborhood of historically preserved houses. Originally home to the sardine canning industry, these white cottages will delight you with their gabled terracotta roofs, cobbled pavements, black lanterns and overflowing flower boxes.

Tour up the hillside by funicular railway in Bergen

Connecting the centre of Bergen with the mountain of Fløyen is the funicular railway, where two vehicles counterbalance each other using cable traction up an inclined slope. The only railway of its kind in Scandinavia, it is one of the most popular things to do in Norway. Admire unrivalled views during this 6-minute voyage.

See the world's best-preserved Viking ships in Oslo

Oslo is home to the world’s best-preserved Viking ships, with a beauty that is testament to both their preservation and original craftsmanship. Take time to view the intricate Viking sagas carved into many of these longships, which were often considered so important their owners were buried in them.

Our top 5 things to do in Norway

Norway’s intrepid history, emotional terrain and European location provide an intriguing mix of activities. Travel with Trafalgar and we will show you the very best.

Viking Ship Museum

Take in the world’s best-preserved Viking ships, the Gokstad, at the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo. These black, ornate treasures whisper the secrets of Norway’s heritage and highlight the immense skill required for crafting these vessels. Spare time for the Oseberg, a ship used as burial for two women surrounded by burial gifts that can still be seen.

Fortress of Akershus

Strategically located at the very end of Oslo’s headland, the Fortress of Akershus was built in the 1300’s to house and protect the royal. One of the best things to do in Oslo, you will feel the weight of history in a space that withstood a number of sieges throughout the ages and later served as a military base.

Kon-Tiki Museum

Step into the ultimate museum for adventurers and explorers, the Kon-tiki Museum in Oslo. This space is home to a library of 8,000 books as well as vessels and maps pertaining to the infamous 1947 Kon-tiki expedition led by Norwegian writer and explorer, Thor Heyerdahl. Be transported to Polynesia, South America, the Galapagos and beyond.

Best museums in Norway

With a famed history of explorers from the Vikings to Thor Heyerdahl, the museums we visit have rich stories that combine education and enjoyment. Journey with Trafalgar and you will feel Norway’s history at your fingertips.

The Norwegian lefse is a flatbread, strikingly similar to the Mexican tortilla or North Indian roti, with the Nordic variety made with flour and milk or cream with various Nordic fillings. Try it savoury with potatoes and sweet with cinnamon and brown sugar.

Pickled Herring

Experiment with slithers of herring during your Norway trip, trying this fish smoked above a fireplace, raw, boiled, buttered or simmered in beer. A big part of the Norwegian diet still to this day, this meal is a cultural necessity when visiting even if the initial concept makes you squirm.

Traditionally served in Autumn to mark the rounding up and returning of grazing mountain sheep, the lamb, cabbage and potato stew of fårikål can now be enjoyed year-round. Considered the national dish of Norway, it’s a must during trips to Norway, particularly when cool weather rolls in.

Best food in Norway

Enjoy traditional Norwegian food in the very place the meals originated. With simple ingredients and rich flavours, the dishes we share with you on a trip to Norway will connect you with the authentic culinary heritage of the country.

What to pack for Norway

People packing for a tour

Mountain boots

Even if your Norway holiday is more focused on museums and restaurants than trekking and outdoor activities, wearing mountain boots will make you feel at home with the Norwegian spirit. Even if all you do in them is eat fårikål and drink mulled wine.

Sleeping mask

During the Norwegian summer, there are times when the sun never goes down. Pack a sleeping mask if you need a complete blackout in order to sleep.

Even during the winter, ice fields and glacier territory can reflect the sun and burn your skin. Pack sunscreen to save a crimson glow appearing in your holiday photos.

Picnic blanket and a good book

Enjoy the scenery of Norway by finding a moment of stillness in a park with a blanket, a good book and a thermos of coffee. The picnic blanket may take up space in your bag, but it will double as extra warmth when the weather gets cool.

With lots of walking to be done in the forests, mountains and cities, plasters for blisters may prove useful during your trip; particularly if you’re wearing new shoes that haven’t been broken in.

