At one point during my trip to Norway, I was talking with Silvia, and said, “You know, I think I want to write a post that discusses just how much Norway reminds me of Korea!”
And it’s true! I mean, I know I kind of have a deep love for Korea, but I swear I don’t compare every country I visit with it. Norway and the friendly Norwegians I met just kept reminding me of all these fun ways they’re really quite similar.
Here’s quick list I came up with!
1. They both love their cafes.
A country with a strong cafe culture is a country I’ll consider moving to. One of the things I always miss about Korea is the plethora of pretty cafes I could hang out in. Every where you turn, there’s a new cafe with some unique twist or decoration.
Well, I guess I can add Norway to that list too because they also love their cafes. Maybe it’s the hygge, but there are also lots of fun cafes everywhere we went in Helgeland. Even when we stopped in a random town before heading to the airport, we had lunch in one!
The only big difference is that Norwegian cafes usually have a lot of different milk options, including oat milk, and offer regular food while most Korean cafes stick to coffee, regular milk, and sweets.
2. Even when you think you’re not hiking, you’re still hiking a little.
Lol, I always joke with anyone visiting Korea that even if they don’t think they’re going to hike, they’re definitely going to wind up climbing up some sort of hill, mountain, or staircase. This country is 70% mountains, after all, so you really have to go out of your way to avoid an increase in elevation.
Turns out Norway is the same way as two thirds of the country are mountains. I think we did a bit of hike every day of our trip even though we only thought we were doing one! From the Vega stairs to our quick trek up Torghatten and our little excursion on Lovund, we took in some seriously pretty views from above.
3. They both have insanely beautiful and underrated coasts.
How many times have you heard of a foreign tourist going out of their way to go along any of Korea’s coasts or Norway’s Helgeland coast? Not that often, but they really should!
Korea is a peninsula! Three of its borders are water (with the fourth being the DMZ…). You can easily find a nice beach or island to venture around! Even if you want to avoid the busier areas in the summer, like Busan or Jeju, there are tons of random beaches and islands you can have to yourself. Heck, even in Jeju in the middle of summer, I stayed in a remote enough place that I had a whole beach to myself.
Norway’s coast is equally as charming. It’s technically part of what’s considered the Scandinavian peninsula, but really when I look at a map it’s kind of one itself since it’s really only bordered on its one side with Sweden and Finland.
One of the more underrated areas is the Helgeland coast, which is more central. Besides the gorgeous coastline, you also have plenty of charming islands to visit! More than anyone could visit in their lifetime. We only got a taste of it in the winter with the places we visited. Lucky for you, though, Silvia based herself here, and she’s like Helgland’s biggest fan, so she has a ton of content both past, present, and future to prove my point even more!
4. There doesn’t seem to be too much love lost with their neighbors.
Okay, so I don’t think Norway and Sweden hate each other quite as much as Korea and Japan do (IDK, Norwegians, Swedes, let me know! My Scandinavian history isn’t actually that in depth). But it did make me giggle a bit thinking how you probably don’t want to mistake a Norwegian for a Swede just as you really don’t want to mistake a Korean for a Japanese person.
I even just did a Google search of “Norway vs Sweden” and the Norwegians chiming in essentially led to, “We’re better.” More than that, I feel like most of the responses were coming from Norwegians anyway!
Meanwhile, all it takes is a few months living in Korea to get an idea of their relationship with Japan. I think the funniest moment of “Crash Landing on You” is when the North Korean guys are in the chicken shop wondering what all the ruckus is. They’re unimpressed that it’s an international soccer game until they learn it’s Korea vs. Japan, and then it’s all “DAE HAN MIN GUK!”
5. Overall, both Norwegians and Koreans are really quite proud of their countries!
Silvia told me that one of the reasons she likes Norway, and particularly Mosjøen, is that they really seem to take pride in their hometowns, countries, and culture.
It reminded me a lot of how Koreans are quite proud of being Korean! Like when a Korean does well on a global scale, it’s a huge win for the whole country, which is how I like to think Norwegians are. Let’s just say I’m pretty sure Bong Joon Ho is going to basically be deified with Sejong and Yi Sun Shin at this point!
And there you have it! All the random ways I found Norway reminding me of Korea. What’s even funnier is that it feels like the powers that be wanted me to think this even more. While we were on our road trip, Silvia got a Couchsurfing request from none other than a Korean guy traveling up the Norwegian coast!
Have you been to both Norway and Korea? Do you think they’re similar?
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Disclosure: I was a guest of Visit Helgeland; however this post is not sponsored and, of course, my opinions are my own.