Norway comprises the western part
of Scandinavia in Northern Europe. The rugged coastline, broken by massive
fjords and thousands of islands, stretches over 25,000 km. Norway shares a
2,542 km land border with Sweden, Finland, and Russia to the east. To the
west and south, Norway is bordered by the Norwegian Sea, the North Sea, and
Skagerak. The Barents Sea washes on Norway's northern coasts.
At 385,155 km˛ (including Jan Mayen, Svalbard), Norway is approximately the
size of Germany, but much of the country is dominated by mountainous or high
terrain, with a great variety of natural features caused by prehistoric
glaciers and varied topography. The most noticeable of these are the fjords,
deep grooves cut into the land flooded by the sea following the end of the
Ice Age; the longest is Sognefjorden. Norway also contains many glaciers and
The land is mostly made of hard granite and gneiss rock, but slate,
sandstone and limestone are also common, and the lowest elevations have
marine deposits. Due to the Gulf Stream and prevailing westerlies, Norway
experiences warmer temperatures and more precipitation than expected at such
northern latitudes, especially along the coast. The mainland experiences
four distinct seasons, with colder winters and less precipitation inland.
The northernmost part has a mostly maritime Subarctic climate, while
Svalbard has an Arctic tundra climate.
There are large seasonal variations in daylight. In areas north of the
Arctic Circle, the summer sun may never completely descend beneath the
horizon, hence Norway's description as the "Land of the Midnight Sun."
During summer, inhabitants south of the Arctic Circle still experience