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NORWAY

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Aurland, Norway
Aurland, Norway, © Can Stock Photo / hansok

Norway is offically known as the Kingdom of Norway and has a population of approximately 5 million.  It is a parliamentary democracy with strong ties to its constitutional monarchy.  The country's border parallels Sweden, while in the extreme north it borders Finland and Russia.  The Arctic island of Svalbard is also part of Norway.  Oslo is the capital and largest city.   The most striking features of Norway geographically are its islands, coves and fjords.  Norwegian surnames in the past were heavily patronymic and changed with each generation based on the father's first name by adding "sen", as in Hansen or Andersen.

The Vikings orignated from Norway and dominated the region from the 700s to the 900s.  The area converted to Christianity in the late 900s.  While Norway exhibited some international influence in the 1200s as part of the Hanseatic League, it became part of Denmark from the 1400s through to the 1800s.  During the 1800s the country was ruled by Sweden and it wasn't until 1905 that Norway became independent.

Norway has historically been a poor country.  Most of the ancient building was done in wood and has not survived.  Many Norwegians emigrated to the United States to find a better life.

Today the petroleum industry in the Norwegian Sea has brought a new chapter to its economy.  Summer is the best time of year to visit Norway as temperatures during the long summer daylight reach levels that most would consider to be temperate.  In the winter many of the attractions in Norway are closed.  Prices for accommodation and food are very high in Norway, so cruising is both a practical and economical way to see this country.  In addition to ocean cruise lines, Hurtigurten covers the entire coast of mainland Norway, plus Svalbard.

Visas:

Norway (excluding Svalbard) participates in the Schengen Zone and Schengen Visa requirements, even though it is not a member of the European Union.  That means there are no border controls between members and no border inspections by rail or vehicle when traveling from Norway to Sweden and Finland.  Some countries that are not members of the Schengen Zone require a Schengen Visa to enter Europe.  More than 40 countries outside the Schengen Zone do not require a visa.  Exemptions include citizens of Australia, Canada, Mexico, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.  Check your specific country at VisaHQ.  For a list of exempt countries, visit Project Visa.

Currency:

The official currency of Norway is the Norwegian krone.

Best Time to Visit Norway:

City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

 Bergen

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 Flam

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 Oslo

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 Stavanger

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 Svalbard

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View Norway map