March begins to warm up ever so slightly this month across the coastal fjords, where the warm waters of the Gulf Stream create a milder, and potentially rainier, climate than inland Norway. For instance, the coastal city of Ålesund experiences an average high temperature of 42° F (low of 35°) in March compared to landlocked Røros, which has an average high temperature of 32° F (low of 14°).
This is when ice and snow begin to thaw, though there can be random snowstorms, especially in the high altitude and northern fjords. In fact, the Arctic city of Tromsø receives the most snowfall during the month of March so spring is not necessarily a guarantee. In any case, be prepared for sudden fluctuations between sunshine and rain, and, of course, pack proper gear for varying moisture and terrain.
Learn more in our article on visiting Norway in March.
Crowds & Costs
Popular destinations in the fjords will experience a slight uptick in leisurely travelers especially as spring break and/or Holy Week approaches. For those who still want to linger in the winter offseason, come earlier in the month when flights, as well as hotels, are guaranteed to still be at their cheapest with fewer crowds at the top UNESCO-listed attractions.
Where to Go
Peaceful, wintry surroundings are still very much possible in the smaller towns along the western fjords, as well as further north in the dramatic Lofoten Islands where you'll have more opportunities for spotting the Northern Lights without the crowds. Due to March's still-snowy conditions, traveling in the mountains and countryside will require 4x4 rentals or super jeep transfers.
This is also a great time to visit compact urban areas like Ålesund, Bergen, Stavanger, and Trondheim, each of which offers their own cultural and architectural highlights. Bundle up and walk around the city sites, and then take day-trips to some of the most famous fjords. You can travel between these hubs via a range of transportation options including short flights, trains, ferries, and overnight cruises.
If arriving from an international destination, you’ll likely end up spending some time in the buzzing capital of Oslo surrounded by mountains and sea along a fjord aptly named the Oslofjord. Make sure to spend a day or two checking out the city's museums, trendy neighborhoods, fun festivals, and restaurants serving New Nordic cuisine.
What to Do
With sunset times starting in the late afternoon and growing later throughout the month, March lends itself to full days of skiing, sightseeing, and end-of-winter outdoor events (see below). You can hit the slopes in the mountains, ferry through UNESCO- listed fjords, or check out museums in Trondheim, Bergen, and Oslo. If the weather holds, pack layers and a picnic and hike to safe sections of Norway's best trails. You might start to notice snow and ice-capped mountains beginning to melt and an abundance of natural waterfalls, budding wildflowers, and wildlife.
If you have your heart set on the Northern Lights, head to the Arctic region to experience the tail end of the Aurora Borealis season—a great base for activities like snorkeling with whales, dog and reindeer sledding, and experiencing Sami culture. In the Lyngen Alps, it's possible to ski on the slopes and boat in the Lyngenfjord on the same day. You can also spend several nights on a Hurtigruten Cruise along Norway’s west coast. This gives you the opportunity to watch the evening skies light up onboard the ship with optional daytime excursions in ports of call. For those who prefer driving, it is possible to take a road trip in March around the quaint fishing villages of Norway’s picture-perfect Lofoten Islands.
Events in March
Sur & Bitter Festival. This annual beer festival in Sandnes focuses on sour and bitter beers and features exciting local and national breweries.
Stavanger Vinfest. Food and wine lovers can head to this city on the southwest coast for a weeklong celebration at Stavanger's best restaurants.
Finnmarksløpet. Coincided with the Borealis Alta (see below), Europe's longest dog-sled race starts and ends in Alta, venturing along the entire length of Norway's far north.
World Cod Fishing Championship. Svolvær's annual celebration of all things piscatorial takes place over the last weekend of March with hundreds of participants.
Borealis Alta. Check out this immersive Northern Lights experience with five days of concerts and culture, designed to dispel winter's gloom.
Narvik Winter Festival. Starting in mid-March, this festival along the Ofotfjord is dedicated to winters sports events, carnivals, concerts, and opera performances. The annual event is dedicated to those who built the railway across northern Norway and Sweden.
Traveling to Norway in March? Check out these great itineraries.
Oslo to Bergen Fjord Adventure. This five-day jaunt covers a great deal of Nordic ground, visiting the country's two largest cities and its longest and deepest fjord. Start in Oslo before taking a scenic train and ferry to the fjord-side village of Balestrand. Continue north to Fjærland before getting on another boat—this time to Bergen, a historic wharf city and home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Northern Lights Trip in Norway and Lapland. Pack your warmest winter clothes and head to the far north to experience the beauty and mystery of the Northern Lights and the snowy communities around them. Spend your days frolicking in the snow and your nights hunting the aurora borealis from towns and fjords.