Norwegians are generally open-minded and tolerant and there are few, if any, dos and don'ts that foreign visitors need to keep in mind. Many Norwegian people can however be mistaken as somewhat rude and unwelcoming, due to the fact that they can be very direct and that small talk generally doesn't come easy. This is just a matter of culture; making contact with strangers, such as talking with fellow passengers on the bus, is uncommon. Furthermore, Norwegian as a language is very straightforward. The use of the polite pronoun is extremely rare, and so is polite phrases and words in everyday situations, so don't be offended if a Norwegian speaking a foreign language uses a very familiar language.
The Norwegian culture is also very informal and Norwegians usually address each others by first name only, except perhaps in official meetings. The informal culture is not equivalent of that in southern parts of Europe; showing up late for meetings is considered rude, so is talking loud, being too personal with strangers and losing your temper. It is customary to take off your shoes when entering a Norwegian home - particularly in the winter. Norwegians can also be perceived as somewhat nationalistic. It is common to use the flag in private celebrations (such as anniversaries and weddings), and many will also flag on public holidays. Most Norwegians will speak warmly of their country, in particular about subjects such as the nature and the country's economical success. 17 May, the constitution day, can perhaps be a bit overwhelming for foreigners, as the country is covered in flags, citizens dress up in their finest clothes and celebrate all day long. The Norwegian nationalism is however generally just an expression of appreciation of living in a successful community, not aggressive in any way. On constitution day, dress up and try to say gratulerer med dagen (literally "congratulations on the day") to anyone you meet, and you will probably get the same in response and see a lot of smiles, even if you're not Norwegian at all. Norwegians take pride in the fact that the parades on constitution day are made up of school children and families instead of military troops.
Mobile phone coverage is universal in urban areas and generally also good in rural Norway, though on occasion some remote valley areas might be badly covered. Most Norwegian households are connected to the Internet in some way, making cybercafés hard to find outside major cities, due to a relatively small market. Most public libraries have free public access to the internet, but a limited number of computers and limited opening hours. However, if you bring a laptop with a wireless connection you will find wireless internet zones just about everywhere (gas stations, city centres, cafés, shopping centres, hotels etc), be prepared to pay for it though.
If you want to look at some nice scenery from Norway you could watch the music below.
The polar night and midnight sun
During the winter you will be able to see the northern light. To get a good view of this phenomenon you should travel as far north as possible. It is possible to see it in the southern part of Norway but this does not occur that frequent. I have seen it two or three times in Oslo which is in the southern part of Norway. The downside of seeing the northern light is that it is only possible to see it during the winter in the polar night and Norway is a cold and dark country that time of year. In some parts of Norway it may get as cold as -50º Celsius (which is something like -58 ºF) during the winter. In the old days people thought the northern light where trying to catch their soul. The opposite of winter and the polar night is the summer and the midnight sun. The midnight sun is fantastic and at 3 AM the sun is still high in the sky. During summer the sun does not set in months. First time visitors not familiar with the country tend plan a trip in Norway from city to city. Although Norway has many nice cities the country's main attraction is the land itself, the nature, the landscapes, the wilderness, as well as a number of man-made sights in rural districts, notably road constructions and cultural treasures such as the stave churches. Unlike many other countries in Europe, a trip to Norway should ideally be planned according to types of landscapes to visit as well as a selection of cities. Norway is wide country with long distances and complex topography, and travellers should not underestimate distances. This video is a somewhat humorous and shows Norwegian culture in a nutshell.
The Norwegian language is a north Germanic language. By law there are two officially forms of Norwegian, bokmål and nynorsk. Two other written forms without official status also exist. These are Riksmål, which is pretty much the same as Bokmål but somewhat closer to Danish and Høgnorsk, which is a more purist form of Nynorsk that rejects most spelling reforms from the 20th century, but is not widely used. From the 16th to the 19th centuries Norway where ruled by Denmark and Danish was the standard written language of Norway. As a result, you could say that Bokmål, and especially Riksmål, is a Norwegianized variety of Danish. In these dialects you will find words "stolen" from Danish that haven't been used in Denmark for centuries.
