When to go to Norway, in summer or winter?

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When to Travel to Norway? From One Season to Another…


Embarking on a journey to Norway for an unforgettable experience, but when? Summer is a time favoured by many, yet winter ardently holds its ground. Notably, it is the season of the Northern Lights. Moreover, the 1.3 million overnight stays in Norwegian tourism accommodations recorded in 2021 concern 70% of the country’s citizens. And just like in our homeland, the descendants of the Vikings take their summer holidays, specifically from mid-July to mid-August. This is the very peak season, the time of crowds in the fjords and on hiking trails… but also a spike in prices. Fear not, the summer period in Norway is much longer than that, giving you ample room for a summer trip, exploring breathtaking Nordic landscapes and majestic fjords.

But in truth, the answer to “when to travel to Norway” largely depends on the activities you’re keen on. It’s also important to note that the climate in Norway varies significantly from one region to another.

Which is the best month for your Norwegian adventures? Rocking Trip’s local guides provide personalised advice.


Understanding Norwegian Climates


Setting out to the Lofoten Islands, discovering Oslo, exploring the fjords of the west coast or hiking in the Lyngen Alps, in the Arctic… All these Norwegian regions, among others, experience different climates. Thus, it’s one of the initial factors to consider when determining the ideal season for a visit.

For a Scandinavian road trip, and if you wish to traverse the country from end to end in a camper or van, it’s also useful to know that you’ll inevitably encounter a wide range of temperatures and precipitation levels.

Let’s journey from the south to the north to quickly explore Norwegian climates:

The southern coast, towards the Skagerrak Strait (connecting Norway to Denmark), experiences fairly warm summers, but is blessed with a refreshing sea breeze. In winter, temperatures hover around 0°C, though precipitation is less frequent than on the west coast.

Oslo and Eastern Norway enjoy mild or warm summers with temperatures around 25°C, sometimes even higher. The heat is even more pronounced inland. However, the variations between seasons are quite stark. The semi-continental climate is characterised by cold winters, and rainfall is spread throughout the year, including summer!

The west coast, from the fjord region to Nordland, is influenced by the Gulf Stream. This means that Norway enjoys a milder climate than other areas situated at the same latitudes, such as Siberia and Greenland. Outside of mountainous areas, winters aren’t that cold (around 5°C in Bergen and 16°C in summer). However, the climate remains humid, and weather conditions change swiftly.

Inland, Innlandet, with the city of Trondheim, experiences a subarctic continental climate – with short, cool summers and non-existent dry seasons. The ambiance of the Far North begins to take hold!

The north of Norway fluctuates between a subpolar arctic climate on the coast, near places like Tromsø, where winter temperatures are negative but quite bearable, and the extreme cold of winter in Norwegian Lapland, in Finnmark (down to -40°C). Here, the seasons exhibit vast differences, and summers are warm.

With significant variations, the Norwegian seasons are distinctly noticeable everywhere, and the weather still varies widely depending on, for instance, whether you’re on the coastal or inland side of a fjord.


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Norway in Summer: In the Land of the Midnight Sun


If you wish to experience the unique phenomenon of never-ending days and the midnight sun, summer is the time to head to Norway! You’ll need to venture beyond the Arctic Circle and plan your trip between May and August.

With one of the world’s longest coastlines, thousands of islands and islets, and renowned archipelagos like the Lofoten Islands, Vesterålen, and Svalbard, Norway is a prime destination for a variety of water activities: swimming, surfing, fishing, exploring the fjords by kayak, and more. A country of water and mountains, Norwegian summers also present splendid opportunities for rafting enthusiasts.

Summer in Norway is the perfect season to visit the fjords and, generally speaking, to relish this natural playground. The nation cherishes its fabulous environment, to say the least. It boasts 47 national parks. At the same time, Norway has established the Right to Nature for All.

The warm months transform Norway into a hiker’s paradise, suitable for all levels. For instance, while ascending to the summit of Gaustabanen, in the south in Telemark county, isn’t for everyone, this mountain, regarded as the country’s most beautiful, can also be ascended… by an underground funicular carved into the rock.

The verdant gorges, locally called “dalen”, offer hiking and cycling trails, revealing Norway’s delightful secrets and the extraordinary beauty of the landscapes:

  • around Aurland, by the Sognefjord, the country’s longest fjord
  • Husedalen valley and its spectacular waterfalls
  • Innerdalen, in the northwest, dubbed “Norway’s most beautiful valley”, nestled between lakes and mountains
  • Junkerdalsura nature reserve, in Northern Norway

For those seeking thrill and adventure? Explore the Sautso canyon in the Alta region, the largest in Northern Europe, boasting sheer cliffs rising 400 meters… and without any marked trails. Or, book a session with a mountain guide to climb the peaks and pinnacles of the Molladaden valley in Sunnmøre. Here, take the time to head towards the coast. You’re in seal territory!

Norway in Summer ►

Travelling to Norway in Winter: Northern Lights and Wild Fauna


The Norwegian fauna is a splendid reason to visit this magnificent country. A realm of moose, a paradise for birds – notably the island of Vega with its 230 species, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, Norway is also home to the musk ox and the massive red king crab, spanning… 2 meters wide. Fancy a fishing trip in Finnmark?

Wildlife spotting can be the sole reason for a winter trip to Norway. Indeed, this season is best for sighting humpback whales and minke whales in Northern Norway – especially off the coast of Tromsø. If you opt for the icy realm of the Svalbard archipelago, blue whales await you.

And as a bonus, the Arctic region, between 60 and 75° latitude, is also the realm of the Northern Lights. The period for this majestic celestial dance extends from late September to late March. What’s more, in winter, dog sledding expeditions introduce you to the vastness of Northern Norway.

Winter in Norway, when the country dons its snowy mantle, is dubbed the Viking season. Average temperature: -6.8°C. Wrapped up snugly, fjord visits are breathtaking, the Christmas markets are magical, especially in Oslo, the capital.

The months of December, January, and February also synonymise skiing and other snow sports: race down alpine ski slopes, including the Olympic runs of Lillehammer, traverse forests on cross-country skis, or brave the peaks on touring skis. The Norwegian ski resorts exude a family-friendly atmosphere, offering a plethora of activities (sledging, snowshoeing, dog sledding…).

Norway in Winter ►

The Allures of Off-Peak Norway


In reality, every season has its charm in Norway. For a road trip or to indulge in cultural excursions in Oslo, Bergen, or Trondheim, in utter peace, spring emerges as an ideal period. From March onwards, days lengthen, warmth envelops, and nature awakens. It’s the season of Utepils, literally “outside beer”, and essentially the time for urban getaways in the cities of 10,000 steps.

Among the recommended spots in spring, we should also mention the Hardanger region and the Sognefjord area. Flowering fruit trees line the fjords, and waterfalls, swollen by melting snow, offer awe-inspiring displays. Norwegian spring is also the season for observing migratory birds. In the Varanger peninsula, in particular, Arctic birds, eagles, eiders, and Lapland longspurs delight amateur ornithologists. Ready your cameras!

For the epicureans, savouring Norway in autumn, the høst (harvest) season, is a treat. As the weather cools down, traditional dishes simmer on stoves. Between city tours, forest foraging, and sauna sessions, an autumn trip can certainly be devoted to wellness. Not to mention, in the country’s north, the Northern Lights season already commences in September-October.

No matter your desires for discovery and the activities you dream of undertaking in Norway, Rocking Trip’s guides tailor a trip just for you. Follow our personalised advice to travel to Norway in the perfect season.


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