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NORWAY, EUROPE TRAVEL, HOTEL & ACCOMMODATION GUIDE

Boats Moored Below Akershus Fort and Castle, Oslo, Norway
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View to the Royal Palace, Norwegian National Day (17th May) Oslo, Norway, Scandinavia, Europe
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Full Moon over Royal Palace, Slotts Parken, Oslo, Norway
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NORWAY TRAVEL INFORMATION
Best of Oslo, Norway: Top 10 Attractions
Car Hire Norway - take to the roads & explore!
Essential Haugesund area tourist visitor and hotel guide
Explore The Northern Lights On Cheap Cruises
Norway Fjord Drive Not Cruise
Stavanger Hotels and Things to Do
Things to do in Bergen
Trondheim Information
Uniquely surprising weather of Norway

Car Hire Norway - take to the roads & explore!   by Mairead Foley

Norway 'The Land of the Midnight Sun' is located in western Scandinavia. It's a country renowned for its immense natural beauty with deep fjords (the finest in the world!), snow capped mountains, glaciated valleys, the unspoilt open countryside and lush forests. All these natural attractions combine to produce some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.

From the midnight sun, northern lights, Viking Ships, stave churches, medieval farms and an endless list of outdoor activities - Norway is a superb holiday destination.
 
If you're intending to spend some quality time exploring Norway then a car is the best means of transport as it can take you to some hidden gems off the beaten track.

Norway Car Hire Tip: When in Norway, drive on the right, overtake on the left and always leave your headlights on.

Probably the best starting point for your Norway adventure is its capital Oslo. The cultural city of Oslo is becoming a very popular holiday and short break destination. It's a fantastic city with lots of shopping, nightlife, and top attractions like the City Hall, the Royal Palace, the Cathedral and Akershus festning - a superb medieval castle in the city centre. While in the city it's recommended that you park the car up and use the public transport as the city has poor parking and severe congestion during rush hours.

However, it's only when you drive out of the city that you begin to experience the true extent of Norway's natural beauty (and this is where your car hire comes in!).

Norway Car Hire Tip: Speed limit is 90km/hr on a motorway, 80km/hr on open road and between 30-50km/hr in residential areas.

Sunset Shadow Over Karl Johan Street, Oslo, Norway
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Outside the city you can drive to Winter Park Tryvann, which is the main ski area in Oslo and is only about 10km from the city centre. It's located at the top of Holmenkollen and has 14 slopes and 6 lifts. It's popular for snowboarding and both telemark and alpine skiing. To get there, take exit for 'Smestad' from Ring Road 3 and follow signs for 'Holmenkollen'.

Another top attraction is TusenFryd Amusement Park, which is in Vinterbro, about 20km from Oslo. You'll enjoy endless family fun here with roller coasters, carousels, a spectacular waterpark (seasonal) and loads of restaurants. Get on route E18 and take exit 6 to get to Vinterbro.

Norway Car Hire Tip: There are severe penalties for drink driving in Norway - the strictest in Europe, so just don't do it.
 
Kayaker Going Down Waterfall of Store Ula River, Rondane National Park, Norway
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One of the best scenic driving routes in Norway (and indeed Europe) is from Oslo to the city of Bergen. The drive is roughly about 500km (plus a ferry crossing) but how long it takes is up to you! This popular driving route is called the RV7, more commonly known as the 'Hardangervidda' as this is the name of the national park you drive through en route. There is so much to see and do along the way and plenty of accommodation. It's mainly a mountainous drive but you'll really see a slice of Norway on this road trip!

Norway Car Hire Tip: In some parts of Norway snow chains and snow tyres are compulsory during the winter time.

Bergen is the second largest city in Norway. When you arrive here you're better off parking the car and walking as it will be much faster! Try to drag yourself away from the amazing bar, clubs, pubs and restaurants to see attractions like Bergenhus Fort (one of the best preserved in Norway!), Fantoft Stave Church, or take a cable car to the top of two nearby mountains and enjoy the view. Because Bergen has such a long established maritime history, you should really visit the famous Bergen Fish Market and watch what goes on beneath the surface of the water at the Bergen Aquarium. There's a tropical area here too with crocodiles, snakes and monkeys. 

Stroll down 'Bryggen', which is the old wharf of Bergen, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, or visit the home of composer Edward Greig which is now a museum or simply do some shopping. Bergan has lots of pedestrian shopping streets.

Norway has an amazing array of Fjords and the ones along the west side of the country are incredible. Take E39 north of Bergen to Sognefjord which is said to be the world's deepest fjord! The most scenic route to get there is through the Sognefjell Mountains. If travelling from Oslo you'll need to head northwest and get on route 51 taking a left off road 15 and taking exit on to route 55.

