Is It Safe to Travel to Norway?

In this article

Norway is one of the safest countries in the world to visit, so if you are thinking about visiting and are worried about your safety, you should not have any concerns. In this article, we explain some of the higher safety risks in Norway and provide information on how you can ensure your safety while travelling.

1. Is Norway Safe? Crime Rates in Norway

Norway is one of the safest countries to visit, with a low crime rate even in the major cities. Crime rates in Norway have been decreasing, going from 70 per 1,000 inhabitants to 52 per 1,000 inhabitants over the last decade.
The crime levels were as follows in 2021:
  • Theft, burglary and robbery - 279,512
  • Traffic - 85,944
  • Violent - 29,327
  • Economic - 25,120
  • Drugs - 23,034
  • Vandalism - 19,762
  • Sexual crimes - 7,882

While crime levels are relevantly low in Norway, there are petty theft risks at airports and train stations, particularly in Oslo, so you should be vigilant and do not leave expensive belongings on view.
Crime rates tend to increase during the tourist season between May and September.

2. Political Tension and Civil Unrest

The Political Stability and Absence of Violence/Terrorism in Norway was ranked at 94.34% percentile in 2020. Public protests happen quite regularly but are mostly restricted to Oslo. Norway is a member of NATO and has strong allies in Europe.

3. Norway Safety and Terrorism Threat

The national terrorism threat in Norway was increased from Level 3 to Level 4 following a terrorist shooting incident that happened in Oslo on 25 June 2022. The terrorist threat was temporarily raised to Level 5 after the shooting.
Prior to this incident, there were a few other terrorist attacks but the risk was deemed fairly low. Terrorism security in Norway has increased since the latest terror attack.

4. Road Safety, Driving and Norway Customs

There is no requirement for tourists to have an International Driving Permit in Noway but it is important to have the correct insurance to cover driving a vehicle in Norway. In Norway, you drive on the right-hand side of the road and overtake on the left. You should use dipped headlights when driving during the daytime.
There are AutoPASS toll stations across Norway, so it is easier to register with AutoPASS so you can drive through the stations rather than paying at each station you pass through.
Most of Norway is covered by bus or train services, with the Bergen Railway that runs between Oslo and Bergen being one of the best ways to travel. Public transport is usually efficient in Norway and buses are the cheapest way to travel.
There are taxi ranks at all major train stations and airports and you can use the Uber app in places such as Oslo. Remote areas are more difficult to travel from but public transportation covers most areas of the country.

5. Local Laws in Norway That Tourists Should Be Familiar With

Drug penalties and drunk driving laws are stricter in Norway than in most other European countries such as the UK. Possession of even small amounts of illegal drugs can lead to imprisonment. The drink drive limit in Norway is 0.02% and there are frequent roadside checks for drunk driving.
Smoking is banned from public spaces, and Norway has a strict approach to things such as an assault or slapping a child. Drinking in public is illegal in Norway and is subject to fines.
You should check your country's government travel advice before you visit Norway to check for any guidance.

Laws on Illegal Substances

Norway has one of the highest heroin addiction and overdose rates in Europe, which is why the police take such a hard approach with anyone caught carrying drugs. However, Norway announced that they are planning to decriminalise personal drug use in the near future.

6. Climate and Natural Disasters in Norway

Natural disasters and severe weather are common in Norway, with avalanches, floods and landslides being the biggest risks to public safety. 7% of Norway is at risk from avalanches, so you should avoid mountainous areas in winter for safety and read local advice.
Due to the mountainous landscape, Norway is also prone to flooding when snow and ice melt. Southern Norway is usually worse for flooding but recently there has been flooding in western parts too. You should stay aware of any flood warnings

Visiting in Summer

The average temperature in summer in Norway is around 13°-18°C but in July and August it can reach 30°C. The south coast tends to be the warmest part of Norway. It is rare for it to get dangerously hot but there can be very hot days, so you should take suncream and stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day.

Visiting in Winter

Norway is a very popular winter sports destination with some great ski resorts, where you can ski from November to May.
The average temperature in Norway in winter is -6.8°C, so if you are travelling at this time of year you should bring adequate clothing and footwear to protect you from the extreme temperatures. Insulated clothing and lined boots, gloves and hats are all recommended if you are planning on spending time outdoors in Norway during winter.
In mountainous regions, local authorities may advise against non-essential travel due to the risk of avalanches. It is important that you plan ahead to try and avoid any areas that could be at risk of an avalanche.

