ABOUT Norway is one of the Nordic countries, occupying the western part of the Scandinavian peninsula, with a total area of 323 878 sq km. It is bordered by the North Sea, the Norwegian Sea and Barents Sea in the west, Russia, Finland and Sweden in the east, and the Skagerrak (an arm of the North Sea) in the south. Most of the country consists of mountains and plateaus. Forests are found almost as far north as Nordkapp (the North Cape). Norway's temperate climate is the result of the warming Gulf Stream. Summers are remarkably mild for the latitude, while winters are long and very cold, often with plenty of snow. Rainfall is very heavy in the west. Norway is a country of socio-economic equality with a high standard of living and a homogeneous population. Apart from Oslo and adjacent suburbs, there are no metropolitan cities in Norway. Norwegians usually live in small communities with well developed road, air and ferry communication. Many communities are built up around one major business or industrial enterprise. The sea along the coast is rich in natural resources like oil and fish.
CLIMATE Summer is late June to early August is when the weather is warmest and the days are long and bright. Temperatures in July and August can reach 25°C - 30°C. At the same time there is hardly any humidity in the air. During autumn the land areas lose more heat than the sea, and eventually the coastal areas have the highest temperatures. In September the outer part of the Oslofjord usually has the highest mean temperatures. Later in the autumn, the warmest areas are usually found on the coast of Rogaland and Hordaland. In winter much of Norway is usually transformed into a snow-clad paradise. The lower inland areas, both in the southern and northern parts of Norway, can have very low mean temperatures in winter. Temperatures can reach below -40°C in the inner areas of Finnmark, Troms, Trøndelag and Eastern Norway, even if this does not happen every winter. Spring May to mid-June is when the scenery in Norway is at its most spectacular, with trees and flowers waking to life,
BEWARE Crime levels are low, but you should be aware of the risk of petty theft, particularly in airports and railway stations in and around Oslo. 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.