Norway is one of the most picturesque countries in the world, boasting stunning scenery, culture, food and activities for all levels of adventure.
Oslo, the capital of Norway is a metropolitan city that is home to world-class museums, art galleries, restaurants and a vibrant nightlife.
However, it is what lies outside the main cities that brings most visitors to Norway. Majestic fjords, towering mountains, brilliant light shows in the winter sky, a sun that never sets, and glaciers, just to name a few.
Norway also has more than 80 islands that stretch its west coast. Each island group offers visitors a different perspective of Norway.
Norway’s Most Loved Archipelagos
The Svalbard Islands form one of the best-known Norwegian archipelagos in Norway. They are they are located in the Arctic Ocean halfway between Norway and the North Pole. Here you will find polar bears, the midnight sun in early spring and autumn, and 24-hour polar nights in winter. It is during this time that you can experience the aurora borealis (Northern Lights) during the day and night.
Another popular destination is the Lofoten Islands, found in the Norwegian Sea and far north of the Arctic Circle. This region is known for fishing and the diverse landscape means that visitors can enjoy both water and land activities. In fact, the Lofoten Islands are one of the best surfing spots in Norway.
Whatever islands you choose to visit in NorwaythThere are some very important dos and don’ts when planning your island hopping adventures.
What You Should Definitely Do
Do some research before you go and plan your vacation. Visit the official tourist information websites or invest in some good guide books.
Go in the summer to have endless days of sunshine. In Nordkapp, the northernmost point of Norway and Europe, the sun shines for more than 1,800 hours without setting.
Go between the end of September and the end of March if you want to see the Northern Lights. At this time of year it is dark between 6pm and 1am and this is when you have the best chance of experiencing them.
Stay in a mountain cabin (Hytta). The most authentic cabins are located in very remote locations, with no indoor plumbing or electricity. This means outdoor toilets and no running water. Be prepared to forgo a shower or two and take a few together biodegradable personal hygiene wipes, body wipes and hand sanitizer.
Learn some of the language before you go. The majority of people speak English, but it is always respectful to make an effort and memorize at least some important Norwegian Phrases.
Take lots of photos and videos to show your family and friends back home and share on social media.
Try the local cuisine. A Norwegian specialty is brunost or brown cheese. This versatile cheese is eaten thinly sliced on brown bread, melted into sauces and stews and even used as an ingredient in baked goods. Fish is also very popular. In addition to freshly caught seafood, Norwegians eat lutefisk, a fish dish with a gelatinous texture due to its preparation process of drying, soaking in brine and then in water.
What Not to Do
Don’t forget to pack appropriate clothing and equipment. Take your clothes suitable for the season you are visiting in and also what activities you plan to do. Take windproof and waterproof jacket and sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots. Wear layers of clothing made from natural fibers such as wool and cotton. If you are planning for camping, then a strong, warm tent sleeping bag and inner sheet will be invaluable.
Don’t expect to be able to travel on a shoestring budget. Norway is an expensive country. Minimize some expenses by buying food, drinks and snacks from supermarkets but don’t skimp on spending money on tours and activities that can be once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
Do not expect to be able to cram your vacation in a few days. The Norwegian coast is one of the longest in the world. From Lindesnes in the south to Nordkapp is 1476 miles. If you were to drive it non-stop, it would take 39 hours.
Have you ever been to the Norwegian Islands? What are your top do’s and don’ts?