With its fjords, mountains and some of the world’s tallest waterfalls, Norway has been on the rise as the European dream destination. Let’s learn more about the world’s second happiest country!
1. In the local language the country is actually called Norge. In the Nynsork spelling, it is written as Noreg. So, welcome to interesting facts about Noreg!
2. Ever dreamed of bagging a Nobel Prize? If you’re eyeing the prize for Physics, Chemistry, Literature or Medicine then you would have to take a trip to Stockholm to receive it. But if you are talking about the Nobel Peace Prize then you should know that Alfred Nobel, the chemist who bequeathed his wealth for the world-famous awards, chose the Norwegian capital, Oslo as the destination for awarding the peace prize. The city has hosted the event almost every year since 1901. Speculations as to why Alfred chose Oslo are inconclusive. Maybe he thought that those who propagate the path of peace earn themselves a holiday for their efforts and what better place than Norway? I mean, who knows!
3. Do you remember how when we were kids if we happened to pass through a tunnel, we would all start screaming? Oh, come on, don’t pretend like that was just me! Well, tell that child inside you that the world’s longest road tunnel is stretched for a distance of 24.5kms, that too in Norway. The Lærdal Tunnel in the Vestland country of Norway connects the municipalities of Lærdal to Aurland. It took one billion Norwegian kroners to construct this! Maybe you can go screaming again? But actually, rumour has it that the tunnel is so beautiful that you would want to sit and enjoy that drive. ?
4. The country is also home to penguins. Norway has administered the remote island of Bovet since 1929. At 2,600kms from South Africa and 1,700 kms north of Antarctica, Bouvet Island is one of the most remote islands in the world along with its British neighbour Tristan Da Cunha.
5. Wealth is a public matter. No, no, I do not mean that its “all for one, one for all”, let’s not be delusional! But your income tax, annual income and wealth are matters of public record. So, anyone can check your financials. The government took this decision so as to dissuade tax evasion in the light of such open data and records.
6. Norway and Russia share a border. And while this may leave you confused the border crossing actually runs for 120 miles long. A new bridge and tunnel were even opened in 2017 in order to reduce the travel time. The border is essentially marked by a river cutting through the dense forest area. The proximity is such that the town of Kirkenes which is just 15kms from the Russian border shows significant Russian influence. Street signs and boards are put up in both the languages!
7. The country was one of the founding members of the UN and the first ever UN Secretary General, Trygve Lie, too hailed from here. A labour lawyer who went onto serve as the country’s foreign minister during the Second World War, he himself questioned how he ended up in this position. While his credentials are in no way questioned, some do state that the socialist leader was a compromise candidate, one that all countries could agree upon despite their vested interests.
8. Seafood is actually one of Norway’s biggest industries, so much so that years ago Japan would get seafood from Norway. And while the world may be eating sushi thanks to Japan, the popular type, salmon sushi, was actually a suggestion by the delegation from Norway in the 1980s!
9. The Norwegian language is actually written in two scripts, the Bokmal and Nynsork. While the first is more popular and the latter is used more in the rural area, the country officially uses both, requiring all government offices to provide forms in both. Even school kids are taught to read and write in both!
10. It is the birthplace of skiing in many ways. The words “ski” and “slalom” originated here. The Telemark ski that is used in the present day was invented in the 19th century, by and as a result of Sondre Norheim’s desire to jump off slopes with more ease. He is referred to as the father of modern skiing. But in actuality there is even a rock carving found in the country’s Rodoy region representing people using ski like equipment. The carving is 5,000 years old!
11. It is also home to Europe’s largest mountain plateau, Hardangervidda. It was declared a national park for many reasons including the fact that it has the world’s biggest herd of wild reindeers! Want to go say hi to Rudolph? Unfortunately, their numbers are declining. Once upon a time, the country actually had reindeers roaming about freely in the open, but the hunters pushed them higher up. Today adverse environmental effects are the real concern.
12. With its mountains, plentiful snow and even the above, it comes as no surprise that Norway has at the top in the Winter Olympics for years. As of 2018, the country has the maximum number of medals from Winter Olympics in the whole world, with a medal count of 368! For this feat they greatly credit team spirit; from taco nights, sharing of rooms to other activities a culture of team bonding is greatly fostered. In fact, the hard work and pride for Winter Olympics is so integrated that even King Olav V participated and went onto win a gold medal for the country for sailing back in 1928!
13. Speaking of King Olav V, he was quite an impressive king. In addition to his participation in the Olympics and his love for sailing, he also loved skiing. In 1973 the country faced an oil crisis and of course, the king being well, himself, could have easily obtained a permit to take his car wherever he pleased. But as he wanted to lead by example, he instead took the public tram, carried his skis on his shoulders and bought himself a ticket. When asked about his security, he replied he had 4 million bodyguards which was actually the population of the country. No wonder he was a much-loved ruler.
14. It is a leading producer of domestic energy from renewable sources. It is actually ranked 9th in the world for this but really it generates more electricity than the 8 countries preceding it. 98% of the country is incidentally powered from hydroelectric plants.
