With the nicest weather of the year, it's no surprise that July lures flocks of visitors to its fjords, especially in the south. Temperatures typically linger in the late 60s Fahrenheit during the day, dropping to the 50s at night, while daylight lasts for 16-18 hours per day. You'll also get refreshing breezes, which feel great especially after working up a sweat on one of Norway's great hikes—practically a national pastime.
Above the Arctic Circle, the sun never sets during the first half of July so there are long days of spectacular scenery and outdoor activities; despite the longer daylight hours, temperatures still tend to be a bit lower than the southern coast. No matter where you travel in the fjords, bring layers and a waterproof jacket due to intermittent fog, wind, and rain.
For more on July weather in Norway, see this article.
Crowds & Costs
This is prime-time high season in the fjords and throughout Norway. Most sites and attractions will be open with extended hours, but you can generally expect more crowds and higher prices. Travelers should be aware that accommodations throughout the country book up months ahead of time by international and local travelers, so advance planning is often required.
If you want to skip the mainstream hotels, which book up fast, consider these unique lodging options instead. This is the ideal time to head towards smaller coastal towns inaccessible by the large cruise ships that teem with eager tourists, as well as archipelagos above the Arctic Circle.
Where to Go
With more than 1,100 fjords stretching along Norway’s Atlantic coast between Oslo and Kirkenes, along with optimal travel weather, the options for experiencing the fjords in July are endless.
Stavanger in the south makes a great base in July thanks to its historic center featuring some of the best-preserved wooden buildings in Norway, many dating back to the 18th century. During summer months, the waterfront comes alive with outdoor concerts and festivals like a huge food festival (more below). You can also catch a boat headed deep into the Lysefjord towards Flørli, best known for its tough climb to the top with 4,444 steps, or take a day-trip to Pulpit's Rock, one of Norway's most popular hikes.
Much further north, you can head to the Lofoten Islands—a popular summer destination and offer dramatic seaside mountains dotted with red wooden houses called rorbuer. These islands are easy to hop between via bus, car, or bicycle. For fewer crowds, you can head to nearby Vesterålen for access to hiking trails, farmland, and peaceful beaches.
If you have a week, opt for a 'Norway in a Nutshell' tour, which connects travelers to Nærøyfjord and Aurlandsfjord (beautiful branches of Sognefjord) via a memorable ride along the historic Flåm railway. Once in Bergen, explore its cobblestoned UNESCO World Heritage site, along with seafood restaurants and student nightlife for which the city is famous. From Bergen, take two local ferries to the tiny, charming village of Kalvåg where old sheds and boathouses pay reminder of the fishing industry that made the town a commercial center in the 19th century.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
What to Do
Outdoor activities this time of year are rampant in the fjords like fishing, kayaking, hiking and biking under long days of sunlight. In the coastal cities, outdoor restaurants and UNESCO-listed attractions will be in full swing, and a slew of music festivals help celebrate the summer season. For a more relaxed trip, you can explore quiet fjord-side villages, small islands, and inlets, with boating and swimming.
Adventurous types can also utilize Norway's stunning parks like Hardangervidda National Park, near Odda—a small village situated on an arm of the beautiful Hardangerfjord. From here you can visit the Folgefonna Glacier and nearby mountain village Røldal. Here you can take a guided tour of an exquisite wooden stave church built between 1200 and 1250.
This is also a great time to accomplish popular fjord hikes like Pulpit Rock and Troll's Tongue—here's more on Norway's best day hikes. Other summer activities include visiting remote islands where you can not only sample the day's catch but also dive into pristine environments, home to diverse aquatic wildlife and numerous seabirds.
Photographers will also relish in the ferry options through the fjords as well as multi-day cruise options via the Hurtigruten, a popular mode of transportation for travelers who want to visit a range of coastal cities along the scenic western coast.
Events in July
Gladmat. Each July, the city of Stavanger hosts Scandinavia's largest food festival. Come join foodies from all around the world in discovering quality ingredients and dishes in Norway’s beautiful southwest coast.
Molde Jazz Fest. Norway offers many great jazz events, but this event north of Ålesund each year in mid-July is the most prestigious. With 100,000 spectators, world-class performers and a reputation for consistently high-quality music, it's easily one of Norway's most popular festivals.
Riddu Riđđu Festival. The festival, which takes place every July along the Lyngenfjord, started in 1991 with a group of youngsters barbecuing and discussing their identity and their Sami culture. Today, it is recognized by the Norwegian government as one of 12 main festivals in the country. You'll get to know the great indigenous culture of the Samis, combined with the latest and most trending artists from the most northern parts of Norway as you enjoy the festivities under the midnight sun.
Arctic Sea Kayak Race. The annual Arctic Sea Kayak Race is held over six days in July. This is one of the biggest challenges in competitive sea kayaking. There's a less-intensive kayak touring or beginner's course.
St. Olav Festival. This festival in Trondheim offers a medieval market, and classical, folk, pop, and jazz concerts.
Norsk Fjellfestival. In early July, the town of Åndalsnes along the Romsdalsfjorden gathers mountaineers and rock-climbers for various outdoor events by day and folk music by night.
Traveling to Norway in July? Check out these great itineraries.
Oslo, Bergen & Southern Norway. This popular journey loops around Southern Norway, visiting key summertime attractions. For the ultimate mix of scenery, outdoor adventure, and history, you can't do much better than this relaxing 10-day itinerary.
Western Norway's Rivers, Islands & Fjords. Discover magnificent areas of Western Norway in an exciting 10-day summertime itinerary. Your adventure starts in the capital city of Oslo, followed by a train ride along the emerald-green River Rauma, to the breathtaking city of Ålesund, known for its Art Nouveau architecture. Continue the journey to coastal islands and narrow fjords towards Bergen, before ending your trip back in Oslo.