7. Adventure Traveling and Arctic Tourism

There are some amazing attractions in Norway and many people come from around the world to see the Northern Lights. Stunning waterfalls and Fjords are some of the top tourist attractions in Norway. Adventure travelling is popular in Norway, with a large choice of adventure activities from hiking and cross-country skiing to mountain glacier climbing.
You should check that your travel insurance policy covers any sports and other outdoor activities that you want to take part in as you could end up paying overseas medical costs should you need medical treatment.
Many people visit Norway for Artic tourism, with the Arctic Circle tours in Northern Norway being particularly popular. You may need to take out extra travel coverage for participating in winter sports in Norway or any other high-risk activities.

8. Stay Safe on Cruise Ship Travel

Many travellers book Nordic cruises to explore Norway by sea, with day trips to Fjords and a good chance of seeing the Northern Lights from one of the best areas of the world to see them.
Cruise ship travellers should be careful in case the ship decks get icy and cruise operators are taking precautions to ensure passenger health to protect from COVID-19 infections. You should take normal precautions against infection, such as regular handwashing and avoiding close contact with strangers.
When you are visiting different parts of Norway on your cruise, you should keep your belongings safe if you go into busy shopping areas and cities, as cruise ship passengers can be targeted by pickpockets. Your cruise ship staff and guides should warn you of any areas where you might stop that are known for crime.

Norway COVID-19 Restrictions and Preventative Measures

Norway, like other countries around the world continually review COVID-19 rules to monitor risk and protect Norwegian citizens. Currently, there is no testing or quarantine when entering Norway. You simply require a valid tourist visa (if you are not a citizen of the Schengen area) and a valid passport.
There are no current COVID-19 requirements to wear a facemask but it is recommended that you check the latest travel advice from Norwegian authorities.
If you are experiencing symptoms you are advised to take a test and if you are positive, isolate for four days. These rules are subject to change, so you should check the latest government advice before travelling to Norway.

Reaching Norway: Visa and Entry Requirements

Norway is a member of the Schengen area, so visitors will require either a Schengen area or an ETIAS visa for Norway. This is a way to ensure a safe and secure migration process. Keep in mind the ETIAS will be implemented starting from 2023. The applications will be available online and the application process is simple. Eligible travellers can receive a response in less than 10 minutes, so gaining approval to enter Norway will be much less burdensome.

To Conclude: Is Norway a Safe Country?

Norway is a relatively safe place to visit and has similar risks to other European countries. The beautiful mountains are a top destination for winter sports fanatics but you must also exercise caution due to the weather conditions in winter.
The Artic Circle is another great reason for visiting Norway but it is important that you only explore the Arctic area of Northern Norway with a professional tour. An expedition will take you up close with polar bears, exploring glaciers and seeing icebergs but you need to listen to safety advice to stay out of danger.
Avoid walking in the cities late at night and visit in the summer months for the safest way to enjoy all of Norway's amazing attractions such as the Fjords and the Northern Lights.
Overall, you should not worry too much about your safety in Norway as crime is low and dangerous incidents do not happen often.
Written by: Fikayomi Abisola
Abisola is an ETIAS Travel and Immigration writer with several years of writing experience in the industry. Abisola has a unique enthusiasm for travels, tours, and tourism and loves to educate travellers about the criteria involved in international travelling.

How Safe Is Norway: Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is it safe to travel to Norway while pregnant?

    You should consult your doctor to check whether it is advisable to travel but visiting Norway is no more dangerous for pregnant women than most other countries. In winter, the ground will often be icy, so it is not advised for pregnant women to be walking in icy conditions.
    In the colder times of the year, it is also not advised for pregnant women to spend much time outdoors as the temperatures can drop to -10 degrees and once was recorded as low as -51.4°C.
  • How close is Norway to Ukraine?

    Norway is not near Ukraine, it’s located around 2,750 km from Ukraine.
  • Is Oslo safe?

    In Oslo, crime rates are low but there is a risk of petty crime such as theft at airports and railway stations. You should try not to carry a lot of money and take measures to protect your belongings from bag snatching, the same way you would in most other European cities.
  • Is it safe for Americans to travel to Norway?

    Yes, American tourists are very welcome in Norway, with the large majority of travellers enjoying a safe and comfortable trip.

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