Norway at a Glance: Best Time to Visit
Recommended time to visit: This depends on why you're visiting Norway. From June - August temperatures are milder and the sun hardly sets. If you'd like to avoid the peak summer crowds, then the shoulder seasons of May - June and September - October see mild temperatures and are probably the best time to visit. For a wintery adventure, October - April see colder, darker, snowier days.
Less popular time to visit: Unless you're skiing, the cold winter months of November - April see many of the main tourist attractions close down.
Best time to see the Northern Lights: The colder months of September - March are the best time to spot the Northern Lights in Norway. Make sure you get to a higher altitude for the best view.
Best time to visit Svalbard: May - September is the best time to visit the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard. Temperatures are milder and the days are bright. It's also the best time of year to see polar bears, as ships can navigate the receding ice floes to get closer to the bears.
What's summer like in Norway?
Summer is the most popular time to travel in Norway with mostly warm temperatures between June and August though many places experience their highest rainfall at this time of year so cloudy skies are likely. Norway's latitude means that daylight hours during the summer can be as long as 18 hours - perfect for making the most of the great outdoors.
What's autumn like in Norway?
The forests and countryside turns beautiful shades of red and orange when autumn arrives in September with wild fruit at their most ripe and crab at its prime. Not only does this make autumn a fantastic time for keen photographers to visit Norway but foodies will also find plenty of appeal at this time of year. The weather is generally mild and clear though coastal destinations still experience a fair bit of rain.
What's winter like in Norway?
Temperatures drop considerably in November, which heralds the start of Norway's winter. Snow blankets much of the north between mid-November and March though it rarely settles along the southern coastal towns and cities. In some places, snow can last until May while other places receive no snow at all - it really does vary across the length of the country. At this time of year Norway transforms into a winter wonderland with excellent skiing, dog-sledging, ice fishing and snowmobiling opportunities. Available services is reduced over this time, so extra planning is required if visiting during this period.
What's spring like in Norway?
The rising temperatures of spring usually grace Norway around April when the snow begins to melt, flowers begin to bloom and the days grow longer. It's a beautiful time to visit with verdant landscapes, swollen waterfalls and flowering orchards. It can still be very cold in parts of the country and at this time of year it's particularly windy.
Climate | Oslo
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Climate | Tromso
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Best time to see the Northern Lights in Norway
There's a chance of seeing the Northern Lights anytime between late-September and mid-April when daylight hours are minimal and the dark night's sky provides the perfect backdrop for the celestial display. Dry weather is best when it comes to seeing the Northern Lights and activity tends to be highest in the months of October and March.
Festivals and Events
Norway is a land of wonders, from its natural phenomena of the Northern lights, midnight sun and fjords to its cultural exports including rakfisk (rotten fish) and black metal. Making the most of its varying climate, Norway celebrates everything it has to offer in spectacular style, whether the country is blanketed in snow or bathed in endless sunshine.
What is the Holmenkollen Ski Festival?
Embracing its snowy nature, every year Oslo hosts a ski festival at the Holmenkollen arena. The festival consists of a number of exciting events and competitions, including cross-country and jumping. Not only will festival-goers have the chance to marvel at the talent that is being displayed throughout the weekend but they also have the opportunity to camp out in the forest. There are also a range of activities for young children.
What is Riddu Riddu?
This festival is a promotion of Sami culture and encourages Sami people from all over Scandinavia to come together and embrace their roots. The event provides a platform not just for Samis to exchange ideas and intermingle, but also for non-indigenous people to learn about Sami culture. Riddu Riddu encompasses a number of workshops as well as art exhibitions, music performances and film screenings. There is also a youth program and children’s festival.
When is the Midnight Sun Marathon?
The Midnight Sun Marathon takes place in Tromso in June, roughly 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle, where the sun doesn’t set at all for a stretch of about 9 weeks throughout the summer months. This race is certainly an experience and has, by far, one of the most scenic routes in the world. The night before the race, there is a pasta party where runners can load up on carbs before the event. Kick off is usually around 20:30 and there is also a half marathon and 10km race for those who don’t want to run quite so far.
Magic of the Fjords
Fjords, Charms & Traditions
Check out our handy Travel Guide resources to help plan your trip to Norway:
Best Places to Visit - our top five destinations in Norway
Tourist Visas - all you need to know about visas for Norway
Top Travel Tips - useful info on money, health, food and more