The name Norway derives from Old Norse Norðvegr, which means ‘The Northern Road’ and is an ancient term for the long and jagged, but always ice-free, route along the Norwegian coast. Norway consists of the western part of the Scandinavian peninsular and Jan Mayen, Svalbard and Bouvetøen and has a total area of 385,252 km2 and a population of 5,2 million. This makes Norway one of the most sparsely populated countries in Europe.
The jagged coast line with deep fiords and thousands of islands spans 25,000 km. If you include all fiords and islands, you get a coast line of 83,000 km. Norway is largely dominated by mountains and ridges created by prehistoric glaciers and with a varied topography. The fiords are particularly distinctive with their deep wedges that cut into the landscape; they were created during the latest ice age and are now filled with sea water. You’ll find Sognefjorden here, the world’s longest fiord with its 204 km.
The Norwegian mountains are mainly hard granite and gneiss, but you can also find shale, sandstone and limestone. Norway is on the same latitude as Alaska, Greenland and Siberia, but still has a somewhat milder and more pleasant climate. The Gulf Stream and warm air currents give Norway a warmer climate than its geographical location indicates; in winter, the coldest areas, located furthest inland and way up north, have a tougher climate and subarctic conditions. The country’s huge expanse, topography and climate give Norway one of the largest number of habitats compared to other countries in Europe; the country and the surroundings waters are home to around 60,000 species.
Learn more about our destinations in Norway: