12 Reasons We Love Norway
In other words, twelve reasons to push you over the fence on why you need to visit this Scandinavian country asap. Flowers, berries, and sheep didn't make the list, but we love those things too.
It's no secret that the Scandinavians are masters of design. From the modern business buildings in Oslo to the charming red fishing cabins on the fjords, we couldn't get enough of the Norwegians' buildings.
11. Separate Bed Spreads
Every hotel, B&B and Airbnb we stayed at made the beds with two bed spreads. For someone who has engaged in many spats over “hogging the covers”, this ingenious solution made for comfortable nights and pleasant mornings because unless someone straight up stole the other person’s comforter, it was your own problem if you didn’t have enough covers in the night.
Norwegians have adorable mailboxes. Miniature houses, professionally hand painted script, and double roofs to make sure the main roof doesn't get damaged from all the rain.
9. National Tourist Routes
The Norwegian Public Roads Administration has chosen 18 of the most beautiful road trip routes throughout Norway and then commissioned architects and artists, mostly Norwegian, to create rest stops, bridges, and public works of art along the way. It's the perfect marriage of natural and human design. You can find all 18 of them here.
The birthplace of cabin culture, Norway's cabins will incite longing into the most adamant city dwellers. They're on mountain sides, along fjords, just off the sea. Some have living roofs, others have white trim. No matter where they are located, they all seem to have charm and we love them.
Never in my life did I think that pickled herring would be one of my favorite dishes, but the Norwegians know how to pickle a fish and I couldn’t get enough of that sweet & sour side dish. Bergen’s fish market served up the tastiest fish and chips we’ve ever had (read: even better than Ireland!) and I couldn’t get enough of their delicious lox. Whether it was pickled, raw, or fried, all the fish made seafood one of our favorite things about Norway.
A couple hours after arrival at our guesthouse in Aurland, our hostess came to greet us at the cabin and welcome us to the property. She had just finished up an eight hour hike. Like that was a normal thing to do on a daily basis. You work for eight hours a day, Norwegians hike. With all the gorgeous scenery around, it’s no wonder why. One of our favorite days of the trip was a 5 hour hike from our guest house, past a waterfall and up to Stegastein viewpoint.
5. Free Wi-Fi
Everywhere you go in Norway it seems like there is free Wi-Fi. With the fastest average connection speed in Europe and the 10th in the world for internet subscriptions per 100 people, Norway is connected to the ‘net. We’re not sure if it’s because they are a socialist nation or because businesses really want you to like their Facebook page, but they also seem to like to share. We were able to connect almost everywhere we went, from trains to cafés to gas stations, and even at the top of the Stegastein lookout point.
4. Living Roofs
The most common type of roof in Norway until the 19th century, sod roofs are created by layering sod on top of birch bark on a sloping wooden roof, and can still be seen throughout Norway's gorgeous countryside. We're hoping they're coming back en vogue.
Fjords satisfy our need for both water and mountains and Norway has the best of them. The steep, rocky valleys that were etched into the earth by glaciers millions of years ago make us feel small and insignificant in the most gentle way, reminding us that bigger things are going on in the world than our little lives. Whether in a boat in the fjord, or looking down from the top of a mountain along the fjord, the views do not disappoint.
The longest tunnel in the world runs through a mountain in Norway. It's 15.23 miles or 24.51 kilometers long and runs between Aurland (near Flam) to Laerdal. On tunnel we went through had a roundabout inside it was so grand. There's something magical about tunnels and whether big or small, Norway has tons of them.
It seemed that each time we turned our head a new waterfall appeared, all uniquely wonderful. Narrow waterfalls, gushing waterfalls, tall waterfalls, bubbly waterfalls, elongated waterfalls, rocky waterfalls, singular waterfalls, waterfalls running into other waterfalls - Norway had all the falls and we were enamored with them. The crazy thing is, even though the waterfalls were our #1 favorite thing about Norway, we started to take them for granted towards the end of our holiday. When we first arrived, we took pictures every five minutes of a new waterfall. Before we left, we would admire the fall (if it didn't require too much effort to get out of our seats), but definitely had stopped taking photographs.
And 3 things we lived with because nowhere is perfect...
1. It's Expensive
To give you an idea, an average beer costs $20 USD.
2. It's Rainy
We loved the waterfalls, the living roofs, and the fjords, but of course those are only possible thanks to the rain! It rained every day we were in Norway, so bring your rain jacket.
3. You can only buy wine at liquor stores Monday through Saturday.
Sometimes we just wanted a glass of wine and it was so hard to find.