- 1 Climate
- 2 Getting There
- 3 Cultural Info
- 4 Health and Safety
- 5 Resources
Norway's climate is heavily influenced by the action of the Gulf Stream, a current of relatively warm water that runs up Norway’s west cost leaving the coast relatively ice free and mild for it's latitude. Inland is a different matter, and the Gulf streams primary influence is to provide moisture ... which is good for snow. Oslo is effectively an inland city, and during December to March snow is commonplace around the entire city. Oslo Fjord also can partially freeze, although ice skating on it is strongly discouraged unless you want to be fished out in the spring thaw. Temperatures in Oslo can drop to -20, but this is more common in the mountains, and in the far polar north, winter inland temperatures can approach -40, but the west coast at the same latitude may only reach -10C.
There are literally hundreds of small and medium sized downhill (Alpine skiing) resorts in Norway. Most of the larger ones are located within about 3-4 hours of Oslo in the southern part of Norway.
The 10 largest, in ski area are:
The number of cross-country trails is enormous, and any figure you find will be little more than an educated guess. Norwegians are born with skis strapped to their feet, and every boy and girl has at least one pair of cross country skis by the time they are 5. It is their national sport, and vast distances of fully lit, and groomed cross country trails exist throughout the country.
For Europeans Getting to Norway is easy, and most major carriers, as well as most cheap carriers fly into Oslo (although note the comment below in regards to cheap air companies and Torp Airport). By car, the easiest way from most of Europe is via Denmark, across the bridge to Sweden, and up the motorway straight to Oslo.
From Asia / Australia, you will need a few connecting flights. Normally you will need a stop over in Asia (normally Singapore or Hong Kong), followed by a stop over in Europe (normally Germany or England) before you make it to Oslo. It is a bit of a pain in the rear end, and don't forget the nasty travel restrictions in Europe in regards to hand luggage and duty free. Remember, if in doubt check!
Visas and Documentation
Australians do not need a VISA to enter Norway as it is part of the Schengen Agreement area (Schengen Agreement). Australians may stay 90 days in the country, before they are required to apply for residency or leave. Check the latest advice with your embassy.
There are two main airports in Oslo; Torp and Gardermoen , but unless you want to spend 2.5 hrs on a bus, fly into Gardermoen Oslo Airport. Unfortunately many cheap airlines like RyanAir atc, fly into Torp ... you do not want to do this, as it is a 2.5hr bus ride into Oslo. The cheapest airline for getting into Gardermoen is in most cases Norwegian air. There are other small airports at Tromsø and Trysil, but most visitors to Norway will fly into Oslo, and then hire a car or catch a train / bus out to their resort of choice. There is a highspeed train link from Gardermoen  Airport to Oslo Centrum, (town centre), and it costs about $A30, runs very very regularly, and is fantastically simple to use. You would be an idiot to catch a taxi from Gardermoen Oslo Airport.
For the more experienced traveller, there is also a local service Oslo-Gardermoen  which takes a little longer, but it is half the price.
Customs and Quarantine
Alcohol is VERY VERY expensive in Norway, and basically everyone brings alcohol in, either as duty free or from their own personal stash. While customs at the Swedish / Norwegian border is very lax, and similarly so at Gardermoen, the fines are exorbitant and may include a jail term if you just happen to be found bringing more than the allowed amount of alcohol into the country ... so I do not recommend it. But DO bring in as much as you are leagally allowed to. Even if you do not drink, it makes a fantastic present for Norwegians!
Food and Drink
Drink: Expensive ... VERY expensive. A 400ml beer = about $US 9.50 ... so don't.
Food: Frozen Pizza is the national meal (I shit you not, the Grandiosa is known as their national meal!). They are cheap, and easy. If you want to eat out, make sure you own a North Sea oil rig. This particullarly applies at Indian places or Pizza places - which charge $30 US for a large pizza.
Technology and Networks
Most cafes have free wireless support but there is a distinct lack of internet cafes ... yes they exist and yes there are a couple in every major resort, but they are not abundant. So bring a laptop.
There are social networks for most nationalities in Norway, so use google, it is your friend.
... are high ... VERY high. VAT is 25% on everything good (eg alcohol), and if you work here expect to lose about 35-50% of your income to the semi-socialist government ... best not to mention taxes
Oh this one is a doozey ... When Norwegians say VISA, they actually mean a sepecial "Bank Axcept" VISA card, in many supermarkets and bars, normal international VISA's will not be accepted ... it is a joke, and most Norwegians do not understand the difference, nor that VISA is supposed to be an international card. So basically, take a MASTERCARD if you can, as it is accepted as a EuroCard and is accepted most anywhere.
Yeah tip ... why not ... If you buy a beer and it costs 58kr (say) it is common (but not required) to leave the 2kr on the bar for the bar tender. Tipping is not forced down your throat as it is in America, it is left up to you (like in Australia or France). When you pay the bill you normally have to enter the total ammount in a little portable card reader, and this gives you an opportunity to enter the tip, but like elsewhere, I think a cash tip is always better, 10% if the service was particullarly good ... I'm yet to tip more than 5% here ...
Health and Safety
Australia and many other countries have reciprocal helth benefits with Norway, best to check before you go. As for safety ... Norway is safer than England (much) but less safe than Hong Kong (much)...
Theses are the local Numbers (note many / most mobile phones will allow you to dial 112 regardless of whether the key lock is on, or whether there is any credit. Dialling 112 - international mobile emergency number, will override the key lock.)