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BEST TIME TO TRAVEL
As the country stretches over a length of just under 1,500km from South to North, the climatic conditions are quite varied. The gulf stream brings mild conditions to the Western coast. Temperatures in spring in the West and South lay around 14 degrees. The Northern and Eastern regions have cold, long winters and warm summers.
Due to the Northern location, November, December and January are the darkest months in Norway with
long dark nights everywhere and hardly any daylight in Northern Norway. February and March are still considered winter months and come with long dark nights, but offer great conditions for winter sports. Including October, these months also bear the best chances to spot the Northern lights. Temperatures still tend to be quite low in April and October, but spring is unfolding in May and between June and September the conditions for getting outdoors are perfect with warm temperatures and long days.
HOW TO GET THERE
Oslo Gardermoen is by far the largest and busiest international and national hub for passengers arriving by plane. Many airlines offer regular schedules and direct connections to many European cities and it is also easy to connect here to other destinations in Norway. There are only a few direct long haul connections from Gardermoen, but it is possible to connect through the European hubs like Copenhagen, Frankfurt or London.
After Gardermoen, Bergen, Stavanger, Trondheim and Tromso have the highest passenger volumes. International direct European connections are also available from these airports. The national flight network is well developed with frequent and regular national connections, also to the smaller, regional airports.
It is also possible to arrive to Norway by ferry with links to Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany and the UK.
Despite the natural challenges like fjords, high mountains and harsh winter conditions, infrastructure is well developed in Norway. Railroads are mainly located in the South while most Northern regions are accessible by car, ship or plane. Local transport issues have seen large investments since many tunnels, bridges or ferryboat connections are indispensable in many parts of the country.
Citizens of any EU/EMA country do not require a visa upon arrival in Norway. A valid passport is required which is valid until the date you intend to leave Norway. Norway also holds visa exemption agreements with a list of countries outside Europe. Unless you have a resident permit, you are permitted to stay for up to 90 days.
Citizens of countries that don’t hold a visa exemption agreement with Norway need to present a visa upon arrival, which allows you to stay in Norway for up to 90 days. You will also need to present a passport which is valid for at least another three months after the end of your visit.
TRAVELING WITH KIDS
Norway is a great country to travel with the whole family with kids friendly hotels, restaurants and activities waiting around every corner. From roaming the green parks and museums of Oslo, enjoying outdoor and viking fun around the Western fjords or whale watching and dog sledding adventures in the North, Norway holds many adventures that kids will never forget.
Many Norwegians tend to travel as a family, so many
hotels and attractions are well prepared to look after families and make them feel welcome. Admission to museums and other attractions is
often free for under six year olds or family tickets are available.
Outdoor adventures are the best way to experience the magnificent landscape of Norway and there is a wide range to enjoy with the whole family, obviously the older the kids, the wider the range of adventures. For younger kids, there are wildlife safaris or theme parks all over the country, where kids can also learn about the magnificent nature and the mythical heritage.
Children’s products are widely available, but, like many things in Norway, are very expensive, so you might want to consider to pack a reasonable supply from home.
As many activities center around being outside, the summer months are the best time for families to travel to Norway. But winter also holds some great experiences to be enjoyed with the whole family, like the Northern lights, skiing or dog sledding, so don’t let the cold temperatures hold you back, it’s all about being prepared and bringing the right clothes.
Many restaurants offer kids menus with smaller portions for cheaper prices. Baby changing areas and high chairs are available in most places. Car seats are available when renting a car, but it is advisable to reserve in advance when traveling over the summer months.
WHAT TO BRING
If traveling in summer
As with many Northern and coastal countries, it is possible to experience all four seasons within a couple of hours, especially in summertime. So it’s best to be prepared for all weather and keep in mind that it can be cold in the South and warm in the North and vice versa.
As conditions can change quickly and temperatures vary with altitude, it is best to dress in layers and always bring a waterproof jacket and, if hiking, some waterproof trousers and proper waterproof hiking boots. As the sun is strong in the summer months, sun lotion, sun glasses and a sun cover are a must.
As the days can get quite warm over the summer months, you might want to bring a swimsuit to test the waters in the fjords, so it’s always a good idea to bring a swimsuit. You should also bring some light summer clothes for warm days where you plan to be less active.
On the other hand, the days can be quite cold as well and especially when going to the mountains it is important to stay warm. A warm woolly sweater, some thermal leggins or underwear and a warm hat will save the day. To be on the very safe side, you should pack some gloves and a scarf too.
Some people might find it hard to sleep during the short and bright nights in the summer months, so sleeping masks can help to prevent missing out on sleep.
Besides some of the essentials listed above, your waterproof backpack should also be filled with some snacks and a reusable water bottle when heading out to the wild. The natural water in Norway is very clean and you can easily refill your bottle on the way.
When traveling in winter
Packing for winter in Norway is quite straight forward - pack the warmest clothes that you can find in your wardrobe! Definitely pack a warm, water- and windproof coat, a warm hat, thick gloves and a proper winter hat. Warm and lined winter boots will keep your feet warm when out for longer periods and walking in snow.
Thermal layers are essential, ideally bring thermal underwear, but tights and a warm woolly jumper will already help to keep you much warmer. Snow pants will keep you dry and warm in any weather.
Most people are not used to the cold air and your skin might dry out quickly, so a rich moisturizer or skin oil is also a good addition to the packing list.
As the winter nights are dark, many people wear reflectors, especially in the smaller towns and in the countryside. A reflector vest or reflectors that can be clipped on the coat will do just fine,
Most parts of Norway offer a wide range of accommodation, especially in the bigger cities you will find a good choice of modern or historic hotels ranging in price, style and standard. You can also find a good list of hotels and accommodation which are environmentally certified.
Camping, farm-stays and mountain cabins are popular choices when spending your time away from the cities and will let you experience nature from your doorstep. If you are looking for something fancier or more unique, why not consider staying in an ice hotel or glamp in a stylish yurt.
Even though prices are high in Norway, standard middle class accommodation is surprisingly affordable and comes with all modern standards and breakfast included. Demand is highest over the summer months, so it is advisable to book in advance.