When is the best time to visit Norway?
It may sound cliche and even a bit unbelievable, but yes, Norway is an incredible example of a year-round destination. Of course not all months are best for everyone (i.e. Floridians in snowy January), but rest assured that every time of year here has a perfect activity or attraction to go along with it. For Norway trip planning ideas, check out our tours and itineraries.
Summer Season (June– August)
Given the milder temperatures, it is no surprise that the vast majority of visitors flock to this Nordic haven during the summer months. In the southern regions such as Oslo and the Bergen/fjord area, temperatures typically linger in the low 70s during the day, dropping to the mid-50s at night, while daylight lasts for 20+ hours per day. Once frozen fjords and snowy roads are also now fully accessible allowing visitors to travel the country by car, bus, train, plane or boat.
However, travelers should be aware that accommodations throughout the country book up months ahead of time so advance planning is recommended. For those looking to avoid the crowds, this is the ideal time to head inland or towards smaller coastal towns that are not accessible by large cruise ships teeming with eager tourists. Summer also happens to be the perfect time to venture out to Svalbard if you have ever dreamed of spotting polar bears in the wild.
Winter Season (Dec – Feb)
If you don’t mind a little snow and ice, Norway is a veritable winter wonderland. Surprisingly, the weather doesn’t get as cold as you would expect with temperatures usually not falling far below freezing. And as the Norwegians say, there is no bad weather, just bad clothing.
The biggest draw this time of year is the Northern region which offers an all but guaranteed chance to see the mystical Northern Lights. Lapland is also famous for its outdoor excursions which range from dog sledding to skiing (the national sport), snowmobiling, and even reindeer safaris. Don’t expect a leisurely self-drive trip though. With the snowy conditions, the easiest means of getting around this time of year involves short flights and 4x4 or super jeep transfers. Here's more info on the Lapland region in winter.
Spring Season (Mar – May)
In Norway, spring begins rather rapidly and can be anything but predictable. As the temperature begins to rise, the snow and ice-capped mountains begin to melt and with this comes an abundance of natural waterfalls and budding wildflowers. In fact, at this time of year, the blooming countryside resembles a scene from the Sound of Music more than anything else.
Be warned if you are planning to time your trip with this natural occurrences though as they have been known to start as early as February or as late as May. It is also smart to be prepared for sudden weather changes as spring can mean sunny mornings and rainy afternoons, all in a single day. That being said, this time of year is arguably the most picturesque and you aren’t like to run into as many fellow travelers—it's a great time to visit uber-popular sites like Trolltunga and Pulpit Rock without the crowds.
Fall Season (Sept – Nov)
Although autumn in Norway tends to be colder and wetter than summer, there are some distinct advantages to traveling during this season. As any photographer knows, the fall color palette is hardly one to miss with its stunning golds and reds.
For those who can’t handle the summer sun, fall also offers a respite from the summer with crisp, cool air and (in early months) a chance to snack on the delicious local berries. And although the end of fall can see some wild and crazy weather, it also provides a great chance to check out the local cafes and restaurants where most Norwegians will be waiting out the storms alongside you. And for things to do in Northern Norway during this season, check out this article.
Things to Consider
When planning a trip to Norway, most people have their hearts set on seeing either the fjords or the Northern Lights, or both. While the fjords can be seen year round, it is important to keep in mind that summer months, while busy, tend to have the most options in terms of activities as well as accommodations as some hotels and local operators have seasonal closings. For those looking to see the Northern Lights, your time frame is a bit more limited as the aurora is only visible from October through March.
Regardless of when you visit though, Norway is an adventure lover’s paradise. Always be prepared for changes in weather and temperature and tried to keep a laid-back attitude as the locals do and you will without a doubt have an amazing Nordic journey beyond all your expectations.