Norway is a beautiful country of mountains, fjords and glaciers, offering incredible wilderness hiking, year-round skiing, and some of the world's most scenic ferry, bus and train rides. The summer days are pleasantly long in the peacefully quiet cities, unvarnished fishing villages and historic riches that include Viking ships and medieval stave churches. In the South, visitors can see rolling farmlands, enchanted forests and sunny beaches as well as the dramatic Western Fjords. It's no great surprise that north of the Arctic Circle the population decreases, the horizons grow wider and the temperature drops a bit. The terrain up here can range from barren peninsulas and forestland to rising peaks. Even further north to the Svalbard archipelago, visitors can watch the seals, walruses and polar bears sunning themselves on the ice.
Norway's climate is cold but temperate. Though it sits in the far north, with half the country inside the Arctic Circle, the Gulf Stream adds warmth. The coasts enjoy relatively mild winters with cooler summer months, while inland areas have colder winters but warmer summers. Those who aren't looking for the Northern Lights or the cold, still snow-scapes that cover this region of the world for the darker months of winter, will likely prefer to plan a Norway vacation June through September.
Similar to the other Scandinavian countries, Norway is famous for its Midnight Sun mid May through July when daylight washes over the land. North of the Arctic Circle, the sun never dips below the horizon! The remaining parts of Norway glow with up to 20 hours of daylight. In the winter, of course, from late November to late January, the sun never rises in the north, and the days are cut quite short elsewhere.
In Northern Europe, on the Scandinavian Peninsula, Norway is a long, serpentine country with its big head at the south, jutting into the icy waters of the North Sea. Of the three Scandinavian countries, Norway is the westernmost, northernmost and easternmost of its sisters Sweden and Finland.
Norway shares a long border with Sweden, its neighbor to the east, then stretches across the northern border of Finland before touching a bit of northwest Russia.
Norway welcomes you to one of the most mountainous countries in Europe. The towering, snow-capped Scandinavian Mountains create a dramatic backdrop across much of it, interspersed with forested hills, valleys, farmlands, beaches, alpine lakes, waterfalls and even glaciers. Though once covered in ice during the Ice Age, Norway is even better known for its fjords -- deep valleys with steep sides or cliffs carved by glacial activity. Many of Norway's fjords make up its rugged western coastline, along with thousands of islands. Similar fjords can only be found in Iceland and Greenland -- enjoy their ancient natural beauty in Norway!
Major Holidays & Events
In addition to the customary holidays, Norway traditionally celebrates:
Maundy Thursday and Good Friday - the Thursday and Friday before Easter Sunday (dates vary by year)
Easter Monday - the day after Easter Sunday (date varies by year)
Labor Day - May 1
Constitution Day - May 17
Ascension Thursday - 39 days after Easter (date varies by year)
Pentecost and Whit Monday - 49 and 50 days after Easter (dates vary by year)
Boxing Day - December 26