Norway offers visitors the best of several worlds. It has beautiful icy glaciers, tall, majestic mountains and wide, rolling green fields, not to mention tons of museums and a history that would make most other countries jealous. But these are all things that any casual observer of Norway could tell you - there is much more to discover about this great country. The following are the top five reasons you need to add Norway to your bucket list right away.
You Can Walk Right up to the Gates of Hell
Norwegians are known for their kindness and their hospitality, but not everything in this country is heavenly. Norway is home to a city called Hell, where one thousand Norwegians live and enjoy visits by travelers from all over the world who come to snap photos next to the city sign. This town is more than just a tourist destination, though: It is also home to some rock carvings that date all the way back to the Stone Age.
You Can Thank Norway for Salmon Sushi
Up until the 1980s, Japan was very self-sufficient when it came to their seafood industry. They didn't import any fish from anywhere else in the world, as they had plenty of their own fish to use and export. Eventually, though, overfishing led to a decline in the number of fish available to use for sushi and other dishes. So, a visiting delegate from Norway suggested that their country could sell Japan some salmon. This led to the introduction of salmon sushi, which caught on like wildfire and is now known as one of Norway's "greatest export successes in the last 20 years." Visiting the country that is responsible for salmon sushi would be a dream of many sushi fans!
Midnight Sun and Polar Night
In the northern part of Norway is in the Arctic Circle. This means (among other things) that it is one of the few places that experiences two phenomena known as Midnight Sun and Polar Night. Midnight Sun occurs during the summer, when the sun stays out all day and all night and is still visible at midnight. For a few weeks, the sun never sets here, which might sound like fun to people who love nothing more than being out in the sun. Unfortunately, though, you pay for this in the winter, when the opposite happens. The sun doesn't rise for weeks at a time, resulting in what is called Polar Night.
Norway Is Home to the World's Longest Road Tunnel
If your car radio goes out when you go through tunnels, you will be in for a long, quiet, spooky ride in Norway's Laerdal Tunnel. This road tunnel is 15 miles long and links Laerdal to Aurland in a project that took $113 million to build. This isn't just a plain old boring tunnel, though. It is specially engineered to help reduce mental strain on drivers as they go through it, with different light features to look at in different areas and caves to break up the sections of road and keep you alert.
It's Also Home to the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony
While most Nobel Prizes are awarded in Sweden, the ceremony for the Nobel Peace Prize is held in Oslo, Norway. The reason behind this is a bit of a mystery. No one knows exactly why Alfred Nobel wanted the peace prize in particular to be handed out by a committee of Norwegian judges while the others were handed out in Sweden, but he was very clear about this when he laid out the parameters for his awards. Some speculate that it was because he knew that Norway was a very peaceful and democratic country, but either way, being able to host the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony is just as much of a privilege as winning the award.