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Ferry & Toll Roads in Norway

Ferry & Toll Roads in Norway

Norway: the land of fjords, Vikings, and – you guessed it – ferries. Yes, ferries are as Norwegian as pickled herring or politely avoiding small talk. And with a coastline longer than your favorite Norwegian black metal band's discography, you're bound to hop onto a ferry at some point. It's all part of the genuine Norwegian experience, or as we like to call it, the 'ferry-tale' adventure!

Navigating the vast network of ferries can seem more intimidating than a Viking warrior, but fear not, dear traveler. With a dash of humor, a splash of patience, and the right information, you'll be ferry-hopping like a local in no time.

Now, if you're planning on an epic Norwegian odyssey, you might want to make friends with AutoPASS. This nifty little box is your golden ticket to rolling onto any ferry in the country like you own the place. AutoPASS is basically the Norwegian version of the Monopoly 'Bank error in your favor' card - except the error is intentional, and instead of collecting $200, you collect seamless, fuss-free ferry rides.

Auto Pass Norway

Here's some great news for our road warriors: most car rental and camper van rental companies in Norway provide their vehicles equipped with AutoPASS. That means you can start your adventure straight away without worrying about procuring your own AutoPASS.

Not only does AutoPASS cover your ferry fares, but it also takes care of any toll roads you might encounter on your journey. Instead of being hit with multiple tiny invoices that could rival a swarm of Norwegian midges, AutoPASS will group all your charges together into one convenient invoice. However, it's important to note that not everything is covered by your new best friend AutoPASS. Some private roads and very long and expensive ferries might not accept AutoPASS, so do keep some Norwegian Kroner handy just in case!

Once you have AutoPASS, you simply roll onto the ferry, find a spot, and do your best imitation of a relaxed Norwegian (hint: it involves a lot of calm gazing at the stunning fjords). Then, when you're ready, you just roll off again. No need to worry about payment on the spot, no fishing for coins in your pockets, and definitely no practicing your Norwegian to ask where you pay. AutoPASS has got you covered!

So, equip yourself with AutoPASS and a sense of adventure, and let the Norwegian 'ferry-tale' begin! And remember: in the wise words of a Norwegian seafarer, "There's no such thing as bad ferry weather, just bad coffee." (We made that up, but it sounds Norwegian enough, right?)

Norwegian Weather Guide: No Bad Weather, Just Bad Clothes!

Norwegian Weather Guide: No Bad Weather, Just Bad Clothes!

There's a saying in Norway that goes, "Det finnes ikke dårlig vær, bare dårlige klær." This translates to, "There's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes." This might just be the perfect attitude (and strategy) to adopt as you plan your camper trip through the breathtaking landscapes of Norway!

Regardless of the season, the weather can be as diverse and occasionally unpredictable as the stunning Norwegian vistas. Whether you're soaking in the midnight sun or on a quest for the mesmerizing northern lights, staying informed about the weather is key to your enjoyment and safety.

For accurate and timely weather forecasts, your best companion is, an excellent service provided by the Norwegian Meteorological Institute. Available both online and as a handy app, YR offers detailed forecasts and real-time updates for different regions across Norway.

In a country as expansive and geographically diverse as Norway, weather conditions can vary dramatically from the south to the north, and from one season to another. Understanding these variations can greatly enhance your travel plans and experience.

Southern Norway is known for milder and wetter conditions. During the summer (June - August), temperatures can reach up to 25°C (77°F), providing a perfect setting for fjord exploration, coastal jaunts, and city tours. However, summer storms are not uncommon, so a raincoat might be handy!

In the winter (December - February), southern Norway experiences milder conditions with temperatures often around freezing point. Snowfall is common, particularly in inland regions, while coastal areas are usually warmer due to the Gulf Stream influence.

Conversely, Northern Norway experiences a subarctic climate. Summers are shorter and cooler, with temperatures usually between 10°C and 15°C (50°F - 59°F). Although cooler, the temperatures are comfortable for hiking and other outdoor activities.

Winter in the north can be intense, with substantial snowfall and temperatures dipping as low as -25°C (-13°F) or even colder. This also means an enchanting white landscape and the opportunity to view the spectacular northern lights.

Regardless of your location in Norway, remember that weather can change swiftly, particularly in mountainous regions. Regularly check the forecast, pack appropriate clothing, and be prepared for everything from glorious sunshine to sudden downpours or brisk winds.

So, remember the Norwegian saying and pack your clothing wisely! With at your fingertips and the right attire in your camper, you're set to embrace and enjoy whatever weather Norway has in store for your adventure.


If you want to know more about the weather in a certain season have a look here

Climate Change in Northern Norway: A Battle for Survival

Climate Change in Northern Norway: A Battle for Survival

The Arctic region, including Northern Norway, is experiencing the front line impacts of climate change. As we witness the Earth's fever rise, it's here, in towns like Tromsø or Kautokeino, that the effects are most stark and immediate. Understanding these impacts isn't just a matter of scientific curiosity; it's a necessity for those whose lives and livelihoods are intimately connected to this changing landscape.

Warming temperatures are a signature effect of climate change in the Arctic, where the pace of warming is roughly twice the global average. This phenomenon, known as Arctic amplification, brings milder winters and hotter summers to places like Nordland, Troms and Finnmark, disrupting long-established climate patterns and local ecosystems.

Precipitation changes are another notable impact. With warming temperatures comes the ability for the atmosphere to hold more moisture, leading to increased precipitation. This often falls as rain rather than snow, even in winter months. This shift has crucial implications, especially for indigenous communities whose livelihoods, such as reindeer herding, depend on predictable snowfall patterns.

Take the example of the Sámi people and reindeer herding. Rain falling too early on the snow-pack can freeze into an ice crust, preventing reindeer from accessing lichen, their main winter food source. This leads to significant losses in reindeer populations, a vital source of income and culture for the Sámi people. Abnormal floods from early snow-melt can also obstruct reindeer migration paths, further complicating herding efforts.

