This is a list of little things we’ve noticed during our travels in Norway that we found particularly nice, quirky or just plain clever!
We’ll add to it as we find more.
1 No tipping is expected or required – this applies to taxis, restaurants, guides, etc. Of course, that shouldn’t stop you expressing your gratitude for great service in a bar or restaurant if you wish … most people opt for 5-15% of the total bill and it won’t be refused!
2 Train Travel:
– Most long-distance trains, e.g. the Oslo/Bergen Railway, include a ‘Family’ carriage which includes a soft play area for children.
– Most of these trains also offer free wifi.
– And you don’t have to pay extra for the privilege of selecting your preferred seat!
– It’s worth paying the approx. NOK 100 extra to travel in the ‘Komfort’ Class carriage; it includes a complimentary tea/coffee station, electric sockets and best of all, it’s a ‘quiet’ carriage, so no mobile phones or loud music (sadly, there’s sometimes one person who disregards this last one).
3 It’s much better value to get a 24 hour travel pass for public transport rather than paying per journey, particularly if your route requires you to transfer between buses and/or the local trains.
4 If a Norwegian asks, “How are you?”, they’re usually not just being polite – they genuinely want to know!
5 Cash is no longer king in Norway; almost all establishments accept debit or credit cards. However, it is still a good idea to have a bit of cash on you. You’ll find ATMs everywhere and it’s easier to get Norwegian Kroner from the ATM than from your bank in Ireland.
6 There’s no need to purchase bottled water in Norway; what you get from the tap is some of nicest water you’ll find anywhere in the world, so just re-fill your water bottle and enjoy!
7 In Oslo, the Royal Palace is located in the centre of a beautiful public park. You can walk right up to it, no walls or railings like those surrounding Buckingham Palace.
8 Electric scooters – part 1:
You’ll see green or orange electric scooters just ‘abandoned’ in public areas. In fact, they’re available for public hire. A bit like our city bikes service, you sign up via an app with your debit or credit card and you’re good to go! It costs NOK 10 to hire and then a further NOK 2 per minute, so they’re designed for short hops. When you’re done, just leave it somewhere and someone else will hire it!
9 Electric scooters – part 2:
If you’re a local you can earn money by collecting electric scooters at the end of the day, charging them up in your home and returning them to specific pick up points in time for use by the public the following morning.
10 If you go to live in Svalbard (and an Irish person can, as Ireland is a signatory to the Svalbard Treaty), you will be given a little plastic card which the retailer uses to indicate how many beers or bottles of wine you’ve purchased out of your monthly ration. This harps back to the days when the islands were exclusively populated by mining towns and the mine owners wanted to restrict the amount of alcohol consumed by the miners.