Bokmål is most commonly spoken in areas around the large cities while Nynorsk is a language form based on Norwegian dialects and acts as a puristic opposition to Danish. Riksmål is looked upon as somewhat poshy and old fashioned.
Norwegians learn both Nynorsk and Bokmål at school and from a certain age we learn English at school and may choose to learn German, French or sometimes Spanish in addition to English. In certain remote parts of northern Norway Samí and Kven are official languages. The Samí language is spoken by the Samí people who lives in northern Norway, northern Sweden, northern Finland and the Kola Peninsula in Russia. The Samí people are the only indigenous people in Europe. Kvens are an ethnic minority in Norway and are descended from Finnish peasants and fishermen who emigrated from the northern parts of Finland and Sweden to Northern Norway in the 18th and 19th centuries. In 1996 the Kvens were granted minority status in Norway, and in 2005 the Kven language was recognized as a minority language in Norway.
Travel to Norway
Arriving Norway by airplane you are most likely to arrive at Gardermoen international airport, which serves Oslo and the eastern part of Norway, or Flesland international airport which is situated outside Bergen in the western part of Norway.
If you arrive by airplane you most likely arrive at Gardermoen airport (OSL), which is situated northeast of Oslo. There is an airport express train but the regional trains and drive between the city centre and airport as well. The airport express train departs every 10 minutes and the other trains depart 3 times an hour. The regional trains cost far less than the airport express train but use only 10 minutes more. There is an airport south west of Oslo called Torp airport (TRF) that some cheap airliners fly to and say they fly to Oslo. The train takes about 90 mins from this airport to Oslo city centre.
Traveling within Norway
Transport in Norway is highly influenced by Norway's low population density, narrow shape and long coastline. Norway has old water transport traditions, but rail, road and air transport have increased in importance during the 20th century. Due to the low population density, public transport is less built out than in many European countries, especially outside the cities. One of the best ways to travel the coastline in northern part of Norway is by using Hurtigruten (Norwegian coastal express). Traveling in the southern part of Norway you could use train, coach (check out Nor-Way buss express) or rent a car.
Norway is a big country and getting around, particularly up north, is expensive and time-consuming. The best way to see the Norwegian wilderness and countryside is by having access to your own vehicle. This way you can stop wherever you want, admire the view and venture onto smaller roads.
Traveling from the eastern part of Norway to the western part you should use Bergensbanen (The Bergen Line) by train or travel by road. The Bergen line gives you some of the most beautiful and wild nature in Norway. The train stops at Myrdal station and lets the passengers have a look at the view (this is my favourite train station in Norway and one of the prettiest places I know of) while it waits for the Flåmsbanen (The Flåm line). Flåmsbanen departs from this station ends at Flåm station. Flåm is located in Aurlandfjord which is a branch fjord of Sognefjorden. Another important station at the Bergen line is Finse. This station is situated on Europe's highest mountainous plateau (Hardangervidda) in addition to be the site where they filmed some of the scenes from Hoth in The empire strikes back. Close to The Bergen line is Rallarvegen which is popular road for using bicycle during summer.
Traveling between Oslo and Bergen by car you have several routes to select from, as described in this article. I have saved there soutes in Google Maps for your convenience. None of there routes requires the use of ferries as this may require alot more planning. If you want to check if there are closed roads, maintenance works, landslides or such you should check the homepage of the Norwegian public roads administration.
- Route via Aurlandsfjellet (Aurland mountain in English) is the northernmost route and gives you a very nice view of Norway. It drives by Borgund stave church and the viewing point Stegastein amongst other places. It also takes you through Lærdalstunellen, which is 24.5 kilometers long and the longest tunnel for cars inn the world. You can combine parts of this route with public transportation. If you travel from Oslo you can take the train to Myrdal and switch to another train that takes you to Flåm. From there you can take the cruise chip to Gudevangen and a bus from there to Vossevangen. (Vossevangen is normally just called "Voss"). I doubt there are that many busses going in such remote places, so public transpoiration should be planned particularily on this part of the trip. It's about an hour to drive from Gudevangen to Voss, so taxi could be expensive. The cruise ships between Flåm and Gudevangen takes close to 2 hours and costs ~60 EUR per person. The view from there is stunning and worth the ride. Whilst visiting Gudevangen you should visit the viking village. The train between Bergen and Oslo stops at Voss station and you can use that to keep on traveling.
