Norway is very much a fixed-price environment. Bargaining may be possible in occasional informal markets, but is generally frowned upon everywhere else.
Dangers & Annoyances
You and your personal belongings are safer in Norway than in most travellers' home countries.
- Norwegian cities are are reasonably safe at night, but don't become blasé about safety.
- Normally the greatest nuisance will come from drug addicts, drunks and/or beggars (mainly in Oslo), who can spot a naive tourist a block away.
- Beware of pickpockets around the Torget area of Bergen.
- If hiking out into the Norwegian wilds, Norway's weather can, even in summer, change rapidly.
- It's rare, but watch out for convenience stores that conveniently don't display prices – it's a sure sign you're about to be ripped off.
Government Travel Advice
The following government websites offer travel advisories and information for travellers.
- Australian Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (www.smartraveller.gov.au)
- Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs & International Trade (www.voyage.gc.ca)
- French Ministère des Affaires Étrangères et Européennes (www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/fr/conseils-aux-voyageurs)
- Italian Ministero degli Affari Esteri (www.viaggiaresicuri.mae.aci.it)
- New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade (www.safetravel.govt.nz)
- UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice)
- US Department of State (www.travel.state.gov)
A Hostelling International (HI; www.hihostels.com) membership card will get you a 15% discount at youth hostels.
Honnør (senior) discounts are available to those aged 67 years or over for admission to museums, public pools, transport etc. The discounted price usually amounts to 75% of the full price. You don't require a special card, but those who look particularly youthful may, apart from enjoying the compliment, need proof of their age to qualify.
Student discounts are often available (usually 75% of the normal fee). You will need some kind of identification (eg an International Student Identity Card; www.isic.org) to prove student status. Some travellers have reported being refused access with their normal university cards (unless it's from a Norwegian university), so the ISIC card is a good investment. It can provide discounts on many forms of transport (including airlines, international ferries and local public transport) and in some internet cafes, reduced or free admission to museums and sights, and cheap meals in some student restaurants.
The electricity current in Norway is 220V, 50Hz. Norway uses European-style two-pin plugs.
Embassies & Consulates
The nearest Australian embassy is in Copenhagen, while the nearest New Zealand embassy is in The Hague; nationals of both countries should contact the UK embassy in an emergency.
Emergency & Important Numbers
From outside Norway, dial your international access code, Norway's country code, then the number.
|International access code||00|
|Norway's country code||47|
Entry & Exit Formalities
For EU citizens and travellers from countries that don't require a visa, you'll just pass straight through passport control, although you may be asked for an onward ticket (or other proof of how long you plan to spend in the country) if you're not from an EU or Schengen country.
Generally not required for stays of up to 90 days (nor for members of EU or Schengen countries). Some nationalities need a Schengen visa.
Norway is one of 26 member countries of the Schengen Convention, under which 22 EU countries (all but Bulgaria, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania and the UK) plus Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland have abolished checks at common borders. The process towards integrating Bulgaria, Cyprus and Romania has slowed but they may join sometime in the future.
The visa situation for entering Norway is as follows:
Citizens of Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Sweden No visa or passport required.
Citizens or residents of other EU and Schengen countries No visa required.
Citizens or residents of Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand and the USA No visa required for tourist visits of up to 90 days.
Other countries Check with a Norwegian embassy or consulate.
To work or study in Norway A special visa may be required – contact a Norwegian embassy or consulate before travel.
Alcohol and tobacco are extremely expensive in Norway, so if you're a tippler, it's worth importing your duty-free allotment: 1L of spirits and 1.5L of wine (two bottles), plus 2L of beer per person. Note that drinks with an alcohol content of over 60% are banned, and may be treated as narcotics! You're also allowed to import 200 cigarettes duty-free. Importation of fresh food and controlled drugs is prohibited.
Svalbard is a duty-free zone; many items are considerably cheaper there than in mainland Norway as they're subject to neither MOMS (VAT) nor customs duties.
All travellers – other than citizens of Denmark, Iceland, Sweden and Finland – require a valid passport to enter Norway.
