Stay Safe in Norway
Norway has a relatively low violent crime rate. Car break-ins and bicycle theft are the most common crimes that visitors may encounter. Pickpockets are also a growing issue in metropolitan areas throughout the summer, although not to the extent that they are in bigger European cities. It is always a good idea to take care of your possessions, which includes never leaving expensive items visible in your vehicle and securely securing your bike.
Single ladies should encounter little trouble, but common sense is recommended after midnight.
Norway is one of the least corrupt nations in the world. Police and other officials cannot be bribed; thus, travelers are strongly urged to avoid any kind of bribery.
Norway has a single police force (“politi”). In areas like as crime, national security, serious accidents, missing people, traffic control, passports, and immigration control, the police force is the government’s authority. Most cities also employ municipal parking attendants, although their power is limited to fining and removing cars.
Electric cars are widely used in Norway, especially in cities. These vehicles are very quiet, and pedestrians should cross highways and streets with their eyes rather than their ears.
Nature contains the most unexpected hazards to tourists. Every year, a large number of visitors are injured or murdered in the mountains or on the seas, generally as a result of warnings that go unheeded. Do not, for example, approach a glacier front, large waves on the shore, or a large waterfall unless you know what you’re doing, and do not go on glaciers without appropriate training and equipment.
Norway is home to a small number of hazardous wild species. The majority of wild animal-related fatalities and injuries are caused by car collisions with either the big moose or the smaller red deer. It’s also worth noting that sheep, goats, cows, and reindeer may be observed wandering or resting on the road in certain rural areas.
Svalbard has its own set of regulations and safeguards, and you should never go outside of Longyearbyen without someone in your group carrying a firearm. Polar bears in Svalbard are a real and very deadly menace to the unprepared, with reports of death and/or injury occurring nearly every year. There are more polar bears than people here. Svalbard is a fragile, dry northern tundra, with vast areas almost unexplored by mankind. The current suggestion is that non-local tourists only engage in scheduled tours. Breaking the law, disturbing animals, or being irresponsible may result in a fine and/or expulsion from the archipelago. That being said, if you arrive prepared and use common sense, your visit will be one of the most memorable you’ve ever had. Svalbard’s environment, landscape, and history are absolutely stunning.
In terms of other wild creatures in mainland Norway, there have only been a few very uncommon encounters with brown bear and wolf in the wild. In mainland Norway, there are no polar bears, much alone polar bears roaming the streets, contrary to common assumption elsewhere. The Scandinavian brown bear is a gentle species that will usually flee from people. In any event, visitors are unlikely to get a sight of one of Norway’s about 50 surviving brown bears. Humans are not threatened by Norwegian wolves. In general, there is no need to be concerned about hazardous interactions with wild animals in Norway.
When hiking or skiing, be prepared for a rapid change in weather, which may occur fast in Norway. If you’re uncertain about the weather, ask a local or take a guided tour. In the Norwegian wilderness, you are supposed to handle on your own, therefore you will not see fences or warning signs even in the most hazardous areas. Remember that avalanches are frequent. When skiing, remain on designated slopes unless you know precisely what you’re doing. Believe twice if you think you know what you’re doing. In the first three months of 2011, 12 persons were killed in avalanches in Norway.
The vast coastline of Norway is an experience for tourists, but it is also a dangerous region. Massive waves that gather up strength across the Atlantic slam against slick rocks and slabs around the outer shore. Every year, visitors are seriously injured, and in some cases killed, as they attempt to surf the large waves along the beaches. Many visitors leave the protected waters and go out into the open sea in tiny boats; every year, tourists are rescued at sea, and some even drown.
Glaciers are one of the most hazardous locations in Norway for tourists. Never underestimate the glacier’s strength. Keep an eye out for warning indicators. Never approach the glacier’s front. A glacier is not a solid piece of ice; it is continuously moving and large pieces break off on a regular basis.
Enter a glacier only with appropriate equipment and a competent local guide. Sunrays are reflected by the white snow, therefore apply sunscreen to protect your skin. Bring warm clothing for glacier excursions.
