October brings crisp, cool air, more moisture, and lessening daylight hours for exploring the more than 1,100 fjords along Norway's coast. In the southern fjords, temperatures hover in the mid-50s Fahrenheit (lows in the 40s), while above the Arctic Circle, it's a bit cooler with earlier sunsets.
Depending on where you travel, you may experience changing seasons from fall to winter, or vice versa, in just a few hours—make sure to bring warm layers and waterproof gear, and comfortable walking shoes with good grip for all sorts of terrain; potentially even snow.
For more on October weather in Norway, see this article.
Crowds & Costs
Good news for those checking out the fjords in October, this is one of the quietest, prettiest, and cheapest months to visit. Summer is officially over and some outdoor attractions may be closed for the season, yet the ski slopes have yet to open (apart from the Lyngen Alps—see below).
Business travelers and conferences in coastal cities tend to outnumber visitors coming for leisure, making this a nice time to check out popular museums, iconic national parks and hikes, and hard-to-snag restaurants.
Where to Go
One of the best reasons to travel in the shoulder season is that you be more flexible with arrangements. October allows you to explore any number of fjords by foot, train, rental car, coastal steamer, and/or fjord cruise with more freedom to choose your own adventure as you go along.
For instance, you can visit a branch of the Sognefjord called Aurlandsfjord, regarded as one of the most beautiful fjords in Norway. Here, you'll also have access to charming towns like Flåm, Aurland, and Undredal before continuing to Bergen by boat where you can spend time wandering around its UNESCO-listed waterfront.
Other options include Hardangerfjord, nicknamed 'Queen of the Fjords'). At 110 miles long, you'll have access to Trolltunga and the famous Troll's Tongue hike, Folgefonna National Park, Steinsdalsfossen, and quaint towns like Jondal and Sundal. Here is more information on Norway's fjords and national parks.
This is also a great month to take advantage of road trips above the Arctic Circle where destinations are becoming more popular during summer months. The Lofoten Islands offers tiny fishing villages, plunging cliffs, white beaches, and vistas spreading out to the ocean are around every corner. Stop in places like Svolvær where you can order the local delicacy called stockfish—cod, dried by cold air and wind on wooden racks—which also makes a great stop for viewing the northern lights at night. Here are more road trip ideas.
What to Do
Those who prioritize leaf-peeping, this is the month for hiking in the fjords if you come prepared for sudden changes in weather. The Lysefjord, for instance, is easy to get to from Oslo and offers two famous landmarks: Pulpit Rock and Mount Kjerag. Pulpit Rock is the flat-edged cliff popular on Instagram feeds, while Mount Kjerag has a boulder wedged between two sides of its cliffs. If that's not enough, the world's longest staircase is here, with 4,444 steps, so it's an ideal fjord for working up a sweat.
If you want to get out in the water, check out the UNESCO-listed fjord called Næroyfjord with cliffsides rising nearly 6,000 feet in the air, which can be witnessed by boat or kayak. Another UNESCO-listed fjord that should be experienced by boat is the Geirangerfjord where you'll get up close to famous waterfalls like the Seven Sisters.
Days get darker, especially above the Arctic Circle so now is a good time to head north for possible early sightings of the Northern Lights. Photographers can sightsee by day and then take part in early evening 'kos'—the Norwegian version of the Danish 'hygge'. You can also stay active with surfing in the Gulf Stream's warm waters or some early snow skiing in the Lyngen Alps, with spectacular views of the Lyngenfjord.
Events in October
Bergen International Film Festival. Said to be the most important film fest in Norway, Bergen offers a range of subtitled movies from around the globe in cinemas across the city from mid- to late October.
Tromsø Insomnia Festival. This festival in Norway's northernmost city features electronic music artists over a long weekend each October.
UKA Trondheim. Taking place during odd-numbered years, Norway's largest cultural festival offers weeks of theatre performances and concerts and is run by hundreds of volunteers, thanks to the city's high ratio of university students.
Traveling to Norway in October? Check out these great itineraries.
Autumn Road Trip in Norway's Arctic. This relaxed weeklong road trip explores an area of Norway's Arctic rarely visited by tourists. Start in fjord-side Alta and make your way towards the northernmost tip of the continent for hiking trails, colorful villages, and breathtaking views.
Norway Fjord Road Trip. This 10-day itinerary combines some of Norway's best fjords, mountains, villages, and cities. You'll kick off in Oslo with a few days to explore the up-and-coming capital before taking one of the most scenic trains in the world to Flåm. Then, ferry across the Sognefjord and begin a road trip with several days of UNESCO-listed sites, hiking trails, and boat rides to get to Bergen.