Bordered by the North Sea, the Barents Sea and the Norwegian Sea, Norway marks the westernmost stretch of the Scandinavian peninsula. The country’s main geological feature is the coastline, which is more than 2,500 kilometres long and if the fjords are counted in, travelers can walk the coast for almost 29,000 kilometres. The sea plays a major role for everyday life in Norway, providing both the characteristic scenery of the country as well as an important economic factor.

For large parts of its History, Norway has been a part of larger country structures in alliances with neighbors, first with Denmark and then with Sweden. The latter union ended in 1905. The country today is one of the paliamentary monarchies in Europe. Norway maintains very close ties to its Scandinavian partners as well as to the EU, of which it is not a member. It is, however, part of the European Free Trade Association and of the Schengen Area.

Although Norwegian cities have their share of attractions, the majority of foreign visitors comes for the country’s natural beauty and sceneries. Famous for its fjords, Norway also features extensive forests that are attractive to outdoor enthusiast. Hiking, biking or boating are common activities in the main travel period between May and August, while ski tourism is popular in the winter.

Norway’s capital Oslo is the commercial and political center of the country. Some one million people more than a sixth of the total population, live in or around Oslo. Sights in town include the Royal Palace, an eclectic mix of architectural styles and several high-profile museums on the arts and history.

In the country’s Western half, the second-largest city Bergen has Norway’s most important port and serves as a hub for cruiseship travel along the coast. In the North, the historic city of Tromsø is the destination for visitors wanting to see the famous Northern Lights or the midnight Sun as well as the starting point for excursions into the Arctic Circle.

PopulationAreaCurrencyEU memberSchengen area
5,489,000385,207 km²Norwegian kronenoyes

List of articles on Norway

Cities and townsSights and attractionsBackground