What you need to know before your trip to Norway

The country is heaven for hikers and nature lovers. You are in for a visual treat if you have decided to visit Norway. Endless fjords, deep blue and green lakes, snow-capped peaks even in the summer, awe-inspiring drives, isolated little huts in the middle of nowhere and quaint little villages and towns in the valleys by the lakeside is what you can expect out of your next few days in this breathtaking North European country. If you are planning a trip to Norway, here's what you need to know.

In a Nutshell

Our 10-day road trip focused on the south and west of Norway.  July – August is the best time to visit, as it is peak summer (we still saw the mercury drop really low and the weather changing almost instantly from warm and sunny to cold and rainy). Be prepared with layers of clothing as some of the days were as cold as 7* C.  Although the public transportation and tourist buses are plenty, it is recommended to rent a car as it allows you to explore the most beautiful spots while driving through the country. If you do rent a car, make sure you are a confident driver as the roads are very narrow and winding in most parts. However, most people are careful drivers.

South and west of Norway offer amazing fjords, green mountains, beautiful lakes, snow/ice in some places which still hasn't melted. The capital (Oslo) is reasonably warmer but it starts to get cooler as you go north.

Beware: the country is very expensive! A sit-down meal for two (1 entrée, 2 main courses, 2-3 glasses of wine/beer, dessert) in a simple outdoor café, in any city, will cost you approx. USD 100 – 120. Unless you plan to just pick up a burger or sandwich on the go.  A plate of fries or soup will not be less than USD 12 (yes!!); that is almost 4 times more expensive than most other cities we have been to. A glass of beer or wine also costs at least USD 10 – 12.

Hikes, although maybe marked ‘green’ (on a 3-grade scale of green, blue and red’), are underplayed by the local Norwegians who are naturally very fit people. Be prepared to face some tough terrain even with the simplest ‘walks around the lakes’, make sure you have really good hiking shoes, carry layers of clothing as the weather can change instantly, be prepared with waterproof jackets as rains come and go. Always carry water and edibles in your backpack, as you may not find any on the way for a long time.

Some Useful Tips

  • Hikes are usually tougher than described to you by the locals. Be sure to have good shoes, energy bars, rainproof clothing and warm jackets
  • Coffee in Norway sucks! Don't experiment too much, you’ll be disappointed
  • Many hotels/camping grounds are very remote. They are absolutely gorgeous to stay at but will most likely not have supermarkets or cafes and restaurants nearby. While staying at such places, make sure to make arrangements for food before retiring in the hotel. Also, book such places only if you have a car
  • The scenery gets better as you go from south to north. Lakes are much prettier in the north as compared to Oslo / Bergen area
  • Be prepared to spend USD 100 per (sit-down) meal in any café or restaurant (for two people); pick up a sandwich or burger to save money

Read: Suggested detailed 10-day itinerary (South & West Norway)

19 thoughts on “What you need to know before your trip to Norway”

  1. Wow! I had no idea Norway was so expensive. The rest sounds very similar to Alaska. 🙂 I will have to visit one of these days. Definitely pinning the suggested itinerary. I will also remember to bring some of my meal replacement shakes to save money! Thank you for sharing.

    1. I’m really looking forward to exploring Alaska! And yes, Norway is expensive so it’d be a good idea to carry the meal replacement shakes 🙂

  2. I did not realize Norway was so expensive. The photos are great and I can only imagine how it was in person. Norway has long been on my list of places to visit. Thank you for sharing the tips!

    1. It is one of the most expensive places I’ve been to 🙂 But it’s so beautiful, totally makes up for it!

  3. This has been really usefully. I just planned a trip to Norway and some other Nordic countries of Europe, because I love their lush nature. Norway seems perfect for hikers and your pictures made me desire to go soon.

    1. I’m glad to hear that! It really is so scenic and absolutely the perfect place to explore for hiking enthusiasts 🙂

  4. Holy! I feel like Norway is if Ireland and Iceland had a baby! Norway got the rolling green hills of Ireland and the beauty of icy Iceland! It’s great to know that there are plenty of tourist buses and public transpo (which is not the case in Iceland). And what exactly is a fjord?

    1. Seemed to have missed this comment earlier Justine! Fjords are usually steep hills or walls of rocks surrounding a valley with a waterbody. Somewhat like what Milford Sound in New Zealand is 🙂

  5. How amazing to spend 10 days there. I was there last summer and only had a few days but it is the most stunning place!

  6. Thanks for sharing these tips. I can’t believe how expensive dining is! Yikes! I was in Stockholm in January and the prices were very reasonable. Not the $100 US per couple of people. That would blow the travel budget in a hurry.

  7. This photography is so gorgeous! I would absolutely love to go to Norway, but like you said, the prices are insane. It’s unfortunately a bit out of my price range at the moment but would love to get there some day. Which was your favourite spot for hiking?

    1. Definitely Trolltunga, although it’s a bit grueling but so worth the views. In fact, I’ll soon be writing a post detailing the hike, what to expect and how to prepare for it.

  8. I’m surprised by your “coffee sucks” comment – I had some amazing coffee in a cafe called Kaffebrenneriet in Oslo, plus a really nice jam-filled bun. I’d love to see more of Norway though! x

    1. Unfortunately, I didn’t like the coffee anywhere and I usually have 2-3 cups a day so I tried several places but was so disappointed!

  9. I love these photos! Norway is on my list but a long way off. It’s good to see the nature that lies ahead of me and get a good idea on what the experience is like!

    Rebecca x

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