Beautiful cold countries: should you visit Russia or Norway?

Im Australian wanting to go on holiday to a nice cold country, and a beautiful one.

Im interested in russia and russian history, but yet Norway seems so clean and beautiful, So which one persons? Im evenly split between the 2

Top Answer:

Norwegian here. This thread has somehow devolved into a debate about immigration into Europe, and I'll refrain from taking part in it. Having only been on the Russian border, but never actually in Russia, I can only speak for Norway, however biased I may be:

The nature is breathtaking. Google what person above recommended, along with places like Lofoten, Kjeragbolten, Preikestolen, Hardangervidda, Jotunheimen, Snohetta... There's no end to it. And if you go to the North, there'll be beautiful polar light in the winter, and the midnight sun is interesting during the summer. Norway is an amazing place for hiking, and I love going on long trips in my own country.
If you're interested in cities, my primary recommendation would be Oslo. It has a lot of nice old architecture, and things like the royal castle, the opera, Karl Johans Gate, Frognerparken, and a few more things make it actually worthwhile visiting. Other cities are also worth a visit, but I think it'd be worth it to invest some time in figuring out how to get from A to B.

Those are my two major reasons for visiting Norway. People also find Svalbard interesting. If you like nature, Norway is definitely worth a visit. Not that there isn't beautiful nature in Russia as well - you're practically almost neighbors with Kamchatka.

Hope this helps. If you'd like, I'd love to elaborate on exactly what makes the different places worth visiting, though a simple google image search should suffice!

I forgot cons.
Definitely not the cultural hub of Europe, but nonetheless has interesting venues and museums, plus some good festivals.
It's expensive. Every stereotype about this is true. But tourists still come en masse, and seem to be getting along well. Using resources like CouchSurfing might help?
Everything is far apart. It takes forever to move between Norwegian cities and interesting places to due to the mountains. It takes 50 minutes with a plane from East to West, but about 7 - 8 hours of train from Oslo to Stavanger, Bergen and Trondheim. Renting a car might not be too cheap, but after having traveled to a few countries, I can tell you Norway has some of the most comfortable traffic there is.

I just realized I ended up trying to turn the cons into sort of pros. Oh well.

Concerning tattoos, I know there is a tattoo convention in Stavanger about once a year. It might be in different cities as well. You could probably search it.
And while a major stereotype is that Norwegians - or Scandinavians - can be hard to get in touch with, I have a few foreign friends who have said they were surprised to find the exact opposite was true.

googles geirangerfjorden
Gotta say person, I'm tempted. Not OP but just finishing Russia, and that looks mighty fine.

The Geiranger fjord is a World Heritage Site. I'm going to take the Geiranger to Hellesylt ferry in about 2 weeks. Looks amazing on Google Earth.

I want to bring gifts to extended family members in both Norway and Sweden. Is it common practice to put a christmas tree up in one's home there? I found some locally themed tree ornaments I might buy

Yeah, everyone has christmas trees here.

Other Answers:

Hey op. I have not been to russia do cant speak on that point. Norwegian here btw. If you are looking for outdoorsy kind of stuff to do/ hike,fish, woods, mountains it is alot of it here.

You could take a boat along the whole coast in a weeks time. You can experience the northern lights in winter.

For urban stuff look to the bigger cities. Pro tip : travelling here can be expensive but I have met my fair share of hitchhikers from france and poland and they got by with a tent and camping gear. It is doable.
People speak english and most are helpful kind people. Btw it is too cold to camp outside here in winter without prior experience.

Pros: civilized and clean, really beautiful nature, super safe, everyone speaks English.
Cons: can be boring, VERY expensive.

Pros: somewhat closer to Australia, lots more to see, relatively inexpensive.
Cons: not as safe (but generally okay), not so many people speak decent English, poor and ugly outside major cities.

If you're into Russian history, then St.Petersburg is a place to go. The historic center there is huge. Also, if you want cold, south and west parts of Norway won't impress you much, as it's relatively warm there, unless you go up to the mountains.

Not OP, but what do you mean by 'closer' to Australia?

Well, if you want to come to Siberia to see some epic nature, it's some 5000 kilometers closer to Australia than Norway. For Moscow the difference is not so great. The acutal travel time depends on flight availability, of course.

I am in Norway right now (and I've been visiting it regularly for last 10 years) and it is still expensive as hell. Yes, krone has lost some of its worth, but not enough to make Norway an inexpensive country.

