The climate may surprise you - thanks to the Gulf Stream. The south is the sunniest. In the summer, temperatures often climb past 25 degrees. The west coast gets rain year-round, and the further north you go, the colder it gets. Temperatures can plummet to -51 degrees.
When to fly to Norway
Seek Norway flights and visit between May and September for the longest, brightest days. The Bergen International Festival is the country's biggest arts extravaganza, and takes place in May.
The Northern Lights can be enjoyed (marvelled at) between November and February in the north of the country. The lights can be rays or arcs of colour – greenish white to deepest red. The Northern Lights Festival takes place in Tromso at the end of January.
Norway’s three most northern counties enjoy endless sun between the middle of May and the end of July. Places to enjoy the “longer” days include Nordkapp, Hammerfest, Vardø, Tromsø, Harstad, Svolvær and Bodo.
Avoid November to March as average temperatures are below freezing unless you like to ski. If you are a skier, the most popular resorts include Lillehammer, the famous former host city of the Olympic Games, Trysil, Oppdal and Hemsedal.
Getting around Norway
SAS Braathens, Norwegian and Wideroe offer domestic Norway flights.
Norwegian State Railways has a well-developed network within the country, to other Scandinavian countries and to points in Europe.
The largest coach network in Norway is called NOR-WAY Bussekspress AS. Eurolines is its network partner, which provides services throughout Europe.
Passage between Bergen and Stamsund can be booked with Norwegian Coastal Voyage.
Car-rental companies are represented at the airports.
Norway insider information
- Flam Mountain Railway is one of the steepest in the world. The train travels from the mountain station at Myrdal on the Bergen Railway to Flåm station in the Aurlandfjord, which is a branch of the world's longest fjord (the Sognefjord).
- Pick up an Oslo Card for unlimited free travel by bus, tram, underground, boat and local train and the museums are free too. These include Viking Ship Museum; Norsk Folkemuseum; The Munch Museum; Akershus Fortress, the Nazi headquarters during the Second World War; and the Resistance Museum. The new Ibsen Museum features the playwright’s home, now restored to its original Victorian glory.
- The Alta Igloo Hotel is open between January and April. Located on the edge of the Arctic Circle, it is made of snow and ice, all of it - the bar, gallery, wedding chapel, lounges and, of course, ice sculptures. Reindeer hides help keep in the warmth as temperatures hover between -4 and -7 degrees Celsius. Alta also has northern Europe’s largest collection of rock carvings. There are more than 3,000 paintings and engravings.
- In West Norway, the fjords of Geiranger and Nærøyfjord are on the Unesco World Heritage list. They are among the longest and deepest fjords in the world, the product of several ice ages. The largest glacier in mainland Europe, Jostedalsbreen, lies between the fjords. Other World Heritage sites include Bryggen in Bergen, a number of Hanseatic commercial buildings that line the side of the fjord. Although the buildings are not original, the same building pattern has been maintained for 900 years. Bergen is a great base for discovering the fjords and it is where the Norwegian Coastal Express, which sails some of the most popular tourist routes, starts from. In Bergen, you can take the funicular railway to the top of Floyen mountain, and enjoy the best views of the city. For more insider advice on Bergen, visit the Norwegian Tourist Board's official tourism website.