There are easy questions, and there are difficult questions.
“When is the best time to visit Norway” falls distinctly on the difficult side.
Lets take a quick overview of the different seasons and weather that you can predict throughout the year. That way you can see which most appeals to you and what you need to pack to best explore the beautiful country.
For more information, check out an in depth guide of the best activities for each season.
Most folks’ vacation instinct in the winter months is to head south to tropical climates. But Norway has so much to offer, some of it’s best sights are in the winter.
Even though Norway is on the same latitude as Alaska, the climate is not what you’d expect. Warm ocean currents keep the air fairly temperate, especially in coastal areas. Mean temperatures along the coast mostly stay above freezing! Inland, it does get much colder, with temperatures dropping to below -40 on occasion.
But on those glorious days when the sky is still dark and the temperature humane, you can be treated to the best Norway has to offer – The Northern Lights, the freshest of fish and “hygge” – a Norwegian word that roughly translates to “staying cozy”, or try your hand dog sledding or staying in one of the ice and snow hotels in the Arctic. Hygge is a way of life in Norwegian winters.
Norway is long and lean – latitudes run from 57 to 81 degrees North – and that means spring arrives earlier in the south than it does in the north. It’s also got quite a varying topography and traveling from one part of the Scandinavian Mountains to another can take you from spring to winter and back to spring again all in one day!
Temperature differences in Northern and Southern Norway can vary wildly in spring, but there are so many other reasons to go during this time of year – Sami festivals abound, wildflowers are bursting, winter snow is melting, and waterfalls in the fjords are spectacular. It is one of the best times to beat the crowds hiking at Pulpit Rock, Trolltunga, or Kjerg. Plus, Norway’s National Day is the 17th of May – get your fill of hot dogs and ice cream!
If you’ve ever had a vacation where you’ve wished for more hours in a day, you’re in luck! Norway – land of the midnight sun – invites you to golf, hike, bike, swim and explore, at any hour. Northern Norway boasts 76 days when the sun just doesn’t go down!
Summer is the most popular season to visit, and temperatures hover in the 20s (that’s Celsius – low 70s to mid-80s Fahrenheit) in the south. It’s the perfect time to sample the beauty of this country. Hike Mt. Reinebringin in the Lofoten Islands, Kayak in Kabelvag, go see The Devil’s Teeth in Senja, or go biking in Lodingen. So many things to see and do. So many hours to fill.
Norwegian autumn is an exquisite palette of color! Tourism slows down at this point, and while things aren’t as crowded, they may not be as accessible, either, as bus, ferry and train connections slow. But crab season in the north might be worth it!
Days get shorter, temperatures drop and can range from the mid 60s to mid-40s. But dress for it, because Norway has an autumnal glory like no other. Forage for berries and chanterelles, and enjoy them with the harvest from summer along with lamb and mutton. That will give you, even more, energy to head back to the mountains for the spectacle of fall colors at one of the many cabins you can stay in.
Or just stay inside and start making things “koselig” again in preparation for winter.
When’s the best time to visit Norway? It’s easy – any time.
Featured photo: Sarah Spaulding, Flickr.com