Visit Norway by app

Visit Norway recently launched a free app to make it easier to get around, finding activities and a place to stay in Norway. They even found room for a couple of my favourite divespots!


Screenshots showing the start screen and the typical info screen for a dive resort with links to the map and the "Take me there"-button which connects to Google Maps to give you detailed directions.


Posted on Jul 4, 2012
The app is available for both iPhone and Android phones, and contains thousands of places to stay, sights to see and things to do all over Norway.

Download link at the bottom!

Through easy-to-understand menus users can browse suggestions and search lists, and the included maps makes it easy to find your destination.

If you tap the "Take me there"-button, it even connects to Google Maps which provides accurate directions based on your location!

Find a place to dive

Only a small percentage of tourists dive, and this is reflected in the contents of the app. Even so, I would have wished that Visit Norway had added more divesites - not just resorts.

To find a divesite or resort, you can either choose "Action & Adventure" when you're in the "nearby" mode, or just tap your preferred area on the start screen and choose "What to do". The results are searchable and contains dive resorts and activities.

You can of course search for anything you want in the app - just choose "Destinations" and type in what you need to know - with or without choosing a specific region.

Short on keywords?

The app seems to be a little short on searchable english keywords. A search for "scuba" or "diving" turns up very few results, but if the Norwegian word "dykking" is entered, about 50 destinations show up immidiately.

The same problem occurs in the lists of destinations and activities. In some cases nothing shows up when you search for "scuba" - but "dive" or "diving" will provide a result. The Norwegian version seems much better at finding the right stuff, so I'm hoping this is something that will improve in the future.

Despite this, the app is great for both finding stuff close to your location and for planning a vacation. Both the "nearby" and "destination" modes are easy to use and get results from the same database. Keep in mind that using your cellphone abroad is costly - extensive map use is cheaper on a wi-fi.

Even though I would have wished for more diving destinations, Visit Norway did find room for a couple of my favourites.

Gulen Dive Resort - wrecks and marine life

Located just two hours north of Bergen on the Norwegian west coast, Gulen Dive Resort offers spectacular WWII wreck diving and an amazing marine life. I go there as often as I get the chance, especially in the winter or spring when the water is at its clearest.

The beautiful soft coral reefs south of Gulen Dive Resort are really spectacular and will astonish even seasoned tropical divers. Going on for several hundres of meters, the dead men's finger coral form an almost continous carpet.

I host two annual workshops at Gulen, the Periphylla Safari in January and the Nudibranch Safari in March. If you want to see the strangest deep-sea jellyfish ever or the astonishing diversity of Norwegian nudibranchs, these two events are well worth considering.

Lygnstølsvatnet - a submerged dairy farm

Lake Lygnstølsvatnet (top image) in Møre & Romsdal is another truly spectacular divesite available in the app. Visited by divers from around the world, this cultural heritage site is something you should not miss if you're in the area.

The app contains brief descriptions and contact info - but it is the amazing map capabilities that will be really helpful when on the road, providing on-the-fly directions to get you to where you're going.

The lake came into being when a huge rockslide closed off the river Lygna in 1908. The water started to rise almost immidiately and soon covered the diary farm houses, rock fences, gates and an entire forest - leaving it suspended in time.

Going to Norway? Check out these tips!

More and more people are discovering the great diving in Norway: Spectacular WWII wrecks, amazing current diving and soft-coral reefs, challenging caves, lake Lygnstølsvatnet, the kelp forest and an abundant and incredibly diverse marine life is waiting for those who dare to venture off the beaten track.

Visit Norway have a page with information about diving in Norway in general, as well as a Top 10 list of the best areas to visit.

Click here to read more about scuba diving at Visit Norway

Norway offer some of the best WWII wreck diving in the world - like the amazing 127 meter German freighter Frankenwald at Gulen Dive Resort.

As divers have visited places like Indonesia, the Red Sea and Galapagos countless times, the seasonal seas of the north are increasingly becoming an attraction - and getting here is easy.

The airline Norwegian fly from dozens of major airports all over Europe to Oslo and Bergen, Trondheim and Stavanger on a daily basis. Their rates are low, and they offer additional luaggage at a reasonable price - you can bring 70 kilos of gear if you have to.

Click here to read more about Norwegian

Driving great distances in Norway takes both time and money, and althought the scenery might be breathtaking, it is advisable to get to the nearest airport if you're flying in from abroad. Many dive resorts will pick you up at the airport, giving you maximum time in the water.

Feel free to look around the site to see more images and read more about some of the diving experiences Norway has to offer, especially in the published stories section.

Conclusion: 4 points - but almost 5

The app has a great look and feel and contains tons of useful, updated information. I also really like the Google Maps link and the fact that the app can tell me what to do in my surrounding area as well as help me plan my vacation.

However, it does not contain enough divesites to earn a top rating, and the mentioned search issues also reduces the experience to a certain extent. In total a very strong 4 points, which would have been 5 had they added some more underwater stuff!

Click here to download the app in App Store or Google Play






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Christian Skauge
Etterstadsletta 4 G
N-0660 Oslo, Norway


   

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