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7 Travel Experts Share Their Favorite All-inclusive Resorts Around the World

For an all-inclusive vacation, these resorts do it best — from a safari lodge in Tanzania to a romantic getaway in the Caribbean.

Since 1971, Travel + Leisure editors have followed one mission: to inform, inspire, and guide travelers to have deeper, more meaningful experiences. T+L's editors have traveled to countries all over the world, having flown, sailed, road tripped, and taken the train countless miles. They've visited small towns and big cities, hidden gems and popular destinations, beaches and mountains, and everything in between. With a breadth of knowledge about destinations around the globe, air travel, cruises, hotels, food and drinks, outdoor adventure, and more, they are able to take their real-world experience and provide readers with tried-and-tested trip ideas, in-depth intel, and inspiration at every point of a journey.

Courtesy of Jabali Ridge

Who wants to worry about constantly pulling out their credit card while on vacation? At these expert-recommended resorts, an all-inclusive stay means knowing your meals, accommodations, and (some) activities are all covered in a flat fee. For a trip that's low-stress, cost-effective, and oftentimes great for families and groups (although we have one stellar couples retreat), our A-List travel advisors recommend some of their favorite luxurious all-inclusive resorts. 

Hermitage Bay Antigua

" Hermitage Bay Antigua is a perfect resort for those with a busy lifestyle who need to escape once a year for true serenity. It's nestled on a hillside with suites overlooking the ocean, and guests can relax in private plunge pools." — Jessica Griscavage, Runway Travel Company

Courtesy of Hermitage Bay

Jabali Ridge, Tanzania

"In Tanzania's Ruaha National Park, Jabali Ridge ’s eight suites are hidden among the rocky boulders that cocoon the property. An infinity pool, a spa, and plenty of places to relax ensure that time in camp is as memorable as time out in the bush, and the reason why many of our guests return time and again. Expert guides lead walking safaris , game drives, and night drives. Although it’s one of the largest national parks in the country and rich in wildlife, Ruaha is one of the least busy places to visit in Tanzania, so safaris here feel remote and exclusive."  — Susan Neva, Alluring Africa

29|2 Aurland, Norway

"The 29|2 Aurland eco lodge is a gem in the heart of Norway's fjord landscape — perfect for an active stay in a UNESCO Heritage protected site." —  Torunn Tronsvang, Up Norway

Courtesy of 292 Aurland eco lodge

Curtain Bluff, Antigua

"I just returned from Curtain Bluff in Antigua — it's fantastic for families, especially given the all-inclusive value, and they work with a great foundation called Old Road Fund, which aids Antiguan and Barbudan communities, improving access to education and healthcare." — Kimberly Wilson Wetty, Valerie Wilson Travel

Courtesy of Curtain Bluff

Pimalai Resort and Spa, Thailand

"I love Pimalai Resort and Spa in Thailand's Ko Lanta island district. It has a strong sense of place, including the design of the buildings, with steep Thai roofs and local materials. While it's a bit back from the beachfront, this lets you drink in the views out over the Andaman Sea. And it has so much to offer guests in terms of activities and spa options. It's a wonderful break as you travel around Thailand or the rest of Southeast Asia." —  Grant Ekelund, Inside Asia

Courtesy of Pimalai

Jade Mountain, Saint Lucia

" Jade Mountain , while not typically all-inclusive, offers a 'total romance package' that includes everything but a swimsuit. This resort fills every honeymoon wish list, with views of St. Lucia's Piton mountains. Whether a couple wants to lounge at the spa all day or partake in activities like a sunset sail, hiking, or a chocolate-making class, they can find it all here." —  Kara Bebell and Harlan deBell, The Travel Siblings

Clayoquot Wilderness Lodge, British Columbia

"I recommend Clayoquot Wilderness Lodge , close to Tofino, British Columbia . The epic setting of the lush temperate rain forest with the views of the dramatic Pacific Ocean and local waterways is unforgettable. The region is filled with black bears, whales, and other wildlife species. Adventures and excursions in the area are exhilarating, and the food program... is second to none." —  Marc Télio, Entrée Destinations

Courtesy of Clayoquot Wilderness Lodge

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Claudia Looi

Touring the Top 10 Moscow Metro Stations

By Claudia Looi 2 Comments

Komsomolskaya metro station

Komsomolskaya metro station looks like a museum. It has vaulted ceilings and baroque decor.

