Norway, along with Sweden, Denmark, Iceland and Finland, is one of the Scandinavian countries and lies in Northern Europe bordering both the North Sea and the Arctic Ocean. Norway is a popular tourist destination and people come from all over the world to view the magnificent fjords located along the western and northern Norwegian coastlines. The capital of Norway is Oslo, which lies in East Norway, its currency is the Norwegian Crown and its native language is Norwegian. Norway has a well developed tourism industry and requires most tourists to be in possession of a Schengen Visa to enter the country.
Norway is divided into six regions: East Norway, Middle Norway, Northern Norway, South Norway, Svalbard and West Norway. Apart from being home to the nation's capital, East Norway is also famous for its interesting museums and for the impressive Holmenkollen Ski Jump, which offers a panoramic view of Oslo as well as an exciting sporting experience. Must-see museums in Oslo and East Norway include the Viking Ship Museum, the Norsk Folkemuseum and the new Nobel Peace Center Museum which features a full history of all Nobel Peace Prize recipients.
Middle Norway boasts ownership of the ancient city of Trondheim, with its awe-inspiring Nidaros Cathedral. This church, which is the largest in Europe, dates back to the 11th century and was built in the romanesque gothic style. After you've toured the church, if you're still in the mood for ancient buildings, why not visit the Kristiansten Fortress, which was originally built to protect Trondheim but which is now a museum. Northern Norway borders the Arctic Circle and is home to many of the country's most breathtaking fjords. Traces of the indigenous culture of the Sami peoples - or Lapps as they used to be known - can also still be found and tourists come for miles to observe Sami traditional reindeer herding skills by the light of the midnight sun.
The quaint white-walled towns inhabiting the South Norway coastlands are popular holiday destinations for both tourists and locals alike. Kristiansand is South Norway's largest settlement and a visit to its Kristiansand Dyrepark Zoo and Amusement Park is a must. Svalbard is the closest Norway has to a wilderness and comprises the small group of icy islands to the north of the country between the Arctic Ocean, the Norwegian Sea, the Greenland Sea and the Barents Sea. Only the island of Spitsbergen is inhabited, with the other isles being nature reserves.
West Norway rivals Northern Norway when it comes to beautiful countryside and offers tourists almost unlimited fjord scenery. The Northern Norway town of Flam is home to the Flamsbana, the third steepest normal railway in the world, as well as its accompanying museum, the Flamsbanamuseet. Another must see is the Flam Panorama, which is a surround cinema that screens films on the history of the town and the surrounding regions.
Norway is a land made up of stark scenery and welcoming towns that combine to make an unforgettable holiday experience.
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