Some people prefer the long days and short nights of summer, some like the light winters, and others enjoy autumn. The month to visit depends on your plans for getting around in Norway.
Winter is a fantastic time to go hiking, particularly in Jotunheimen – Norway’s largest national park with glaciers and snow-clad peaks that rise high above the tree line.
Summer is perfect for exploring fjords and islands, as well as taking a boat trip in your own private cabin or a smaller ferry, both of which are great ways to take it all in from the water. In the summer, you can also hire a bike and explore on two wheels, along cycle paths set up on old railway lines.
Iceland is not the only Nordic country with long summer nights and hours of sunlight – Norway has almost as much sunshine in summer, which means it’s a good time to go for walks, cycle rides, or sailing trips. If you want to do some water sports in Norway, such as kayaking, rafting, or canoeing, summer is also the best time to go.
During spring and autumn, which have lovely short days and long nights, there are opportunities for hiking in all seasons, including snowshoeing. Nature comes to life again after the long cold winter – this is an excellent time of year to take flower walks. And in Norway’s lively cities you can enjoy the many spring and autumn festivities.
Norway is a snow-loving country: during winter, its main attraction for skiers and snowboarders is the varied terrain, including slopes set at unusual angles in the mountains and long, gentle runs in ski centers like Lillehammer. In winter, you can also go cross-country skiing with views of snow-covered trees and mountains or discover the feeling of floating on a frozen fjord.
Norway’s best time of year for visitors.
If you want to avoid crowds, spring (March to May) or autumn (September to November) is the best time to visit. Temperatures are, on average higher in summer than in winter.
Most tourists come to Norway in summer, but that doesn’t mean winter is off the map. In fact, winter can be just as beautiful – and it’s even more peaceful, especially on the coast and islands where there are fewer visitors.
Why is winter the best season to visit?
- Winter – December, January, and February:
Snowfall and cold weather with temperatures below freezing overnight but above zero during the day. Tourist attractions are often closed for winter.
Very little daylight at the shortest winter days in December and January – from 5 hours of light on December 21 to 8 hours of daylight in late January.
Winter tourism is not as developed as summer tourism, but there are still skiing resorts and activities. Depending on the destination, some smaller tourist attractions may be closed.
Fees have been introduced for mountain lodges and wilderness cabins, both in the mountains and along the coast.
The winter season is suitable for cross-country skiing with snow cover from November to March.
Long ski tracks are found in most protected areas, such as national parks or forests.
Some trails are covered all year round by artificial snowmaking.
The winter season is also suitable for skiing, one of Norway’s most popular tourist activities. The central skiing regions are the mountains and peaks in southern Norway, such as Østlandet (the eastern part of Norway), Jotunheimen, and Rondane.
Things to remember:
Almost everything will be closed during winter, except for a few tourist attractions in places like the Geiranger Fjord area or Jotunheimen in south-central Norway. You will find accommodations with reduced prices and outdoor gear/equipment at lower prices than in summer.
Winter sports season runs from December 1 to April 15 or later. This is also the most expensive time for accommodation and touristic services.
Why summer is the best season to visit.
- Summer – June, July, and August:
Long hours of daylight with 15 hours of daylight on June 21 and over 18 hours of daylight in July.
High temperatures in southern Norway average 19-20 degrees Celsius (66-69 degrees Fahrenheit) from mid-May to early September. In the northern parts, summer is a bit colder, with temperatures averaging about 14 degrees Celsius (57 degrees Fahrenheit) throughout July.
Summer tourism is well developed with various facilities and activities.
There are many summer festivals in towns and cities, especially on the weekends.
In June, July, and August, Norway is green – fields of grass and flowers will grow both alongside roads and in forests.
After a long winter with snow cover lasting from November to March or April, flowers are coming up everywhere.
Plant and animal life is more visible in the countryside during summertime:
- Birdsong fills the air.
- Trees have leaves again.
- River life awakens.
- Herds of reindeer roam the mountains.
In Norway’s cities, you can join in festivities marking essential days and dates, such as Constitution Day on May 17 or the Midsummer festival in late June.
The summer season is also suitable for fishing, boating, swimming, and diving on the coast. The fjords are popular places to go sailing and enjoy the spectacular scenery. The hiking season is open along most of Norway’s coastline and mountains from July through September.
Summer is also the best time for festivals, outdoor events, and sporting competitions.
Things to remember
Traveling in Norway is not expensive by European standards, but prices are rising. If you decide last minute, you may find that everything except the hotel room is booked up. Keep your travel plans flexible and visit popular tourist attractions outside the high season if possible. The
Why spring is the best season to visit.
- Spring – March, April, and May:
The weather is often sunny with long hours of daylight – in mid-May, there are still over 16½ hours a day.
High temperatures average between 11 and 13 degrees Celsius (52 to 56 degrees Fahrenheit) between early May and mid-June. In the north, spring is also a good season for outdoor activities because there is little snow and it’s not very cold.