Hidden underground, in the heart of Moscow, are historical and architectural treasures of Russia. These are Soviet-era creations – the metro stations of Moscow.

Our guide Maria introduced these elaborate metro stations as “the palaces for the people.” Built between 1937 and 1955, each station holds its own history and stories. Stalin had the idea of building beautiful underground spaces that the masses could enjoy. They would look like museums, art centers, concert halls, palaces and churches. Each would have a different theme. None would be alike.

The two-hour private tour was with a former Intourist tour guide named Maria. Maria lived in Moscow all her life and through the communist era of 60s to 90s. She has been a tour guide for more than 30 years. Being in her 60s, she moved rather quickly for her age. We traveled and crammed with Maria and other Muscovites on the metro to visit 10 different metro stations.

Arrow showing the direction of metro line 1 and 2

Arrow showing the direction of metro line 1 and 2

Moscow subways are very clean

Moscow subways are very clean

To Maria, every street, metro and building told a story. I couldn’t keep up with her stories. I don’t remember most of what she said because I was just thrilled being in Moscow.   Added to that, she spilled out so many Russian words and names, which to one who can’t read Cyrillic, sounded so foreign and could be easily forgotten.

The metro tour was the first part of our all day tour of Moscow with Maria. Here are the stations we visited:

1. Komsomolskaya Metro Station  is the most beautiful of them all. Painted yellow and decorated with chandeliers, gold leaves and semi precious stones, the station looks like a stately museum. And possibly decorated like a palace. I saw Komsomolskaya first, before the rest of the stations upon arrival in Moscow by train from St. Petersburg.

2. Revolution Square Metro Station (Ploshchad Revolyutsii) has marble arches and 72 bronze sculptures designed by Alexey Dushkin. The marble arches are flanked by the bronze sculptures. If you look closely you will see passersby touching the bronze dog's nose. Legend has it that good luck comes to those who touch the dog's nose.

Touch the dog's nose for good luck. At the Revolution Square station

Touch the dog's nose for good luck. At the Revolution Square station

Revolution Square Metro Station

Revolution Square Metro Station

3. Arbatskaya Metro Station served as a shelter during the Soviet-era. It is one of the largest and the deepest metro stations in Moscow.

Arbatskaya Metro Station

Arbatskaya Metro Station

4. Biblioteka Imeni Lenina Metro Station was built in 1935 and named after the Russian State Library. It is located near the library and has a big mosaic portrait of Lenin and yellow ceramic tiles on the track walls.

Biblioteka Imeni Lenina Metro Station

Lenin's portrait at the Biblioteka Imeni Lenina Metro Station


5. Kievskaya Metro Station was one of the first to be completed in Moscow. Named after the capital city of Ukraine by Kiev-born, Nikita Khruschev, Stalin's successor.


Kievskaya Metro Station

6. Novoslobodskaya Metro Station  was built in 1952. It has 32 stained glass murals with brass borders.

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 5.17.53 PM

Novoslobodskaya metro station

7. Kurskaya Metro Station was one of the first few to be built in Moscow in 1938. It has ceiling panels and artwork showing Soviet leadership, Soviet lifestyle and political power. It has a dome with patriotic slogans decorated with red stars representing the Soviet's World War II Hall of Fame. Kurskaya Metro Station is a must-visit station in Moscow.

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Ceiling panel and artworks at Kurskaya Metro Station


8. Mayakovskaya Metro Station built in 1938. It was named after Russian poet Vladmir Mayakovsky. This is one of the most beautiful metro stations in the world with 34 mosaics painted by Alexander Deyneka.

