21 Fun Facts About Norway For Your Bucket List

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If you can only visit one Scandinavian country, choose Norway.

Norway is home to some of the most unique natural landscapes in the world, with over a thousand fjords, rare wildlife, towering waterfalls, and astronomical wonders.

Of course, Norway has a colorful past and a vibrant modern culture too! These fun Norway facts will make you want to add Norway to your bucket list.

1. Norway Brought Salmon Sushi to Japan

While Japan is responsible for bringing sushi to the world, a delegate from Norway first introduced salmon sushi (and sashimi) to the Japanese in the 1980s. Needless to say, it proved to be a popular dish that spread like wildfire.

Even here in Austria, salmon sushi is the most popular menu item at my local Japanese sushi spot!

2. The Nobel Peace Prize is Awarded in Norway

With few exceptions, the Nobel Peace Prize is given out every year in Oslo, Norway.

The Nobel Peace Center in Norway

Nobel Prize winners receive a personal diploma, a medal, the title of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and a cash prize that is the equivalent of roughly a million dollars.

3. Norway Invented Skiing

We can thank Norwegians for bringing the sport of skiing to the world – both ancient skiing and modern. With long winters and plentiful snow, it was only a matter of time before Norwegians came up with some fun new ways to spend time outdoors.

If you love to cross-country ski, there are few places in the world better than Norway.

4. The Cheese Slicer is a Norwegian Invention

No more fiddling with a butter knife, we can thank Thor Bjørklund for inventing the cheese slicer in 1925. This invention has become a household staple in Scandinavian countries and in many other countries throughout the world.

Anything that makes cheese easier to eat is awesome in my book.

5. Norway Has an Active Volcano

No need to worry about it erupting and causing devastation like Pompeii – Norway’s volcano is not situated on the mainland and it is not near any big cities. Norway’s only active volcano is in the middle of the Norwegian Sea on the island of Jan Mayen.

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6. The Christmas Tree in Trafalgar Square Is A Gift from Norway

Great Britain is honored every year with a towering Norwegian spruce from Oslo’s forest as a thank you for Britain’s assistance in WWII.

The Christmas Tree in Trafalgar Square

This gift is brought to Trafalgar Square in London where it is properly displayed.

7. Rudolph May Live in Norway

The largest herd of reindeer in Europe call Norway home. They live in a protected National Park and can be found on the largest mountain plateau in Europe, Hardangervidda.

This stunning park is a must-see destination with untouched glaciers, scenic waterfalls, and stunning fjords. You may even catch a red-nosed reindeer if you’re really lucky!

8. The Length of Norway’s Coast is Unknown

This isn’t to say that it would be impossible to calculate, but it would be a massive undertaking to figure out the length of the coast given the topographical complexity of the coastline.

While we may not know how long it is, the coast of Norway offers unparalleled views and natural beauty which makes it a photographer’s dream.

9. Norway Has A Great View of Aurora Borealis

Everyone should strive to see the natural phenomenon known as the Northern Lights at least once! Norway is one of the best countries to visit to catch the Aurora Borealis, nature’s own light show.

Aurora Borealis as seen from Norway

These lights appear when sun particles collide with atoms in the upper atmosphere of Earth which releases light particles (photons) which causes the visual light display. The further North you drive, the better the view will be!

10. Norwegians Discovered Greenland and Iceland

Vikings discovered Iceland by accident while sailing to the Faroe Islands, and Greenland was discovered by Erik the Red, a Norwegian whose father was banished for committing gruesome murders.

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While Norwegians discovered these countries, neither Greenland nor Iceland are governed by Norway.

11. Nordic Languages Are Similar to Each Other

Swedish, Dutch, and Norwegian are close enough linguistically that most Scandinavian’s can understand one another to some extent.

The Norwegian language is not as well understood in Denmark and Sweden, though Norwegians can understand Swedish and Dutch just fine.

12. Norway Dominates at the Winter Olympics

Norway has won 405 medals including 148 Gold medals at the Winter Olympics which is far more than any other country in the world.

Norwegians do particularly well in speed skating and cross-country skiing which is not surprising given the length of their winter season (November to April).

13. Norway is Home to the Longest Road Tunnel In the World

If you want to drive through the longest tunnel in the world, Lærdal tunnel has you covered. It spans 24.5 kilometers, or 15 miles in length!

Inside the Lærdal tunnel

They built the tunnel so there would be a way of crossing from Oslo to Bergen without needing to board a ferry.

14. Norway is Home to Polar Bears

In Norway, you can see the King of the Arctic circle in person if you’re lucky! Polar bears are found in Svalbard primarily, along the northern Fjords where sea ice is still present.

It is estimated that as many as 270 Polar bears call Norway home.

15. Svalbard Has the Most Days of Midnight Sun

Svalbard has more days of Midnight Sun (days where the sun is present in the sky even at midnight) than any other location on the planet!

The sun doesn’t fully set from April 20th to August 22nd. If you visit during this time, you may want to stay in a room with blackout drapes as a general rule.

16. Norway is Home to 400,000 Lakes

That’s a lot of water!

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A lake in Norway

Norway has an incredible number of lakes and one of them, Hornindalsvatnet, is the deepest lake in Europe reaching an impressive depth of 460 meters, or 1,512 feet.

17. Norway Knighted a King Penguin named Nils Olav

The King Penguin known as Brigadier Sir Nils Olav III is the third in a line of King Penguins that was knighted originally by King Harald of Norway in the 1970s.

He was gifted to the Edinburgh Zoo, so you will sadly need to travel outside of Norway to visit him.

18. Norway is LGBTIQ+ Friendly

Norway enacted the first law to protect gay and lesbian citizens from discrimination in 1993. It also was the second country to recognize same-sex civil partnerships and today, same-sex marriage is recognized and equal in every way to heterosexual marriage.

Gay couples can legally adopt, have church weddings, and can have assisted pregnancies. Norway is a country that truly celebrates equality.

19. Roald Dahl Was of Norwegian Descent

Roald Dahl is one of the best children’s literature authors in the world.

He spoke Norwegian and English at home, and throughout his life wrote numerous books that are beloved worldwide including Matilda, The Witches, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

20. Norway is Home to Europe’s Six Highest Waterfalls

If you’re into looking at waterfalls, the six tallest waterfalls in Europe are all in Norway.

Vinnufossen lake in Norway

The tallest of these is Vinnufossen (pictured above) which is 694 meters or 2,280 feet tall, making it the sixth tallest waterfall in the world!

21. Norway Has the Coolest Passports In the World

Genuine Norwegian passports are so cool because if you place them under U.V. lights, you can see a photo of the Northern Lights! This security feature pays homage to what many consider the home of the Aurora Borealis, or at least where one can get the best view of it.


Christina loves to travel and recently moved from America to Austria to experience everything Europe has to offer. Her passion for travel is rivaled only by her love of writing. Armed with her English degree, she funds her travels writing for several websites including MyCountryFacts!

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