- The route via Hardangervidda (Hardanger plateau in English) is the middle route and takes you over the Hardanger mountain plateau. If you drive from Bergen you will early on drive by Fossen bratte waterfall. the trip also takes you by Vøringsfossen, which is one of the most famous waterfalls in Norway. This is the fastest route by car between Bergen and Oslo.
- The southernmost route is via Haukelifjell (Haukeli mountain in English). Also on this route you early on rive by Fossen bratte waterfall, if you drive from Bergen, and you later on drive by Røldal stave church and Heddal stave church. This route is one of the main roads that connects the eastern and western part of Norway.
If you are planning on using public transportation install the app from EnTur. EnTur is a government-owned transportation company in Norway. It is owned by the Norwegian Ministry of Transport and Communications. It was created to offer sales and ticket solutions for the railways and travel planner for public transport throughout Norway, for all transport companies - basically for anything else than airplanes. Their homepage and apps provide travel planner for basically anywhere.
Ruter is the company that runs the public transportation in Oslo. They have apps where you can buy tickets, plan your journey and so on. The public transportation network in Oslo is fairly well developed and it’s easy to get around. Some lines operate night-time during weekdays and more buses and trams run throughout the night during the weekend.
You can buy tickets from bus drivers, but you will most likely be looked upon as an old fashioned annoyance when doing so. Don't use larger bills than 200 NOK if you try to pay with cash. They removed most ticket vending machines from the metro stations in Oslo some years ago so if you want a travel card instead of buying tickets with the Ruter app you can buy it at 7-eleven, Narvesen and similar convenient stores.
Michael Moore and Norway
When Michael Moore made Sicko he visited Norway and planned to use two clips in his documentary. He never though anyone would believe him so he deleted it from the movie and put in in the bonus materials instead. The first part is about the Norwegian welfare, called Nordic model, and the secound part is about Bastøy prison.
Places to sleep
In Norway you have several options where to sleep. Check hotels.com and booking.com for hotels and hostelworld.com for hostels. If you want to rent a private home Airbnb.com is somewhere you could check out.
Money and banking
Norwegian Krone (NOK) is the currency used in Norway. In March 2023 1 EUR roughly equals 11 NOK. Most Norwegian banks are now so modern that they don't exchange foreign currency, and it's most likely you will be sendt off to places like Forex if you want to exchange foreign money to NOK. Credit- and debit cards and tapping is the preferred method of payment basically everywhere, even though cash is accepted as well. If you want to withdraw money to have some spending money ATMs are relatively easy to find.
Vaccine and health
Tap water quality in Norway is mostly adequate and it is always drinkable (except on boats, trains etc). Its possible to drink water from most lakes and rivers as well. The hygiene in public kitchens is very good, and food poisoning rarely happens to tourists. Norway may get relatively warm in the summer, but be prepared to bring warm clothes as they might come in handy. It's hard to predict the weather, and in the summer time, you may experience severe weather changes during your stay. Tourists hiking in the high mountains should bring sports wear for temperatures down to freezing (zero degrees C). The country has a high density of pharmacies. Nose sprays and standard pain killers can also be purchased in grocery stores and petrol stations. The sun is generally not as strong as in southern Europe but keep in mind that in cool conditions (low temperatures or wind) you don't feel that the sun burns your skin. The air is often very clear and clean in the North and UV-levels can be high despite the low sun. Also keep in mind that the sun is stronger in the high mountains, radiation is multiplied on or near snow fields as well as water surfaces. Even when it's cloudy the light can be strong on snow fields. Do not underestimate the power of the Nordic sun. Bring sunglasses when you go to the high mountains, when you go skiing in spring and when you go to the beach.