If you want to traverse the mountains by vehicle (for example, traveling from Oslo to Bergen) during the winter season, you must be well equipped. The circumstances are difficult. Always have a full tank of gas in the vehicle, as well as warm clothing, food, and drink. Check that your tires are suitable for winter circumstances (studded or non-studded winter tires, “all-year” tires are insufficient), and that you have the necessary abilities for driving in snowy and cold weather. Roads are often blocked due to inclement weather. For information on road conditions and closures, dial 175 in Norway or see the Norwegian State road authority’ online road reports (in Norwegian only). Keep in mind that not all sections of the route have mobile phone service.
- Police: 112
- Fire: 110
- Emergency Medical Services (ambulance): 113
If you are uncertain which number to dial, 112 is the central number for all rescue services and will connect you to the appropriate department.
Non-emergency calls should be directed to the police department at 02800. Call 116117 for non-emergency casualty care.
Dialing 1412 will connect the hearing impaired to emergency services if they are using a text phone.
Falck (tel. 02222) and Viking provide roadside help (tel. 06000). AAA members may contact NAF at 08505. In the event of a traffic collision, you are only required to contact the police if anyone are wounded or if the incident creates a traffic congestion. If the only damage is to the cars, the police will not intervene.
Stay Healthy in Norway
Norway’s water quality is generally acceptable, and tap water is always drinkable (except on boats, trains etc.).
Food poisoning is uncommon among visitors due to the high standard of cleanliness in public kitchens.
In the summer, Norway may be quite warm, so pack warm clothing (sweater, windbreaker/waterproof jacket) in case they come in useful. The weather is difficult to forecast, and during the summer, you may encounter significant weather fluctuations throughout your visit.
Tourists trekking in the high mountains (above the forest) should carry sports clothing that can withstand temperatures as low as zero degrees Fahrenheit (zero degree C).
Norway has a high concentration of pharmacies. Nose sprays and over-the-counter pain relievers (paracetamol, aspirin) are also available at supermarkets and petrol stations.
The sun is not as intense as it is in southern Europe. Keep in mind that the sun does not burn your skin under cold circumstances (low temperatures or wind). The air in the north is often pure and clean, and UV levels may be strong despite the low sun. Keep in mind that the sun is brighter in the high mountains, and radiation is amplified on or near snow fields and water surfaces. On snow fields, even when it’s overcast, the light may be intense. Do not underestimate the Nordic sun’s strength! Bring sunglasses when you go hiking in the high mountains, skiing in the spring, and going to the beach.
Ticks (fltt) emerge in southern Norway throughout the summer. Through a bite, they may spread Lyme disease (borreliosis) and the more severe TBE (tick-borne encephalitis). TBE is most dangerous along the coast from Oslo to Trondheim. Although instances are uncommon and not all ticks transmit illnesses, it is best to wear long pants rather than shorts if you want to go through thick or tall grass regions (the usual habitat for ticks). If you are bitten by a tick, you may obtain special tick tweezers from the pharmacy to securely remove it. To minimize the danger of illness, remove the tick from your skin as soon as possible and ideally using tick tweezers. If the tick bite begins to develop red rings on the skin surrounding it, or if you have other tick-related symptoms, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. Ticks are black, therefore if you wear bright clothing, you will be able to see them more readily.
In Norway, there is just one poisonous snake: the European adder (hoggorm), which has an unique zig-zag pattern on its back. The snake is not common, yet it may be found all the way up to the Arctic Circle in Norway (except for the highest mountains and areas with little sunshine). Although its bite is seldom fatal (save to young children and allergic individuals), be cautious in the summer, particularly when wandering in the woods or on open fields. Seek medical attention if you have been bitten by a snake. However, the chances of getting bitten are very low since the adder is extremely afraid of people.
Go to the local “Legevakt” (emergency room/physician treating patients without an appointment) 116 117 for minor injuries and illnesses. In cities, this is usually a governmental service that is centrally situated; expect to wait many hours. In remote areas, you must usually contact the “district physician” on duty. Call the national Toxin Information Office at +47 22 59 13 00 if you have questions regarding toxins (from mushrooms, plants, medicine, or other substances).