The Best Time to Visit Norway

The best time to visit Norway

The best time to visit Norway is during the summer months of May to September. In this time, the country is on average a little warmer and brighter. The Kingdom of Norway is found on the Scandinavian peninsula and near the Arctic Circle. Its location and climate has made it known across the world for being bright all day in midsummer and being dark all day during the winter. Norway is on the west of an extensive coastal strip of land, and there are hundreds of fjords dotting the coast along the North Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean. The Scandinavian Mountains, also known as the Skandens, run through the country and divide the country pretty much into two – east and west. Therefore, the climate in the east is a little different to that on the west coast. But, no matter which region you decide to travel to, summer is the best time to visit Norway. You should expect some different weather conditions in the east than you would find in the west. Below you’ll find information for the differences in climates in the east and west of Norway. For the climate tables, I’ve taken a look at Oslo, which is the Norwegian capital and is in the east, and also at Norway’s second largest city Bergen which is in west. In the climate table for these two cities, you’ll see the temperatures and weather you should expect on your holiday to either of these cities. I’ll also advise you on the best time to visit Norway. Of course, the best time to visit Norway does really depend on your preferences for your holiday. For example, one of the country’s main attractions is the Northern Lights. Autumn and winter is a better time to see these than in the summer. Learn more about the best time to visit Norway below.

Overview

 

The best time to visit – sorted by region and city

 

The best time to visit
Oslo May to September
Bergen June to September
Bodø June to September
Vardø June to September
Northern Lights February to March,  October
Winter sports November to  February

Norway’s National Day: Norway celebrates its Norwegian Constitution Day on the 17th of May – in all cities and towns you’ll find colourful processions, marching bands, and more flags than you can shake a stick at. If you can make it to Norway during this day, you won’t regret it!

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Climate in Norway

There are two climate zones in Norway, which are affected by the Scanden Mountain Range. On the western side of the mountains there’s a humid climate. It’s mild and humid all year round here. East of the mountains, you’ll find a continental climate with warm summer months and cold winters. On the west coast, the North Atlantic current brings warm water from lower latitudes to the north. So, the temperatures here can be warmer on average than in the east of the country. As the climate data below shows, the rainfall in the mountains is much higher than in places to the east like Oslo. Temperatures are milder with 19°C in the warmest months of July and August, and then 3°C in January which is the coldest month. In the east, however, the daytime temperatures in January can fall to -2°C. Though in the summer, it can reach up to 22°C during July, which again is the warmest month.

Climate data for Oslo in east Norway

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. temperature in °C -2 -0,7 3,7 9,5 16,1 20 22,3 20,8 15,6 9,2 3,4 0,2
Min. temperature in °C -7,4 -7,2 -4,3 0,7 5,7 10 12,8 11,8 7,7 2,9 -1 -4,4
Sumshine hours per day 1,3 2,7 4,1 5,9 7,1 8,3 7,9 7 4,8 2,8 1,7 1,1
Water temperature in °C 3 2 3 5 9 13 16 17 15 11 7 5
Rainy days per month 10 7 9 7 8 10 11 10 11 11 10 9

Climate data for Bergen in west Norway

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. Temperatur in °C 3 3 6 9 14 16 19 19 15 11 8 5
Min. Temperatur in °C -1 -1 0 3 7 10 12 12 10 6 3 1
Sonnenstunden pro Tag 1 2 3 5 6 6 6 6 4 3 1 0
Regentage pro Monat 20 17 16 19 15 17 20 20 20 21 21 22

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Norway during the seasons – weather and activities

Summer, autumn or winter – a trip to Norway is totally worth it no matter what time of the year you go. You can find out why below. I’ll show you what weather awaits you in the different seasons, and when is the best time to do some of the most popular activities in Norway.

Summer as the best time to visit Norway

Overall, summer is the best time to visit Norway. In the summer months, the weather is warmest and the days are longer. The sun doesn’t go down from May to September. So, during these months you can experience daylight from 3am to 11pm.  If you’re north of the Arctic Circle, it stays light 24 hours round thanks to the midnight sun. Because of the constant energy from the sun, the Norwegian nature is in full splendour during summer. The climate is warm and dry, with average temperatures of 20°C in Oslo and 19°C in Bergen. The humidity is low, so you’ve got the perfect conditions to explore Norway’s impressive landscapes. The most popular months to visit Norway are July August, so you should expect expensive holidays during these months.

Insider’s tip: The summer solstice is a big deal for the Norwegians. If you can make it to the Oslo, you’ll be able to see the so-called Sankthans celebrations in full swing! I’ve been to the summer solstice celebrations in Oslo before and it was awesome – all along the fjord you’ll see countless bonfires being lit and locals out on their boats to enjoy a few drinks. Sit down by the water’s edge at Tjuvholmen, crack open a few cans and toast to the shortest night of the year! Other cities such as Bergen also have their summer solstice traditions as well.

 

Autumn and winter as the best time to visit the Northern Lights in Norway

The Northern Lights in Scandinavia have been mesmerising people since time began. They’re one of the biggest attractions for not just Norway, but also for Iceland, Finland, and other countries that have land within the Arctic Circle. Your best chances of seeing the Northern Lights are in the months of October, February and March. In more northerly areas, you might even be able to catch them in November, December or January. It’s warmer in October than in the other months, so you may not need as many layers. You could even be lucky and see them as early as September! During these months, it’s dark almost around the clock and the sky really comes to life. If you’re looking for the Northern Lights, it’s important that you go to the right places. Find out where’s the best spot in Norway to see the Northern Lights with my super informative guide. You should also allow a couple of days to see them. It can happen sometimes that there are clouds obscuring the lights meaning you can’t see them.

Hamnoy nothern lights

Winter as the best time to visit Norway

If you’re looking for an adventure like nothing else, then you should definitely consider a winter break to Norway. This is when you’ll experience what having dusk all day long is like. East of the Skanden Mountains the weather can be very cold and dry, perfect conditions for a ski holiday. Despite the constant twilight conditions, you can ski north of the Arctic Circle at any time, and ski season can sometimes extend into April.

The first snowfall after summer hits some parts of Norway in September. These are pretty much the dream conditions for active holidaymakers. The best time for a ski holiday to Norway is from November to February.

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My opinion on the best time to visit Norway

The best time to visit Norway in my opinion is the months of May to September. These months are the warmer and brightest summer time months. But, depending on what you’re looking for from a holiday to Norway, then maybe the best time to visit Norway might be a different season for you. If you want to experience the country and its diversity, the summer is the best time to do so because you’ll see so much more. The climate is much milder in the east, and it’s less humid. Looking at visiting the famed Northern Lights? Then come by in the autumn months of October (and a little bit of September). The winter months of February to March are also best suited for this natural phenomenon. For a skiing holiday, check out this Scandinavian country in the winter. North of the Arctic Circle, you can ski 24/7 until you’ve tired yourself out. I’ve linked a few of my travel magazine articles below that will give you a better idea of what’s in store for your trip to Norway.

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