In southern Norway ticks appear in summertime. In some areas they may transmit Lyme's disease (borreliosis) and more serious TBE (tick-borne encephalitis) through a bite. The risk areas for TBE are mainly along the coast from Oslo to Trondheim. Although incidents are relatively rare and not all ticks carry diseases, it's advisable to wear long trousers rather than shorts if you plan to walk through dense or tall grass areas (the usual habitat for ticks). You can buy special tick tweezers from the pharmacy that can be used to remove a tick safely if you happen to get bitten. You should remove the tick from your skin as quickly as possible and preferably with the tick tweezers to reduce the risks of getting an infection. If it starts to form red rings on the skin around where they have bitten you or if you experience other symptoms relating to the bite, you should seek medical assistance as soon as possible. Since ticks are black, they are more easily found if you wear bright clothes. There's only one type of venomous snake in Norway: the European adder, which has a distinct zig-zag pattern on its back. The snake is not very common, but lives all over Norway south of the arctic circle (except for the highest mountains and areas with little sunshine). Although its bite hardly ever is life-threatening (except to small children and allergic people), be careful in the summertime especially when walking in the forests or on open fields. If you are bitten by a snake, seek medical assistance. The probability of being bitten is however very small, as the adder is very shy of humans.
If you live in another country that is member of the European Union be sure to bring your European Health Insurance Card along with your travel insurance.
Norway has a low crime rate. The most likely crimes for tourists to experience is car breakins and bicycle theft. Pickpockets do also tend to be an increasing problem in urban areas in the summer season, but it's still nothing compared to larger cities in Europe. It is always a good idea to look after your belongings, this includes never leaving valuable objects visual in your car and locking your bike safely. Single women should have no problems, although ordinary street sense is advised after dark. Norway is one of the countries in the world with least corruption. Police and other authorities cannot be bribed, travellers are strongly advised against attempting in any form of bribery. The greatest dangers to tourists in Norway are found in the nature. Every year, quite a few tourists get hurt, even killed, in the mountains or on the seas, usually after given, unheeded warnings. For example, do not approach a glacier front, big waves on the coast, or a big waterfall unless you know what you're doing, and do not walk on glaciers without proper training and equipment. Norway has few dangerous wild animals. Car crashes with the mighty moose or the smaller red deer account for the bulk of wild animal-related deaths and injuries. Also note that in some rural districts, sheep, goats, cows or reindeer can be seen walking or sleeping on the road. Specific rules and precautions apply to Svalbard. On Svalbard you find the polar bear which happily will have a human as an afternoon snack if its hungry. As for other wild animals, there are not much more than a few extremely rare encounters with brown bear and wolf in the wilderness. The Scandinavian brown bear is peaceful and will generally run away from humans. In any case it is extremely unlikely that tourists will even see a glimpse of one of the around 50 brown bears remaining in Norway. Norwegian wolves are not dangerous to humans. In general, there is no reason worry about dangerous encounters with wild beasts.
Norwegian cousine and drink
The traditional Norwegian cousine is based on the raw materials available in the sea, forest and mountains. Some of the most traditional Norwegian dishes are gravet laks (raw cured salmon), rakfisk (trout or sometimes char is salted and fermented for two to three months and eaten raw), fårikål (lamb's meat with bone, cabbage, whole black pepper and a little wheat flour) and pinnekjøtt (dried mutton ribs).
In some parts of Norway they eat Smalahove. The dish originates in the mountainous parts of Norway and is traditionally eaten when the farmers gathers their sheeps from grassing in September or October. In other parts of Norway it's fairly difficult to find restaurants that serves it unless t's late November or December, aka just before Christmas. The skin and fleece of the head is torched, the brain removed, and the head is salted, sometimes smoked, and dried. The head is boiled or steamed for about 3 hours and served with mashed rutabaga and potatoes.
In Norway it is illegal to drink alcohol in public areas and you may get a fine if the police catch you in the act. If you visit public parks on a sunny day you may see a lot of people having a beer or a glass of wine with the picnic. The police usually won't mind as long as everything passes in an orderly fashion. One of the most traditional Norwegian spirits is aquavit. The name aquavit comes from the latin expression Aqua Vitae which means water of life. You will find aquavit all over nordic countries and it is rarely made outside this region. The Norwegian aquavit is different than the aquavit from the other Nordic countries because it is distilled from potato (the other ones are distilled from grain) and is aged on Sherry casks. The taste is quote distinctive compared to other types of spirit and is highly recommended to try. It may taste somewhat different anything you have tasted but at least you should give it a try. Norwegians still eat whale. However, it's very seldom found in most ordinary restaurants, and chances are it might be overly expensive. Young Norwegians did not grow up with eating whale because of the moratorium in the 1980s. Although whaling started up again in the early 1990s, whale is no longer a staple food as it once was in the coastal areas. Norway only allows a limited catch of the minke whale as this specific species is not regarded endangered. It is possible to buy whale meat in the fish market in Bergen. If you think out eating habits are strange I can inform you we also eat ordinary food like bread, ham, cheese etc.
