Hike the rugged coastline under the otherworldly glow of the midnight sun or explore the Svalbard archipelago on an expedition voyage. Chase Tromso’s Northern Lights, explore the Lofoten Islands’ colourful fishing villages or take the Bergen Railway past alpine lakes and ancient glaciers. Discover a land of friluftsliv (open-air living), of koselig (feeling cosy and content), and find out for yourself why Norwegians rate themselves as some of the happiest people on this beautiful planet.
When deciding the best time for you to visit Norway, the main factors to consider are your tolerance for the cold and what you want to see most.
While the joys of the high summer are self-evident – long days! Mild weather! – both international and local tourists flock to Norway’s fjords and hiking trails during June and July. If you want to hike all day, stay up all night (because the sun pretty much doesn’t set) and don’t mind rubbing shoulders with other travellers, this could be the ideal time for you.
Winter in Norway is cold. November, December and January see average daylight temperatures between -1°C and 4°C (30°F and 39°F) with the sun setting in the afternoon. That said, this is the only time of the year that you can glimpse the stunning Northern Lights. Even if you don’t see Aurora Borealis (you’ll have more luck the further north you go), the festivity of Christmas and the snow-covered mountains make winter a magical season to visit.
Spring and autumn are both crisp in terms of temperature. Think about 10°C (50°F) in May and September. These shoulder seasons may offer a good way to split the difference between winter and summer if you can handle a little bit of cold and a little bit of a crowd, but not too much of either. Just be aware that spring is the rainy season and pack accordingly.
Visas for Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland are not required for passport holders of the European Union, Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Canada who plan to visit for 90 days or less. Please note that random passport checks occasionally happen at European borders and you will need at least six months validity on your passport to enter the country overland.
All other nationalities should check with the Norwegian embassy or consulate closest to them for information.
Part of what contributes to Norway’s reputation as an expensive nation for visitors (but not locals) is that most workers, including waitstaff, are paid union-approved liveable wages.
Because of this, tipping in Norway is not commonplace and is generally left up to the discretion of the customer. If the service in a mid- to high-end restaurant is particularly good, feel free to round up the bill.
Internet access in Norway is fantastic, with almost 100 per cent of the country having access to a connection. In Norway's major cities and towns, travellers will be able to access the internet on their phones with global roaming switched on (be careful of charges) and at cafes and free wi-fi hot spots. Even more remote and rural areas will have internet availability, though in towns like Tromso and Trondheim it may be a slow connection.
Mobile phone coverage is generally very good in Norway. If you want to use your mobile phone, ensure global roaming is activated before you arrive (but be aware of the fees this may incur).
Flushable, Western-style toilets are the standard in Norway.
Norway's unit of currency is the krone. Prices here are approximate and shown in US dollars for ease of comparison.
Cup of coffee in a cafe = USD 3–4
500 ml beer in a bar = USD 10–13
Takeaway supermarket sandwich = USD 10
Meal in a mid-range restaurant = USD 25–30
Yes, you can drink the tap water in Norway. In fact, it’s some of the best-tasting tap water in the world so pack a reusable bottle and take advantage. It’s always considered safe to drink unless otherwise marked.
Major credit cards are accepted by most large shops and hotels. Smaller vendors may not accept credit cards, so carry enough cash to cover small purchases.
ATMs are commonly found in Norway's cities and urban areas. Remote regions will have less ATM availability, so prepare accordingly before travelling away from cities.
The climate in Norway is noticeably warmer than what would otherwise be expected at such a high latitude because of the Gulf Stream. Summer temperatures can reach up to 30°C (86°F), even in northern areas, but only for limited periods. The length of the winter and amount of snow varies around the country. There is more snow in the north and the winters are dark; on the southern and western coasts, winters are moderate and rainy, while further inland the temperature can get below -25°C (-13°F). March, April, October and November tend to be the rainiest months. Snow usually starts to fall in October or November in the northern areas (and in higher altitudes) and generally melts by the end of April. The Northern Lights are visible from parts of Norway, with September to April usually presenting the optimal conditions for viewing.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.
