Norway has the highest concentration of fjords in the world, and nowhere on earth are there more fjords than in Fjord Norway. Formed when the glaciers retreated, and seawater flooded the U-shaped valleys, the fjords have made Norway famous. Two of these, the Geirangerfjord and the Nærøyfjord, feature on the UNESCO World Heritage list. The Sognefjord, the longest, and the Hardangerfjord, famed for its cherry and apple trees, are among the most visited. But the Lysefjord just outside Stavanger (home to the famous Preikestolen or Pulpit Rock), and the Nordfjord further north are also very popular holiday destinations. National Geographic Magazine has named the fjords "the best unspoiled travel destinations in the world". And the respected American newspaper Chicago Tribune has included Norway's fjords on its list Seven Wonders of Nature.
Northern lights and midnight sun
THE NORTHERN LIGHTS (aurora borealis) are a common natural phenomenon, most commonly observed above the Arctic Circle between late autumn and early spring. The northern lights belt hits Northern Norway in the Lofoten Islands, and follows the coast all the way up to the North Cape. This means that no other place on earth offers better chances of spotting the lights, and one location in this area might be as good as another.
In summer, meanwhile, over the Arctic Circle the sun does not set, meaning visitors to Northern Norway enjoy 24 hours of daylight this time of year – a phenomenon known as "midnight sun".
Famed for their boat building and navigation skills, the Vikings also had a reputation as raiders. They were, however, also traders, explorers and settlers, and the legacy from the Viking Age (AD 800-1050) lives on in Norway. The Viking Ships Museum in Oslo is home to the world's two best-preserved wooden Viking longships, both dating from the ninth century. Lofotr Viking Museum in Borg, in the Lofoten Islands; Karmøy Kulturopplevelser in Rogaland; and Stiklestad National Culture Centre in Nord-Trøndelag are all good places to learn more about Viking history.
The SAMI PEOPLE
The Sami are the indigenous people of Norway. Known for their colourful clothes and their huge herds of reindeer, the Sami have been living in northern Scandinavia for over 10,000 years. Today they have their own parliament in Karasjok (population: 3,000 inhabitants), the Sami capital of Norway, a town boasting a thriving Sami culture. Reindeer herding is still central to Sami culture, providing meat, fur and transportation - reindeer sledding is popular in Finnmark in winter.
Norway's success in the Winter Olympics is unrivalled, and the country has a total of 329 medals (118 gold, 111 silver and 100 bronze) to its tally. The best ever games for Norway were the Lillehammer winter games in 1994, when Norway, which was competing on home turf, topped the medal table, having won 26 medals, of which 10 gold. Most famous winter sports athletes of recent years include cross-country skiers Marit Bjørgen and Petter Northug, snowboarder Terje Håkonsen and Alpine skier Aksel Lund Svindal.
Wildlife enthusiasts will be spoilt in Norway, where moose, reindeer, deer, lynx and foxes all roam freely. You might see wolves in the most remote areas of eastern Norway, black bears in the Pasvik Valley in Finnmark, Polar bears on Svalbard, and even musk ox, a descendant of the last ice age, in Dovre. Norway is also home to two of the world's best bird cliffs, Røst and Runde. The Varanger Peninsula in Northern Norway is another good spot for bird-watching, with lots of migratory birds in season. Whale-watching meanwhile is a popular activity off the coast of Vesterålen.
NOBEL PEACE PRIZE
The Nobel Peace Prize laureate is chosen by the Norwegian Nobel Committee, and the prize is the only one not awarded in Stockholm. The Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony, during which the laureate delivers his or her acceptance speech, takes place every year on 10 December in Oslo City Hall, the date on which Alfred Nobel died in 1896. Recent laureates have included US president Barack Obama, Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo and women rights champions Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkol Karman.
Area: 323,758 square kilometers (125,004 square miles)
Language: Norwegian ( English is popular )
Religion: Evangelical Lutheran
Time zone: GMT +1 ( 6 Hours Behind HONGKONG TIME )
Electricity: 220 volts, AC of 50 Hertz.
Spring is a fickle mistress, however, and may choose to turn a cold shoulder until well into May. Even then, there may be days when it is cold enough to snow, and days when it is warm enough to sit outside in the sunshine. Spring months can also be very windy, so be careful with that umbrella.
Late spring ( April & May ) is when the scenery in Norway is at its most spectacular, with trees and flowers waking to life, snow in the mountains and melt water swelling the waterfalls, and sights like the orchards of flowering fruit trees along the Hardangerfjord in May are images of paradise to many.
As soon as summer gets a firm grip on Norway, will see the locals out and about to enjoy the sun after a long and cold winter, barbecuing in the parks and generally just soaking up the rays. From late June to August the weather is at its warmest and it never seems to get really dark in its peak summer, with temperatures that can reach 25°C–30°C.