Adding fuel to the fire, human activities such as energy generation, forestry, mining, and tourism infrastructure development are consuming more and more pasture lands. Wind farms, while essential for renewable energy production, can intrude on Sámi lands and obstruct grazing. In the face of these dual challenges from climate change and industry, the biodiversity of reindeer calving grounds has halved in the past decade.

However, the spirit of resilience runs deep among the Sámi people and other Arctic communities. In response, communities have taken action, implementing training programs for indigenous leaders and youth to preserve traditional knowledge and adapt to the deteriorating condition of grazing lands. They've stood as the guardians of their lands against unsustainable industries, fighting for their rights and the protection of their heritage.

The Arctic, often seen as a distant, icy realm, is in fact a vibrant region teeming with life and culture. As climate change continues to reshape this landscape, the stakes are high not just for the iconic polar bears, but also for the human communities that have thrived in these regions for centuries. It is a harsh reminder that our actions, from carbon emissions to land use decisions, have real and tangible impacts on the planet and its inhabitants. We all have a role to play in mitigating these effects and supporting those most impacted. Let the changing Arctic serve as a call to action: for stronger climate policies, sustainable development practices, and a global commitment to limit the worst impacts of climate change.

Rasmus Skaug

In addition to the warming temperatures and shifting precipitation patterns that pose challenges for reindeer herding, there are other impacts of climate change that are reshaping Northern Norway's Arctic landscape.

Melting Sea Ice: The dramatic decline of Arctic sea ice is one of the most visual indicators of climate change. The ice acts as the Arctic's cooling system, reflecting sunlight back into space and helping regulate the planet's temperature. But as the ice disappears, the darker ocean absorbs more heat, leading to a vicious cycle of warming and melting. This is not only devastating for marine life but also disrupts traditional hunting and fishing practices that many communities depend on.

Melting Glaciers and Rising Sea Levels: Norway's glaciers are also under threat from warming temperatures, which contribute to sea level rise globally. For coastal communities in Northern Norway and around the world, this means increased risks from flooding and storm surges. These threats could also jeopardize key infrastructure and homes, putting pressure on local economies and creating potential for displacement.

Thawing Permafrost: Beneath much of the Arctic, including parts of Northern Norway, lies permafrost - ground that remains frozen year-round. As temperatures rise, this permafrost is beginning to thaw, releasing stored carbon in the form of greenhouse gases, which further accelerates global warming. The thawing permafrost also creates unstable ground, causing problems for infrastructure and buildings, with potential risks for human safety.

Changes in Biodiversity: Changes in climate are also causing shifts in Arctic biodiversity. Warmer conditions may favor some species over others, causing ecosystems to become unbalanced. For example, red foxes might outcompete Arctic foxes, pushing them out of their habitats. Meanwhile, as sea ice retreats, species that rely on it, such as seals and polar bears, face dwindling habitats and food sources.

Climate change is not a distant threat for the people of Northern Norway - it's a lived reality. And while these communities are on the front lines of climate change impacts, they're also at the forefront of climate resilience and adaptation. Their knowledge and experience are invaluable resources in the global fight against climate change.

Despite the mounting challenges, there is also hope. In the face of adversity, Northern Norway's communities are adapting and innovating to ensure their survival. They're developing new methods for reindeer herding, changing fishing practices, and advocating for stronger climate policies. But they cannot do it alone. The fight against climate change must be a global effort, because, as the Arctic so clearly shows, the impacts are global too. As we look to the future, let the changes in Northern Norway serve as a call to action for us all to do our part in addressing this urgent crisis.

Impacts in the South of Norway by climate change

Southern Norway, much like the rest of the country and the world, is not immune to the effects of climate change. Here are some of the impacts this region is facing or can expect to face as climate change continues:

  1. Changing Precipitation Patterns: Southern Norway, particularly the western region, is already known for its high rainfall. Climate change is expected to increase the intensity of precipitation events, which could lead to more frequent and severe flooding. This can damage infrastructure, homes, and farmland, and also poses risks to human safety.
  2. Temperature Increase: The region is experiencing warmer temperatures year-round. This is resulting in hotter summers with more frequent and intense heatwaves. Heatwaves can have significant impacts on human health, particularly for vulnerable populations like the elderly.
  3. Agriculture and Forestry Impacts: Agriculture and forestry are important sectors in Southern Norway. Warmer temperatures and changes in rainfall can affect crop yields and the health of forests. While some effects might be beneficial—such as a longer growing season—others could be harmful. For instance, increased risk of pests, diseases, and forest fires, or heavier rainfall leading to soil erosion.
  4. Winter Tourism: Norway's winter tourism industry, particularly skiing, could also be affected if warming temperatures lead to less reliable snowfall. This would have economic implications for areas that rely on winter tourism.


Norway's Ambitious Climate Targets

Norway plans to cut its emissions by at least 55% below 1990 levels by 2030, a goal that requires stronger policies. It has boosted climate aid for poorer nations, but this aid is still not enough. Also, Norway's current climate actions need more work to meet the Paris Agreement's 1.5°C goal. The ratings for these targets and actions are almost enough, but still lacking in some areas.

Norway continues to grow its fossil fuel industry, causing global emissions when these fuels are burned. There's a court case arguing that new oil and gas drilling breaks human rights laws.

Norway is a global leader in electric vehicles (EVs), with plans to stop selling fossil fuel cars by 2025. In early 2022, nearly 86% of new cars sold were EVs or plug-in hybrids, on track for 100% by year-end. Because Norway's power is mostly clean, replacing regular cars with EVs can greatly cut emissions.

