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Map of our walking Holidays in Norway

It is difficult to overstate the extraordinary beauty that is the Scandinavian Kingdom of Norway. Encompassing soaring mountains, grand glaciers and its distinguished fjord-slashed coastline, Norway has become a once in a life time destination. The most widely spoken language is Norwegian, a North Germanic tongue derived from Old Norse and broadly spread by the Vikings. The language is closely related to Danish and Swedish, although the majority of Norwegians speak very good English. Its capital, Oslo, is also the most populated city in Norway at almost 650,000 inhabitants and is the fastest growing major city in Europe.

Famed for its impossibly sheer-sided fjords, this striking country is rich in historic heritage with its mountainous core resembling natural fortresses. Norway was home to the Viking’s seafaring culture which is still very apparent in their seafood dominated cuisine; an unusual Norwegian delicacy is seagull eggs. Since the Vikings left home waters in the ninth century, Norway has drawn its strength from the sea. As the world’s fifth largest oil exporter, it is no surprise that Norway is an extremely wealthy country. In 2000, Norway opened the world’s longest road tunnel with a length of 15.3 miles in the hope to boost tourism. The tunnel itself has become a tourist attraction, featuring vast caverns that simulate sunrise to help refresh weary drivers.

Norway’s stunning landscapes provide a flawless backdrop for some of the most captivating wildlife such as Arctic Fox, Reindeer, Musk-Ox and further north, the Polar Bear. Not to mention the lively waters of Norway which are home to whale, seal and walrus. 

Geography

Located in Northern Europe, Norway has a very elongated shape and an extremely indented coastline. Norway also has a very long land border with Sweden along the east, a shorter one with Finland and an even smaller one with Russia. The entire country was covered in a thick sheet of ice during the last ice age. The movement of this ice carved out deep valleys and when the ice melted, the sea filled many of these valleys, creating Norway’s famous fjords. Another remarkable result of this ice carving was the creation of the world’s longest fjord “Sognefjorden” which you will visit on this holiday and “Hornindalsvatnet”, the deepest lake in Europe.

History

The first people settled in Norway around 10,000 years ago and initially survived by hunting and fishing until they began to farm the land and keep livestock; this period was known as the Bronze Age. The Viking Age lasted from around 800 to 1030 AD and was definitely an eventful time in Norwegian history. Around this time, the lands of Norway were made into one kingdom and by the 13th century, Norway ruled over Iceland, Greenland, Shetland and the Faroe Islands until a plague wiped out more than half of Norway’s population. Norway has been in union with both Denmark and Sweden, until it became independent in 1905 and was able to choose their own king.  Norway is a member of the United Nations (UN) and NATO with a strong belief in calm negotiation as a way of settling conflict. In the late 1960s, a large amount of oil and gas was discovered off the Norwegian Coast which had a huge effect on their economy resulting in Norway being voted the best country in the world to live in according to the UN.

Climate

With its northern location, Norway is often regarded as a cold and wet country. In some aspects this is true, because they share the same latitude as Alaska, Greenland and Siberia. But compared to these areas Norway has a pleasant climate. Thanks to its location on the east side of a vast ocean, with a huge, warm and steady ocean current near its shores, Norway has a much friendlier climate than its latitude suggests.

Flora and Fauna

Norway is rich with diverse flora and fauna, the primary flora are heather, birch, shrub willow, fir and pine trees. Only about a quarter of Norway is covered in forest whilst Arctic Tundra can be found in the far north. One of Norway’s most common animals is elk; they are so populous that there are many signs along roads warning drivers to lookout for them. Other common fauna include deer, foxed, wolverines, lynx, owls, hawks and the domesticated reindeer. There once were large populations of brown bear and wolves throughout Norway but they were relentlessly hunted and were almost extinct as a result. Since the middle of the 20th century they have slowly shown signs of recovery. There is a wide variety of seabirds and fish including sea eagles, puffins, cod, halibut and monkfish to name a few. A range of whales can also be found in the coastal sea and fjords including beluga and killer whales.

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