Despite the fact that Norway is not a member of EU the country is a member of the Schengen agreement and because of this there are no border controls between Norway and other European nations who have signed this agreement. Likewise, a visa granted for any Schengen Agreement signatory country is valid in all other countries that signed and implemented the treaty. Airlines may still insist on seeing your ID card or passport. Not all EU members have signed the Schengen treaty, and not all Schengen treaty countries are members of the European Union. Airports in Europe are thus divided into "Schengen" and "non-Schengen" sections, which effectively act like "domestic" and "international" sections elsewhere. If you are flying from outside Europe into one Schengen country and continuing to another, you will clear passport control in the first country and then continue to your destination with no further checks. However, if travelling within the Schengen Area to or from one of the Schengen countries outside the EU, customs controls are still in place. Travel to and from a Schengen Agreement country to any other country will result in the normal border checks. Non-EU/EFTA visa-free visitors may not stay more than 90 days in a 180 day period and, in general, may not work. The counter begins once you enter any country in the Schengen Area and is not reset by leaving a specific Schengen country for another Schengen country, or vice-versa. Be aware that Norway is not a member of the European Union. This means, especially if arriving by plane, that all persons entering Norway, regardless of point of origin, may be subject to customs controls at the port of entry. If you want to apply for visa to Norway check this page at the homepage for of The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration. Travel in the Schengen zone is an informative article which provides additional information.
Extreme sports in Norway
Lots of people traveling to Norway to do some kind of extreme sport and there are lots of possibilities to do this. Snowkiting, river rafting, climbing (both ice climbing and mountain climbing) and basejumping are some of the sports you may attend to. The mountains in Romsdalen and Eikesdalen are some of the best places in the world to base jump. Performing some of these sports is an extremely high risk of injury or death for participants. You must take the necessary steps to ensure your own safety. Check out the section for adrenaline junkies in visitnorway.com for more details.
Regions to visit in Norway
The western and northern parts of Norway are the prettiest in my opinion. If you want to see the best of what Norway have to offer you should start in Oslo and travel to Bergen using the Bergen line (train). If you are up for an amazing experience you should use on of the Norway inn a Nutshell tours from Oslo to Bergen. This trip takes you through some of Norway's most beautiful fjord scenery. The first part of the trip you travel the Bergen Railwayand the breath-taking Flåm Railway by train while the secound part is by boat and takes you to the Aurlandsfjord, the narrow Nærøyfjord and the steep hairpin bends of Stalheimskleiva. This trips takes something like 14 hours and is amazing.
From a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bergen">Bergen you should travel to Honningsvåg using the Hurtigruten (Norwegian coastal express) which startet as a postal boat along the coast. On the way you should make a stop in Tromsø, which is inside the arctic circle. Near Tromsø is Lofoten which is a group of islands and is a display of amazing nature. In Lofoten you will find Trollfjorden (picture to the left on the link) which is quite famous. Close to Honningsvåg is North cape which is the northernmost point of mainland Europe. After Honningsvåg you should find a way to Stavanger and use either coach, train or car to travel along the coast to Oslo. Doing this you should consider making a stop in Kristiansand. In Kristiansand is Kristiansand Zoo and Amusement park which is the largest park of its kind in Norway.
Hurtigruten travel from Bergen to Kirkenes which is located near the Russian boarder. Visit the homepage of Hurtigruten for more information about this. Traveling vith Hurtigruten you will get up close and personal with the amazing nature of the Norwegian coastline. Combined with a trip like Norway in a nutshell you will see the most important things to see in Norway. Check the video below to see what you may experience from Hurtigruten. The coastal express stops in large Norwegian cities like Trondheim as well.
