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Honeymoon in Norway

Vikings, the midnight sun and fjords...

Coast and coastal culture

The coastline of Norway is long, stretching from an idyllic archipelago in the south, to a wild and untamed meeting between land and sea in the north.

There are people living along almost the entire length of the Norwegian coast, which is punctuated by long beaches, bustling coastal towns, world-famous fjords, thriving fishing villages and restored fishermen’s shacks. The islands along the coast are inhabited and full of natural gems, bird colonies and local culture.

Fisherman´s cabin in Å in Lofoten, Norway - Photo: Frithjof Fure/Innovation NorwayThe south coast is where the Norwegian summer is at its best. Here you can lie out on a rock and soak up the sun with a good book. The west coast is the place to enjoy your favourite water-based activities. Deep-sea rafting gets the adrenalin pumping and seafishing provides both relaxation and excitement at the same time. Up in the north, you can visit small fishing villages that are still going strong. Eagle andwhale safaris bring you closer to the local wildlife.

Many of the shacks where the fishermen lived during the fishing season in times gone by have been restored and converted into unusual accommodation.

Along the coast, you will also find lighthouses which have gradually been decommissioned, and instead now offer accommodation at the mouth of the fjords.

The Sami

The Sami people have lived in Norway much longer than the Norwegians. They are recognised as Norway’s indigenous population.

The Sami are sometimes referred to as Lapps, but prefer to be called Samis. Their culture has been developing in Northern Scandinavia since the arrival of the first people 11,000 years ago. Like other aboriginal peoples, the Sami lived at one with nature. The Sami wore colourful jackets and lived in tents and turf huts whilst they followed the reindeer.

Strong culture

For a long time the Sami were an oppressed people and their culture was in danger of dying out. Today the Sami stand stronger than most other aboriginal people in the world. They have their independence day, and their own flag and parliament.

Mari Boine is a famous Norwegian artist of Sami descent who has helped to strengthen this trend. She is a proud symbol of Sami culture in urban, modern Norway. She uses her Sami background and the folk music of Northern Scandinavia in creating her music.

Sami people live nowadays in an area which spreads from Jämtlands Län in Sweden through Northern Norway and Finland to the Kola Peninsula in Russia. There are some 100,000 Sami living here, about half of them in Norway.

Karasjok - the Sami capital

Experience the culture and history of the Sami people at Sápmi Culture Park. Sápmi is located in Karasjok, a sami village at the edge of Finnmarksvidda.

With its recognised Sami institutions and living Sami culture, Karasjok is the Sami capital with almost 3,000 inhabitants. Its nearest airport is Lakselv, approximately 75 kilometres away (an hour's drive).The traditional Sami costume is called a kolt - Photo: Johan Wildhagen/Innovation Norway

Seasons, weather and climate in Norway

Because of the Gulf Stream, Norway has a friendlier climate than the latitude indicates. Check our weather report before you travel.

Norway shares the same latitude as Alaska, Greenland and Siberia, but compared to these areas Norway has a pleasant climate. Find out what clothes to pack when planning your holiday in Norway, check out recent snow reports for your destination or go to weather forecast for Norway.

Summer

Late June to early August is when the weather is warmest and the days are long and bright. Temperatures in July and August can reach 25°C - 30°C. At the same time there is hardly any humidity in the air.

Sea temperatures can reach 18°C and higher, making swimming a popular pastime.

The warmest and most stable weather usually occurs on the eastern side of the southern mountains, including the south coast between Mandal and Oslo.

Even further north, summer temperatures are rather pleasant – sometimes reaching as high above 25°C.

However, the summer weather can be wet and changeable, especially in Fjord Norway, Central and Northern Norway.

If you want to experience the midnight sun, you will have to travel to the northern part of the country, above the Arctic Circle.

Autumn

In the autumn the landscape is painted in golden colours. The temperature drops slowly through September, making for good berry and mushroom picking weather.

During autumn the land areas lose more heat than the sea, and eventually the coastal areas have the highest temperatures. In September the outer part of the Oslofjord usually has the highest mean temperatures. Later in the autumn, the warmest areas are usually found on the coast of Rogaland and Hordaland.

Winter

In winter much of Norway is usually transformed into a snow-clad paradise.

The lower inland areas, both in the southern and northern parts of Norway, can have very low mean temperatures in winter. Temperatures can reach below -40°C in the inner areas of Finnmark, Troms, Central Norway and Eastern Norway, even if this does not happen each winter.

By contrast, the coastal areas have comparatively mild winters. However, gales, rain and clouds can be frequent and heavy.

Spring

Skiing in Valdres, Norway - Photo: Terje Rakke/Nordic life/Innovasjon NorgeMay to mid-June is when the scenery in Norway is at its most spectacular, with trees and flowers waking to life, snow in the mountains and melt water swelling the waterfalls. Orchards of flowering fruit trees along the Hardangerfjord in May are images of paradise.

There are several public holidays in May, and the Norwegians make full use of them to celebrate springtime after a long winter.

