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The Best Time To Visit Norway (Month-by-month breakdown)

by Lisa Stentvedt
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Norway is like a dream destination for everyone. Call me biased, but I’m pretty sure anyone who visits Norway is going to fall in love with it. To visitors, Norway means majestic fjords, historic towns, beautiful country-sides, steep glaciers and jagged peaks. To me, it’s all of that, and home. I’m often asked by my readers about the best time to visit Norway, which is always a hard question to answer; because I consider Norway to be a year-round destination (and so do most people you ask). However, it is possible to figure out the best time to go to Norway, depending on what you are after!

Each season in Norway has its unique attributes. There’s a different ‘best time of the year to visit Norway’ for indulging in different activities like skiing, hiking, fishing, cruising the fjords, chasing Northern lights; for witnessing the beauty of nature like spring blossom, autumn fall, glittering snow etc. So, firstly you have to be clear what exactly you want to do and see.

To help with this, perhaps have a look at my Norway travel guide, to give you an idea of where you want to go (and what you need to know before you go).

Best time to visit Norway, blue skies in Hardanger
Want to know the best time to visit Norway? Keep reading!

The Best Time to Visit Norway: Month by month

Due to its high altitude, large seasonal variations in daylight are found in the country. And, this factor also adds up when you have to decide what’s the best month to visit Norway. Hence, the best time could be different for different people. In this article, I’ll split up the best time to visit Norway into different months with details on the activities to do in those times and the kind of weather to expect.  That way, you can read the whole post and decide for yourself what is the best month to visit Norway, based on which of these sections most align with what you hope to do on your trip!

January and February

Best months for: Skiing, spotting Northern lights, snowmobiling, snowboarding, sleigh riding, dog and reindeer sledding, ice- fishing, experiencing Sami culture

Tourist influx: Lowest

Weather information:

  • Rainfall: 35 to 50 mm
  • Average temperature: -6 to 0 degree Celsius
  • Season: White winter (Coldest)
  • Daylight: 6 to 8 hours in Oslo; Sun does not rise in Tromso in January but you could enjoy 5 to 6 hours of daylight in February

January and February are the coldest months in Norway. The tourist influx in the country during these months is pretty low owing to the harsh and chilly winters. However, this is probably the best time to visit Norway for travellers who are interested in snow dependent activities, a relaxed ski retreat, or in seeing the Northern lights.

If you wish to make the most of the magical winters of Norway, head north towards the Arctic Circle, specifically the Northern lights belt, where the entire landscape is covered with thick snow, the fjords are frosted and the northern lights dance in colourful formations across the sky.

Best places to visit: This is the best time to visit Norway to explore Oslo, Bergen, Ålesund, Trondheim, Tromsø, Svalbard, and the Lofoten Islands (head this way for 23 reasons to visit Lofoten in the winter months)

Events or Festivals: Northern lights festival, Tromsø International film festival, Ice music festival), Polar jazz festival, Sami week

Pricing: Air fare and hotel tariffs are at their lowest in January and February, so travelling during these months will definitely make for a cheaper trip.

Best time to go to norway, winter in Lofoten blue skies snow
January and February is the best time to go to Norway for winter activities.

Visiting Norway in March and April

Best months to visit Norway for: Hiking, cruising the western fjords (the Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord), kayaking, skiing (northern Norway)

Tourist influx: Low

Weather:

  • Rainfall: 40 to 45 mm
  • Average temperature: -1 to 10 degree Celsius
  • Season: Mixed (Late-winter and early-spring)
  • Daylight: 8 to 13 hours in Oslo, 10 to 14 hours in Tromso

March and April are some of the best months to visit Norway for travellers who want to make the most of both the winter and spring seasons. The winter snow slowly starts to melt by mid to late March and most bodies of water are filled with fresh water. Numerous waterfalls are boosted by melting waters and summer activities slowly open up allowing tourists to cruise the fjords. The waterfalls during these months (and moving into the next) are quite spectacular.

March is the end of Northern lights season as Norwegians welcome an Easter holiday break and head to the mountains to ski. The Jotunheimen National Park hiking season begins in April and you should not miss out on hitting the beautiful trails before the peak season crowd comes in.

