1. It’s ridiculously expensive
It’s pretty hard to stick to a budget in Norway. It’s obscenely expensive – like $15 for a burger at a fast food chain expensive and even shopping at the supermarket won’t save you from price shock.
Don’t even think of buying clothes here. You can’t afford it. Stick to buying food and the odd small souvenir and leave everything else to buy in countries outside the Scandinavian region.
2. Most people speak English
You won’t have much trouble communicating in Norway if you only speak English. All the Scandinavian countries have a high level of English but knowing the basics such as thank you (takk) is welcome.
3. Hiking in Norway can be very challenging
They breed them tough in the north.
That hike that’s rated easy – it’s not easy in what Australians would classify as easy.
An easy hike is just a hike that has no major obstacles such as large tracts of mud, rock scrambling or sheer cliff drop offs. So expect to work up a sweat on that ‘easy’ hike.
And on that ‘easy’ hike, there’s a good chance you’ll be battered by strong winds and stinging rain.
In some places such as the Lofoten Islands, trails are not well marked. You’ll need to do some research to find landmarks that will help you uncover the trailhead.
4. Public transport is modern and efficient
It’s easy to get around in Norway. Trains and buses are very modern and run on time and it’s easy to find timetables at the bus or train station. Most bus drivers I’ve come across speak at least some English so you can always ask for help if you get stuck.
5. Norwegians like their seafood
If you’re a seafood lover, then you’ve come to the right place.
Fishing is a way of life in the Lofoten Islands and many accommodation options are in old fishermen cottages (rorbu). In Bergen, a fish market (Fisketorget) is open year round in prime position near the port.
6. Norway is beautiful
If you didn’t know already – Norway is beautiful, and it’s the perfect place to get close to nature. Everywhere you go there’s stunning fjords, waterfalls, lush green or snowy mountains and towering cliffs. You cannot take a bad picture in Norway.
The best way to see the sights is to hire a car and go on the ultimate road trip. Leave time for photos in your itinerary – you’ll probably want to stop at least every 10 minutes to take a look at the stunning view from outside the car.
If you’re planning to get around by car, I recommend going in summer – you’ll see a lot more and you won’t have to deal with snowy roads or black ice. Norway is equally beautiful and magical in winter though – and there’s the Northern Lights – but you probably won’t see as much.
7. You can hitchhike
Hitchhiking is fairly common in Norway, especially up north away from the major cities.
Hitchhiking is very common in the Lofoten Islands especially and you shouldn’t be waiting too long for a rider from friendly locals or tourists in a campervan.
8. A rainjacket is essential
It rains a lot in Norway. Every day I was in Norway for 10 days it rained at least once – sometimes it was a brief shower, other times it was torrential. Umbrellas won’t cut it – they’ll just turn inside out. You need a rainjacket with a hood to keep part of you dry.
If you’re hiking, bring ziplock bags for any cameras and phones and also a raincover for your backpack.
I also recommend a spare of socks when you’re hiking in Norway.