- General advice Norwegians are a pretty friendly and relaxed lot, and the behaviour expected of visitors is broadly similar to other liberal-minded Western European countries.
- Conservative dress Some areas of the country with high immigrant populations (eastern Oslo, for example) and smaller rural communities tend to be more conservative when it comes to matters of dress in particular.
- Rural areas Loud and loutish behaviour is rarely welcome, especially in rural areas.
Most Norwegians are accepting of the LGBTIQ+ community, though attitudes in rural areas haven't quite caught up with those in the larger cities. In terms of legal protections, Norway was rated third best of 49 European countries in ILGA-Europe's 2018 report. Homosexuality has been legal in Norway since 1973, and the country was the first in the world to pass a law prohibiting discrimination against homosexuals. Then, in 2009, Norway became the sixth country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage when its parliament passed a gender-neutral marriage law. The new law granted full rights to church weddings, adoption and assisted reproduction to married couples regardless of their sexual orientation.
All of that said, public displays of affection are not common practice, except perhaps in some areas of the capital. Oslo is generally the easiest place to be gay in Norway, although even here there have been occasional recent attacks on gay couples holding hands, especially in the central-eastern areas of the capital. You're most likely to encounter difficulties wherever conservative religious views predominate, whether among newly arrived Muslim immigrant communities or devoutly Lutheran communities in rural areas.
Oslo has the liveliest gay scene, and it's worth stopping by UNGinfo, where you can pick up the excellent annual Streetwise booklet with its 'Gay Guide' section.
Organisations & Websites
FRI The Society for Gender and Sexual Diversity; website only in Norwegian.
Global Gayz (www.globalgayz.com/europe/norway) The Norway page has some interesting background information.
Night Tours (www.nighttours.com/oslo) A gay guide to Oslo after dark.
Visit Oslo (www.visitoslo.com) Search for 'Gay Olso' for some useful links.
A travel-insurance policy to cover theft, loss, medical problems and cancellation or delays to your travel arrangements (due to illness, ticket loss, industrial action etc) is a good idea. Paying for your ticket with a credit card can often provide limited travel-accident insurance and you may be able to reclaim the payment if the operator doesn't deliver.
Note that some policies specifically exclude 'dangerous activities' such as motorcycling, skiing, mountaineering, snowmobiling or even hiking.
Worldwide travel insurance is available at www.lonelyplanet.com/bookings. You can buy, extend and claim online anytime – even if you're on the road.
Checking insurance quotes…
Norway's internet network is fast and reliable. Wi-fi, 3G and frequently 4G are available right across the country, often in surprisingly remote locations.
A decent wi-fi connection is widely available at most hotels, cafes, restaurants and tourist offices; it's nearly always free, although you'll usually have to ask for the password or register to use it. Most of Norway's airports offer free wi-fi; the standard service can be slow, but there's sometimes an option to pay for faster access.
Several airlines, including budget carrier Norwegian (www.norwegian.no), have also started to offer free onboard wi-fi for its customers, as has the state railway NSB (www.nsb.no) and some bus services.
Public Libraries & Tourist Offices
Free internet access is available in most municipal libraries (biblioteket). As it's a popular service, you may have to reserve a time slot earlier in the day; in busier places, you may be restricted to a half-hour slot. Be aware that some libraries are replacing their internet-access computer terminals with free wi-fi.
In addition to offering wi-fi, sometimes tourist offices in major towns have an internet terminal as well (for which there's usually a small fee).
Norway has an excellent legal system and should you fall foul of the law, you have a right to legal representation and an interpreter. As a general rule, what's illegal in your home country is likely to be illegal in Norway. Drug possession, even of small quantities, is illegal.
One local law that you're unlikely to be familiar with applies on Svalbard, where it is illegal to pick any wildflowers.
Most local tourist offices distribute user-friendly and free town maps.
Bilkart over Norge (1:1,000,000) by Nortrabooks is one of the best maps of Norway for general travellers. It includes useful topographic shading and depicts the entire country on one sheet. Michelin Norway – 752 (1: 1,250,000) is also good although the last update was in January 2007 and the font size can be a problem.
