Summer can feel like a distant memory by the time October rolls around with crisp, cool air, and shorter daylight hours. In the south, the temperatures usually fall between 40-50 degrees Fahrenheit, while the northern reaches of the country can be much colder. Depending on where you travel, you may experience changing seasons from fall to winter, or vice versa, in just a few hours—don’t forget to pack warm layers and outer gear, and comfortable walking shoes with good grip for all sorts of terrain and potentially snow.
Crowds & Costs
Travelers looking for good deals and fewer crowds should consider October: this is likely the quietest and cheapest month to visit Norway. Summer is over and some outdoor attractions may be closed, but the ski season has yet to start (apart from the Lyngen Alps—see below). Business travelers in the cities tend to outnumber visitors coming for leisure, making this a nice time to check out museums and must-try restaurants.
Where to Go
There are some distinct advantages to traveling during the off-season. You don't have to plan as far in advance, so you can explore Norway by foot, train, rental car, coastal steamer, and/or fjord cruise with more freedom to choose your own adventure as you go along. Most travelers will either start or end their trip with a few days in the capital of Oslo—the fastest-growing capital in Europe. A classic next stop from here is taking the train from Oslo to Bergen along the famous Flåm Railway.
While in Bergen, make sure to check out some of the famous fjords. There are over a thousand to choose from along Norway's coast with Geirangerfjord, Naeroyfjord, Aurlandsfjord, Lysefjord, Sognefjord, and Hardangerfjord standing out as front-runners in terms of scenery. For more on Norway's fjords, see this guide.
If you're anxious to ski, head north to the Lyngen Alps, where you can ski in any season. This mountainous area near Tromsø, 'Gateway to the Arctic' offers 24-hour access to snow year-round, so you can freely ski with only the Northern Lights to guide you. Read more about skiing in Norway here.
What to Do
As any photographer knows, the fall color palette is hardly one to miss. This is a great time to explore the hiking trails all over central and southern Norway (keep these day hikes in mind). For trails near the capital, you'll find marked paths along the Oslofjord called kyststi (coast paths) that are easy to navigate. The kyststi are mainly used by Norwegians taking their everyday stroll along the fjord and it's a great way to meet the locals—remember to say hi to other hikers you pass!
While in Oslo, you can also check out Grunerløkka, Oslo's ultimate hipster neighborhood, with cool bars, cafes (here are some of the best), and street art. After a day of sightseeing, take part in an autumn version of "utepils"—Norwegians pastime of enjoying cold beers outside on a sunny day. Finish the day with some New Nordic cuisine at one of the city's best restaurants.
Events in October
Lillehammer Jazz Festival. Held over four days in October, the jazz fest coincides nicely with autumn foliage in Lillehammer's ski village.
Insomnia Festival. This festival in Tromso, Norway's northernmost city, features electronic music artists over a long weekend.
Traveling to Norway in October? Check out these great itineraries.
Stavanger & Lysefjord Adventure. Explore two famous mountain formations in Norway, Pulpit Rock, and the Kjerag Boulder. Take in breathtaking views, climb to heart-pounding heights, and speedboat through the stunning Lysefjord all in just four days. Spend your evenings shopping and dining in vibrant Stavanger.
Ultimate Guided Trollheimen Trek. Surrounded by dramatic mountains, lush forests, and pristine lakes, Trollheimen ('Home of the Trolls') is one of Scandinavia's most beloved trekking destinations. This five-day adventure takes you through central Norway's spectacular views from well-maintained trails while staying in comfortable lodges each night.