Autumn is the time for walks in fresh, crisp air. September and October sees the arrival of wetter and wilder weather, and there can be quite heavy rainfalls during autumn. Gradually the days grow shorter, darkness descends early in the afternoon, and temperatures drop as winter approaches.
In winter Norway is usually transformed into a snow-clad paradise, but harsh winters can be both dark and cold in places, especially in areas higher up or farther north.
Not all of Norway gets covered in snow, however. In the lower areas along the coast, the temperature only rarely sinks below freezing, and winter might seem like an extension of the autumn rather than a season of its own.
Winter nights are long and dark in all of Norway, and in midwinter even well south of the Arctic Circle, the sun may not rise high enough to clear the surrounding mountains.
However, from the middle of November until the end of January, the sun does not rise at all in parts of Northern Norway, north of the Arctic Circle. October, February and March are the best months for seeing the northern lights.The northern lights are most commonly seen in the north, but may on rare occasions be seen in all of Norway – even at the country’s southernmost point.
For weather forecast please explore :
WHAT TO WEAR :
Norwegian weather is liable to change from day to day, so bring a selection of clothes that you can layer. That way you can add or remove layers depending on temperature. In addition, bring at least one warm jumper, waterproof coat and/or umbrella and comfortable walking shoes, boots or trainers.
If you go during the winter, you will need an overcoat, scarf, gloves and warm shoes or boots.
In autumn and spring, you may want to bring waterproof trousers and boots.
For the summer, lighten up, but remember that even summer evenings and nights can be chilly, particularly in the mountains.
EMERGENCY CALLS :
• 110 - Fire
• 112 - Police
• 113 - Ambulance
• 120 - Emergency at sea
• 22 59 13 00 - Poisons Information Centre
DRINKING WATER :
Tap water is universally drinkable in Norway and tastes great, so no need to buy bottled water.
Most running water in the mountains and forests of Norway is clean enough to drink, but avoid water running through pastures or runoff from glaciers, as this may contain harmful microorganisms.
CUSTOMS AND REGULATIONS :
Within the limit of NOK 6,000 you are allowed to bring the following articles free of customs and excise duty into the country (note that the quotas are different from when you’re travelling within the EU):
• A limited amount of alcohol and tobacco
• Meat, meat products, cheese and foodstuffs except dog and cat food, totalling 10 kilos altogether from EU/EEA countries. From countries outside the EU/EEA, you can’t bring meat, meat products, milk and milk products in your luggage
• Norwegian and foreign bank notes and coins at a total value of NOK 25,000
It is prohibited to import the following without special persmission:
• Drugs, medicines and poisons (minor quantities of medicine for personal use are permitted)
• Alcohol over 60% alcohol by volume
• Weapons and ammunition
• Mammals, birds and exotic animals
• Plants/parts thereof for cultivation
VISA REQUIREMENTS AND PASSPORTS
Visitors from the Schengen countries do not need a passport or visa when entering Norway.
Visitors has a valid Schengen visa or with the nationality that are free to visit Schengen countries without visa also free visit Norway but must show valid and sufficient ID or passport ( at least 6 months validity ).
Svalbard is not part of the Schengen area, so all foreign visitors must bring their passport. The European Health Insurance Card is not valid in the Svalbard Islands. It is therefore strongly recommended to purchase travel insurance before you go there.
Currency & Credit Card: Norwegian krone
It is still a good idea to have a bit of cash on you, though, and you need Norwegian currency to get by - foreign currency is rarely accepted. You will find cash machines everywhere in towns and cities, and in most rural areas there will at least be one place where you can withdraw money, such as a kiosk or a petrol station.
Post offices and some grocery shops or supermarkets do not accept foreign credit cards, although they happily take debit cards. Visa and Master Cards are the most commonly accepted credit cards, with far fewer accepting Amex or Diners. If in doubt, ask before shopping or paying. There are many money exchange
Like “ FOREX Bank” “Money Exchange Scandinavia” or at major airports.
VAT refund (tax-free shopping)
In a number of shops in the Oslo area you can get a VAT refund cheque when leaving the country. Most of these shops carry a Tax Free logo displayed in the shop window or on their counter, but you are advised to ask the sales assistant whether tax free shopping applies to the shop in question, as not all shops carry the tax free logo.
The tax refund service is not available for Norwegian, Swedish, Danish and Finnish residents.
Note: The above information are mostly from the visitnorway.com
Telephone : +47 or 0047 ( + 8 digits local phone No. )
Internet access is good in most towns and cities, either through mobile data, or public wifi in cafés and other public areas. Mobile data coverage will be spotty in sparsely populated areas. Most hotels have free Internet access in the rooms but better to ask when you booked. Many buses, express buses and trains offer free onboard wifi, but this will often require registration and have limited capacity.
MORE TRAVEL INFORMATIONS AT THE MAJOR CITIES
ALESUND / GERIANGER http://www.visitalesund-geiranger.com/en/
For more travel planning or information in NORWAY please explore :
100 best things to do in Norway: https://best-things-to-do-in-norway/