Den Norske Turistforening is the best source of hiking maps. Hikers can pick up topographic sheets at any DNT office, although the offices in larger cities have a wider selection beyond the local area. National park centres and nearby tourist offices are good sources for the excellent Turkart or Statens Kartverk (www.statkart.no) hiking maps. Statens Kartverk, Norway's official mapping authority, covers the country in 21 sheets at a scale of 1:250,000.
The best road maps are the Cappelens series, which are sold in Norwegian bookshops. There are three maps at 1:335,000 scale: No 1 Sør-Norge Sør, No 2 Sør-Norge Nord and No 3 Møre og Trøndelag. Northern Norway is covered in two sheets at 1:400,000 scale: No 4 Nord-land og Sør-Troms and No 5 Troms og Finnmark. The Veiatlas Norge (Norwegian Road Atlas), published by Statens Kartverk, is revised every two years.
- Newspapers & Magazines The most respected Norwegian-language daily is Aftenposten (www.aftenposten.no), while VG (www.vg.no) and Dagbladet (www.dagbladet.no) are other national mass-circulation dailies. Morgenbladet (www.morgenbladet.no) is a Norwegian-language weekly, while the Norway Post (www.norwaypost.no) is a good source of news in English, although the print version is not widely available. Major international newspapers and magazines are available a day after publication in cities (sometimes the same day in Oslo and other cities with international flight connections).
- TV & Radio Government-run NRK (one TV and four radio channels) competes with TV2 and TV Norge networks and satellite broadcasts of TV3. Foreign-language programs are subtitled. Hotels often have cable TV. Numerous private radio statiions, mostly with a musical focus, supplement the government stations. The NRK Alltid Nyheter station broadcasts the BBC World Service every second hour or so.
- DVD Norway uses the PAL (Region 2) DVD system.
ATMs are widely available, and credit cards are accepted almost universally for transactions, including at hotels, shops and restaurants, and on taxis, ferries and buses.
The most convenient way to bring your money is in the form of a debit or credit card, with some extra cash for use in case of an emergency.
'Mini-Banks' (the Norwegian name for ATMs) are widespread and most accept major credit cards as well as Cirrus, Visa Electron and/or Plus bank cards. Check your bank's fees for international withdrawals and transactions; it's sometimes worth getting yourself a travel-focused pre-paid debit card to use instead.
Don't assume that all banks will change money: in some places you may need to shop around to find one that does. Rates at post offices and tourist offices are generally poorer than at banks, but can be convenient for small amounts outside banking hours.
Credit & Debit Cards
Norway is well on its way to becoming a cashless society – you'll find the vast majority of transactions these days are by card. Visa, Eurocard, MasterCard, Diners Club and American Express cards are widely accepted throughout Norway. If your card is lost or stolen, report it immediately.
The Norwegian krone (plural kroner) is most often represented either as NOK (preceding the number) or simply kr (following the amount). Lonely Planet uses kr. One Norwegian krone (1kr) equals 100 øre, though øre are now no longer used for cash transactions; the price is simply rounded to the nearest krone.
For current exchange rates, see www.xe.com.
Tipping on a North American scale is not expected, though is appreciated.
- Service charges Service charges and tips are included in restaurant bills and taxi fares.
- Reward service If the service has been particularly helpful in a midrange to top-end restaurant, 5% is generally appropriate, while 10% is considered generous.
- Paying by credit card If you're paying by credit card in a restaurant, space will be left for adding a tip.
Travellers cheques are almost defunct these days; post offices, some tourist offices and banks will still exchange them, but their days are definitely numbered.
These standard opening hours are for high season (mid-June to mid-August) and tend to decrease outside that time. With the exception of restaurants and bars, pretty much everything is closed on Sundays.