Mayakovskaya station

Mayakovskaya station

Mayakovskaya metro station

One of the over 30 ceiling mosaics in Mayakovskaya metro station

9. Belorusskaya Metro Station is named after the people of Belarus. In the picture below, there are statues of 3 members of the Partisan Resistance in Belarus during World War II. The statues were sculpted by Sergei Orlov, S. Rabinovich and I. Slonim.


10. Teatralnaya Metro Station (Theatre Metro Station) is located near the Bolshoi Theatre.

Teatralnaya Metro Station decorated with porcelain figures .

Teatralnaya Metro Station decorated with porcelain figures .

Taking the metro's escalator at the end of the tour with Maria the tour guide.

Taking the metro's escalator at the end of the tour with Maria the tour guide.

Have you visited the Moscow Metro? Leave your comment below.

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January 15, 2017 at 8:17 am

An excellent read! Thanks for much for sharing the Russian metro system with us. We're heading to Moscow in April and exploring the metro stations were on our list and after reading your post, I'm even more excited to go visit them. Thanks again 🙂

' src=

December 6, 2017 at 10:45 pm

Hi, do you remember which tour company you contacted for this tour?

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Valdrakken Quick Travel Portal to the Emerald Dream - Account-Wide Unlock

Shortcut valdrakken emerald dream portal, original ohn'ahran plains emerald dream portal, comment by drgergqag.

It would be nice to get a bread crumb quest to teach us about this in game. I was using the regular portal in the plains.

Comment by Coofer

It would be nice to get a bread crumb quest to teach us about this in game. I was using the regular portal in the plains. Me too, LOL.

Comment by Swalshy4

What about a portal to the DMF

Comment by Droel

Wtf are u doing Blizz... Give us a portal back or something. Same stuff like Zaralek Cavern, lack of transportation, why dont u add those tower teleports at least to new zones that are connected to Dragonflight expefition renown like u did to Forbidden reach Or add some toy teleport, every Sl new zone had a portal to and from, why did u move to this trend now.

Comment by Magemushroom

What about portal from emerald dream to valdrakken?

Comment by Dekardcaiin

Since the new zone has an innkeeper, I just set that as my home and used the Dal hearthstone if I need to get the stormwind in order to get to the darkmoon fair for a rep buff or to get just about anywhere else.

Comment by Jnowak12

Since the new zone has an innkeeper, I just set that as my home and used the Dal hearthstone if I need to get the stormwind in order to get to the darkmoon fair for a rep buff or to get just about anywhere else. Just use your Guild Cloak to get to SW. Dalaran Hearthstone when that is on cooldown.

Comment by thorr69

Why in gods' green farg is this a ONE WAY portal?

Comment by Jerhomie

This is neat, but I already just set my hearthstone to the Emerald Dream. While we’re at it, was there ever any kind of short cut to Loamm or somewhere in Zaralek that I might have missed? That flight path down there is one of the reasons I never finished my renown with the Niffen.

Comment by Eighjan

At least the flight to Loamm is a short/cheap one; cheaper/shorter than to the ar... back end of Ohn'aran Plain.

Comment by katkaly

What about a portal to the DMF Go to a major city and find the NPC that teleports you there for the cost of 1 silver.

Comment by Honkaman

No portal back to Valdrakken? Oh well, but with 3 different hearthstones, it's just a mere inconvenient technicality lol Thanks Blizzard 😑

Comment by kodora1316

It would be nice to get a bread crumb quest to teach us about this in game. I was using the regular portal in the plains. Me too, LOL. Same here

Comment by Cribble2k

This is neat, but I already just set my hearthstone to the Emerald Dream. While we’re at it, was there ever any kind of short cut to Loamm or somewhere in Zaralek that I might have missed? That flight path down there is one of the reasons I never finished my renown with the Niffen. Wasn't there a toy item that teleports you to Loamm, from anywhere in the caverns (including the tunnels)?