Exploring Norway Sustainably: Trains and Electric Vehicles

Norway's initiatives towards climate neutrality offer practical options for environmentally conscious travel. The southern part of the country is connected by an extensive train network that extends up to the northern towns of Bodø and Narvik. This public transport infrastructure provides a more sustainable alternative to air or car travel.

In addition to the rail system, electric vehicles (EVs) are widely available for rent, from cars to ev camper vans. Given Norway's commitment to EVs, the country has established a comprehensive charging network, making it feasible to travel extensively with minimal emissions. These developments align with Norway's efforts to reduce its carbon footprint, allowing travelers to navigate the country in a more eco-friendly way.

Crash Course in Norwegian

Crash Course in Norwegian

Learn to Express Yourself in Norwegian when you are on the road!

Whether you're journeying to see the breathtaking fjords, the Northern Lights, or the bustling city life of Oslo, traveling to Norway is bound to be an experience of a lifetime. Yet, every trip can be even more enriching when you're able to converse in the local language.

Learning some basic Norwegian phrases can truly enhance your travel experience, helping you connect with the locals, understand their culture better, and navigate your way around more smoothly. So, let's dive into some simple day-to-day Norwegian phrases that will add a golden touch to your Norwegian adventure!

Oslo Opera House

Crash Course in Norwegian

Greetings and Basic Courtesy:

  • Hello! - Hei!
  • Good morning! - God morgen!
  • Good afternoon! - God ettermiddag!
  • Good night! - God natt!
  • Goodbye! - Ha det!
  • Please. - Vær så snill.
  • Thank you! - Takk!
  • You're welcome! - Vær så god!
  • Excuse me... - Unnskyld...

Getting to Know People:

  • What's your name? - Hva heter du?
  • My name is... - Jeg heter...
  • Nice to meet you! - Hyggelig å møte deg!
  • How are you? - Hvordan går det?
  • I'm fine, thanks! - Det går bra, takk!

Food and Dining:

  • I'm hungry. - Jeg er sulten.
  • Do you have a menu in English? - Har du en meny på engelsk?
  • I would like to order... - Jeg vil gjerne bestille...
  • Water, please. - Vann, vær så snill.
  • Cheers! - Skål!

Travel and Directions:

  • Where is...? - Hvor er...?
  • Can you help me? - Kan du hjelpe meg?
  • I'm lost. - Jeg har gått meg vill.
  • Is it far from here? - Er det langt herfra?
  • Where is the nearest...? - Hvor er nærmeste...?

Emergency Phrases:

  • Help! - Hjelp!
  • Call the police! - Ring politiet!
  • I need a doctor. - Jeg trenger en lege.
  • I don't feel well. - Jeg føler meg ikke bra.

Camper Related Phrases:

  • My vehicle has broken down. - Kjøretøyet mitt har brutt sammen.
  • I have a flat tire. - Jeg har en punktert dekk.
  • I need a mechanic. - Jeg trenger en mekaniker.
  • Where is the nearest gas station? - Hvor er nærmeste bensinstasjon?
  • Do you have a map? - Har du et kart?
  • Which way to the camping ground? - Hvilken vei til campingplassen?
  • I need parts for my camper van. - Jeg trenger deler til bobilen min.
  • Can you tow my vehicle? - Kan du taue kjøretøyet mitt?
  • My camper van needs a service. - Bobilen min trenger en service.
  • I need to recharge the battery of my camper van. - Jeg trenger å lade batteriet til bobilen min.

Swear words:

  • Damn! - Faen!
  • Shit! - Dritt!
  • For hell's sake! - For helvete!
  • Oh crap! - Å, pokker!
  • Bloody...! - Jævla...!


While this guide doesn't cover everything, these basic Norwegian phrases should give you a good start and serve you well in daily interactions during your trip to Norway. Remember, Norwegians greatly appreciate when tourists make an effort to speak their language, and these phrases can serve as excellent icebreakers to make your journey more memorable and personal.

Don't worry about perfect pronunciation, the goal is to enjoy your trip and connect with the locals. With practice and real-life application, you'll become more comfortable with these phrases and potentially prompt you to dive deeper into the beautiful Norwegian language. Lykke til! (Good luck!)

Traveling Through Norway: Common Questions Answered

Traveling Through Norway: Common Questions Answered

Over time, we've received numerous emails from van life enthusiasts journeying through Norway, brimming with questions about Norway. We've taken the initiative to compile these inquiries here, and using our knowledge, we aim to provide the best possible answers to aid their adventurous explorations:

What jobs do people have in the Norwegian countryside?

Norway's countryside, or rural areas, is diverse and offers a variety of occupations for people living there. The availability of specific jobs often depends on the specific region and its characteristics. However, here are some common ways that people in the Norwegian countryside make a living:

  1. Fishing and Aquaculture: With an extensive coastline, fishing and aquaculture are significant industries in Norway, especially in the North. This includes working on fishing vessels, processing fish onshore, and fish farming.
  2. Farming and Agriculture: There are many farms in Norway's countryside, producing a range of products from dairy to vegetables and grains. Also, there's sheep farming in the mountainous regions.
  3. Forestry: Norway has substantial forest resources, which are used for timber and other wood products.
  4. Tourism: Norway's stunning natural beauty, including the fjords, Northern Lights, and wilderness areas, attracts tourists from all over the world. Many people in rural areas are involved in the tourism industry, working in roles such as tour guides, hospitality, and outdoor recreation services.
  5. Oil and Gas Industry: While the oil and gas industry is mostly based in the coastal cities, it also provides job opportunities for those living in rural areas near the coast. This includes working on offshore rigs or in supporting roles onshore.
  6. Renewable Energy: Norway is also a leading country in renewable energy, particularly hydroelectric power, but also wind and solar. Those living near these resources might be employed in their operation and maintenance.
  7. Remote Work: With improvements in technology and the increased prevalence of remote work, many people are able to work from the countryside in a variety of fields, such as tech, finance, consulting, and more.
  8. Public Services: In every community, there are jobs in schools, healthcare facilities, and local government. These roles are often filled by residents of the area.
  9. Craftsmanship and Art: Many individuals in the countryside make a living by creating and selling crafts, artworks, or artisanal foods. The rich cultural heritage of Norway provides ample inspiration for these works.