In the mountains, you can see the white patches of winter slowly receding as green fields of grass appear – maybe with a layer of snow on top; in late May, many mountaintops will still be covered by accumulated snow.
Spring flowers come up everywhere in May and June, including in the mountains.
The hiking season is open along most of Norway’s coastline and from mid-April to June and in many mountain areas.
In late April, you can start fishing for salmon in rivers and lakes.
Things to remember:
Avoid Easter holidays or other school holidays when everything may be booked up. In the mountains, snow melts quickly, but it’s still cold.
Why autumn is the best season to visit.
- Autumn – September, October, and first half of November:
The long hours of daylight continue in most places (more than 16½ hours a day), at least until mid-October. The high temperatures average between 12 degrees Celsius (54 degrees Fahrenheit) and 14 degrees Celsius (57 degrees Fahrenheit) in most of the country.
Winter is over, and plants turn red, yellow, and brown as they prepare for winter – but it’s not cold yet.
In September, many mountain areas will still be covered by patches of snow that will last until early November or even late December, depending on elevation and exposure. Going hiking or fishing in autumn can be a good idea as the season for certain activities may not yet be open.
There is often budding of new leaves from mid-September to early November in long winters and cold springs. This creates beautiful colors in the forest and means that plants are still quite vulnerable to frost and get damaged if it gets cold.
Things to remember:
Autumn is a good time for outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, and boating. You need to be flexible with your plans because the sun sets around 16½ hours a day until mid-October. In late autumn (mid-November) in northern Norway, it can stay light all night long.
You may get better deals on outdoor gear, clothes, and equipment than in summer.
The cost of traveling there.
The cost of traveling in Norway depends on how long you stay. Many hotels have special offers such as weekend packages that include both lodging and meals.
In the high season, expect to pay more for meals than if you eat at local restaurants during off-peak times; in other words, there are no real lunch bargains – but it’s not.
What is the best time of year to visit the Norwegian fjords?
The high season for fjord excursions is from June to August. In the low season, trips may be canceled due to a lack of passengers or because it’s too cold on deck. Book ahead in summer because there are few last-minute deals.
In a nutshell:
Buy your ticket at least one day ahead if you can, and at least a week ahead if you’re planning to visit from far away.
There may be extra excursion seats on late-booked trips; check with the tourist office nearest your departure point for information.
- High season in Norway: June 19 – August 31
- Low season in Norway: April 1 – May 15, September 16 – November 15
- Summer in Norway: June 20 – August 31 (warmest month is July)
- Winter in Norway: December 1 – March 31 (coldest month is January)
Best time to visit Oslo and the surrounding areas.
Summer from May to September. You won’t have any trouble finding accommodations, but be sure to book well in advance (at least 3 months).
The weather is mild with little rain. You’ll also find plenty of festivals and events, such as the Oslo Jazz Festival in June and July. Consider visiting during May, when the city hosts several exciting film festivals, including the International Film Festival.
Summer tends to be pretty busy and active in Oslo, so leave the city to enjoy peace and quiet at one of its many stately manors or charming country cottages.
There is no winter season in Oslo – the climate is too mild for that. However, there are some special events held during cold spells.
Winter from November to April. Temperatures reach a maximum of minus 6 degrees Celsius (21 degrees Fahrenheit) on average, but it can drop lower, and snowfalls often from December through February.
Winter is also the time of year when many Norwegians choose to spend their vacation at ski resorts or in cabin-style lodges – known as hytter – in the mountains.
What is the warmest month in Norway?
The month with the highest temperatures in July.
Daytime temperatures average 14 degrees Celsius (57 degrees Fahrenheit), while nighttime temperatures dip to an average of 3 degrees Celsius (37-38 degrees Fahrenheit).
You can expect it to rain in summer, but not much – on average, just 22 millimeters per month. The wind blows mainly from the west and northwest, but it blows from southeast to southwest in the country’s southeastern part.
The warmest season is also autumn, especially September.
Daytime temperatures hover around 13 degrees Celsius (55 degrees Fahrenheit), while nighttime temperatures drop to an average of 4-6 degrees Celsius (39-43 degrees Fahrenheit).
Autumn rainfall averages 51 millimeters per month.
What is the coldest month in Norway?
The coldest month, December, has an average temperature of -1 degree Celsius (30 degrees Fahrenheit) and -7 degrees Celsius (19 degrees Fahrenheit) at night.
Snowfall is common from December through February – August and September are the only two months that you won’t see it. (You also won’t see much sea ice in the fjords from June through August.)
The wind blows mainly from the west and northwest, but it blows from southeast to southwest in the country’s southeastern part.
What is the best month for winter sports?
From December through February, Norway’s mountains are best for winter sports.
The coldest month is January, and the best time to visit a ski resort or one of the country’s many cabin-style lodges (called hytter ) in the mountains is in February.
What are Norway’s best months for whale watching?
The best time to watch whales – specifically humpbacks, minke whales, and white-beaked dolphins – is in August, when the sea around southern Norway gets warmer.
This is when these animals usually return from their winter migration to the Arctic.