Although Norway is not a major tourist destination in the same way other European countries, especially those in the southern parts of the continent are, Norway is a county that’s well worth of anyone’s visit. It’s a safe and prosperous country, one of the highest developed countries in the world (actually the highest), and it has many natural wonders to offer to its visitors. The dramatic coastline, the northern lights, the mountains and the glaciers are all very appealing to many. People who are more into urban adventure, or people who are looking for business opportunities, will love Oslo. Still, Norway has a few things that make it quite specific, and it would be a good idea for any traveler, regardless of the reason for going to Norway, to get a few tips before embarking on the trip.
- Pack warm clothes
Although there are differences in climate between different regions of Norway, the rule of thumb for any traveler would be to pack warmer clothes than they would usually wear in the season they’re going to Norway. So, people going in summer should pack clothes that are better suited for spring, people who are going in the spring should pack something that would be suitable for winter, and so on. It gets cold in the north and travelers should be prepared for that.
- You won’t be able to understand anyone…
… until you ask them if they can speak English, because most Norwegians younger than 45 can, and they’re quite good at it. Establishing communication with older Norwegians might be a problem because they are less likely to speak fluent English, but there’s no such trouble with younger folks. Norwegian language, however, is quite hard for people who don’t have experience with Nordic languages to understand.
- Prepare for the prices
Norway is one of the few welfare states in the world. Financing a welfare state largely depends on high taxes, and high taxes mean – expensive prices. Norwegians can deal with the prices because of high earnings, but people who don’t have the same standard of living will find Norway to be very expensive.
- Simple shopping
When it comes to shopping, Norwegians like what is called “simple shopping”. The biggest supermarket chain in terms of revenue in Norway is REMA 1000, and it’s a no-frills kind of place – it doesn’t look all shiny and glamorous, but it does offer better prices. That’s a part of the simplicity. Also, not buying more than one needs and actually using everything that’s bought is also a part of it.
Buying beverages that contain alcohol is complicated in Norway. Not that there’s a procedure one has to perform to be able to do it, but it’s a very regulated market in Norway, so knowing when and what to buy when it comes to alcohol is something only locals can manage. In general, strong beer, spirits and wine are bought from state-owned shops that have license to sell alcohol. Norwegians can buy wine and beer at the age of 18, and everything else at the age of 20. Regular beer can be bought in supermarkets but only before a cut-off time, which varies depending on the region, and alcohol is not sold on Sundays and public holidays. Restaurants, however, are free to serve it whenever, usually.
- Curbing your criticism
Some would say that Norwegians don’t like to judge other people, and that’s why they shy away from giving criticism. It might be because of that, or it might be because of something else, but the reasons don’t matter – when in Norway, don’t criticize, and don’t complain. Practice acceptance and non-judgment.