Crime levels are low, but there’s a risk of petty theft, particularly in airports and railway stations in and around Oslo. The British Embassy is often asked to help British nationals who have had their valuables stolen just after arriving in the country. Take sensible precautions to protect your belongings, particularly your passport, money and credit cards.
Assaults and muggings have been on the increase. Remain alert when walking home alone at night, and stick to main roads and well lit areas. Avoid shortcuts and quiet roads with no other pedestrians.
Visitors can drive using a valid UK or other EU/EEA driving licence. There is no need for an International Driving Permit. Make sure you have the correct vehicle insurance cover before you arrive.
In 2013 there were 190 road deaths in Norway (source: Department for Transport). This equates to 3.8 road deaths per 100,000 of population and compares to the UK average of 2.8 road deaths per 100,000 of population in 2013.
Distances are great and driving takes longer than you think. Narrow and winding roads may be hazardous and impassable, especially in winter. Winter tyres are mandatory from around 1 November to 15 April (exact dates vary from year to year).
Keep headlights on at all times. Fines for exceeding the speed limit are high. On roads which are not marked with a priority sign (a yellow diamond), drivers must give way to traffic coming from the right.
Alcohol limits for drivers are far stricter than UK levels. There are frequent roadside checks for alcohol. Penalties for driving under the influence are severe and can lead to a prison sentence.
All vehicles with a maximum allowable total weight of over 3,500kg must be equipped with snow chains. A truckers’ guide in English issued by the Norwegian Public Roads Administration can be found at Donna Diesel.
Follow the advice of the Governor of Svalbard, including on how to protect yourself from a possible polar bear attack, the risks of glaciers, avalanches and other dangers outside the main town of Longyearbyen.
Extreme weather and crises
Extreme weather, floods and landslides can occur. The Norwegian government’s website provides information and advice to the public before during and after a crisis.
Visiting in summer
Mosquitoes and midges can be a problem in forest, lake and mountainous regions. Bans on campfires are strictly enforced in many areas during the summer months. If you plan to go off the beaten track or out to sea, seek local advice about weather conditions and have suitable specialist equipment. The weather can change rapidly, producing Arctic conditions even in summer on exposed mountain tops.
Visiting in winter
The winter is long (it can last well into April) and temperatures can drop to -25°C and below. There is also a high wind chill factor, particularly in unsheltered areas and mountain ranges. Weather conditions can worsen quickly.
Bring warm clothes and practical footwear to cope with icy roads and pavements. You can buy special clamp-on grips (brodder) to give extra security in icy conditions locally. If you are taking part in skiing, hiking or other off road activities use the correct equipment. You can get advice at local information centres, which in smaller places tend to be connected with skiing equipment rental shops.