Banks 8am to 4pm Monday to Friday
Post Offices 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday, 10am to 3pm Saturday
Restaurants Noon to 3pm and 6pm to 11pm; some don't close between lunch and dinner
Shops 10am to 5pm Monday to Saturday; some stay open to 7pm on Thursday
Supermarkets 9am to 11pm Monday to Friday, to 10pm Saturday
Although few Norwegians are camera-shy, you should always ask permission before taking a photo in Sami areas, where you may encounter some camera sensitivity, as well as in villages where whaling is a mainstay (people may be concerned that the photos will be used against them in the media).
For comprehensive advice on taking terrific photos while on the road, check out Lonely Planet's Guide to Travel Photography.
Norway has an efficient postal service, with post offices in major towns. In towns without a post office, Post i Butikk outlets operate as kiosks within supermarkets and other businesses – these offer most of the basic postal services and open the same times as the business with which they share premises. Many souvenir shops and tourist offices also sell stamps.
Postcards and letters weighing up to 20g cost 13kr within Norway, 17kr to elsewhere in Europe and 21kr to the rest of the world. For larger parcels, expect to pay 302kr, plus 22/53kr per kilo for within/beyond Europe. For parcels beyond Europe there's an additional 114kr handling fee.
New Year's Day (Nyttårsdag) 1 January
Maundy Thursday (Skjærtorsdag) March/April
Good Friday (Langfredag) March/April
Easter Monday (Annen Påskedag) March/April
Labour Day (Første Mai, Arbeidetsdag) 1 May
Constitution Day (Nasjonaldag) 17 May
Ascension Day (Kristi Himmelfartsdag) May/June, 40th day after Easter
Whit Monday (Annen Pinsedag) May/June, eighth Monday after Easter
Christmas Day (Første Juledag) 25 December
Boxing Day (Annen Juledag) 26 December
- Smoking and vaping Forbidden in enclosed public spaces, including hotels, restaurants and bars.
Taxes & Refunds
Norway has a well-organised system of tax refunds on items purchased at participating shops.
How it Works
For goods that cost more than 315kr (290kr for food items) at shops displaying the 'Tax Free' logo, you're entitled to a 'Refund Cheque' for the 25% MVA (the equivalent of value-added or sales tax) or 15% for food items. (Note that the cost threshold relates to the total you spend in a single shop, rather than the amount per item.) At the point of sale, you fill out the cheque with your name, address and passport number, and then, at your departure point from the country, you present your sealed goods, passport and Refund Cheque to collect the refund; ferry passengers normally collect their refund from the ferry's purser during limited hours once the boat has sailed.
For more information, pick up the How to Shop Tax Free brochure from most tourist offices and some tourist shops, which explains the procedure and lists border crossings at which refunds can be collected; or visit www.globalblue.com/tax-free-shopping/norway/article117202.ece.
Telephone kiosks are still fairly widespread in Norway, but some don't accept cash. Instead you have to use either a credit card or a phonecard, which you can buy at 7-Elevens and convenience stores.
Local SIM cards are widely available and can be used in most international mobile phones. There's mobile coverage in all but wilderness areas.
There aren't too many places where you can't get mobile (cell) access; there's coverage in close to 90% of the country. This doesn't, of course, apply to wilderness areas and the hiking trails of most national parks, and mobile internet coverage (3G/4G) is a little lower.
If you want to use your home-country mobile phone in Norway, always check with your carrier about the cost of roaming charges to avoid a nasty surprise when your next bill arrives. EU phones should have no roaming charges when using them within Norway. Outside of the EU, an increasing number of providers offer packages that allow you to take your minutes, texts and data allowances overseas for a small charge.
If you wish to use your mobile, but with a Norwegian SIM card, check that your phone is unlocked. If your phone accepts a foreign SIM card, these can be purchased from any 7-Eleven store and some Narvesen kiosks. However, as the connection instructions are entirely in Norwegian, you're better off purchasing the card from any Telehuset outlet, where they'll help you connect on the spot.