Cities to visit in Norway
I have made some maps in Google MyMaps that displays points of interests, places to eat, museums, and such for several cities in Norway. Below is such a map I have made for Oslo.
Oslo is the capital of Norway and my hometown. One of the most popular places to visit in Oslo is the new Opera house, Akershus Fortress, Kon-tiki museum, Munch museum, the Vigeland Park, the Viking ship museum which all are in the city center. Holmenkollen ski arena and Tryvannstårnet (The Tryvann tower) is outside the city center but easily accessable by metro. From Holmenkollen and Tryvannstårnet it is possible to see Oslo and the surrounding area. You may see as far as to the Swedish border from this tower if the weather allows it. Norsk Folkemuseum (Norwegian Museum of Cultural History) at Bygdøy is quite popular as well. Use bus "30 Bygdøy" to get there. My favourite spot is Grefsenkollen because of the view of Oslo and surrounding area and I prefer it over Holmenkollen any day. Oslo s a small city compared to most international counterparts so it's easy to ewalk around to see everything in the city center. If you have planned to see Holmenkollen it's easiest to use the metro that terminates at Frognerseteren. Heading to Grefsenkollen take the tram or metro to Storo and change to buss 56b that goes directly to Grefsenkollen.
If you have planned to get around in Oslo you should use an app called Ruter reiser. (Ruter is the company that runs and / or coordinates trams, busses, metro and boats in Oslo). The app provides you with journey suggestions, lets you chech departures in real-time and search for stops, addresses or areas all over south-eastern Norway. Use the app Ruter billett to biy tickets to the public transportation system. It is possible to buy tickets in borh Oslo and Akershus (the country that is surrounding Oslo) with that app. If buying tickets using your phone or tablet is too modern for you you could find a kiosk (typically Narvesen or Mix) or ticket vending machine to buy ticket.
Oslo is located in the south-eastern (and lowland) part of Norway. The nature in this part of Norway is quite different than what you will find up north and on the west coast. While spending time in this part of the country you should also visit the Telemark canal.
For more tips about what to see in Oslo visit the homepage of Visit Oslo. VisitOslo have made a good App for Android, iPhoe and iPad. VisitOslo is the city's tourist marketing and service institution and the App lets you find updated information about attractions, sightseeing, restaurants, shopping, events, transport and accommodation, browse categories, use the built-in search or find places nearby using GPS, use the Oslo Pass section to make the most of your Oslo Pass and share your favourites on Facebook, or by e-mail, text message or "bump". Everything is offline (and the App is free) so you don't have to think about costs because of roaming while using this App.
Bergen is the secound largest city in Norway and is located on the west coast. It is an important cultural hub in its region, recognized as the unofficial capital of Western Norway. Bergen replaced Trondheim as Norway's capital in 1217, and Oslo became capital in 1299. Towards the end of the 13th century, Bergen became one of the Hanseatic League's most important bureau cities. Bergen is also promoted as Gateway to the fjords. Bergen features a temperate oceanic climate with relatively mild winters and cool summers. Despite being so far north, Bergen's weather is relatively mild. In the winter, Bergen is one of the warmest cities in Norway, thanks to the Gulf Stream. Bergen experiences plentiful rainfall, with annual precipitation measuring 2,250 mm (89 in) on average. This is because the city is surrounded by mountains that cause moist North Atlantic air to undergo orographic lift, which yields abundant rainfall. Rain fell every day between 29 October 2006 and 21 January 2007, 85 consecutive days. In Bergen, precipitation is plentiful and heavy rain can happen at any time of the year. The city is situated among a group of mountains known as The Seven Mountains although the number is a matter of definition. The most famous places for tourists to visit in Bergen are Fløibanen (which runs up the mountain of Fløyen), Bergenshus fortress (Haakon's Hall and Rosenkrantz Tower), Festplassen, Den nasjonale scene (which is the first theather in Norway where they where allowed to speak Norwegian), Nordnes (where Bergen aquarium is located), Bryggen and Bryggen (The German Wharf) which is on the UNESCO list for World Cultural Heritage sites. The fish marked is also recommended to visit during summer. St. Mary's Church is the oldest building in Bergen but its closed for renovation to 2015. The entire city centre is easy accessible by foot. If you have the time you should walk to the top of mount Fløyen. It takes somewhere between 45 and 60 minutes to walk to the top from the city center and its a really nice walk. There are several guided tours on german, English and Norwegian on Bryggen every day in adition to one guided tour from the tourist information at 3 PM each day.
