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Europe > Nordic countries > Norway > East Norway

East Norway

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East Norway (Norwegian: Østlandet) is a region in south-eastern Norway, which contains the capital Oslo, as well as half of the country's 5 million inhabitants.


Slidre lake in the Valdres uplands

This region has about half of Norway's population including the larger Oslo metropolitan area. Locally known as Østlandet (or Austlandet), literally the east country, and is defined by the border with Sweden and mountain ranges creating watersheds with Trøndelag and Western Norway. East Norway includes the densely populated lowlands around Oslofjord (and lake Mjøsa) and the more sparsely populated valleys, forests and highlands in the hinterland. The most populated lowlands/flatlands are greater Oslo, around Oslofjord and around lake Mjøsa is informally referred to as Central East Norway - this area is home to well over ⅓ of the people of Norway.

A number of long valleys (notably Gudbrandsdalen, Valdres, Østerdal and Hallingdal) and rivers converge in the lowlands around Oslo. Oslo itself is separated from these rivers and valleys by forests and hills known as Oslomarka (the Oslo woodlands). Areas around Oslofjord and lake Mjøsa are mostly lowlands or flatlands, while upstream along the big valleys and rivers the gently rolling landscape gradually gives way to steep hills, barren highlands (such as Hardangervidda) and alpine summits such as Jotunheimen. These valleys also host transport corridors (rail and road) to West Norway and Trøndelag. Western parts of Telemark, Buskerud and Oppland are part of the central mountains/highlands, while northern parts of Oppland and Hedemark includes wide mountain areas such as Reinheimen, Dovrefjell and Rondane. East Norway is home to a large number of lakes, including several of Norway's largest. The shores of southern Oslofjord with myriads of polished islands and bays are popular summer resorts for city residents.

Typical "svaberg" (polished cliffs) at Tjøme


The interior of Eastern Norway generally enjoys relatively dry continental climate (warm summers and cold winters). Winters can be bitterly cold in the interior. Closer to Oslofjord the winters are milder, although temperatures below minus 10° C are common in Oslo, and summers are slightly warmer in sheltered valleys. Large parts of East Norway enjoys the rain shadow created by the central mountains, and some of East Norway gets less than 300 mm precipitation annually (less than Madrid).


Map of East Norway
Map of East Norway
The region surrounding Oslo and home to many of Oslo's suburbs, and is largely part of Greater Oslo with about 1/4 of Norway's population.
Buskerud county stretches from the urban and agricultural lowlands at Oslos western suburbs through great valleys to popular ski resorts and the barren Hardangervidda.
The landlocked county in East Norway's deep interior, great valleys, rivers and forests
From lakes and lowlands to the great mountains and highlands
Norway's capital
Lowlands east of Oslofjord
From urban lowlands through green valleys to rugged highlands - a mini-Norway.
Lowlands west of Oslofjord



Other destinations[edit]

Krøderen lake with road 7 at the entrance to Hallingdal
  • 1 Trysil – Norway's largest ski resort
  • 2 Gudbrandsdalen - the great central valley from lowlands at Lillehammer to the highest mountains
  • 3 Hallingdal - a major valley from fertile lowlands at Drammen into Hardangervidda
  • 4 Jotunheimen - Scandinavia's highest mountains
  • 5 Rondane - Mountain range and Norway's first national park
  • 6 Dovrefjell - Mountain range and high plateau
  • 7 Valdres - picturesque highlands, lakes and valleys beneath Jotunheimen
  • 8 Hardangervidda – Europe's largest highland plateau
  • 9 Gardermoen - Oslo International Airport, main entry point for overseas visitors and hub for domestic flights


Most people will respond in English to any question you may have. Some Norwegians also speak some German, due to the proximity of the language, and that they study it in school. Migrant workers from Sweden, Poland, and elsewhere may not even speak Norwegian.


