Top critical review
16 people found this helpful
Mainly caters for travellers with a fat wallet
on 30 January 2012
I was going to give this 2 stars but on reflection that seemed mean-spirited, given the lowest rating is 1 star.
On the positive side, this is another forumula-written Lonely Planet tome, with all the usual stuff about getting there, where to stay and where to eat out (in the main towns). Its easy to follow and decipher. Some good background information too, about Norway's history and customs.
On the other hand this is one of the least densely populated countries in Europe, with a wealth of spectacular scenery, a diverse collection of national parks, world class mountaineering venues, hiking and cycling trails, all supported by a network of hostels and huts. And many travellers visit Norway for those reasons (though you might not think it, reading this guide).
If you're one of those travelling for outdoor activities, and maybe on a tight budget in this breathtakingly expensive country, this book will frustrate more than inform.
It provides a basic location map of the national parks, but not even outline maps of the parks themselves (a basic map of each, showing peaks and hut locations would have been great).
The page in the book devoted to information about maps neglects to explain there are a series of maps specifically aimed at walkers and cyclists, at scales of 1:50,000 to 1:200,000. Stanfords (stanfords.co.uk) sometimes stock them.
Given that many road tunnels and some bridges are closed to cyclists, it would have been good to have been provided with more information on that, or whether this information can be found on maps.
And maybe less information on restaurants, upper-end hotels etc as much of this is available elsewhere (and in the case of the former, very rapidly becomes out of date and useless).
Another gripe I have is with the rainfall and temperature 'graphs'. The basic idea is good - its always good to know in advance the average climatic conditions for any month. But I would argue that tables with actual figures, or failing that, more traditional bar charts, are much easier to interpret. Perhaps all the tables for the various locations (a small number) could be grouped together, to allow for comparisons.
There aren't that many train lines, it would have been no big effort to have included a bit more information about them, especially about intermediate stops. Simple rail map for each line perhaps? Not everyone can afford a hired car, or travels by cruise-ship.