These are some of the most common jobs, but the specific opportunities available can vary greatly based on the particular region of the country.

With an extensive coastline, fishing is a significant industries in Norway.

Why is Norway so wealthy?

Norway's wealth is largely attributed to a combination of natural resources, effective governance, and prudent economic policies. Here are the main reasons:

  1. Oil and Gas Reserves: Norway is one of the world's leading oil and gas exporters, largely due to its extensive reserves in the North Sea. The discovery of oil in the late 1960s drastically changed Norway's economic outlook. Profits from this sector are managed by the government and partially invested in the country's sovereign wealth fund, known as the Government Pension Fund Global, which is the world's largest.
  2. Sovereign Wealth Fund: This fund invests in international securities, real estate, and other assets. The income generated by the fund is used to fund public services and maintain the country's high standard of living, especially considering future when the oil and gas reserves might deplete.
  3. Highly Developed Infrastructure and Social Systems: Norway consistently invests in education, healthcare, and social security, creating an environment where businesses can operate efficiently and where a highly skilled workforce thrives. The country also ranks high in terms of political stability, rule of law, and transparency, which further attracts investment and fosters economic growth.
  4. Renewable Energy: In addition to its oil and gas reserves, Norway is rich in renewable energy resources, especially hydroelectric power, which provides a large percentage of the nation's electricity. This reduces dependence on fossil fuels and provides a sustainable and reliable energy source.
  5. Fisheries and Aquaculture: Norway has a robust fishing industry, being one of the top exporters of seafood in the world. The long coastline and cold, clear waters create a perfect environment for fish farming, especially salmon.
  6. High Level of Innovation: Norway has a strong culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, which helps in the diversification of its economy. The country is a leader in sectors such as maritime technologies, information and communication technology (ICT), and biotechnology.

All these factors combined contribute to Norway's wealth and high standard of living. However, it's important to note that this wealth is also evenly distributed due to the country's strong focus on social equality, ensuring that the benefits of prosperity reach the entire population.

Was Norway always so rich?

No, Norway has not always been as wealthy as it is today. Up until the late 19th century, Norway was one of the poorest countries in Europe. The economy was largely agrarian, with small farms often struggling to provide for their own needs, let alone produce a surplus. There was some commercial activity, including fishing, but it wasn't substantial enough to stimulate significant economic growth.

The beginning of change came in the late 19th and early 20th centuries with the growth of the shipping industry and the emergence of manufacturing, particularly related to timber and hydropower. This led to urbanization and the gradual development of a more diverse economy.

However, the real turning point came in the late 1960s with the discovery of large oil and gas reserves in the North Sea. This led to a boom in the energy sector, and the revenues generated from this industry transformed the country's economy. The Norwegian government managed these resources and revenues wisely, setting up the Government Pension Fund Global, a sovereign wealth fund, to invest the profits for the benefit of future generations.

Today, Norway is one of the richest countries in the world on a per capita basis, with a strong economy supported by a mix of natural resources, a highly educated workforce, and effective governance. Nonetheless, it's important to remember that this wealth is relatively recent in the country's history and that its equitable distribution is the result of deliberate social policies.

ensuring that the benefits of prosperity reach the entire population.

Why are most Norwegians so fluent in English?

There are several reasons why many Norwegians speak English proficiently:

  1. Education System: English is a compulsory subject in Norwegian schools, typically starting from the first or second grade. This early and consistent exposure leads to a high level of proficiency in the language.
  2. Media Influence: Much of the entertainment content in Norway, like television shows and movies, is in English, often subtitled rather than dubbed. This consistent exposure to English outside of a formal educational setting enhances their ability to understand and use the language.
  3. Similarities in Language: English and Norwegian are both Germanic languages, which means they have some similarities in terms of syntax and vocabulary. This can make it easier for Norwegians to learn English.
  4. Travel and International Relations: Norway is a country heavily involved in international business and has a culture that encourages travel. Both of these factors create a practical need and motivation for Norwegians to learn and use English.
  5. Societal Emphasis on Multilingualism: Norwegian society values multilingualism and sees the advantage in being able to communicate effectively in a globalized world. English, being a global lingua franca, is naturally a language that many Norwegians want to master.

These factors combine to result in a high level of English proficiency among Norwegians.

Why is it hard to buy alcohol in Norway?

Historically, the Nordic countries, including Norway, have had a somewhat unique relationship with alcohol, characterized by a pattern of less frequent but heavier drinking sessions, as opposed to the daily, moderate drinking seen in some other European cultures. These binge drinking patterns can lead to social issues and health problems.

However, it's also important to note that attitudes toward alcohol in Norway have roots in the country's history of poverty, as well as the influence of the temperance movement in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This movement advocated for the reduction or elimination of alcohol consumption and had a significant impact on societal attitudes and government policy.

Today, the regulations serve to moderate consumption and prevent potential health and social issues that could arise from alcohol abuse. This focus on prevention aligns with Norway's broader emphasis on public health and social welfare. As a result, while alcohol consumption is a part of life in Norway, as in most countries, it is regulated to encourage moderation and responsible drinking.

Norway has strict alcohol policies, designed to minimize alcohol-related harm. The alcohol laws and restrictions are primarily based on public health considerations and are aimed at reducing alcohol consumption levels and, consequently, alcohol-induced social and health problems.