Mobile-service providers include the following:
All Norwegian phone numbers have eight digits. Numbers starting with '800' usually indicate a toll-free number, while those beginning with '4', '9', '58' and '59' are mobile (cell) phone numbers. There are no extra local area codes (these are incorporated into listed numbers).
|International access code||00|
|Norway's country code||47|
In the unlikely event that you're travelling without an internet-enabled phone, tablet or laptop, you can buy international-call phonecards. Those issued by Telekort (Telenor phonecards) offer poor value, and are hard to find anyway. The best idea is to buy a third-party phonecard, sold at some 7-Elevens and convenience stores. Prices vary, but they let you make calls using a scratch PIN number and a local access number.
Note that when telling the time, Norwegians use 'half' as signifying 'half before' rather than 'half past' eg 'halv to' is 'half before two', not 'half past one'. Always double-check unless you want to be an hour late! Although the 24-hour clock is used in some official situations, you'll find people generally use the 12-hour clock in everyday conversation.
Norway shares the same time zone as most of Western Europe (GMT/UTC plus one hour during summertime, and GMT/UTC plus two hours during the daylight-saving period). Daylight saving starts on the last Sunday in March and finishes on the last Sunday in October.
Note the following time differences (compared to Norwegian summertime):
|Sydney||Eight hours ahead|
|Tokyo||Seven hours ahead|
|Moscow||One hour ahead|
|Copenhagen||Same time as Norway|
|London||One hour behind|
|New York||Six hours behind|
Most towns (and many roadside stops) have public facilities, the vast majority of which are kept in good order. However, at some shopping malls, train stations, bus terminals and even some (but not many) restaurants, you may have to pay up to 10kr, and some are only accessible using a contactless credit or debit card.
It's impossible to speak highly enough of tourist offices in Norway. Most serve as multilingual, one-stop clearing houses for general information and bookings for accommodation and activities. Nearly every city and town has its own tourist office, and most tourist offices in reasonably sized towns or major tourist areas publish comprehensive booklets giving the complete, up-to-date low-down on their town and the surrounding area.
Offices in smaller towns may be open only during peak summer months, while in cities they're open year-round, but with shorter hours in the low season.
Tourist offices operate under a variety of names – turistkontor and reiseliv are among the most common – but all have the information symbol (i) prominently displayed outside and are easy to identify and find.
Visit Norway, the official tourist information service, has a wealth of info on travelling in Norway.
Travel With Children
Norway is a terrific destination in which to travel as a family. This is a country that has become world famous for creating family-friendly living conditions, and most hotels, restaurants and many sights are accordingly child-friendly. Remember, however, that distances are vast and careful planning is required.
Best Regions for Kids
Green parklands in abundance and a large array of museums, many with an interactive component, mean there's plenty to keep children happy, but be warned that not all sights and restaurants are that welcoming to younger travellers.
- Central Norway
Lillehammer's (sometimes interactive) Winter Olympic sites may appeal, as will activities around Røros, and safaris that set off in search of elk and musk oxen.
- Bergen & the Southwestern Fjords
Bergen and Stavanger have numerous child-oriented attractions, while elsewhere there are boat trips on the fjords, interactive museums, water-based activities and the occasional Viking landmark.
Whale-watching is the main draw here, with ample opportunities on Vesterålen.
- The Far North
Winter-based activities such as dog-sledding thrill travellers of any age, while the Northern Lights are something the kids will never forget.
Norway for Kids
Domestic tourism is often organised around the assumption that many Norwegians will be travelling as a family, with everything from hotels to museums more than willing to not only accommodate children, but make sure they have a good time.
Some of Norway's museums will immediately appeal to children (such as natural history museums), but even where the subject matter is more adult in focus, some museums have interactive exhibits and/or children's play areas with toys and activities. And in summer (especially July), numerous museums with a historical focus organise programs for children, with games, activities, and staff dressed up in period costumes.
On a practical level, most attractions allow free admission for children up to six years of age and half-price (or substantially discounted) admission for those aged up to 16. Family tickets are available at many of Norway's sights. Unfortunately some museums in Oslo insist that you use their baby strollers and not your own.
Dotted around the country are some terrific theme parks that allow you to pass a day on rides and in themed pavilions; the focus is usually local in character, with trolls and other mythical Norwegian creatures the recurring themes. Larger towns and some coastal regions also have excellent aquariums.
