Find Nor-Way: A Norwegian’s Guide to Norway

Home to fjords, trolls and lappskaus – Norway should be on everyone’s travel bucket list. A stark contrast to Singapore’s busy and bustling metropolitan life, Norway’s magnificent nature will leave you breathless and question why humans ever decided to build skyscrapers. It’s been crowned the world’s happiest country for many years, which makes you wonder if the path to happiness is through a Norwegian forest.

This will be a guide to Oslo, Tromsø and Stavanger – three cities that together embody what Norway is all about – culture, nature and the small town life.

Oslo

Tigerstaden (the City of Tigers) is Norway’s capital and the perfect place for anyone who wishes to kick back in a gorgeous European city full of historic architecture, museums, green parks and the minimalistic aesthetic Scandinavia has grown so famous for. Buy a disposable outdoors grill, hot dogs, lompe (Norwegian potato tortilla), some ice cold Eplemost (carbonated apple juice) and sit down in Slottsparken behind the king’s castle on a cool summer’s night, and you will have experienced what a Norwegian summer is all about.

What to see

Vigelandsparken

With over one million visitors each year, this one one of Norway’s most visited attractions. The park’s statues are the lifework of Gustav Vigeland and his study of the human body. Think Michelangelo’s David statue, but with a Norwegian twist, and 200 of them gathered in one place.

vigelandsparken 2
Photo credit: http://www.jaconelli.fi/

Oslomarka

In addition to gorgeous hikes, forest walks should be a mandatory part to any Norway trip. The forest behind Nordmarka, popularised as Oslomarka, is a vast area of untouched nature just 20min from the city. Bring a backpack with some Kvikklunsj chocolate, hot cocoa, sandwiches with Norvegia cheese, and oranges, and you’ll blend right in with the local hiking enthusiasts. Suggested soundtrack: “Norwegian Wood” by The Beatles (think about all those punny Instagram opportunities).

oslomarka 2Photo credit: http://2014.tmf-dialogue.net/

What to eat

Fårikål (sheep in cabbage): Lamb and cabbage stew.

The true representation of Norwegian farmers’ food, fårikål is a hearty stew that is perfect after a long day at the farm. The lamb meat will be cooked for several hours until it reaches the stage of perfect tenderness to the point where it’s practically falling off the bones.

fårikål 2Photo credit: http://www.ht.no/

Tromsø

The perfect entry to Nord-Norge (North Norway) and all that is beautiful in this world, Tromsø will leave you breathless and hesitant to get on that return flight. One of the best places in the world to catch the Northern Lights, this city is a must if you ever plan on travelling to Norway. Other activities include reindeer and husky sledding, ice fishing, and whale safari.

What to see

Nordlys (the Northern Lights)

As much as the Northern Lights need no introduction, Aurora Borealis is a world famous phenomenon that will leave anyone breathless in awe. Watching the midnight sky be painted in a multitude of colours should alone be reason enough for anyone to get on the next plane to Tromsø.

northern lights 2Photo credit: http://www.visitnorway.com/

Midnattssol (the Midnight Sun): Where the sun never sets.

A natural phenomenon that occurs during the summer months, when the sun is visible 24h all the way from May until July. What this results in is guaranteed gorgeous sunsets almost every single day that paints the sky in intensely saturated reds, pinks, oranges and blues. You can think of it as the brighter version of the Northern Lights.

midnight sun 2Photo credit: http://www.visitnorway.com/

What to eat

Torsk (cod): Fresh cod with potatoes, boiled vegetables and melted butter.

Contrary to popular belief, Norwegians grow up with cod, not salmon, as their fish of choice (although salmon is a widely popular fish as well). Our traditional cuisine is simple, hearty and fresh. As Norway was originally a poor country made up of farmers and fishermen, it was important to eat nutritious meals to be able to last all day at the farm/sea. Cod with boiled potatoes and vegetables is a perfect example of such a meal.

torskPhoto credit: http://img.gfx.no/

Stavanger

If you’re looking for a charming small town where everyone treats each other like a relative, look no further than Stavanger. I was blessed enough to grow up in this town, and I can testify that no matter where you turn you will always be greeted with a friendly face and a bowl of lappskaus (not literally, but pretty close).

What to see

Preikestolen (The Pulpit Rock)

A well known landmark for not only Stavanger, but Norway overall, the Pulpit Rock is frequented by hundreds of thousands every year. It’s famous for its square and flat plateau, which in olden times was called Hyvlatånnå (planed tooth). After 1-2h of hiking (depending on your fitness level), you will have reached the top that gives you a gorgeous view of the fjord Lysefjorden.

preikestolen 2Photo Credit: http://imgur.com/

Gamle Stavanger (Old Stavanger)

Many say the houses in Gamle Stavanger resemble doll houses thanks to their tiny size and wooden build. Nearly all of them are painted a crisp white, and they come with an adorable outdoor garden. Surprising to many tourists, these houses are actually inhabited by locals, and they are known to be very expensive due to being protected by the local government for their historical value.

gamlestavanger 2Photo Credit: http://digital-foto.no/

What to eat

Ei me alt (one with all): A sausage with all possible toppings.

Quite possibly Stavanger’s most iconic street food, the ei med alt sausage is loved by all generations. It literally just means “one [sausage] with all [toppings]”. The toppings can be, but are not restricted to, ketchup, mustard, sprøstekt løk (deep fried onion), sweet chili dressing, sour cream dressing and potato salad.

polse 2Photo credit: http://www.godt.no/

This concludes our guide to Norway, and we hope you feel a stronger inclination to put it as your next travel destination after reading this. If there’s one thing I would like to end off with, it’s that these pictures don’t do the experiences themselves any justice. Not even close. You really have to see it for yourself, so with that being said, I hope to see you in Norway very soon.

Snakkes! (Translated: See ya!)

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2 thoughts on “Find Nor-Way: A Norwegian’s Guide to Norway

    1. Indeed! Singaporeans are blessed only with a concrete jungle, but it’s always a great excuse to go out there and explore the world 🙂 Do you have any other beautiful countries to share with us?

      Like

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