  1. State Monopoly: The sale of alcoholic beverages above 4.75% ABV (alcohol by volume) is largely controlled by the state through a chain of retail outlets known as Vinmonopolet. The government controls the price, hours of sale, and the number and location of these outlets. This helps regulate access to alcohol and ensures it's sold responsibly.
  2. Age Restrictions: The legal drinking age is 18 for beverages with an alcohol content below 22% and 20 for beverages above 22%.
  3. Sales Hours: The sale of alcohol is prohibited after certain hours. For example, stores can't sell alcoholic beverages after 8 p.m. on weekdays or after 6 p.m. on Saturdays.
  4. Advertising Restrictions: Norway has strict regulations regarding the advertising of alcoholic beverages. Essentially, all direct and indirect advertising of alcohol is prohibited.
  5. High Taxes: Norway imposes high taxes on alcohol, which makes it more expensive and is intended to deter excessive consumption.

It's worth noting that these regulations reflect cultural attitudes about alcohol in Norway, where moderation is generally valued, and excessive drinking is often viewed negatively.

Why Are Electric Cars So Popular in Norway?

The high adoption rate of electric vehicles (EVs) in Norway is a result of several key factors:

  1. Government Incentives: Norway's government has implemented a wide range of incentives to encourage the use of electric cars. These include exemptions from purchase taxes and VAT, lower road tax, free parking in city centers, exemptions from toll charges, and access to bus lanes.
  2. Climate Goals: Norway has set ambitious environmental goals, including a target to sell only zero-emission vehicles by 2025. The country's commitment to reducing its carbon footprint has made the shift to electric vehicles a national priority.
  3. Energy Source: Norway generates almost all its electricity from renewable hydropower, making electric vehicles a truly green option.
  4. Infrastructure: Norway has invested heavily in developing a robust EV charging infrastructure, making owning and operating an electric vehicle more convenient.
  5. Cultural Factors: Norwegian society is generally environmentally conscious, and there's strong social acceptance for electric vehicles.
  6. Economic Affordability: While electric cars can be more expensive upfront, the total cost of ownership over time can be lower due to reduced fuel and maintenance costs, especially when combined with the financial incentives offered by the government.

These factors combined have led to a high adoption rate of electric cars in Norway compared to many other countries.

Why Does Norway Still Permit Whaling?

Whaling remains a contentious issue worldwide, and it's true that Norway is one of the few countries where it is still practiced. Here's why:

  1. Regulation instead of Prohibition: Unlike many countries, Norway objected to the International Whaling Commission's (IWC) 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling. The country resumed commercial whaling in 1993, under a self-allocated quota system intended to prevent overhunting.
  2. Sustainable Whaling: Norway argues that its whaling practices are sustainable and focused only on Minke whales, a species considered not to be endangered. The quotas are set based on scientific research to ensure they don't threaten the overall Minke whale population.
  3. Cultural Reasons: Whaling has historical significance in Norway, especially in northern coastal communities where it has been a part of their tradition and livelihood for centuries. Some argue that this tradition should be preserved.
  4. Economic Factors: While the industry is much smaller than it was historically, it still provides jobs and contributes to local economies, particularly in northern Norway. Whale meat is sold domestically.
  5. Control of Minke Whale Population: Some argue that whaling helps control the Minke whale population, which they claim helps maintain a balance with fish stocks.

It's important to note that whaling is a highly controversial topic. Animal rights and conservation groups oppose whaling due to concerns about animal welfare, conservation, and the methods used to kill the whales.

Who owns the reindeers in Norway?

Reindeer ownership in Norway is unique and regulated. It's mainly the indigenous Sami people who have the legal right to own and herd reindeer. The Sami have been practicing reindeer herding for centuries, and it's an integral part of their cultural heritage.

This right to own and herd reindeer is enshrined in Norwegian law, specifically the Reindeer Herding Act, which recognizes it as a Sami cultural right. It is managed on a sustainable basis, following strict regulations to ensure that reindeer populations and grazing lands are preserved for future generations.

It's also important to note that not all Sami people are reindeer herders. Reindeer herding is conducted by a small portion of the Sami population. However, reindeer as a cultural symbol is important to the broader Sami community.

Are the Samis also Norwegians?

Yes, Sami people are Norwegian in terms of nationality, but they are also recognized as a distinct ethnic and cultural group. The Sami, also known as Sámi or Saami, are the indigenous people of the Nordic countries, residing in the northern parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and the Kola Peninsula of Russia.

Sami people are Norwegian citizens, and they enjoy the same rights and responsibilities as other Norwegians. At the same time, Norway, like the other Nordic countries, has taken steps to protect and promote Sami rights, culture, and languages.

In Norway, the Sami have their own parliament, the Sameting, which works to promote Sami political initiatives and protect their culture and language. The Norwegian constitution also acknowledges the Sami people, stating that it's the responsibility of the authorities of the state to create conditions enabling the Sami people to preserve and develop their language, culture, and way of life.

Picture below: The Sámi Parliament works to ensure that the Sámi secure and develop their language, their culture and their social life.
The Sámi Parliament building in Karasjok was completed in the autumn of 2001. It has won the Building Design Award and is a distinctive building, both externally and internally.

How do Norwegians cope with long winters without sunlight and summers of constant daylight?

Living in a country like Norway, where the duration of daylight varies drastically between summer and winter, requires certain adaptations and lifestyle adjustments. Here's how Norwegians manage to handle these extreme conditions:

During the Polar Night (Winter without Sun):

  1. Embrace the Darkness: Norwegians often see the Polar Night as a time to slow down and embrace indoor activities. They make their homes 'koselig' (the Norwegian version of the Danish 'hygge'), which means cozy and comfortable, often with candles, fireplaces, and warm blankets.
  2. Outdoor Activities: Despite the darkness, Norwegians continue to engage in outdoor activities. The snow reflects what light there is and brightens up the landscape. Many enjoy winter sports like skiing, snowboarding, and ice fishing.
  3. Artificial Light: Norwegians use a lot of artificial light in their homes, streets, and workplaces to compensate for the lack of natural light. Some people use light therapy lamps, which mimic daylight and can help prevent Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of depression that's related to changes in seasons.
  4. Social Activities: Norwegians maintain a strong social life, including winter festivals, gatherings with friends and family, and community events.

