Known as Norge, this section of Scandinavia lies to the northwest of Finland and its immediate neighbour, Sweden on Europe's most Northern peninsula. The country actually stretches along the north side of both Scandinavian countries to a border with Russia. The Norwegian Sea and, further out, the Atlantic ocean borders the county's west side and flows into its many deep fjords.
The region is characterized by vast, rugged peaks shaped through centuries of harsh geographic changes. The Ice Age shaped this area and its mark can still clearly be seen in its rolling green hills, jagged cliffs, and vast amounts of water both off the shore and running along the landscape in the form of rivers, waterfalls and lakes.
The highest point is Galdhopiggen, at 2469 meters (8100ft). Lower altitudes can be found in the northern county of Finnmark.
Norway shares a loosely defined northern area with Sweden, Finland, and Russia that is known as Sami. This is a cultural region rather then one defined by governments. Today, most of the Sami people live in Oslo.
Local time is GMT +1. Daylight savings changes the time zone to GMT +2 between the last Sunday in March and the Saturday before the last Sunday in October.
Despite its northerly location, Norway's climate is mostly temperate. The Gulf Stream brings temperate water in from the Gulf of Mexico and warms southern Norway. Seasonal changes can be quite severe, and different regions may offer entirely dissimilar conditions so check at your location.
Winter: between November and March with an average temperatures from .7 to -4.3 degrees C
Spring: between April and May with an average temperature from 4.5 to 10.8 degrees C
Summer: between June and August with an average temperature from 15.2 to 16.4 degrees C
Autumn: between September and October with an average temperature from 6.3 to 10.8 degrees C
The high latitude affects the amount of daylight available throughout the seasons. From late May to late July there is constant sun as it never completely descends beneath the horizon for locations above the Arctic circle. This is the reason behind Norway's nickname as "Land of the Midnight Sun". The rest of the country usually has about 20 hours of daylight per day. Polar or northern lights (aurora Borealis) can be observed during the darker months.
From late November to late January, the sun never rises above the horizon in the north, and daylight hours are very short in the rest of the country.
The city lies on the southeastern region of Norway. The city sits in a semi-circle around the northern tip of the Oslofjord and is surrounded by lush green hills. Forest encloses the city with the Ecestmarka ("Eastern Forest") to the east and the large Nordmarka ("Northern Forest") running along the northern perimeter. There are also about 40 islands off the coast. The city is also rich in water with 343 lakes and two small rivers, the Akerselva and Alna.
Oslo is Norway's capitol and the largest city (total area of 454 km2). There is a population of around 590,041. The city is also incredibly safe with one of the lowest homicide rate in the world.
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