Norway is primarily a tourist favorite for nature lovers. Located on the Scandinavian Peninsula, Norway is home to only 4.5 million people. It is so sparsely populated that miles on end of the country can be explored without ever encountering another soul. This is not altogether a bad thing – much of Norway is thus left unspoiled and visitors can soak in the magic of the country’s Scandinavian landscape undisturbed.
Norway is all about exploring and lavishing one’s eyes on the country’s beautiful fjords, snow-white glaciers, tall mountains, rocky wilderness, snow-crested peaks, forested valleys, streaming rivers and waterfalls, and rugged coastlines and islands. In the winter, Norway’s skies are lit with the bright glow of the aurora borealis or northern lights, and the nights are long. In the summer, the days are never-ending and the sun remains afloat in the northern parts of the country even as the clock strikes midnight – hence Norway’s nickname the “land of the midnight sun”.
Though under-populated, it is a wonder that Norwegian culture is not altogether devoid. But on the contrary, Norway has given the world the music of Grieg, the paintings of Edvard Munch, the dramas of Ibsen, Norse mythology, and the folklores of the Vikings.
Norway is a great country for winter outdoor activities and one can enjoy some of the best alpine skiing, snowboarding and cross-country skiing here. Hiking, biking, white water rafting, kayaking, paragliding, and glacier trekking are also popular summer activities.
Norway’s notable sites include the Jotunheimen National Park, a mountain range with stunning mountain scenery and the perfect setting for hiking and climbing. At Jostedalsbreen National Park, you’ll also find the largest glacier in Europe, called the Jostedalsbreen or Jostedal Glacier. The Arctic islands of Svalbard are worth checking out and you’ll be able to spot polar bears prancing on the sheets of ice. Other top travel destinations of Norway include Oslo, Bergen, Lofoten islands, Lillehammer, Hurtigruten, Stokmarknes, Hammerfest, Floro, Longyearbyen, Tromso, Trondheim, Stavanger, Kristiansand, Fredrikstad, Skien, and Haugesund.
Daily Life in Norway
Norwegians enjoy life. They start the day with a hearty breakfast, and since there is little need for a heavy lunch, school is usually over by 1 or 2 p.m., and offices close at 4. Shops and factories close by 5 p.m. After an early dinner there is ample leisure time left over for sports and outdoor life. Many, if not most, city families have cottages on the seaside or in the mountains, which they use for swimming, sailing, fishing, and hunting. Norway's national sport, however, is skiing. Prehistoric rock carvings over 4,000 years old show skis in use in Norway, and a 2,500-year-old ski is on display in Oslo, in the world's only ski museum. In the 19th century Norwegians introduced skiing as a sport to the rest of the world. They still win many medals in the winter Olympic Games.
Though Norwegians today take modern conveniences as a matter of course, there are still some who do not lead the typical life of an industrial society. In the far north a few nomadic Lapps still lead their traditional life, following their reindeer herds from pasture to pasture. Years ago the reindeer provided food and furs for tents and clothing. Today the sale of reindeer meat is the Lapp's main source of income. But modern life has reached the Lapps, too. The Norwegian Government has built a special school and cultural center at Kautokeino, and radios and modern communications have brought the Lapps closer to the 20th century.