Planning your trip
A long, narrow country with much to see in both the north and the south, Norway is a rewarding place to visit as long as you consider the logistics of your travels. Your specialist can draw on their first-hand experience to advise you on the practical elements of your trip, and can arrange everything from glacier hikes to transfers to finding the right hotel for you, so you can make the most of your time. We work closely with local partners to keep up to date with developments in the country, and we visit regularly ourselves.
The official language is Norwegian, a north Germanic language with some dialects that are very similar to Swedish. As in other Scandinavian countries, there are several regional dialects (particularly between the east and west sides of the country) and differences in dialects between people living in the city versus rural areas.
Generally, Norwegians are fluent English speakers — even children are confident from a very young age — so you shouldn’t have any problems being understood. However, if you make the effort to learn a handful of important phrases, locals are likely to be appreciative.
Food & drink
In recent years, Norway has emerged as a culinary destination as some of the world’s most renowned chefs have reimagined traditional local ingredients. An exciting sense of innovation has combined with the country’s unique agricultural heritage and an emphasis on local, organic food, making this an important star in Europe’s epicurean constellation.
Norwegian dishes tend to be fresh, healthy and locally sourced. Enjoy the tastes of the coast, forests and fields with king crab, reindeer, hand-picked lingonberries, freshly caught fish, moose, locally made cheese, honey and wild mushrooms. Food festivals, internationally recognized restaurants (including several Michelin-starred options) and food experiences are on the rise as Norway embraces its newly rediscovered food culture.
Norway has strict alcohol laws. While hotels and restaurants can serve alcohol seven days a week, liquor stores have limited hours and are closed on Sundays. Norwegians are known for being beer drinkers, and there’s a small but burgeoning microbrewery scene.
Festivals & public holidays
Norway’s calendar is packed with festivals and cultural celebrations, and you’ll find lots of visitors even in the most remote locations. You’ll find many during the long days of summer, especially. While Norway follows the typical Christian holidays such as Easter and Christmas, the most important public holiday is Constitution Day, held on 17th May. This is the national day of Norway and is celebrated by a day-long party of parades, traditional folk costumes, flags, games, marching bands, speeches and food.
- 1st January — New Year’s Day
- March/April — Maundy Thursday (date varies)
- March/April — Good Friday (date varies)
- March/April — Easter Sunday (date varies)
- March/April — Easter Monday (date varies)
- 1st May — Labour Day
- Mid May — Ascension Day (date varies)
- 17th May — Constitution Day
- End of May — Whitsun (date varies)
- End of May — Whit Monday (date varies)
- 25th December — Christmas Day
- 26th December — St Stephen’s Day
Norway’s currency is the Krone (NOK). You can exchange common currencies at banks, which are plentiful, and it’s easy to find an ATM in most places.
A discretionary service charge is nearly always added to the bill, and you don’t need to tip over and above this. If a service charge is not added, rounding up the bill or adding 5% to 10% is perfectly acceptable, but not expected. Since tipping in Norway isn’t customary, the tour prices include a gratuity. If you feel your guide was exceptionally helpful or friendly, it’s acceptable to leave an additional tip, but you shouldn’t feel obliged to do this.
The code for calling Norway is +47, followed by a varying number of digits, depending on location. Phoning abroad from hotels can be expensive, although most hotels will also have complimentary Wi-Fi. It’s also worth checking with your phone provider to understand the costs of using your mobile phone abroad. Additionally, ad-hoc internet browsing can be very expensive, so you may wish to purchase a mobile data roaming package.
Our certified country specialists can advise on any safety concerns you may have. For current information, please refer to the State Department website.
When to go to Norway
You'll find temperature and rainfall information, together with a month-by-month guide on visiting, on our guide for when to go to Norway.
8 hours (New York to Oslo)