During the Midnight Sun (Summer with No Darkness):

  1. Active Lifestyle: The continuous daylight gives Norwegians an opportunity to engage in various activities around the clock, such as hiking, fishing, and camping.
  2. Sleep Management: To manage sleeping in 24-hour daylight, many use blackout curtains and eye masks to create darkness. Some people also maintain a strict bedtime routine to ensure they get enough sleep.
  3. Enjoy the Light: After a long dark winter, the summer light is generally welcomed and enjoyed. It's a time for outdoor gatherings, celebrations, and festivals.

It's important to remember that these conditions are extreme only in the far north of Norway, above the Arctic Circle. In southern parts of Norway, the changes in daylight hours are less drastic.

Norwegian Stave Churches

Norwegian Stave Churches

Though I'm not typically drawn to religious edifices, the Norwegian stave churches hold a unique appeal for me. Their distinct aesthetic and ingenious construction methods are simply mesmerizing. Even more entrancing is the fragrance of aged timber that permeates the air, especially noticeable during the warmth of summer, infusing the surroundings with an aura of the past. An odd element of their history that adds an unusual twist to their allure is the notorious burning of several of these structures by a black metal musician. This strange infamy, rather than detracting from their charm, enhances the mystique surrounding these remarkable architectural treasures. If you are looking for a "Game of Thrones" feeling? - Visit one of this churches 🙂

The Hopperstad Stave Church

Unveiling the Timeless Beauty of Medieval Wooden Architecture!

A testament to Europe's medieval era, stave churches are among the most distinct representations of period-specific wooden craftsmanship.

Historically, upwards of a thousand of these architectural gems dotted the Norwegian landscape during the medieval period. Of those, 28 significant structures remain today. One particularly noteworthy example is the Urnes Stave Church, which has garnered UNESCO World Heritage Site status. These unique edifices, known as 'stave churches' due to their construction using wooden posts or 'staves' in Norwegian, were primarily erected between 1150 and 1350. This construction style was prevalent in northwest Europe during this era. Norway had a strong tradition of using wood for both aesthetic and structural purposes, leading to the evolution of novel woodworking methods, with stave churches being a splendid example of this craftsmanship. The interior design of these churches presents a captivating mix of Christian iconography interspersed with pagan Viking symbolism.

However, these architectural marvels suffered heavy losses during the 14th-century Plague and subsequent Reformation, resulting in the disappearance of many stave churches. By the mid-17th century, the count had dropped to around 270, and the following hundred years witnessed the loss of an additional 100 structures. Today, 28 of these remarkable buildings survive, with a concentration in the region of Fjord Norway.

The Urnes Stave Church, dating back to approximately 1130 and situated in Luster on the Sognefjord, is Norway's oldest. Once owned by a prosperous family, this beautifully adorned structure has earned UNESCO World Heritage Site recognition.

Another standout, the Borgund Stave Church, was constructed around 1180 in Lærdal, near the Sognefjord. As the country's most frequented, best-conserved, and most-photographed stave church, it boasts an array of runic inscriptions on its walls.

Some stave churches in Norway:

  1. Urnes Stave Church, Luster, Sogn og Fjordane
  2. Borgund Stave Church, Lærdal, Sogn og Fjordane
  3. Heddal Stave Church, Notodden, Telemark
  4. Hopperstad Stave Church, Vik, Sogn og Fjordane
  5. Gol Stave Church, Gol, Buskerud (moved to Norwegian Museum of Cultural History, Oslo)
  6. Lom Stave Church, Lom, Oppland
  7. Røldal Stave Church, Røldal, Hordaland
  8. Fantoft Stave Church, Bergen, Hordaland (reconstructed after it was burned down)
  9. Kaupanger Stave Church, Sogndal, Sogn og Fjordane
  10. Eidsborg Stave Church, Tokke, Telemark

The Intricate Construction of Norway's Stave Churches

The term "stave church" is derived from the building's structural framework, which primarily consists of vertical wooden posts known as "staves." Here is a general overview of their construction process:

1. Foundation and Framework: The first step in constructing a stave church was to establish a strong foundation. Builders often used stone for this purpose, which helped protect the wooden structure from ground moisture. The staves, from which the churches derive their name, were placed on this foundation. These load-bearing posts were joined together with horizontal beams, creating the church's primary structure.

2. Walls and Partitions: Walls were built using vertical wooden planks, placed between the horizontal beams of the stave framework. Planks could be positioned in different ways to create walls, partitions, and galleries, allowing for a variety of architectural designs, including the construction of naves and chancels.

3. Roof Construction: The roof was usually steeply pitched to withstand the weight of snow in winter, a practical consideration given Norway's climate. The roof framework would be covered with wooden shingles, often overlapping, creating a waterproof barrier. Some stave churches also feature an additional outer roof or gallery called a 'sval,' which further protected the structure from weather.

4. Art and Decoration: Artistic and symbolic elements were integral parts of the stave churches' design. Craftsmen often carved intricate designs directly into the wood, depicting scenes from Christian and Norse mythology. The portals, in particular, were frequently adorned with intricate carvings. Inside the church, the walls could be adorned with colorful murals, while the pulpit and altarpiece were often heavily ornamented.

5. Preserving the Wood: Given the wooden nature of these structures, preservation was a key aspect of their construction. The wood used was often 'heartwood' from old, slow-growing trees, which is more resistant to rot. Techniques like tar-pitching were used to waterproof and protect the wood. Some believe that the dark color of many stave churches may be due to this preservation process.

Each stave church is unique, reflecting the available resources, prevailing architectural styles, and local traditions of the time when it was built. Despite their commonalities, these buildings represent a broad spectrum of design and technique, contributing to their historical and cultural significance.