Head this way for the best hikes in Norway.

Best places to visit: Bergen, Trondheim, Røros, Ålesund and the Lofoten Islands (to spot the Northern lights).

Events or Festivals: Holmenkollen ski festival, Winter chamber music festival (Røros), Narvik winter festival, Birkebeiner race, Holy week.

Pricing: Airfare and hotel tariffs are still cheap as the tourist influx has just started picking up.

best time to travel to Norway, sunset in Lofoten

Best time to visit Norway for all activities: May and June

Best for: Road-trips, hiking, cruising fjords, trekking, island hopping, kayaking, mountain biking, fishing

Tourist influx: High

Weather:

  • Rainfall: 50 to 65 mm
  • Average temperature: 6 to 18 degree Celsius
  • Season: Spring
  • Daylight: 16-17 hours in Oslo, sun hardly sets in Tromso

As the daylight time increases and spring season sets in, carpets of wildflowers add colour to the Norwegian landscape. Hence, these months are considered to be the best time to visit Norway to hike the Norwegian peaks. If you head towards the extreme north, you’ll be able to enjoy the ‘Midnight sun’ during these months.  May and June are also the best months to visit Norway to cruise the fjords, such as the Hardangerfjord.

As the weather starts getting pleasant (or as pleasant as it can get this far north), you can indulge in several outdoor activities like hiking and trekking where you can see flowers ,greenery and stunning views as far as the eye can see. You could also plan a road trip on the very popular Trollstigen Road near Ålesund, as most of these popular tourist routes open around May (several of them are closed in the winter due to heavy snowfall).

Best places to visit: Some of the best places to visit in Norway are Oslo, Ålesund, Bergen, Tromsø, the Lofoten Islands, Svalbard (to spot polar bears and the midnight sun) and Flåm.

Events or Festivals: Constitution day (the 17th of May), Bergen international festival, Tromsø’s midnight sun marathon, North cape march, Færder sailing race, Norwegian wood festival

Pricing: Airfare and hotel tariffs are high as the prime shoulder season sets in. Advance booking is advisable.

best time of year to visit norway, hardanger rib boat blue sky

Most popular months to visit Norway: July and August

Best for: Road trips in Norway, hiking, cruising fjords, trekking, island hopping, kayaking, mountain biking, fishing, surfing, snorkelling, photography

Tourist influx: Highest

Weather:

  • Rainfall: 80 to 90 mm
  • Average temperature: 10 to 20 degree Celsius
  • Season: Summer
  • Daylight: 16-19 hours in Oslo, sun hardly sets in Tromso

If you are someone who is not a fan of cold weather and snow, then July and August months would be the best time of the year to visit Norway for you. It is as warm as it gets, and the days are long and bright. There is a range of outdoor activities that you can indulge in considering the endless daylight hours and the warmer temperatures. You can explore the fjords, spot the prominent Midnight sun, hike to Pulpit rock, pick berries, bike, trail, and trek. Try to squeeze in the Sami culture celebration in Norway during these months if you are visiting the north.

This time of the year is perfect for road-trip planning across Norway, and especially a drive through Trollstigen Road (all though it is busy, so make sure to plan for plenty of time and drive within your limits). A trip to the Lofoten islands is ideal to experience water activities like kayaking, boating, fishing, surfing and snorkelling, in addition to some incredible hikes. July and August are also the best time to visit Norway to spot the migratory birds flocking the northernmost part of the country.

Top tip: hit the road and get off-the-beaten path to avoid crowds. The western fjords in particular are incredibly busy these months.

Best places to visit: This is the best time of the year to visit Norway in its entirety, however, the Lofoten islands, Stavanger, Vesterålen, Finnmark, Svalbard, Trondheim are major picks.