For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
1 January New Year’s Day
March/April Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Monday
1 May Labour Day
17 May Constitution Day
May/June Ascension Day
May/June Whit Sunday and Whit Monday
25 December Christmas Day
26 December Boxing Day
For a current list of public holidays in Norway, including the movable dates noted above, go to worldtravelguide.net
Same-sex marriage has been legal since 2009 and citizens have had the legal right to self determine their gender since 2016. Norway has strong anti-discrimination laws regarding LGBTQIA+ individuals and public opinion on LGBTQIA+ people is overwhelmingly positive.
You can find visible queer scenes in all the midsize to large cities. Oslo’s is the biggest and the official Oslo tourism website even has a section dedicated to queer spaces and events in the city. In other large cities, like Bergen, you’ll find no shortage of LGBTQIA+ friendly spaces, though fewer that cater to specific sexualities and genders.
If you are travelling solo on an Intrepid group tour, you will share accommodation with a passenger of the same gender as per your passport information. If you don’t identify with the gender assigned on your passport, please let us know at time of booking and we’ll arrange the rooming configuration accordingly. A single supplement is available on some tours for travellers who do not wish to share a room.
Intrepid is committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, regardless of any physical or mental limitations they might have. We’re always happy to talk to travellers with disabilities and see if we can help guide them towards the most suitable itinerary for their needs and, where possible, make reasonable adjustments to our itineraries.
Norway is a fairly accessible destination for people with restricted mobility and other disabilities and is actively working to be more accessible every day. In general, travellers with mobility or other restrictions should be aware that the weather can adversely affect accessible travel in Norway. During December, January and February, snow and ice can make even the most well-maintained sidewalk difficult to navigate.
New buildings are required to be accessible to wheelchair users, however many older buildings may not be accessible. Public buildings like museums that are not totally accessible will often have assistance buttons at their entrances that direct a member of staff to help you enter the building. Public transport is a mixed bag. While new trams, trains and stations are accessible to wheelchair users, some are not. If you’re travelling on a regional train, Tourism Norway recommends calling the train carrier at least 24 hours before your journey to ensure you will be accommodated. The boats that we use for cruising fjords in Norway are accessible to wheelchair users.
Metro trains, trams and buses in Norway are outfitted with PA systems that can be of assistance to travellers with restricted vision. Many trains, buses and trams in major cities will also have screens helpful to travellers with restricted hearing. Travellers who use battery-operated hearing aids should consider bringing a stash of extra batteries or familiarising themselves with the Norwegian equivalent of the batteries their devices need.
If you have a disability and are planning to travel with Intrepid, we recommend speaking with your booking agent about specific concerns that pertain to accessibility.
The perception of Norway as a prohibitively expensive country stops a lot of folks from booking a journey, despite how badly they want to see the country’s incredible landscapes.
For locals, the cost of most goods and services aren’t that expensive relative to wages. However, there is no denying that Norway is more expensive for travellers than many destinations in Europe and will require more thoughtful budgeting than a trip to, say, Romania.
Prices of basic items like metro tickets, beer and takeaway meals will likely be higher than you would normally pay at home. There are, however, ways of making a trip to Norway a little easier on your bank account. Shopping at supermarkets for lunch instead of dining out, travelling with a reusable water bottle and limiting your alcohol consumption are just a few.
Our trips in Norway tend to be light on included meals so that you can decide whether you’d prefer to grab a supermarket sandwich for lunch or sit down to eat somewhere. You’ll also have the benefit of a local leader to help you find deals and a well thought out itinerary, which means less chance for expensive impulse buys.
Embracing friluftsliv, a Norwegian word that loosely translates as a way of life that prioritises time spent in nature, is the best way to reduce the cost of your trip. Basically, if you’re after an adventure where you can eat world-class cuisine all day and party all night, Norway might not be the right destination for you right now. But if you’re interested in unforgettable views, catching sight of the Northern Lights or hiking under the midnight sun, Norway may just be the best travel experience you’ve ever had.
Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.
In Norway, we stay in locally run accommodation including guesthouses, smaller-scale hotels and homestays in an effort to support the local economies. We also visit locally-run restaurants and markets where travellers will have opportunities to support local businesses and purchase handicrafts created by local artisans.