Activities & Wildlife-Watching
Adventure tourism is one of Norway's major attractions, and there are a whole range of activities that kids can enjoy, although obviously the older your children, the wider the range of possibilities. For young travellers, wildlife safaris in search of whales, elk and musk ox are a terrific option. Dog-sledding is also possible in Svalbard, the far north and around Røros.
For older children, you may be surprised at what can be accomplished, from short hikes to kayaking and family white-water-rafting trips, and even some of the higher-octane thrills around Voss may be possible for travellers as young as 10 or 12.
- Vikingskipshuset, Oslo Reconstructed Viking ships at the Viking Ship Museum.
- Kon-Tiki Museum, Oslo Guaranteed to inspire the inner explorer.
- Natural History Museum, Oslo Stuffed Arctic wildlife.
- Archaeology Museum, Stavanger Viking-themed activities in summer.
- Norsk Oljemuseum, Stavanger The Oil Museum is one of Norway's most interactive.
- Norwegian Children's Museum, Stavanger Wonderful indoor playground for younger kids.
- Nordvegen Historiesenter, Karmøy Part museum, part Viking farm.
- Norwegian Glacier Museum, Fjærland Hands-on exhibits of Norway's icefields.
- Norsk Luftfartsmuseum, Bodø Ideal for the aeroplane enthusiast.
- Kristiansand Dyrepark Outstanding zoo and funfair in Norway's far south.
- Hunderfossen Familiepark Water rides, wandering trolls and fairy-tale palaces.
- Atlanterhavsparken, Ålesund Atlantic Ocean Park is one of northern Europe's best aquariums.
- Akvariet i Bergen Fantastic aquarium that you can reach by boat.
- Lofoten Aquarium, Kabelvåg Seals, sea otters and other marine creatures.
- Olympic Park, Lillehammer Everything from simulators to bobsled runs.
- Senjatrollet, Senja The world's biggest troll, with accompanying attractions.
- Polar Park, Setermoen An excellent animal park with Arctic species.
- Namsskogan Familiepark Arctic wildlife, ziplines and climbing facilities south of Mosjøen.
- White-water rafting Family-friendly trips in Sjoa and elsewhere.
- Dog-sledding Possible from Røros in central Norway to Tromsø, Øvre Dividal National Park, Karasjok and Svalbard in winter, with sleds on wheels in summer.
- Skiing Year-round skiing at centres used to catering for kids, including Lillehammer, Trysil, Voss and, in summer, Stryn.
- Kayaking Shorter family-friendly trips in Voss, Svalbard and across the fjords.
- Whale-watching See the giants of the sea off the northern coast from Andenes, Stø and Tromsø.
- Musk-ox safaris Search for this otherworldly beast in Dovrefjell-Sunndalsfjella National Park, around Oppdal and elsewhere.
- Elk safaris Free-range moose in southern and central Norway, including from Oppdal, Rjukan and Evje.
- Walrus, reindeer and Arctic foxes Walrus safaris are an exciting addition to Svalbard's wildlife offering, while reindeer and (to a lesser extent) Arctic foxes are sometimes seen within Longyearbyen itself.
As you'd expect, children's products such as baby food, infant formula, soy and cow's milk, and disposable nappies (diapers) are widely available in Norway (in supermarkets, pharmacies and more expensive convenience stores), but they're much more expensive than back home. You may want to bring a reasonable supply in order to keep costs down.
For all-round information and advice, check out Lonely Planet’s book Travel with Children.
When to Go
Easily the best time to travel in Norway with children is the main tourist season, which runs from mid-June to mid-August – this is when hotels offer the best deals for families, all sights and attractions are open and the weather is more conducive to a happy family holiday.
If you've come to Norway for the Northern Lights or winter activities such as dog-sledding, don't be put off by the bitterly cold weather. It's all about coming prepared with the appropriate clothes (Norwegian families don't hide in their homes for 10 months of the year!), and winter can be a magical time to be here.
