Glaciers just into the sky beneath the midnight sun, the Northern Lights dance across winter skies and polar bears fish in icy waters. Norway is spectacular year-round.
But the best time to visit Norway depends on whether you want to spend time in the mountains or slopes, in a winter wonderland or in ripe orchards.
Some times of year are better than others, depending on what you're travelling for. While it can be bitterly cold, a little planning ahead can ensure your visit is unforgettable.
Climate and seasons in Norway
Winter in Norway runs from December to February and brings with it very cold temperatures and a lack of daylight. Between November and March, much of the northern part of the country is covered in snow which makes for great skiing, sledging and snowmobiling.
Between March and May spring arrives bringing with it wild flowers and longer days. The melting snow also means brilliant green hills and fuller waterfalls. Despite the rising temperatures, it can still be very cold and windy in parts.
The weather warms up even more over summer from June to August. Thanks to the midnight sun, you can expect daylight for as long as 18 hours a day, ideal for spending time outdoors. It can be a rainy time of year in some parts of the country, so make sure you’re prepared.
As autumn settles in around September the trees turn gorgeous oranges and reds – a photographer’s dream. Inland the weather is mild, with more chance of rain closer to the coast. This time of year brings with it orchards full of ripe fruit, and an abundance of fresh crab, so dining is decadent.
Best time to...
See the northern lights
While the northern lights (aurora borealis) season runs from September to April, you best chance to see them is during the darkest months, December and January, when daylight hours are short. However, if you want to make the most of your visit and be able to spend time during the day adventuring outdoors as well, then try to visit in February and March, to get a little of both.
Get active outdoors
Speaking of spending time outdoors, there is a lot to do in Norway if you’re an active traveller. When the islands are white with snow you can explore the other-worldly landscapes of the Svalbard archipelago on snowmobiles, discovering glaciers and blue ice. Summertime (June to August) on the island makes for wonderful sailing.
While Tromsø has become a popular spot for viewing the Northern Lights (mainly between November and February), it’s also particularly special in summer time. Take a trip on a river motor boat, walk in the boreal forests, go glacier hiking, and if you’re brave, take a dip in the arctic waters.
Discover the wildlife
When it comes to discovering Norway’s fantastic wildlife, your best bet is to visit the Svalbard Islands between February and October. The summer months make it possible to spend more time sailing, and your chances of spotting birds, walruses, whales and polar bears are much higher. Narrowing it down a little more, the midnight sun from May to August, makes for a lot more wildlife activity. As Autumn arrives between September and October, you’ll be treated to beautiful sunsets. Over December Norway is particularly lovely, as snow flurries glitter in the Christmas lights.
Take to the water
One of the most exciting ways to explore the country is by boat. Head out to the Svalbard glaciers on board an expedition boat. Or board a sailing or fishing boat and discover the stunning landscapes of the Lofoten Islands. The sea water is never iced over, so you can go sailing year-round. Discover quaint fishing villages, arctic white sand beaches and majestic mountains. Between March and April, the mountains and islands are blanketed in snow and the moody dark blue of the ocean makes for a wild and beautiful contrast. February to June are perfect for heading out in wooden boats to fish for cod.