Other fjords in that area worthy of a visit are the Hardangerfjord, Geirangerfjord,the Lyserfjord and the narrowest one in the world the Naeroyfjord
 
Norway Car Hire Tip: Some roads are closed in Norway during the winter due to poor driving conditions, so it's better to check you're driving route before you leave for your destination.

If you're up for an adventure then you can continue north of Bergen and drive to the Artic Circle or you can even go futher to the North Cape (Nordkapp) and stand at the very tip of Northern Europe while watching the mid night sun. This is a superb driving route where you'll notice field and fjords give way to remote lakes, forests, wilderness and snow further north. Stay in a cosy little log cabin for a real Artic experience.

Norway Car Hire Tip: You'll come across lots of toll roads!

Fjords Near Bergen, Sognefjord, Bergen, Hordaland, Norway
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South of Oslo is very popular with tourists. Important destinations include the historical town of Sandefjord - a 14th century town located on the south east of Norway. This charming town was formed during the Viking era and the harbour hosts a replica of the historic Gokstad Viking Ship. Long ago, Sandefjord had many whaling expeditions to the Antartica and at one stage up to 2,500 men from here worked on the whaling ships. Whaling stopped at the end of the 1960â€ôs. The whaling monument and the whaling museum (Sandefjordmuseene) are two popular attractions in the town. Sandefjord is located just off the E18 about 120km from Oslo.

Stavanger city is on the west close to the stunning Lyserfjord. The city, which is on a peninsula, has been chosen as the 2008 European city of culture. The city centre has a beautiful old town, lots of cobbled street, open air markets, a beautifully preserved cathedral and lots of museums. The city and its outskirts are a paradise for outdoor activities like hiking, climbing, skiing, snowboarding and if you're up for ice skating during the winter time you can drive to a lake called Stokkavannet which is about 20 minutes outside the city.

There is just so much to see in Norway and this is just a taste of what you can visit by car.

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About the Author: Mairead Foley writes for http://www.Novacarhire.com/ where you can book car hire at airports, ferry ports, rail stations, cities and towns all over the world. Book your Car hire Norway now.

Uniquely surprising weather of Norway   by Bjorn Olav Jonsson

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Norway is the northernmost country of the world to have open waters. The reason behind this is the strong trade wind forced across Atlantic Ocean by the American continent. The second potential reason is the warm currents flowing towards north and the Norwegian Sea from the equator. The climate of Norway is full of surprises and differences can be experienced all around the year. These surprises are widely seen in the northern part of Norway because the northern part of Norway in located on the edge of global temperate zone. The lowest temperature recorded in northern Norway was minus 51o degrees and that was in Karasjohka-Karasjok. The average annual temperature ranges from around eight degrees in western coasts to below freezing point on the mountains. Months of January, February and March are the coldest months whereas time between June and August is considered the warmest time in inland areas. The coastal and the mountain areas get their warmest part of the year in later months.
 
Man Resting on Rock Watching Cruise Ship Sail Out of Geirangerfjord, Geiranger, Norway
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The climate and the weather conditions of Norway are very unique from that of rest of Scandinavian countries. The mountains present in the mainland of Norway saves from precipitation to big areas of eastern inland of Norway. This is why; Norway has more of a continental type of climate than what is expected from it because of its immediacy to the coastline. As far as rainfall is concerned, it is also very unevenly distributed all over Norway. 

Some of the parts in the east of the mountain receive less than 300 millimeters annually. Most of the rain is filched by the west coast of Norway. Some areas in this part receive more than 3000 millimeters of annual rainfall. Most of the rainfall takes places between July and August. The most prominent agricultural areas receive rainfall between 500 and 1000 millimeters. 

There is a very interesting way to calculate rainy season in Norway. There are 100 rainy days in inland Norway and around 200 raining days in coastal parts.  The winds flowing in Norway are very strong and its direction is also very awkward. This force in wind also varies hugely from place to place mainly because of fast moving pressure fronts. The wind flowing along with mountains and the coasts is often very strong.
 
But despite of all this, Norway is worth seeing 365 days a year. Norway is one of the few countries of the world that has different attractions in different seasons. Whether you decide to visit Norway in summer, winter, autumn or spring, there is so much to do and so much to see. Norway is not bounded to a particular season for organizing outdoor activities. During summer, you can take shelter of sea in southern Norway and water areas for outdoor activities and can also enjoy skiing in some parts of the mountains.

Hiking on mountains while summer season is the experience one cannot forget. Autumn season comes and compels nature to showcase its sparkling colors and preserved beauty. Air tends to get even cleaner and everything looks refreshed in this time of the year. 

Lake Maridal (Maridalsvannet), Oslo's Reservoir, Oslo, Norway, Scandinavia
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The period between the summer and the winter is the opportunity to take part in new and surprising outdoor activities. Such outdoor activities contain skiing combined with canoeing trip and much more.

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About the Author: Bjorn Olav Jonsson is a freelance writer. For further information visit the website, www.nordicvisitor.com.

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