Seconding that, Sweden is as safe as Norway.

VERY expensive.
Norway is not expensive anymore.

I suppose its relative. Oslo would be more expensive than London, but less expensive than Melbourne.

>Norway is not expensive anymore.

Not OP but I'm also an Australian looking to travel to Norway/Sweden around February.

Thing is I've been told I look middle eastern by a lot of people here, despite my heritage being Mauritian/Irish. This is exacerbated by the fact that i'm tan and have jet black hair/beard.

Considering everything that's happening in Europe, is there a chance I'll run into trouble while travelling to the Nordic countries? A few of my friends and family members think so but they've never been to Europe, plus I have a very thick Australian accent.

It's very unlikely. Scandinavians are probably the most tolerant people ever, and there's a lot of Middle Eastern and black people there living normally. Locals do dislike the welfare refugees, but won't show it publically. As it should be quite obvious that you're not one of them, you need not worry.

hey op, if you wan't the naturestuff then go to norway. period. but as you stated you wanted more urbarn experience, then I would defently stay out of norway. if you wan't to visit a scandinavian country/city go to denmark.

whats boring about Norway you ask? first off all, the people. they might be nice, but no crazy people that will blow your mind like you probebly will find in russia if you go to the correct places.

Am considering getting inked for my first time, as a souvenir. Any recommendations for Bergen? There are a few tattoo places there. Also, having never been inked - how long will it take for a relatively small Norwegian flag on my shoulder? Will I need to get it finished at home?

Will probably take an hour or less. You could get it done and colored there. might need a touch up someday though.

Thanks. I may do this. Would be a permanent reminder of the trip. Will be there in a week or so from now - can hardly wait.

BTW - Anyone with Netflix check out "SlowTV" programs. There's three showing Norway: A coastal ride on the Hurtigruten's ship Nordnorge, the train from Bergen to oslo, and a ride on a northern train, going up to tromso. Amazing beauty.

Care to describe whats boring about Norway?
Im more of a Urban/city type person, i tend to stick to the museums, metro areas etc, so what city in Norway would be the best?

I mean, im open to all Scandinavian countries besides Sweden (due to their immigration crisis right now)

no matter where you go in europe, you will see brown people, you shouldnt cut out sweden just because there might be a few more brown people than norway, denmark, or finland

Im not saying the brown people everywhere, but sweden has a couple riots and no go zones (or well they did)

there are more riots in 90% of the rest of europe due to immigration policy, and there are much much more dangerous places in europe than sweden's no go zones. /pol/ has exaggerated and memed the situation in sweden quite a bit. sweden is one of the safest places in europe to visit, and a lot more than anywhere in russia.

Russia is safe if you're smart about it

Being in a war zone is safe if you're smart about it

Im writing from a train station in Yekaterihoweverthedamnyouspellit right now whilst trying to sort out what Im doing (looks like no realistic way to include Crimea ;_;), Russia has been safe as hell so far. Some questionable looking dudes in a train has been about it. Full disclosure though, other than nature reserves and such, I've been mostly constrained to the big cities.

Yekaterinburg. It's one of the safer Russian cities right now, some industrial districts excluded.

As a tourist you'll literally never encounter those zones unless you actively seek them out. It's ridiculous how they've been exaggerated.

I was recently in sweden and my aunt and uncle who live there (uncle is swedish) told me the police don't even enter them anymore, nor do ambulances. Not to mention the acquisition of surplus handgrenades had actually become a prevalent issue and they would throw them around like fireworks for a laugh.

sweden is not unsafe at all. first of all there's no way you're ever going to these "nogo zones" anyway, and even if you did they are not even that dangerous, just full of brown people.

this meme has gotten out of hand, Sweden is probably twice as safe compared to Australia.

this is Moscow. But hey, gotta avoid Western Yurope because of all the minorities, right? Going to Norway for the cities simply doesn't make that much sense, tourism in that country is all about nature.

Care to describe whats boring about Norway?
I wouldn't call norway boring, but if you're not interested in nature I'm not sure why you would come here. we don't have spectacular cities or anything else worth seeing. we have tons of beautiful, peaceful nature, though.

norwegian here.
must see:
brown cheese, svele, lutefisk, pinnekjott
>17th may

with skiing, i mean ski tours. to hell with ski resorts.

Depends on how long you planned on going
Russia would be better for $ wise and Norway is expensive as hell.

Why not both?

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