Comment by Brogash

Thanks for this i had no idea and had already come to accept that i will have to fly this i wouldnt wanna have learned about this 2 months from now

Comment by tarc

  • Valdrakken portal to either Orgrimmar or Stormwind.
  • Take the portal to old Dalaran
  • DMF NPC is right down the stairs.

Comment by Rasboinica

jesus, why no breadcrumb quest....

Comment by Leobentobox

Comment by landai.

While I agree there should be a breadcrumb quest for the portal to the Dream in Valdrakken, I don't see why they would do a portal back to Valdrakken. Set your hearthstone to Valdrakken and hearth back when youre done in the dream... Not everything should be a portal. If you find yourself going back and forth to the point your hearthstone isn't on CD, plan your time better lol. If that doesn't work for you, main a Mage so your hearthstone can always be the current end-game zone, or hell just ask a Mage for a portal. Take the win for the portal to the dream, and stop demanding everything be instantaneous.

Comment by avatarofshadow

Wtf are u doing Blizz... Give us a portal back or something. Same stuff like Zaralek Cavern, lack of transportation, why dont u add those tower teleports at least to new zones that are connected to Dragonflight expefition renown like u did to Forbidden reach Or add some toy teleport, every Sl new zone had a portal to and from, why did u move to this trend now. the thing you're looking for is a very rare in-game item called a Hearthstone. there's an NPC that provides them, but I forget their name.

KTVX Salt Lake City

KTVX Salt Lake City

5 must-see Christmas light shows across the Wasatch Front in 2023

Posted: November 15, 2023 | Last updated: November 15, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY ( ABC4 ) — ‘Tis the season to get jolly, and there is no better way to experience the magic than with holiday light shows. Here in the Beehive State, there are plenty of opportunities to check out some dazzling displays in 2023.

Here are some of the most brilliant light shows you’ll find across the Wasatch Front to make the season merry and bright.

Luminaria 2023

(nov. 16 – jan. 6).

Known as the Beehive State’s “largest holiday light show,” Luminaria 2023 is set to give visitors a celebratory thrill with millions of lights spread across 28 themed areas throughout the Ashton Gardens at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi.

As they wander the grounds, visitors can enjoy choreographed music and light shows from over 6,500 programmable luminaries, which include flying deer, illuminated snowflakes, and other seasonal sights — all centered around a 120-foot holiday tree at the peak of the hill.

Christmas in Color

(nov. 17 – dec. 30).

With five locations in three states this season, Christmas in Color is a dazzling drive-thru holiday light show with over one million lights perfectly synchronized with various festive tunes in South Jordan.

Drivers will pass through all kinds of dancing displays, including snowmen, candy canes, elves, arches, and much more.

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ABC4 Daily News

World of illumination, (nov. 18 – dec. 31).

Lighting up another year for carloads of patrons, World of Illumination brings the holiday magic to the Utah State Fairpark in Salt Lake City.

This year’s theme, Candy Rush, will feature delicious Christmas displays from sugar plum fairies to massive gingerbread villages over a mile-long journey of its drive-thru light show.

Lightwalk at Tracy Aviary

(nov. 24 – dec. 23).

Spanning eight acres with dazzling light displays, Lightwalk at Tracy Aviary in Liberty Park offers a wonderful chance for visitors to immerse themselves in the holiday spirit.

Combined with the natural beauty of the surroundings, the event has plenty to see while strolling, which includes a bright walk-thru tunnel, a colorful holiday maze, and a larger-than-life gingerbread house where families can meet Santa Claus, himself.

ZooLights at Hogle Zoo

(dec. 6 – dec. 30).

Returning for its 17th season, ZooLights at Utah’s Hogle Zoo brightens up the grounds after the animals have gone to sleep. Visitors can explore the zoo like never before, with all varieties of light displays featuring both animal and holiday scenes.

As the show runs exclusively in December, a sneak peek is available through the event Preview Nights from Nov. 24-26.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to ABC4 Utah.

5 must-see Christmas light shows across the Wasatch Front in 2023

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