Spring is the season when the temperature differences between the southern and northern part of the country are largest. This is also the time of year when daytime and night-time temperatures differ the most.

In early spring a zone near the coast of Western Norway usually has the highest mean temperatures, but in May the highest temperatures are usually found in the southern part of Eastern and Southern Norway.Light rain over the Sognefjord, Norway - Photo: Johan Berge/Innovation Norway

The weather in spring can be very varied. There may be days when it is cold enough to snow, and days when it is warm enough to sit outside in the sunshine. Spring months can also be very windy.

Remember that the weather and temperatures can change quickly, especially in the mountains. So whether summer or winter, autumn or spring – prepare yourself for the wilderness and bring good footwear and warm clothes.

The Vikings

The Vikings built longships and raided Europe as traders and warriors.

In medieval Norway the basis for agriculture was poor. Many people lived on the coast and boat building skills were easily the best in Europe. The result was voyages of discovery, trade and brutal raids. The voyages began in the latter part of the 9th century and stretched from Greenland in the west to the Caspian Sea in the east.

Longships

The Vikings built longships with broad, flat-bottomed hulls. These ships were perfect for use in shallow coastal waters and up rivers. The Vikings could easily reach far into foreign lands.

To begin with only a few made the voyages, but the fleet gradually grew until there were hundreds of longships sailing to England, Scotland, France and Ireland.

The Vikings came as pirates to plunder and kill. Their reputation spread terror along most of Europe’s coasts. But their posthumous reputation is not quite fair. They were not just ruthless warriors but also skilled traders and administrators.

Dublin

The Vikings founded a number of cities and colonies, including Dublin and Normandy. Between the years 879 and 920 they colonised Iceland, which in turn became the springboard for the colonisation of Greenland.

By the 1100s the Vikings were weakened by domestic unrest. At the same time many other European countries were becoming stronger and more difficult targets.

We date the end of the Viking age from the fall of Harald Hardråde, when he unsuccessfully tried to conquer England in 1066.

Cruise in Nordland, Norway - Photo: Frithjof Fure/Innovation Norway

Cruise in Norway

Here are five reasons why Norway should be your next cruise destination.

1. Breathtaking waterfalls and fjords

The Norwegian coastline includes more than 67,000 enticing islands, enabling cruise ships to sail in beautiful sheltered waters. In 2006, Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord were rated as top, best cared-for UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

2. Creative, exciting itineraries

Norway's long coastline provides immense possibilities for creative, interesting itineraries. Today, cruise ships call on more than 30 different Norwegian ports annually. The most popular cruise areas are the fjords, the North Cape, Spitsbergen on Svalbard and coastal stops such as Lofoten.

3. Outdoor activities

Taking a cruise is a good way to see Norway. From its many ports along the coast it is easy to launch into a wide range of exhilarating outdoor sports activities. Experience mountain walks, camping, fishing, golf, polar expeditions, and much more.

4. Cultural and historical attractions

Norwegian cruises offer a vast selection of shore excursions where visitors can disembark to experience the rich coastal culture and heritage - from architecture, museums, and literature to festivals and concerts.

5. An inviting and safe destination

Norway is an economically stable and high-tech country situated in a calm corner of the world. Many tourists look upon Norway as a safe destination and discover how warm, engaging, and welcoming Norwegians.

For inspiration and information about cruises in Norway, read about Hurtigruten, visit Cruise-Norway.no or check out the many cruise proposals all over the country.

Land of the Midnight Sun

Once arrived, the sun never sets. Capture this magnificent experience on a midnight sun cruise or safari before the darkness of winter arrives.

Midnight sun safaris and cruises

There are several cruise lines visiting Norway. An excellent way to experience the Norwegian coast, is to go on a cruise with Hurtigruten (The Norwegian Coastal Voyage) You can sit on deck and just enjoy the midnight sun.

You can also choose a midnight cruise at the North Cape or go on a midnight sun cruise in Lofoten. These trips will take you out on the open sea to experience the special light.

Bird watching at the North Cape

The North Cape is a special place to experience the midnight sun. The only things separating you from the North Pole are the sea and the Svalbard Islands.

There are several activities to choose from in the North Cape area, one of them is a cruise to the bird island of Stappan.

Golf above the Arctic Circle

In the Lofoten Islands, you can play golf at Lofoten Golf Links all night long, and watch the wildlife as you play.

Hiking

An excellent way to experience the arctic nature is to hike in midnight sun. The light gives the mountains a magical look at night-time. Many routes that are recommended in daytime, are even more interesting in the middle of the night. The midnight sun hike to Keipen outside of Harstad is an alternative with guide.

Fishing

Taking a boat out for fishing in the middle of the night is a good way to experience the special light from the midnight sun. This is also a good time to catch fish.

There are endless possibilties to hire a boat for fishing along the coast, just contact the local tourist office or the place where you stay, or even ask a local fisherman.

Source: www.visitnorway.com

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