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Norway

If you’re travelling to Norway, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information. 

Get travel and medical insurance

Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), available by contacting the Health Service Executive, and that you also obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.

Overview

Latest Travel Alert

Given recent terrorist attacks in European cities, Irish citizens are advised to follow the advice of police and local authorities and to exercise increased vigilance, especially if attending large public gatherings or other crowded locations. Attacks could occur at any time and could target tourist attractions, restaurants, transport hubs or other public areas.

Emergency assistance

The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.

Emergency contact details

You can contact the emergency services in Norway by dialling 112 or 110.

Our tips for Safe Travels:

  • Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities.
  • Get a European Health Insurance Card
  • Add an alert for your destination within the Travelwise App.
  • Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly if there’s an unforeseen crisis like a natural disaster or a family emergency.
  • Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates.
  • Read our ‘Know Before You Go’ guide.

Safety and security

Crime

Petty crime does happen in Norway but at a low level compared to other European countries. However, you should be alert against mugging, bag-snatching and pick-pocketing, particularly in the airports and railway stations around Oslo and take sensible precautions.

  • Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place
  • Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home
  • Assaults against women have been on the increase. Avoid walking alone through Oslo parks at night, avoid shortcuts and stick to well-lit areas.

Reporting a crime

If you’re a victim of a crime while in Norway, report it to the local police immediately. And you can contact us at the Irish Embassy if you need help.

Driving

The rules of the road in Norway are broadly similar to those in Ireland, and roads are modern and well maintained. However, distances between towns are very long in some parts of the country and driving often takes longer than expected. And you need to be especially careful in winter, when narrow roads in rural or suburban areas may be hazardous and impassable.

If you want to drive:

  • Bring your full Irish driving licence and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law and you risk being detained, fined or banned from driving if caught. Roadside checks for alcohol are frequent, and submission to a breathalyser test is mandatory. The drink driving limit is 0.20 pro ml
  • Be aware of Norway’s traffic laws, such as speed limits, which are stricter than Ireland and rigorously enforced
  • Winter tyres are mandatory from approximately 1 November to 15 April
  • Throughout the year, you should keep your headlights on at all times when driving

Hiring a vehicle

If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.

Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).

Local laws and customs

Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or even illegal.

General laws and customs

While Norwegian society may seem similar to Ireland, travellers may not be aware of subtle legal and cultural differences. Norwegian family law, for example, can be very different from that of Ireland; visitors and long-term residents are encouraged to therefore familiarize themselves with local legal differences to avoid potential problems. Persons violating Norway’s laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.

Illegal drugs

Avoid drugs of any kind when in Norway. A number of foreign tourists have been arrested in previous years in possession of khat, a substance illegal in Norway and Ireland but legal in some other European countries. Possession of even small quantities of any drug is strictly prohibited and laws are strictly enforced.

VAT

Norway is not a member of the EU so you may be able to get refunds of the VAT on goods you bought in the country, subject to certain minimum spends and conditions. VAT is normally refunded to you at the airport before you leave Norway. Many shops operate a VAT-refund shopping system for non-residents. Get more information on VAT refunds.

Climate

Visiting in summer

We recommend insect repellent in summer months, particularly if you’re planning to visit forests, lakes or mountainous regions. Get local advice on weather conditions and suitable specialist equipment before going off the beaten track.

Swimming in either the fjords, seas or freshwater locations is very popular in the summer time in Norway but accidents do happen. Make sure to seek out information on all local swimming spots and when in doubt err on the side of caution, especially in remote locations.

Visiting in winter

The winter is long in Norway (it can last well into April) and temperatures can drop to well below freezing point. Bring warm clothes and practical footwear to cope with icy roads and pavements. You can buy special clamp-on shoe grips locally to give extra security in icy conditions. Get local advice on weather conditions and specialised equipment before you undertake any outdoor activities. The Norwegians say there is no such thing as a bad winter, only bad winter clothing. They are correct!

Additional information

Entry requirements (visa/passport)

You need a valid passport to visit Norway and we advise you to take a number of photocopies of your passport with you. During your stay you should carry a photocopy of your passport at all times. Irish passport holders do not require a visa to enter Norway but should note that all EU citizens living in Norway for more than 3 months must register themselves with the Norwegian Immigration authorities.

Money

The currency is the Norwegian krone (NOK).

While cashpoints are available and accept foreign cards, the use of cash in Norway is becoming increasingly rare and some commercial outlets will now only accept payment via card. Be aware that foreign credit cards are not always accepted as a means of payment in some Norwegian supermarkets and petrol stations.

Visiting the Arctic

Arctic travel is increasingly popular with tourists, and most go by ship. As some of the more remote areas of the Arctic can be uncharted, so you should check the operational experience of cruise operators before you travel and make sure there are adequate on-board medical facilities.

If you’re travelling independently, we advise you to plan an emergency back-up, in case things go wrong.

Travel Insurance

We can’t pay for emergency medical repatriation, repatriation of remains, or for expenses as a result of a personal emergency while you are abroad. If you buy an appropriate travel insurance policy, these costs will be covered, provided you haven’t broken the terms and conditions.

Buying comprehensive travel insurance can save you and your family a lot of money if something goes wrong. It will also ensure that you get the medical attention you need, when you need it. Hospital bills can quickly run into thousands of euro, and a medical evacuation back to Ireland can cost thousands more.

Not all policies are the same, and the cheapest one might be cheap for a reason. Make sure your policy covers all the activities you plan to do on your trip. Insurance Ireland recommend that you purchase a policy that provides a minimum medical cover of €1 million.

Emergency expenses

Your policy should cover:

  • All medical care abroad, including evacuation by air ambulance, or other emergency procedures, and any other costs associated with an unexpected longer stay.
  • Your entire trip, from departure to return. Consider an annual multi-trip policy if you’re making more than one trip in the year.   
  • 24-hour emergency service and assistance.
  • Personal liability cover (in case you’re sued for causing injury or damaging property).
  • Lost and stolen possessions.
  • Cancellation and curtailment.
  • Any extra activities you intend to do that are excluded from standard policies (e.g. water sport activities such as jet skiing or other extreme sports).

Exclusions: You should know most insurance policies will not cover drink or drug-related incidents.

European Health Insurance Card

As an Irish resident you are entitled to get healthcare through the public system in countries of the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland if you become ill or injured while on a temporary stay there. Ensure that you get or renew your EHIC (the new name for the E111) before you go, and remember, you need one for every person travelling in your group.

Apply for your EHIC and find out more information.

The EHIC is not a substitute for proper travel insurance provided by a reputable insurer. It doesn’t cover medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment or treatment of a non-urgent nature. Also, some private hospitals may not accept the EHIC, so you should check with the hospital administrator beforehand.