A Dark Chapter in Norway's Black Metal History

In the realm of Norwegian black metal, a genre known for its intense sound and controversial themes, one figure has earned particular notoriety: Varg Vikernes, or as some know him, Count Grishnackh of the one-man band, Burzum.

In the early 1990s, an unsettling wave of anti-Christian sentiment was sweeping through the black metal scene. During this tense era, a series of devastating events shocked the nation. Several of Norway's treasured stave churches, incredible wooden structures dating back to the medieval period, fell victim to arson attacks. These churches, with their unique construction and historical significance, were irreplaceable cultural landmarks. Among those lost was the Fantoft Stave Church, an architectural marvel originally erected in the 12th century.

At the heart of these destructive acts was Varg Vikernes. The musician was convicted for his role in these fires, his actions casting a long, dark shadow over the black metal community in Norway. This distressing chapter in the country's music history did not just cause national shock and sadness, but it also amplified the controversial reputation of the Norwegian black metal scene.

This somber episode reminds us to value and protect our cultural heritage, even as we push the boundaries of artistic expression.

Norway’s Snowy Roads

Norway’s Snowy Roads

Picture yourself driving through a winter wonderland, surrounded by snow-capped mountains, ethereal fjords, and the enchanting Northern Lights. This is what awaits you when you embark on a road trip through Northern Norway in winter. Despite the harsh weather conditions, the region’s road network is impeccably maintained, allowing you to explore its breathtaking beauty in relative comfort and safety. In this blog post, we will delve into the unique aspects of winter driving in Northern Norway, including the importance of proper tires, the challenges of sudden weather changes, and how the local authorities keep the roads open and safe for travelers.

The Importance of Good Winter Tires

While the road network in Northern Norway is meticulously maintained 24/7 to ensure that snow is cleared and the roads are passable, good winter tires or spiked tires are an absolute necessity when driving in the region. These specialized tires provide better traction on the slippery, icy roads, preventing accidents and allowing for a smoother driving experience. In Norway, it is mandatory to have winter tires on your vehicle from November 1st to April 15th, so make sure you are prepared before hitting the road.

Sudden Weather Changes and Snow Storms

One of the unique aspects of driving in Northern Norway during winter is the unpredictability of the weather. While you may start your journey under clear skies, you could suddenly find yourself in the midst of a snowstorm or a significant temperature drop. It is crucial to stay updated on the local weather forecasts and be prepared for any changes in conditions. Pack warm clothing, blankets, and emergency supplies in your vehicle, and always be prepared to adjust your travel plans if necessary.

Closed Mountain Passes and Convoy Driving

In case of heavy snowfall or extreme weather, some mountain passes in Northern Norway may be temporarily closed to ensure the safety of drivers. When this occurs, local authorities work tirelessly to clear the roads and restore access as quickly as possible. During these periods, convoy driving may be arranged, where vehicles are guided behind a snow-cleaning car through the affected areas. This system allows drivers to safely navigate through challenging conditions, ensuring that they reach their destinations without unnecessary risks.


A winter road trip through Northern Norway is an unforgettable experience, filled with breathtaking landscapes and the thrill of exploring a magical, snowy wonderland. While the region’s roads are expertly maintained, it is essential to be prepared for sudden weather changes and challenging driving conditions. Equip your vehicle with appropriate winter tires, stay informed about weather forecasts, and be ready to adjust your plans if needed. By taking these precautions, you can confidently navigate Northern Norway’s winter roads and create lasting memories of your Arctic adventure.

Here are some helpful links for winter driving in Norway, providing valuable tips, weather updates, and road condition information to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey:


Winter Tire Guide for Safe Driving In Norway

If you visit the northernmost part as Nordland, Troms, and Finnmark, you can use studded tires from October 16th to April 30th. In the rest of the country, you can use studded tires from November 1st to the first Sunday after Easter Monday. If you have studless tires, you can use them all year round.

If the driving conditions are challenging and poor where you are driving, it is allowed to use studded tires and chains outside these dates. It is essential that your tires are in good condition and adapted to the vehicle and road conditions, regardless of the season.
Requirements for winter tires

The tread depth must be at least 3 millimeters, regardless of the tire type on your car, and studs are only allowed on winter tires.

If you are driving with a trailer, the same tread depth requirements apply to the trailer’s tires as to the vehicle’s.

As a driver, you are responsible for ensuring that the vehicle has sufficient road grip all year round.

Always remember that tires are perishable goods. The rubber in the tires deteriorates as they age. Therefore, make sure the tires are in good condition before you change them.

The E6 – Norway’s Ultimate Road Trip Experience

The E6 – Norway’s Ultimate Road Trip Experience

The E6, stretching over 3,000 kilometers from the southernmost tip of Norway to its northernmost reaches, is truly a testament to the country’s magnificent beauty. Winding through the heart of Norway’s diverse landscapes, this scenic route offers an unparalleled road trip experience. The sheer variety of natural wonders, cultural heritage, and unique experiences that the E6 has to offer is what makes it so amazing. As you traverse this remarkable highway, you’ll be captivated by the ever-changing vistas that unfold before your eyes.

Diverse Landscapes

From the fertile agricultural lands in the south to the rugged coastlines and breathtaking fjords of the west, and from the serene forests of the central regions to the Arctic tundra in the north, the E6 takes you through a kaleidoscope of Norway’s most stunning landscapes. With each twist and turn, you’ll be greeted by a new and awe-inspiring view, making every moment of your journey a memorable one.

Cultural Riches

As you travel along the E6, you’ll have ample opportunities to delve into Norway’s rich cultural history. Visit ancient stave churches, marvel at the Hanseatic wharf of Bergen, and explore the Sami culture in the northern regions. Immerse yourself in the arts, history, and architecture of cities like Oslo, Trondheim, and Tromsø, each offering a unique perspective on Norway’s heritage.