Hotels, hostels, campsites and other accommodation options often have 'family rooms' or cabins that accommodate up to two adults and two children. Although many hotels do have larger, dedicated family rooms, other places simply squeeze in cots and/or extra beds when space allows, always for an additional fee.
One hotel chain that makes a special effort to cater for families from mid-June to mid-August is Thon Hotels (www.thonhotels.no), where family rooms can cost as little as 1150kr – stunning value by Norwegian standards. Most Thon Hotels also have a small children's play area and nice touches such as children's check-in steps.
Even in some upmarket restaurants, children will be made to feel welcome and, as a result, Norwegians are often seen eating out as a family group. Many restaurants offer children's menus with smaller portions and prices to match. And most of those that don't are willing to serve a smaller portion if you ask.
The high cost of meals can mean it's a challenge in Norway to ensure that your children eat well, but the general availability of hot dogs, hamburgers and pizzas do provide a fall-back option. Supermarkets are also good if you're stocking up for a family picnic and many have pre-made meals. Most restaurants have baby-change areas and a limited number of high chairs.
Norway's impressive public transport system is at once a comfortable means of getting from A to B and – given the variety, which spans trains, buses, tourist boats and ferries – may also carry considerable appeal for children.
On trains and buses, children under four generally travel for free (although they won't have a seat), while those aged between four and 15 (16 on the Hurtigruten coastal ferry) travel for 50% of the adult fare. Some long-distance trains have a special family carriage complete with a children's play area!
Car-rental firms hire out children's safety seats at a nominal cost, but it's essential that you book them in advance, especially in summer and on weekends when demand is high.
Norway is generally well set up for travellers with disabilities and all newly constructed public buildings are required by law to have wheelchair access. That said, like in most countries, the situation remains a work-in-progress. As a result, anyone with special needs should plan ahead.
Most Norwegian tourist offices carry lists of wheelchair-accessible hotels and hostels, but your best bet is to contact the Norwegian Association for the Disabled. Nearly all street crossings are equipped with either a ramp or a very low kerb (curb), and crossing signals produce an audible signal – longer beeps when it's safe to cross and shorter beeps when the signal is about to change.
Most (but not all) trains have carriages with space for wheelchair users and many public buildings have wheelchair-accessible toilets.
Download Lonely Planet's free Accessible Travel guide from http://lptravel.to/AccessibleTravel.
Organisations & Tours
Mobility International USA (www.miusa.org) In the US, advising travellers on mobility issues.
Norwegian Association for the Disabled For information on travel and sites of special interest to travellers with disabilities in Norway.
Society for Accessible Travel & Hospitality (www.sath.org) In the US; offers assistance and advice.
While a limited number of volunteering opportunities may be possible with local NGOs working with homeless people and recently arrived immigrants, the overwhelming number of these positions are filled by locals. Otherwise, there are very few volunteering opportunities in Norway.
Weights & Measures
- Weights & Measures The metric system is used. Watch out for the occasional use of mil (mile), which is a Norwegian mile (10km).
Women travellers will have few worries in Norway, and sober Norwegian men are normally the very picture of decorum. While alcohol-impaired men may become tiresome or obnoxious, they're probably no different from the same breed you'll encounter in your home country. Some of the oil towns (such as Stavanger, Haugesund and Kristiansund) can be male-dominated and may feel slightly intimidating for first-time female travellers in some areas, particularly late at night.
Journeywoman (www.journeywoman.com) Of the general websites dedicated to women travellers, Journeywoman is outstanding.
Krisesenter Women who have been attacked or abused can contact the Krisesenter in Oslo or dial 112 nationwide.
In order to work in Norway, knowledge of basic Norwegian is required at the very least. As a member of the European Economic Area (EEA), Norway grants citizens of other EEA countries the right to look for work for a three-month period without obtaining a permit; those who find work have the right to remain in Norway for the duration of their employment. For other foreigners, it's very difficult and an application for a work permit must be made through the Norwegian embassy or consulate in your home country before entering Norway.
In Oslo, Use-It is a useful resource.
For help with looking for work, the best place to start is the Norwegian Labour & Welfare Organisation, which produces extensive online information for free.