Events or Festivals: Gladmat (Scandinavia’s largest food festival), Riddu Riddu festival, Arctic sea kayak race, Bergen beer festival, Oslo jazz festival

Pricing: Airfare and hotel tariffs are expensive throughout Norway. Advance booking is recommended.

best season to visit norway, leaves by nordfjord sunny day

The best time to visit Norway in my opinion: September and October

Best for: Island hopping, cruising fjords, hiking, trekking, fishing, mountain biking, photography

Tourist influx: Fairly low

Weather:

  • Rainfall: 80 to 90 mm
  • Average temperature: 5 to 15 degree Celsius
  • Season: Autumn/ Fall
  • Daylight: 11 to 14 hours in Oslo as well as Tromso

In the autumn season (September and October), the locals often go one weekend trips before winter sets in, whereas the tourist crowd slowly recedes. September is my favourite month of the year, and also my advice for the best time to visit Norway. The coastal areas remain warmer than the inland. September and October are the best months to visit Norway for those looking to stay away from the tourist crowd, save some money and yet enjoy the perks of the beauty that the country has to offer. The colours of the summer are still there, opening hours and activities are still running the same schedules as in June-August, and there are (slightly) less tourists than the high season.

As autumn approaches in the end of September, the beautiful colours start to show up and the landscape gets covered with hues of orange, red and yellow, ideal for photography. The mountain hikes are the prettiest during these months with trees shedding colourful leaves and vistas are covered in sparkling frost towards the end of October. The outdoor activities slowly start closing up by October, though the fjords can still be explored. By October end, you could again plan to voyage towards the northern parts of Norway to chase the Aurora borealis.

Read next: how to take photos of the Northern Lights with just a GoPro

Best places to visit: This is the best time to visit Norway to explore Oslo, Bergen, Kirkenes, Lillehammer, Bergen, Flåm, Ålesund, Trondheim, Tromsø, Lofoten islands

Events or Festivals: Bergen food festival, Nordic light photo festival, Insomnia festival, Lillehammer jazz festival, BIFF (Bergen International Film Festival)

Pricing: Airfare and hotel tariffs are affordable owing to the scaling down of tourist season.

best time of year to go to norway, view from ulriken, bergen

Visiting Norway in November and December

Best months for: Chasing Northern lights, skiing, snowboarding, experiencing Sami culture, spotting whales and orcas, kick-sledding, dog sledding, reindeer safaris, rock art, Christmas/holidays

Tourist influx: Low; slightly higher during Christmas and New year

Weather:

  • Rainfall: 55 to 70 mm
  • Average temperature: -5 to 5 degree Celsius
  • Season: Dark Winter (Cold)
  • Daylight: 6-8 hours in Oslo, sun barely rises in Tromso

While the tourist season almost declines, festivities sets in for the Christmas and New year. Despite the chilling cold, the celebrations bring in warmth and cheer. Decorations sparkle against the dark winter, and visiting Norway in December is the perfect time of year if you want to see how Norwegians celebrate Christmas. The Northern lights season starts again and it is the best time to visit Norway for tourists seeking to find snow and chase the Aurora borealis without the crowds of January and February.

Read more: Hilarious Norwegian Christmas Traditions (and how we celebrate Christmas in Norway)

The lakes and some fjords slowly start to freeze. The days are dark and snowy, and daylight hours tend to become few (with some areas only experiencing 1-2 hours of daylight). You could spend time doing indoor activities like visiting museums in Oslo or hopping restaurants for mouth-watering local Norwegian delicacies. Read and bookmark my packing list for winter in Norway before you go to ensure you have everything you need!  

Best places to visit in Winter: Svalbard, Kirkenes, Tromsø, Lofoten islands, Oslo, Trondheim, Rorøs, the fjords

Events or Festivals: Rakfisk festival, Rorøs Christmas market, Nobel peace prize ceremony, Christmas holidays, the Bergen gingerbread town (the largest in Europe, I believe)

Pricing: Airfare and hotel tariffs are low but tend to spike during the Christmas and New year time.

the best time to visit norway, stegastein viewing platform snow mountain tops

The Best Time To Visit Norway

Like I’ve said before, Norway is magnificent all year round. But if you ask me, my (personal) favourite months to visit Norway are February/March (for snow, ski and Northern lights) and September (for all the benefits of visiting in the high season, but with slightly less crowds and the addition of autumn colours). Hopefully, this guide will make it easier for you to plan your trip to Norway. What would you say is the best time to visit Norway?

Are you planning a trip to Norway? Then you’ll want to read my Norway travel guide, which covers everything from where to go and stay to how much to tip when visiting.

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