15. Norway’s North Cape is actually the northernmost point of all of Europe and said to be closer to the North Pole than Oslo!
16. In 1972 the Norwegian King’s Guard adopted a penguin from the Edinburgh Zoo and since then 3 penguins have gone onto hold the name and move up ranks from a mascot, to a corporal and eventually as Brigadier Sir Nils Olav today. Well, salute to you sir!
17. This is not going to come as a surprise but of course Norway has the highest concentration of fjords in the world. The submergence of glaciated valleys results in forming a narrow and deep inlet, i.e., a fjord. Norway’s Nærøy and Geiranger fjords are even marked as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In fact, Sognefjorden is the world’s second largest fjord.
18. If you find yourself carolling or taking in the Christmas lights at London’s Trafalgar Square, you’ll see a beautifully adorned Christmas tree there. What’s so special about the tree? It comes all the way from Norway! As a mark of gratitude for their aid during the Second World War, Norway annually gifts the country with a Christmas tree.
Trip Leader Niyati’s Recommendations:
Norway is a beautiful country with a vast stretch of wonders, so, there’ll be a lot that you’ll wish to do! And since Cap’n Nero went to Norway last year a couple of recommendations will come linked to his stories from his visit there, check them out!
1. When in the land of fjords, how could you possibly miss out on experiencing these gems for yourself? Sognefjord is the world’s second largest fjord. Hamlets and cosy villages, more sheep than human beings, looming mountains and the ocean in between, this is a day that will leave you smiling. You may have heard of “breakfast of champions”, well, how about hiking to a bed and breakfast atop a cliff? That’s sure to leave you feeling like one and I hear that the view is just as appetizing! Read this to know why! There’s a seal sighting in that story. ?
Click here to read the story.
2. The Flam – Mydral train ride has been called as one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world. Remember when we were children, we would take long train journeys? I would carry a notebook and draw the sceneries that we would cross. And when I about this train journey and saw its pictures, I wished I could be replicating that childhood habit aboard this train. While it is expensive, it is still something for which travellers loosen up their wallets. With Norway tourism even adding the charm of dancers, here’s Captain Nero’s story about the curious train ride here.
3. And if you enjoy yourself a road trip, then Norway has some really scenic routes to drive around. The Atlantic Route has been reckoned to be one of the best. Its an 8.3kms stretch running through an archipelago. An before I say more, look at the picture below and I’m guessing your next words would be “Road Trip”!
4. What would our lives be without adventure? Norway really blesses an adventurer with the chance to take on not one but many adventures. This comes as no surprise once you’re in the country because everywhere you will see people cycling around, going for hikes, etc. Being outdoorsy is not a rare coveted habit but a rather culture of sorts. In Jotunheimen National Park, Norway’s highest plunge waterfall waits for you. With a free fall of 275 metres, Vettisfossen is of course attractive for the record it holds but much more attractive by its sheer beauty. The stunningly blue water that you will see during your hike within the folds of the mountains will leave you feeling merry. For the story click here.
5. If your itch for adventure still burns strong, then how does a glacier hike sound? And not just any glacier but Europe’s largest glacier which is named Nigardsbreen. With its icy towers you are bound to wonder if you got transported to a polar region. Push yourself to see one of nature’s exquisite wonders. Read more here.
6. Oh, so, you have been dreaming about seeing the Northern Lights? Aurora Borealis have been on all of our minds and with good reason. This is a natural phenomenon, a once in a lifetime experience that we are all dying to have for ourselves. And do you know where is the best place to do so? A place in Norway by the name of Tromso. Click here to read the blog.
7. Want to feel like you’re on the edge of the world?? Take the Pulpit Rock hike! It’s a steep cliff rising 604 metres from the Lysefjorden. At the top the surface is like a flat rock, with clouds appearing to be beneath you and below them the water. The popular hike makes for quite a surreal experience.
8. If you like going off the beaten path and experiencing the relatively unknown, Svalbard is a region that you are going to want to include in your itinerary. You will take a lot of time to reach there and also incur a lot of costs but yet you will hear almost all visitors tell you that it is absolutely worth it. It is an archipelago between Norway and…the North Pole! It is home to Arctic foxes, reindeers and polar bears. The terrain is made up of frozen glaciers. As rugged as it gets, this is a chance to indulge in the other-worldly.
9. Lofoten Islands are beyond beautiful. But it isn’t a place that you can cover easily. So, if you plan a trip with a decent number of days in hand then head to Lofoten. Lofoten in itself has glaciers, hikes and even a bird sanctuary that you’d want to see. The bluest of water, Norway’s patent fjords, charming villages and a scenery gazing at you wherever you look. Here we tell you how it is one of the most beautiful places in the world.
How to Reach:
You can fly in to Oslo or Bergen with one or more layovers in either Istanbul, Qatar, Warsaw, Dubai, France, Stockholm or Denmark. Generally, flying into Bergen will require two or more layovers due to the connectivity and journey duration.