From SkipperGuide, the online cruising guide for sailing areas around the world
|waters||Atlantic, North Sea|
Norway has an extremely long coastline and offers diversified, but also ambitious sailing. The length of the coast is about 3,000 km and reaches from Skagerrak through the northern Atlantic up to the Barent Sea in the high north. Because of numerous ice ages the western coast is fragmented by many fjords and surrounded with a skerry belt. Measured along all fjords the coast will have a total length of more than 25,000 km. The population density of Norway is very low – in Norway are living just 4.6 Million people. One reason for this low population density is the many areas, which are impassable or difficult to colonize.
 Eating and drinking
Norway is very wealthy because of its oil reserves. Therefore, the costs of living are very high. Not only are alcohol and nicotine very expensive – as common in all Scandinavian countries - but nearly everything. If possible, you should think about buying provisions in your home or a neighbouring country and bring it into Norway by car. Even using a rental car can bring significant savings. It should be taken into account that driving in Norway needs more time than somewhere else: The fragmented coastline makes the usage of ferries necessary, not all fjords are spanned by bridges. The roads are narrow and do not allow a high travel speed.
Going to a restaurant is – not really surprisingly – also very expensive. Simple meals starting at about 80 NOK, a beer will cost around 50 – 60 NOK. Hotdogs are inexpensive and are sold for 25-30 NOK nearly everywhere. Do not expect extraordinary taste.
There is plenty of fish in Norway’s waters, especially inside the skerry belt. Often, it is just enough to bring out a hook at a slow boat speed for a few minutes to catch fish.
Ferries are the most important transport vehicle in Norway. The roads are often not very good and often interrupted by ferry lines. Beside the journey by ferry, a good alternative is to travel by plane. Norway offers many airports (e.g. in Oslo (OSL), Stavanger (SVG), Haugesund (HAU), Bergen (BGO), Tromsø (TOS)).
Inexpensive flights are available from e.g. Norwegian (http://www.norwegian.no), but also other airlines offering attractive prices.
 Money / language / infrastructure
Norway does not take part in the European monetary union; official currency is the Norwegian Krone (NOK). 8 NOK are about 1 Euro.
Norway is in context of the Nordic Passport Union has joined the Schengen-Agreement  as so-called associated Schengen-member. In consequence, there are no passport controls at the Schengen inland borders since 2001. Officially, this is valid only for the borders of Sweden and Finland because the borders at sea are outer borders in terms of the Schengen Agreement. In fact there is also no strict passport control. To clear inward or outward is difficult and uncommon, especially in the north of Norway.
Nearly all Norwegian people speaking English very well, therefore there is no problem for communication. The internet is very well established. At many marinas and other places there are WLAN-Hotspots, often for free.
 Weather / Climate
A consistent description of weather is not possible for this country with its wide area. The Gulf Stream influences the weather and makes it comparably warm. However, clothing for rain and cold weather is very necessary. You should also expect stronger winds. Inside of the skerry belt there are specific and locally changing winds because of the mountains. Keep looking out for weather changes.
 Currents and tides
The tides are very different because of the different coastal shapes. The tidal range in South Norway is less than a half meter inside of the fjords although a much higher tidal range is possible. Also, there are no consistent tidal streams along Norway’s coast. It is not necessary to consider the tidal streams in your navigation, but please inform yourslef about the local conditions.
 Streams at Skagerrak
At Skagerrak between Denmark, Sweden and Norway there are two, contrary streams: at the Norwegian coast there is a stream along the coast setting in direction of the North Sea. Southerly, near Jutland sets the Jutland stream in direction of the Baltic Sea. The currents are quite weak, so the navigation does not have to consider them necessarily.
Depending on the area, navigation can range from simple to demanding.
 Navigation in the skerry belt
Skerries can be found in Norway in the south (around Kristiansand), but also at the west coast (e.g. Haugesund to Bergen). Navigation inside the skerry belt requires attention. Although the water depth is rapidly increasing away from the shore, there are often rocks below the surface. The passages are often quite narrow. You should keep an eye on your position.
At night, the sailing can be problematic and is not recommended. It is very important to check beforehand whether the channel is adequately buoyed and lighted.
 Navigation in channels and fjords
In the fjords, navigation is mostly simple. There are no problems because of depth, the water is very deep, also near the shore. Larger sailing boats must check the vertical clearance of power lines.
At the entrances of most fjords there are sector lights, at day small white houses with red roofs. Single rocks within the navigational channels are buoyed and lighted, but continuous lighted channels are rare. Even though it is recommended to navigate with radar at night; it is possible for an experienced crew to do the passage without radar. The number of marinas within the fjords is quite small, so sometimes nightly passages may become necessary.
 Moorings and anchorages
Between the skerries at the south and south-western coast of Norway, the anchor can be dropped at many places. It is impossible to mark all suitable anchorages. It is customary to choose a different anchorage, if the one is already taken by another boat. Beside many anchorages, there are also a lot of jetties. Most of them are private, so you should ask in case of doubt to stay. Usually you will get the permission.
Northward, the number of suitable anchorages is decreasing, because of the increasing water depths. But also the number of boats is decreasing. Often, you can moor at private jetties, but check that the owner is out, so you will not annoy him - they may want to enjoy the loneliness.
 Sailing areas
 South Norway
The part of Norway southwards from Bergen is often referred as South Norway. This covers the coast from Bergen through Stavanger, Kristiansand up to Oslo. This part of the country offers a lot of scenic variations: in the west, northwarts from Stavanger the coast is cliffy and is surrounded by a skerry belt. Inside the skerry belt you can experience sailing in high mountains - high mountains, sometimes higher than 1000m and deep fjords, and myriads of isles and rocks. The mountains are partly wooded. In the south of Stavanger the coast is getting smoother, but also the number of anchorages is reduced. Here, skerries are rare; you are exposed to the swell of the North Sea.
A skerry belt exists behind the most southern point. The scenic is - compared to Bergen - smoother, the vegetation is getting sparse.
- Sandefjord to Kristiansand
- Kristiansand to Stavanger
- Stavanger to Haugesund
- Haugesund to Bergen
 North Norway and Lofoten
North Norway mentions the part of Norway northwards of Bergen up to the North Cape. The Lofoten are an archipelago near the coastline of Norway, northwards of the Arctic Circle between the 67th and 68th latitude.
 Svalbard and Jan Mayen
Svalbard ist an archipelago northwards the Norwegian mainland (between 74° and 81° degrees north). The Islands Spitsbergen, Nordaustlandet, Barents Island, Edgeøya and Prins Karls Forland belongs to the archipelago as well as the Bjørnøya (Bear Island) in the south. Jan Mayen is a small island westerly of the North Cape, northwards from Iceland.
 South Norway
- Lysefjord - The Lysefjord is Norway's most famous fjord near Stavanger. It can be reached from Stavanger by rental car or by boat. Recommendable is the ascent of the Preikestolen. 5 km southwards of Jørpeland there is a parking space and a trail to a ledge, 600m above the Lysefjord. The walk will take about 2h, sturdy shoes are recommended. Unfortunately this place is very popular, so you have to share the trail with numerous other tourists.
- Folgefonn glacier - the third largest glacier of Norway is southwards from Bergen. You can stay at the pontoons in Sunndal and take a walk to the lower part of the glacier tongue.
- Bergen - Bergen offers a lot of culture, but also the world cultural heritage "Bryggen"; old, well preserved wooden buildings from the age of the Hanseatic League. The houses are directly at the harbour Vågen.
glacier tongue of the Folgefonn glacier near Sunndal
UNESCO-world cultural heriatage "Bryggen" in Bergen.