Currency: Norwegian Krone
Time Zone: CET/GMT+1
Tipping: In Norway tipping is not expected as a service charge is always included in the bill, however you can tip for exceptional service should you feel it necessary.
The most Western of the Scandinavian countries, Norway is a mysterious realm of natural phenomenon. Elongated and beautiful, it is home to Northern Lights that illuminate the winter skies with strange glows and flickering beams and the Arctic Land of the Midnight Sun, where the sun never sets during summer months. Jaw-dropping fjords, glaciers and powerful waterfalls, nine of which are among the twenty highest in the world, further seal Norway's status as a simply stunning realm and a must-visit destination on an escorted tour.
With around 1,190 fjords in Norway, the country is most famed for its majestic Fjords. Deemed the 'soul of Norway', their credentials speak for themselves; in 2011 the Fjords featured number 3 in Lonely Planet's 8 Voyages of a Lifetime and the National Geographic Traveler Magazine called them the 'world's most iconic destination'.
As you would expect, the vast majority of Norway escorted tours come in the shape of relaxing cruises which are the best way to appreciate and get right into the heart of the stunning Fjords. Cruises are popular throughout the year, with dedicated Northern Lights cruises going specifically in search of the magical Aurora Borealis. Look out for cruises which voyage to Alta, where the Northern Lights are usually at their best.
In addition to sky-gazing and cruising past glaciers (a sail past the famous Briksdal Glacier is another popular cruise inclusion), cruises will take in a number of popular ports of call. Eidfjord, Olden, Alesund, endearing Tromso which is the largest settlement beyond the Arctic Circle, Narvik and Bergen - gateway to the Fjords - are all regular stops and the Fjord cities tend to be just as pleasing as the Fjords themselves. To completely appreciate the beauty of the region, cruises range from 7 days to longer 19 day cruises which also take in Russia.
The beauty of travelling in an escorted tour or by cruise is that you'll be in the safest hands when it comes to holidaying in foreign lands. To help you have an enjoyable holiday in Norway, take a look at these useful tips and advice provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO):
Health and Travel Insurance
Contact your GP prior to travelling to ensure whether you need any vaccinations or medical preventative treatment throughout your trip. If you are travelling to Norway you should ensure you have an EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) prior to travelling. This is not a form of Travel Insurance, however it will entitle you to urgent state provided medical treatment should it become necessary. Any treatment which is given will be to the same standard as Norwegian nationals would receive.
You must make sure you have travel insurance as the EHIC will not cover the cost of medical repatriation, long term medical treatment or non-urgent treatment. Check that you also have access to additional funds to cover the cost of repatriation/treatments. Most tours offer the chance to purchase one-trip travel insurance at the time of booking.
It is best to seek local advice before eating mussels harvested off the coast or certain breeds of fish from fjords and lakes.
Should you need to dial an ambulance whilst in Norway, call 112 . If you are taken to a medical facility for treatment contact your insurance company immediately.
Levels of crime in Norway are low but there is a risk of theft at airports, train stations and around busy cities and towns such as Oslo. Always take precautions to protect personal items like passports, money and credit cards.
Women should take care when out alone in darkness. Always stick to well-lit routes and avoid shortcuts and quiet paths/roads with no other pedestrians.
Local Laws and Customs
Drug laws are stricter in Norway than in the UK, so never become involved. Possession can lead to fines or imprisonment. The narcotic substance khat/qat is legal in the UK, however it is a prohibited substance in Norway.
You will not need a visa when visiting Norway. It is a member of the EEA (European Economic Area). Passports should be valid for the duration of the intended visit and an additional period of validity is not needed beyond this.
Any other nationality looking to visit Norway must contact the local embassy to check visa requirements.
To find out further information about Norway, visit their tourist board website at: http://www.visitnorway.com/uk