Outdoor Adventures

The E6 is a gateway to an array of outdoor activities that cater to every type of adventurer. Whether you’re a hiking enthusiast, a wildlife lover, or an adrenaline junkie, you’ll find something to suit your interests. Trek through national parks like Jotunheimen, Rondane, and Dovrefjell, or go on a wildlife safari in search of musk oxen, reindeer, and moose. For thrill-seekers, embark on a river rafting adventure, try your hand at glacier hiking, or soar above the fjords on a zipline.

The Midnight Sun and Northern Lights

As you journey northwards along the E6, you’ll enter the realm of the Midnight Sun, where the sun never sets during the summer months. This natural phenomenon allows for extended days of exploration and a unique, almost otherworldly atmosphere. In contrast, during the winter months, the E6 offers prime opportunities to witness the mesmerizing Northern Lights, as the ethereal aurora borealis dances across the Arctic sky.

Culinary Delights

Norwegian cuisine is a delicious blend of traditional dishes and modern innovation. Traveling along the E6, you’ll have the chance to savor a variety of regional specialties. Sample fresh seafood in coastal towns, indulge in hearty mountain fare, and discover local artisanal products, from cheese to cured meats. The culinary journey is an essential part of the E6 experience, offering an authentic taste of Norway’s diverse flavors.

Warm Hospitality

One of the most endearing aspects of traveling the E6 is the warm hospitality of the Norwegian people. From charming countryside inns to family-run businesses and friendly locals, you’ll be welcomed with open arms as you journey through this captivating land. This sense of camaraderie and connection adds an extra layer of joy to your E6 adventure.


The E6, stretching from the south to the north of Norway, is an extraordinary road trip that offers an unparalleled experience. Its diverse landscapes, rich cultural heritage, outdoor adventures, natural phenomena, culinary delights, and warm hospitality combine to create a journey that is nothing short of amazing. As you traverse this epic route, you’ll be constantly enchanted by the surprises and discoveries that await around every corner. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a first-time visitor, the E6 is a testament to Norway’s natural and cultural wonders, promising an unforgettable adventure that will leave you with memories to cherish for a lifetime. So, buckle up, hit the road, and let the magic of the E6 sweep you away on the ultimate Norwegian odyssey.

Why the E6 is a Dream Route for Camper Van Enthusiasts

The E6 is the quintessential camper van-friendly route in Norway, offering an unparalleled travel experience for camper enthusiasts. Its thoughtful infrastructure, abundance of scenic rest areas, and easy accessibility to diverse attractions make it an ideal choice for a camper van adventure.

  1. Well-Maintained Infrastructure: The E6 is well-maintained and regularly updated, ensuring a smooth and comfortable drive throughout your journey. The road is designed to accommodate larger vehicles such as camper vans, allowing you to navigate with ease and confidence.
  2. Scenic Rest Areas: As you travel along the E6, you’ll find numerous picturesque rest areas where you can stop and take a break. These spots not only offer essential facilities such as restrooms and picnic tables but also provide stunning panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes, making them perfect for a leisurely lunch or an overnight stay.
  3. Accessible Attractions: The E6 connects you to a plethora of Norway’s most iconic attractions, from national parks and fjords to charming villages and vibrant cities. With easy access to these diverse sights, you can tailor your camper van journey to suit your interests, ensuring an unforgettable experience.

In conclusion, the E6’s camper van-friendly features make it a dream route for vanlife travelers. Its well-maintained infrastructure, scenic rest areas, and accessible attractions combine to create a stress-free and enjoyable journey, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the wonders of Norway.

Camper and Outdoor Supplies

Camper and Outdoor Supplies

When embarking on a Norwegian road trip, it is essential to equip yourself with the right camper and outdoor supplies. This guide will help you locate the top stores in Norway to find everything you need for your journey.

  1. Biltema: Your One-Stop-Shop for Car Parts and Camper Equipment

When traveling through the larger towns in Norway, you’ll most likely come across a Biltema store. This shop is widespread across the country and offers everything from car parts to camping gear and building materials. Whether you need to repair your vehicle, stock up on camper equipment, or find some useful gadgets for your trip, Biltema has you covered. The store prides itself on offering high-quality products at affordable prices.


  1. Jula: Another Option for Camper and Outdoor Supplies

While not as common as Biltema, Jula is another chain store that offers a similar range of products. You can find car parts, camper equipment, and various outdoor supplies here. Although Jula may not be as widespread as Biltema, it is still worth checking out if you’re in a town with one of their stores.


  1. XXL and Intersport: The Go-To Stores for Outdoor Gear and Clothing

For those seeking proper outdoor gear and clothing, you can find everything you need at XXL and Intersport. These stores are available in most larger towns across Norway, and they specialize in high-quality outdoor equipment, clothing, and accessories. They cater to a wide range of outdoor activities, including hiking, camping, skiing, and fishing. At XXL and Intersport, you can find top brands and a vast selection of products to suit your outdoor needs.


Norway is well-equipped with stores catering to the needs of road trippers and outdoor enthusiasts. Biltema and Jula are great options for car parts and camper equipment, while XXL and Intersport provide a wide range of outdoor gear and clothing to ensure you’re well-prepared for your adventures in the Norwegian wilderness. With these resources at your disposal, you’ll be ready to make the most of your unforgettable road trip through Norway.

The Adventures of North & Beyond

The Adventures of North & Beyond

Our friend Sii from Australia is exploring Northern Norway in his self converted Mercedes Sprinter van. While he is doing that, he started his own web-series on Youtube. Watch him brewing beer from glacier ice. Or building a Pizza oven out of an ship wreck in the Lyngen Alps. He is diving in winter in the Arctic ocean or SUPing with whales in Skjervøy. You can find all episodes on