The best time to visit Norway completely depends on what you want to see. While the country is beautiful year round, your experience will differ greatly depending on the region, the activities, and the month.
Norway is a long, large country and is diverse in weather and tourism hotspots. Summer in Norway brings with it long days, great weather, lively scenes, and inevitably, higher prices. November through January tends to bring very intense snowy conditions and limited sun — conditions that some travelers will find harsh. Meanwhile, spring and fall are great for lower costs on accommodation, but it’s important to double check if your preferred activities will be doable, as many of them are seasonal.
See below to learn about the best seasons to see Norway’s most popular sites!
The Best Time to Visit Norway (Depending On What You Want To See)
Visiting Norway in the Winter
A season that is generally shrouded in darkness due to Norway’s northerly geography, winter brings with it a calm, winter-wonderland paradise feeling that is hard to get in the livelier, tourism-heavy months.
Just remember that during winter, the temperature can get very cold (around -40C/-40F in some places), and if you’re headed above the Arctic Circle, know that there are months when the sun doesn’t rise at all.
Things to See in Norway During Winter
One of the most magical experiences you can have in Norway, catching a glimpse of the Northern lights is worth braving the cold for. Due to darkness being an essential component to seeing the Northern Lights, you can generally catch them any time from October through March.
Also note that not all of Norway is prime Aurora Borealis territory. For the best chance of seeing the lights, you’ll want to head at least as North as Bodo, although your chances increase the more North you go.
If you’re headed to Norway on a ski or snowmobile trip, then you’ll find late February and early March to be optimal. Not only do these times have more daylight hours than December, January, but it’s also a prime time for snowfall.
Read more: What to Pack for a Trip to Norway
Visiting Norway in the Spring
A time in Norway full of blooming flowers, melting snow, and seasonal waterfalls, April, and May, and June in Norway bring with them a sense of renewal and freshness. However, Spring in Norway is notoriously fickle, and depending on what region you visit the warmer weather might start in Late February, whereas in other places skiing will still be in full swing late April.
Wherever you’re headed in Norway, be sure to check the forecast so you know what to expect!
Things to See in Norway During Spring
Whether you’re interested in visiting cosmopolitan Oslo, picturesque Bergen, or one of the other charming cities in Norway, activities will be plentiful and accommodation open no matter what time of year you visit. Winter is excellent for visiting cities if you’re looking to check out some winter sports and save money on accommodation, while summer has great weather and a livelier atmosphere.
If you’re looking for the best of both worlds, I’d recommend visiting Norway’s cities in late spring when the crowds are slim, the streets are walkable, the prices are relatively easy on the wallet, and the flowers are in bloom.
Sami Culture & Reindeer
Norway is home to both wild and tame Reindeer, and while you can find the animals all over the country, I recommend digging into some local Sami culture while you’re at it. The Sami are an indigenous population throughout Norway, and Reindeer are part of their traditional culture.
To do this, I suggest visiting Norway in early spring when the days start getting longer and the snow is still on the ground for Reindeer sledding.
By the way, Reindeer is also a national dish, so prepare yourself for seeing it on the menu before you get too attached!
Read more: How to Travel in Norway on a Budget
Visiting Norway in the Summer
If you visit Norway during the months of June, July, and August be prepared for long days and warmer weather. The temperature often reaches 25C/77F, but it can change in an instant, so be sure to always carry a light raincoat and warm layers. During this season Norway becomes lively, with locals out and about and the major tourism season in full swing.
If you plan on visiting Norway in Summer, book your accommodation as early in advance as you can, as many popular places tend to sell out and hike up their prices.
Things to See in Norway During Summer
Every year on June 23, Norwegians gather to celebrate Sankthansaften, or Midsummer Eve. Expect to come across many parties and bonfires!
A natural phenomenon that occurs above the Arctic Circle between late May and mid-July, the midnight sun is like an extended sunset and sunrise all at once. The sky casts beautiful colors, and the days are long so that you can pack in all your activities no matter the time.
Just note that the nights can get chilly above the Arctic Circle even in the summertime. Bring cozy sweaters and long pants!
If you’re heading up to the Northern Norway archipelago of Svalbard, then going on a polar bear cruise is a must. The cruises tend to run from May through early September and are all about witnessing polar bears in their natural habitat.
While you’re in Svalbard, also consider going dog sledding, glacier trekking, snowmobiling, and dive into the local culture in the towns of Longyearbyen and Barentsburg.
Read more: The Ultimate Guide to Norway’s Fjord Region
Visiting Norway in the Fall
Beginning in September, Fall graces Norway with chillier temperatures and colorful leaves. During the Autumnal season, tourism takes a dip, meaning the sites are less crowded and prices tend to go down.
Fall is also the harvesting season in Norway, so expect a lot of fresh, local food that’s a little richer in keeping with the season.
Things to Do in Norway During Fall
See the Fjords
Some of the most dramatic sights in all of Norway, visiting at least a couple fjords is a must during your trip.
Depending on which fjords you visit (Geirangerfjord is a favorite), expect the scene to be very busy in the summertime, especially if the one you’re visiting is a cruise ship stop. To see a fjord in all of its luscious glory without the crowds, I’d recommend visiting in the early fall. You’ll still be able to go hiking and kayaking, and there won’t be any residual snow.
One of the longest and deepest fjords in Norway, Geirangerfjord is located in the southwestern part of the country, about 350 km north of Bergen. The fjord is one of the most popular in the country, no doubt due to the still water and 2000-meter tall mountains towering above.
Visit the Lofoten Islands
An extremely popular destination for fjords and local culture, the best time to visit the Lofoten Islands completely depends on what you plan to do and see.
There are cultural activities in the Lofoten Islands year round, although a lot of the main nature sites can be dangerous or hard to get to in winter, and the prices tend to skyrocket in summer. To still enjoy great weather and have opportunities for outdoor activities, fall is a great time to visit the Lofoten Islands.
Read more: The Best Photo Locations in Norway’s Lofoten Islands
Kystriksveien (Coastal Route)
The 630-kilometer coastal route of Kystriksveien is one of the most beautiful routes in the country, taking you from Steinkjer to Bodo. For extremely pretty views with just a touch of a chill in the air, drive in the fall when the leaves are changing color.
Some of the most popular stops on the route include the Coastal Museum Norveg in Rorvik, Torghatten Mountain, the Helgeland Bridge, Sognefjellet Mountain, and Svartisen Glacier.
Oslo-Bergen Railway (Bergensbanen)
Often referred to as Europe’s best train journey, the Oslo-Bergen Railway is a must for any railway lover. Connecting two of Norway’s most important cities, this 495-kilometer track will give you awesome views of fjords, fields, traditional fishing villages, and waterfalls.
The route is absolutely beautiful year round, but there’s just something about seeing all the pretty fall colors fly by the window.