The Bergen line railway runs east to Oslo while Hurtigruten runs along the western and norhern coast from Bergen to Kirkenes, close to the russian border. It uses 11 days on the roundtrip. The Bergen dialect is easy for Norwegians to recognise. Like almost all Norwegian dialects, Bergensk cannot be said to be either Bokmål or Nynorsk. While the vocabulary shows many traits of both Bokmål and Nynorsk, it has many characteristics that are not covered by either of the two official written languages. The female grammatical gender disappeared from Bergensk in the 16th century, making the city's dialect one of the very few in Norway with only two grammatical genders. Norwegian School of Economics is a leading school of business and economics in Norway. In addition University of Bergen and Bergen University College is situated in Bergen.
Trondheim and Stavanger are two of the largest cities in Norway, next to Bergen and Oslo, and worth a visit if you are visiting Norway. Both cities have had an important role in the history of Norway. In Trondheim Nidaros cathedral is build from 1070 and is the most important gothic building in Norway. It is the northernmost medieval cathedral in the world and the second largest in Scandinavia. The Old town bridge, Stiftsgården and Munkholmen are the most famous places in Trondheim. Stiftsgården is the royal residence in Trondheim. Hurtigruten stops in Trondheim.
Stavanger is commonly referred to as the Petroleum Capital of Norway and is situated on the southwestern part of Norway. The city's history is a continuous alternation between economic booms and recessions. For long periods of time its most important industries have been shipping, shipbuilding, the fish canning industry and associated subcontractors. In 1969, a new boom started as oil was first discovered in the North Sea. Visiting Stavanger you should visit the Stavanger Oil Museum. It is a very interesting building with information on Norway's oil industry. Displays of submersibles, drilling equipment, a mock oil platform, and audio-visual presentations make for a good few hours. The Canning Museum may not seem like the most interesting place to visit but it is a surprisingly good little museum with a lot of hands-on exhibits. Gamle Stavanger (Old Stavanger) is a well preserved slice of Norwegian history. Old winding streets and wooden houses are representative of accommodation from Stavangers days as a the canning capital of Norway. Most houses in Old Stavanger are privately owned and well kept. A good place for a photo opportunity are the Three Swords (Sverd i fjell, literally Sword in Mountain), a monument outside the centre of Stavanger, beside the Hafrsfjord. The swords themselves are massive and in the background is the fjord. The monument commemorates the battle of Hafrsfjord in the late 800's where Harald Hårfagre beat his eastern opposition and became the first King of Norway. Norway's oldest cathedral, Stavanger cathedral, is situated in the city centre, right next to lake Breiavatnet. Preikestolen (The Pulpit Rock) is a massive 600 metres vertical cliff that sits on the edge of the Lysefjord. Its top is a natural lookout of several hundred square metres, almost perfectly flat, and the rock is the region's main tourist attraction, and one of the nation's landmarks. Stavanger has a varied and exciting nightlife, concentrated around Vågen (the bay). Even weekday nightlife is more vibrant in Stavanger than in most towns in Norway. The eastern rim of the bay gets the afternoon sun, and is the prime setting for an outdoor beer.
If you have the time you should also visit Røros which is east accessible from Trondheim. The city is often called Bergstaden which means "the mining town" due to its historical notoriety for copper mining. The modern-day inhabitants of Røros still work and live in the characteristic 17th and 18th century buildings which have led to its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980. Røros has about 80 wooden houses, most of them standing around courtyards. Many retain their dark pitch-log facades, giving the town a medieval appearance. The church in Røros, often called Bergstadens Ziir, is the 6th largest church in Norway. This is despite the fact that there are somewhat more than 3.500 inhabitants in Røros. Glomma, which is the largest and longest river in Norway starts in Røros and the northmost desert in europe is situated in Røros. The town used to be one of Norway's two most important mining towns and is known for being one of the coldest places in Norway.