March begins to warm up slightly with temperatures ranging between 30-40 degrees Fahrenheit in Oslo, central Norway, and to the north. With this rise in temperature, the snow and ice begin to thaw, though there can be random snowstorms especially in the mountains (great news for skiers). In fact, the northern city of Tromsø has its most snowfall on the ground during the month of March.
If you're visiting Norway's coastal region, the warm waters of the Gulf Stream create a milder, and potentially rainier, climate than other parts of the world at the same latitude. Because of this, temperatures on the west tend to be less cold during the winter months. In any case, be prepared for sudden fluctuations between sunshine and rain, and try to keep a laid-back attitude.
Crowds & Costs
The month bridging winter and spring in Norway is still considered offseason for much of Norway, making this a slower time to travel in Norway. Flights as well hotels will still be at their cheapest and there are far fewer crowds. Towards the end of the month, there might be an uptick in tourism due to spring break, though the most notable crowds this time of year would likely come during Easter week in April.
Where to Go
Most travelers visiting Norway in March will either start or end their trip with a few days in Oslo—the fastest-growing capital in Europe with sophisticated culture, hip neighborhoods, and New Nordic cuisine. Other cultural cities worth considering, especially in this mid-season, include Trondheim in central Norway, and the natural, architectural gems of Bergen and Ålesund, which offer easy access to stunning fjords.
March still offers winter sports and festivals in the mountains, particularly in the popular region between Oslo and Bergen, as well as Lillehammer, north of Oslo. For more peaceful wintry surroundings consider visiting smaller towns along the western fjords, or further north in the dramatic Lofoten Islands where you'll have more opportunities for spotting the Northern Lights without the crowds.
Here are the top 10 regions to visit in Norway. Due to March's still-snowy conditions, traveling in the mountains and countryside might require 4x4 rentals or super jeep transfers.
What to Do
March's improving daylight hours lends itself to more sightseeing in Norway's cities, longer days in the mountains, and end-of-winter outdoor events (see below). If the weather holds, you can hike some of Norway's best trails and hidden gems in the western fjords where the climate is milder—just make sure to check with the experts on weather conditions and bring warm layers. In fact, you might 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 dog and reindeer sledding, snorkeling with whales, horseback riding, and experiencing Sami culture.
Events in March
Holmenkollen Ski Festival. Held at the ski jump of the same name outside of Oslo in early March, this is one of Europe's largest and most popular ski festivals with World Cup Nordic skiing, international ski-jumping competitions, and Norway's largest cross-country race for amateurs. This is well-attended by locals.
Stavanger Vinfest. Food and wine lovers can head to this city on the southwest coast for a weeklong celebration at Stavanger's best restaurants.
Winter Chamber Music Festival in Røros. This classical music festival features over 30 artists and takes place over four days. Coinciding is an art exhibition promoting local art and young artists, as well as international art.
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 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.
Birkebeiner Race (Rena to Lillehammer). With thousands of participants each year, this historic international ski nordic race crosses the mountains between Rena and Lillehammer, site of the 1994 Olympics. It's a 33-mile (53 km) cross-country trek.
Traveling to Norway in March? Check out these great itineraries.
Norway's Arctic Experience in Alta. Located in the northernmost county of Norway (Finnmark), the city of Alta lies in an area with a relatively mild climate. With this winter-themed adventure, you'll meet huskies and reindeer, see UNESCO-protected rock carvings, experience Sami culture, and enjoy snow activities. Easily reachable by plane, the area offers forests, mountain plateaus, and coastal landscapes bathed in distinctive blue light—perfect for star gazing and searching for the Northern Lights.
Western Norway's Hidden Gems Road Trip. History buffs and nature lovers can check off two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, peaceful villages, and dramatic vistas on this self-drive tour through Western Norway. Start off with a local tour of Bergen, a former Hanseatic League trading post with colorful wooden houses on the old wharf. From here, drive north and explore Norway's two biggest fjords: Nordfjord and Sognefjord. Finish the adventure with a ferry ride across the Lusterfjord to a UNESCO-listed stave church built in the 12th century. History aside, this trip offers plenty of amazing scenery, a world-class glacier museum, and even guided hikes -- all while staying in some of Norway's best family-run hotels.
Ultimate Winter Adventure in Norway's Arctic. This epic trip through Norway's wintry north is all about the travel modes and activities unique to the Arctic. Begin in Oslo and take a train to the UNESCO-listed village of Røros. Dogsled in the mountains, stroll through Trondheim, and stay overnight in an indigenous Sami tent near Tromsø. Cap it off with a coastal steamer ride to the Lofoten Islands, where you'll snorkel with whales and see the Northern Lights by horseback.