What you need to know before you travel to Norway

If you are going to travel to Norway, you must know that the country is heaven for hikers and nature lovers. You are in for a visual treat if you have decided to visit this stunning country. 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. Here's everything you need to know before you travel to Norway.

In a Nutshell

Our 10-day road trip focused on the south and west of Norway.  July – August is the best time to travel to Norway, 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 if you're going to travel to Norway

  • 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)

42 thoughts on “What you need to know before you travel to Norway”

  1. After my Iceland visit last year, I have developed crazy love for the Scandinavian countries. And Norway is certainly on my list next. I am planning to visit Norway to see the Northern Lights apart from its breathtaking beauties that I can totally see from your blog, but I really do not want longtime darkness, so what do you think which will be the best month to see the Northern Lights and enjoy some sun as well?

    1. I’d say October when you’ll still get 11-12 hours of sunlight, yet be able to see the Northern Lights at night when it gets really dark. Try to go as up north as possible.

  2. Hi..please provide more details on hiring the car in Norway. like from where did you hire it, price, any pre-requisites?

    1. Hi Neha, we hired our car from SIXT, it was a Mercedes Benz A-Class Automatic, with GPS and we paid about USD 100 a day. Of course, you can get cheaper prices for a economy car. I usually rent cars from SIXT, they’re hassle free, not very expensive and easy to interact with. Driving in Norway was not very tough, just expect a LOT of tunnels.

  3. Norway looks so beautiful! But its a bit sad that the country is so costly. And I am sad that coffee is not good. As a coffee lover I look for coffee everywhere I visit.

    1. I’m a coffee lover myself! And I love trying out local coffee wherever I go. I was disappointed.

  4. I love how you’ve been to all the countries I wanna go to – I have Norwegian friends and they’ve told me so many amazing things and reading through this post just confirms it all. I would love to visit the fjords, having seen New Zealand’s version I can only imagine just how much more spectacular they are in Norway – Once again a brilliant post, and another that makes me want to go – Oooh Since I’m home maybe a winter trip through Norway hmmm???

    1. Winter trip would be perfect to see the Northen Lights, although some places I am pretty sure will become inaccessible and the days will be really short too.

  5. wow..we are planning trip to Norway next year and i m sure this post will come handy. Is 10 days enough for norway? or you think we need more? Beautiful pictures btw and i never knew norway is this expensive.

    1. We had exactly 10 days but that restricted us to only exploring the South and West part, we could not go to the North. Missed out on several beautiful places. There’s a 10-day itinerary in my blog that you can refer to as well 🙂

  6. I still haven’t got to Norway, but I’ve seen so many stunning photos. I do know it’s expensive, so I’ll need to be careful there! Such a shame the coffee sucks!

    1. I want to go back someday, see the northern part or Lofoten Islands. Such amazing drone videos I have seen!

  7. Yeah, Norway is dang expensive. You can go broke just ordering one wine too many! Haha. But it is GORGEOUS. The nature, particularly the fjords are so worth visiting! I’m glad I managed to get there during my cruise-ship days, so at least the transportation was taken care of! 😉 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  8. That’s insane how much a sit-down restaurant charges for a meal!!!!! I’d still totally love to do a road trip here next summer although I’m pretty sure I will pack cookies and instant noodles with me hahahhaa.

  9. Your pictures are so beautiful. This was such a helpful post, I had no idea food was that expensive in Norway! We absolutely love to hike and I hope to visit there one day.

  10. I once had a Norwegian student who told me that she had been to Switzerland for a vacation. I was curious and asked her what she thought about prices in Switzerland compared to Norway. She said that prices in the supermarket seemed to be more or less the same but eating out in Norway is even more expensive than in Switzerland.

    1. Oh yes, I’ve been to both and eating out was definitely a lot more expensive in Norway as compared to Switzerland.

  11. 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

  12. 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!

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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!

  16. 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 🙂

  17. 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 🙂

  18. 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!

  19. Completely agree. Norway is full of beautiful nature. One of my favourite countries. Love your pictures

  20. 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 🙂

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