From scenic fjords to lush forests, and historic cities to icy glaciers, Norway has much to offer its visitors. An increasingly popular tourist destination, the country is famed for its Northern Lights in winter and endless days in summer. Experiencing these unique phenomena alone are reason enough to venture to Norway.
Cruising around Norway is a delight; it has the highest concentration of fjords in the world and so it seems as if every turn reveals yet another impossibly picturesque sight. There are tumbling waterfalls, small idyllic villages and rolling green hills. The Norwegian landscape is also home to an abundance of wildlife, including elks, seals and a variety of birds. The country’s capital, Oslo, is a lively city with fascinating culture and an energetic nightlife.
Due to its scenic nature and popularity, many cruise companies offer itineraries exploring Norway, tracing its fascinating coastline, navigating the fjords and heading north to explore its Arctic regions and beyond.
Norway has many busy ports that are popular stops in cruise itineraries. Oslo and Bergen are the most populous cities in the country; they have busy ports where cruise ships can dock. Oslo is located further south than Bergen and on the eastern side of the country, nearer to its border with Sweden. Bergen’s location on the western coast of Norway makes it a convenient port for cruises exploring the coast and heading north. Bergen is also is turn-around port for Hurtigruten, which is famous for its Norwegian coastal voyages.
Further north, popular ports include Geiranger, for its breathtaking fjord, the vibrant northern city of Tromsø, and Honningsvag, near the North Cape. Beyond the mainland lies the Svalbard Archipelago, serviced by the Longyearbyen port, offering visitors a glimpse deep into the Arctic region.
Many of the ports included in Norwegian cruise itineraries are populous cities, with plenty of facilities and amenities to give tourists a comfortable and enjoyable visit. However, remote northern places and quaint villages are also popular stops; scenic but often lacking in facilities. Communicate with your cruise director about what to expect, so you can be prepared with what you need before you disembark the ship.
How to Get Around
Norwegian is the official language of Norway; however, many Norwegians speak excellent English. This makes getting around the ports easy for English-speaking tourists. Generally speaking, Norwegian infrastructure is very good with public transport available in major cities. More remote northern locations may require hiking, or snowshoeing in the winter.
- It is a 7 hour journey from Oslo to Bergen
- It is an 8 hour and 30 minute journey from Oslo to Geiranger
- It is a 22 hour and 30 minute journey from Oslo to Tromsø
- It is a 25 hour journey from Oslo to Honningsvag.
- Currency – Norway’s official currency is the Norwegian Krone (NOK). There are banks, ATMs and money changing facilities in the major cities, like Bergen and Oslo. Most stores in cities will accept international credit cards. Be prepared to have cash for the more remote locations on your cruise itinerary.
- Time Zone – Norway operates on Central European Time (CET), which is 1 hour ahead of Universal Standard Time. The clocks are set forward 1 hour for daylight saving, which begins in March and ends in October.
- Weather – For its far north latitude, Norway enjoys a pleasant climate due to the Gulf Stream and warm air currents. In summer (June to August) temperatures can reach 25 – 30 degrees Celsius, especially in the country’s south.In winter, the country is generally blanketed with snow and temperatures can plunge as low as -40 degrees in the inner areas of the far north. The coastal areas experience milder winters with warmer temperatures.
- Geirangerfjord – The natural wonder of Geirangerfjord is breathtaking. The waters are deep blue and framed by snow-covered mountains. Explore the UNESCO heritage site and hike among lush green vegetation, discover waterfalls and keep a look out for wildlife. Take a kayak onto the fjord and immerse yourself in the picture perfect scenery.In winter, the region becomes a spectacular playground for skiing.
- Oslo – The city of Oslo is a highlight of a Norwegian trip, especially for lovers of the arts. Rich in culture and history, Oslo is home to stunning architecture, as well as the wonders of the Vigelandsparken Sculpture Park. There is the Norwegian Opera and Ballet to visit, as well as the National Gallery, which houses many works by Norwegian painter Edvard Much, including the famous The Scream.
- The North Cape –The North Cape is the northernmost point of mainland Norway, marked by a monumental cliff plunging into the sea. Visitors can look across to the North Pole, knowing all that separates them is the islands of Svalbard Archipelago. This surreal experience is worth the journey north, as you feel like you are standing on the edge of the world.