Despite the chilly, wet weather, Norway's long, dramatic coastline offers winter sports and local festivals—as well as fewer tourists and lower prices. February is also a great time for taking a fjord cruise and catching the Northern Lights before they disappear in the spring. Read on to learn more.

Weather

Stretching 1,581 miles (2,544 km) along the Atlantic coast with a range of altitudes, weather in Norway's fjords can change frequently. That being said, warm waters of the Gulf Stream tend to create a milder, wetter climate than central Norway making winter months feel less bitter.

For instance, the coastal city of Ålesund experiences an average high temperature of 40° F (low of 34°) in February compared to inland Røros, which has an average high temperature of 25° F (low of 6°). Skiers can also expect good snow conditions in the high-altitude fjords and surrounding mountains. No matter where you go, you should always be prepared for sudden changes in weather and keep a laid-back attitude. 

Furthermore, days in February get noticeably longer than January: Bergen receives about 8-9 hours of daylight, while Tromsø above the Arctic Circle receives between 6-9 hours.

Learn more in our article on visiting Norway in February.

Crowds & Costs

With the exception of ski resorts and ice hotels, February is considered offseason in the fjords. Daylight hours are still short (though not as short as December and January), making this a slower time to travel in Norway, and flights as well hotels will be at their lowest prices. This is a great time to experience the spectacular scenery if you prefer a relaxed, uncrowded pace, as well as cozy environs after dark, and more chances of interacting with locals.

Where to Go

With nearly 1,200 fjords stretching on the Atlantic coast from north to south, there are endless vistas, charming villages, and cultural towns to explore for those who don't mind bundling up and going with the flow. Due to snow conditions in the mountains, traveling around this time of year will likely involve a mix of short flights, ferries, and/or Hurtigruten cruises. Long, scenic road trips are better suited for spring and summer months unless equipped with a 4x4 vehicle. 

Travelers will likely arrive and depart from Oslo—the fastest-growing capital in Europe with sophisticated culture and views of the Oslofjord. From here, you'll likely want to head west to fjord-side hubs like the university city of Trondheim, as well as the architecturally-rich cities of Bergen and Ålesund, both of which provide great bases for day-trips through beautiful fjords.

You can also travel to fjords north of the Arctic Circle, particularly the fishing villages in the Lofoten Islands, which are great in February for those who want to skip the summer tourist crowds. 

What to Do

February offers more daylight hours for enjoying activities and excursions in the fjords, as well as unique outdoor festivals (see below) that rely on natural light. If you have your heart set on the seeing the Aurora borealis after dark, February still offers frequent sightings, especially above the Arctic Circle, before the spring season begins.

Certain fjords like those near the Lyngen Alps and the Hardanger region offer excellent Nordic ski slopes who receive the biggest crowds in February due to some of the best snow conditions (check out the Ultimate Guide to Ski Touring in Norway).

Meanwhile, culture buffs will relish in Norway's centuries-old wooden architecture with a range of UNESCO-listed sites like Bergen’s colorful wharf called Bryggen. You could easily pair culture and sport. For instance, hit the slopes near the ski town of Sogndal, located on an inlet of the Sognefjord.

Break up your skiing with a ferry ride to visit a 13th-century wooden church, or drive to the Fjærlandsfjord and visit the Norwegian Glacier Museum. There's also the Norwegian Booktown, which consists of several second-hand bookshops, some that are combined with cafés, art galleries, and souvenir shops. 

You can also take part in snowmobiling, sleigh riding, dog and reindeer sledding, winter fishing, and even surfing and snorkeling thanks to the Gulf Stream's warm waters. Gourmands can also enjoy a range of impressive restaurants in cities like Tromsø, nicknamed 'Paris of the North'. Norway's coast also attracts cruise passengers for fjord day-trips or long leisurely sails (great for photographers), as well as young European backpackers who use Hurtigruten ships as means of transportation between towns. 

Events in February

ISFIT. This cultural festival in Trondheim (odd-numbered years only) is a student-mounted international youth gathering with participants from over 100 countries. Look for a range of concerts and events to occupy the winter leisure hours.

Kristiansund Opera Festival. This annual festival in the small town of Kristiansund features a slew of classical, opera, and ballet performances, as well as art exhibitions and other cultural events. 

Birken Skifestival. The country that invented slalom celebrates every winter (usually February) with the Birken festival in Rena. The traditional event follows the same route that a group of skiers took during Norway’s civil war back in 1200 in order to carry the young prince Haakon Haakonsøn to safety. Participants today are still required to wear a backpack that as a symbol of carrying the weight of that child.

Sami Week. Taking place during the week of Sami National Day, this February festival includes the national reindeer racing championship, where Sami lead a reindeer sprint along Tromsø's main street. There are also various cultural events throughout the week like Sami exhibitions, markets, seminars, and concerts.

Traveling to Norway in February? Check out these great itineraries. 

Oslo, Bergen & the Hardangerfjord. Check out spectacular Norwegian scenery via the nation's efficient network of ferries, trains, and buses. Start off with a day in Oslo before making your way to Eidfjord, a village right on the Hardangerfjord. Ferry to Utne (another town on the fjord) and finish the week ferrying to seaside Bergen—a UNESCO-listed city known for its seven mountains.

Norway Winter Wonderland Tour. Start in Tromsø, the 'Paris of the North' —your base for several snow activities. Then set sail on the Hurtigruten to explore the Lofoten Islands before continuing (by sea) towards the city of Trondheim, the UNESCO-listed village of Røros, and finally a night in Oslo.

More Helpful Information

Norway's Fjords in January
Norway's Fjords in March
How Many Days Should You Spend in Norway
Norway: Frequently Asked Questions