Those interested in dialects can observe the diversity of Norwegian dialects spoken in Eastern Norway, especially the differences between urban areas and peripheries. The differences can be observed even if you do not understand Norwegian. There are differences in the tone of language and words used. Even within the capital, Oslo, there are dialect differences between the east end and west end.

In some inland municipalities, a writing form of Norwegian usually associated with West Norway known as Nynorsk is the official form.

Get in[edit]

By boat[edit]

Oslo is connected to Kiel and Copenhagen by ferries. Larvik is connected to northern Denmark by ferry, whereas Sandefjord is connected to Strömstad (Sweden) by ferry.

Get around[edit]

Train on Bergen line near Geilo heading for Finse

Oslo totally dominates this region. Oslo and its airport at Gardermoen is the transport hub for East Norway. Roads and railway lines have Oslo as their focal points. All railway lines, including the airport express train, terminate at Oslo Central Station ("Oslo S"). Main roads E6, E18, E16 and Road 4 meet at or near Oslo S. Regional and long distance buses depart from the bus station next door to Oslo S. Oslo Subway (T-banen) has a main station underground next to the train station.

By plane[edit]

  • Fagernes Airport (Leirin - operated by DOT) (10 minutes from Fagernes). The local airport with daily connections to Oslo (30 minutes)
  • Sandefjord Torp Airport (Torp) (1 hour 50 minutes with the Torpekspressen coach from Oslo). Rygge mainly caters to travelers to/from Oslo, Akershus and Østfold. Most flights are with Ryanair.

By bus[edit]

By train[edit]

By car[edit]

For more details see: Driving in Norway

Most of Norway's motorways are around Oslo. There is one car ferry across Oslofjord at Moss-Horten and one across Randsfjorden lake.


Lake Mjøsa - East Norway's small inland ocean

Gjøvik and Lake Mjøsa seen from Oeverby September 2016 a.jpg
Lake Mjøsa sits in the middle of East Norway and is shared between Oppland, Hedmark and Akershus. The south end is surrounded by fertile lowlands, while the north end intersects with Gudbrandsdalen and beginning of the uplands. This is the widest in Norway (about the size of Lake Garda) and at 453 m the 4th deepest lake in Europe. The average depth is 150 m, such that most of the lake is in fact below sea level. Despite the big rivers flowing into the lake, its large volume means that it takes 6 years for water to pass through. There are about 20 species of fish in the lake. Åkersvika, a bay and wetland at Hamar, is a nature reserve create to protect birds in particular. The 120 km long and partly narrow lake can be mistaken for a river or a western fjord. Mjøsa is largley frozen in winter and often used for skating. After the construction of Mjøsa bridge at Moelven car ferries across the lake were discontinued. Skibladner is still in operation and is now the world's oldest paddle steamer in service. Norway's first railway ran from Oslo to Mjøsa, still today the shores of Mjøsa host Norway's main transport corridor north-south.


  • All kinds of winter sports, even some at summertime
  • Sailing
  • Fishing in salt water and fresh water (rivers & lakes)
Climb or hike mountains

East Norway includes gentle sloping highlands such as Hardangervidda as well as alpine peaks such as Jotunheimen.

  • The Gausta summit (1883 meters) near Rjukan in Telemark gives the best outlook, on a clear day on can see one sixth of Norway (or an area twice that of Belgium). Easy hike 2-3 hours, possibel for children aged 10+. Very popular.


The Norwegian cuisine is known for eclectic food with a good supply of many local ingredients. Try Norwegian seafood!


Local Norwegian beer, aquavit and cider. Or simply clean and fresh water.

Stay safe[edit]

Eastern Norway is experienced as generally very safe, with few exceptions in parts of Oslo and the larger cities. Just take normal precautions.

Go next[edit]

This region travel guide to East Norway is an outline and may need more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. If there are Cities and Other destinations listed, they may not all be at usable status or there may not be a valid regional structure and a "Get in" section describing all of the typical ways to get here. Please plunge forward and help it grow!