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Written by
Frances McCann
Frances McCann

Holidays in Norway – Do’s & Don’ts

Fjords, mountains, stunning nature, northern lights, incredible walks, brown cheese… the reasons to love Norway are many! And now that Macs Adventure has recently launched a series of new tours and holidays in Norway, there is all the more reason to head for the Norwegian hills. Our Norwegian trips are suitable for all interests and abilities, and offer some of the most stunning landscapes the country has to offer. Book your dream holiday in Norway now – and learn what you should absolutely do and maybe avoid in our holiday guide to Norway’s do’s and don’ts.


Try the local cuisine…

Norway may not be famous for culinary delights, but did you know that there have been 5 Norwegian winners of Bocuse d’Or, the most prestigious gastronomic competition in the world? Excellent local ingredients, high food quality standards and focus on animal welfare means that it is easy to enjoy Norwegian food, wherever you go. Local specialties like fresh fish and seafood, apples from Hardanger, reindeer, traditional waffles with jam and sour cream, smoked salmon, fårikål (lamb and cabbage) and the classic, sweet brown cheese are popular with Norwegians and visitors alike. And if you really want a top notch treat, visit the three-star Michelin restaurant in Oslo, Maaemo.

Norwegian blueberry picking

Norwegian blueberry picking - local food straight from the source, and a popular - free! - outdoor activity

…but don’t worry if you don’t love it all

Some of the more acquired tastes in Norway include salty liquorice, smalahove made from sheep’s head and fermented fish served with flatbread, onions and sourcream, known as rakfisk, a smelly, but tasty delicacy. Sustainable whaling has a dedicated following in Norway, and it is not unheard of to see whale steak on menus in restaurants, especially in the north and west of the country. Don’t worry, nobody will force you to eat anything you don’t want, but trying some unusual dishes may give you some unexpected culinary pleasures.

Wear suitable clothing…

Norway has a lot of weather. In the west it is wet, in the east it is cold. Up north it freezes in the winter and is sunny all day long in summer – literally! - while even the sunnier south has harsh autumn storms, and can be susceptible to flooding. The long and short of it? Bring waterproofs, warm clothing and lots of layers. Norwegians love wool, and there is a reason for that. But don’t worry, bad weather is so common that everyone is used to it, the infrastructure deals well with all kinds of weather, and there is nothing better than heating up in a warm and cosy hytte at the end of a wet day on the trail.

…and don’t bring your designer outfits

Most Norwegians are fairly down-to-earth, and while they have that Scandinavian cool, a practical dress sense is very prevalent. Think Gore Tex, sturdy boots, wool-lined jackets and a lot of knitwear – even at work. Many Norwegians spend a lot of money on clothes, but a high proportion of that is on sportswear and outdoor clothing. Be prepared to see some quality kit on your walking holiday in Norway! And unless you are going clubbing or dining at top end restaurants in the big cities, you’ll easily get by without formalwear of any kind.

A Norwegian hytte

A Norwegian hytte

Be mindful of money…

Norway is expensive, there’s no way around it. Expect to pay more than you are used to for food, accommodation, and especially drinks. There is a reason that Norwegians don’t do rounds when they go out on the town – everyone buys their own drink. When you consider that pints can be as expensive as £10 in some Oslo bars, that suddenly makes a lot of sense. But Norway doesn’t have to be prohibitively expensive. With our great value walking holidays, we hand pick accommodation and travel options that are good for your budget as well as your comfort. Buy your alcohol in duty free when you arrive, avoid expensive tourist traps and be smart when you shop for gifts and souvenirs. And remember: the amazing nature and outdoor experiences are always free in Norway!

…but don’t count on cash!

It’s a long time since cash was king in Norway. Most people use plastic for everything – even small purchases are paid for with card. Paying with cash is quite uncommon, so be prepared. If you are travelling from outside Norway, a good tip is finding a debit or credit card that does not charge for transactions abroad, as it can quickly add up.

Prepare for long distances…

Norway is a small country with a very large countryside. The Norwegian coastline is one of the longest in the world, and the distance from Lindesnes in the south to Nordkapp in the north 2376 kilometers (1476 miles) – that is a drive of 39 hours without any breaks… Roads in Norway are often narrow, steep and with a lot of twists and turns, so driving can be a fascinating experience. You’ll appreciate the majestic scenery with mountains and glaciers, clear blue fjords, high peaks and dramatic waterfalls, whether you travel by train from Oslo to Bergen, or drive and hike from Stavanger to Bergen.

Cycling on Bergensbanen in Norway

Cycling along the famous Bergensbanen, crossing the mountains between Oslo and Bergen

…and don’t rush

Take your time in Norway. This is the country that practically invented slow TV. Enjoy the stunning views on the train journey from Norway’s capital to the western city of Bergen in the unique TV documentary Bergensbanen minute by minute, follow the Hurtigruten on its six day journey from Kirkenes to Bergen, or spend 8 hours watching knitting, firewood or some of the other slow TV phenomenon that have swept across the Norwegian nation.

Have a Kvikk Lunsj…

Norwegians love sweet things, baking and chocolate, and there is a lot on offer. The iconic Kvikk Lunsj is basically a Kit Kat, but much, much tastier. (Actually, avoid the comparison if you can, as the national pride of Kvikk Lunsj is considered so superior to Kit Kats that Norwegians don’t like to be reminded that there are other versions available!).

…but not until you’ve made an effort

Traditionally, Kvikk Lunsj should really be enjoyed at the peak of a summit, at the end of a ski trip or when you’ve managed to convince the kids to get all the way up that big hill. In line with the Norwegian tradition of friluftsliv, Kvikk Lunsj is a reward that is best enjoyed outside in the fresh air.

Skiing on Hardangervidden in winter

The Norwegian Hardangervidden in winter  

See all our holidays in Norway, and pick your favourite. God tur, as they say in Norway! Contact info@macsadventure.com if you have any questions – we have local specialists and resident Norwegians in the team at Macs Adventure, so we are here to help you every step of the way.

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