Best Time to Visit Norway

In this article

Although the Nordic country draws the highest number of visitors in summer, Norway is a fabulous tourist destination all year round. From dazzling northern lights to iconic fjords and Oslo’s stunning architecture to its music festivals, Norway has a lot to offer visitors all year round.
The best time to visit this Scandinavian country depends on your purpose for visiting. Most activities are seasonal and vary across different regions. Winter is the best time to visit if you’re coming for the northern lights. But if you prefer warmer weather and more daylight.

Best Time of Year to Visit Norway: Quick Answer

September to October is the best time of the year to visit Norway. It’s the beginning of fall, the weather is still slightly warm, there are fewer visitors, and there’s sufficient daylight to explore the country. The entire landscape is covered in fall's yellow, red, and orange colors. September is also the start of the northern lights activity. You can go chasing the lights while avoiding the icy winter weather.
The spring months are another good time to go to Norway. The winter snow is beginning to thaw, and there are fewer tourists, so visiting is cheaper. By late spring, you can go on a cruise on any of Norway’s fjords.

Best Time to Visit Norway Weather-Wise

The best time to visit Norway for warm weather is in summer, June through August. The weather is the warmest in July, reaching an average high temperature of 23oC. Remember that parts of Norway lie in the Arctic circle, and the weather can change anytime. Carrying some warm clothing and a light raincoat is necessary. If you prefer mild temperatures, autumn is the best time to visit.

Best Time to Visit Norway for Northern Lights

The Northern lights (known scientifically as aurora borealis) are colorful displays of lights in the night sky in the earth's polar regions. It occurs when the earth's magnetic field collides with solar particles. Its season in northern Norway starts in September and runs throughout the winter months, but February is the best time for northern lights chasing. It marks the end of the polar night season.
Organized tours begin to operate fully in November. If you want to go on a self-drive tour and chase the lights on your own, then the best time to visit is in September and October. The roads are snow free and easier to navigate. You’ll need to hire the services of a tour guide if you want to see the lights in the winter months. The roads are often covered in snow and very dark in winter and can be dangerous to navigate for someone not used to them. Northern Norway cities of Tromso, Barden, and the Lofoten islands are the best locations to see the lights.

Best Time to Visit Norway Fjords

Norway is home to the most stunning fjords in Europe and the world. One of its most popular fords, Geirangerfjord, is listed as one of UNESCO’s world heritage sites. The tranquil water hedged between towering mountains and waterfalls is a beauty to behold. The best time to visit to enjoy the fjords is in summer. You can join a ship cruise or kayak on any of the fjords.
Spring is also a great time to visit the fjords. The waterfalls thunder the most in spring when all the winter ice is melting. Most of these waterfalls are frozen in winter.

Best Time to Visit Norway for Hiking

Pulpit Rock and Trolltunga are the most popular tourist hiking trails in Norway. You can hike in Norway from May to October, but autumn is the best time for hiking. The trails are dry, the weather is good, there are fewer crowds, and you’ll enjoy a quieter hike.
Summer is also great for hiking, but the trails are usually crowded. Weather in spring (especially early spring) is unreliable, the passes are often still wet with melting snow, and the path is less accessible than in autumn.

When Is the Best Time to Visit Norway for Dog Sledding?

Dog sledding is a popular winter activity in Norway. And if you’re taking a winter trip to Norway, you should try it out. The best time to Dog sled in Norway is in Mid-winter (December - January). Late winter (February - March) offers more daylight hours and lots of snow. You can still go dog sledding in April, but the snow will not be as abundant and will begin to melt by late April.
The best places to go dog sledding in Norway are in the northern cities of Tromso, Finnmark, and Svalbard. Many local tour operators combine the experience with polar light sightings.

Best Time of the Year to Visit Norway: Seasonal Overview

Tourist activities in Norway vary across the different seasons. Norway experiences its high tourist seasons in summer and the Christmas holiday season, but summer draws the highest crowds. The weather is warm and lovely, workers are on vacation, and the streets are alive with activity. The country is typically expensive, but prices are higher in summer, and accommodation prices are steep. It’s good practice to book well in advance.
April to May and September to November are shoulder seasons in Norway. Tourist crowds are smaller, and the weather is quite pleasant. You’ll enjoy a quiet visit to Oslo’s attractions, such as the Royal Palace, Akershus Fortress, and Aker Brygge. It’s also a great time to visit the Norwegian fjords and go hiking in the surrounding mountains. Plus, prices are lower than in the high season.
Norway’s low season is mid-winter (January to February). January sees the lowest number of visitors because most regions' weather is freezing and dark, and everywhere is covered in snow. Daylight starts returning to most places in February, but the snow cover remains thick enough for winter activities. Tourists in pursuit of northern lights sometimes crowd Norway north in February.

Visiting Norway in the Winter

Norway is a snowy wonderland in the winter season, but snow is more in the north than in the south. Winter starts in late November and runs through early April. The average daily temperature is as low as -7oC in winter, and most roads and attractions are closed. You’ll need several warm layers of clothing if you plan to visit Norway in winter.
Most areas of Norway experience polar nights during winter. The days are short, with few hours of sunlight in the southern regions and no sunrise in some of the northernmost areas (those that fall within the arctic circle), especially in December. Daylight gradually starts returning in mid-January. Winter brings the northern lights season, made visible by the darkness.
If you want to engage in winter sports like skiing, dog sledding, snowmobiling, and reindeer sledding, visit in February when there’s more daylight for these winter activities. Humpback whales, killer whales, and orcas can be sighted in Norway throughout winter, but January is the best time for whale watching.
If you’re a ski lover, visit Oslo in February to ski and see the oldest ski museum in the world, the Holmenkollen Ski Museum. The Northern Lights Festival in Tromso every January and the Rorosmartnan held every February are Norway’s most popular winter festivals.

Visiting Norway in the Spring

The snow cover melts in spring, revealing luxuriant and blooming trees and flowers. There is still minimal snow cover in April, but the whiteness is entirely gone by May. The frozen waterfalls thaw and, recharged by the melting snow, are at their most majestic in spring. The weather starts warming in spring, with an average high temperature of about 5oC.
Spring is excellent for visiting the fjords for a cruise and watching the majestic waterfalls at the height of their power. You could go on a kayak or boat tour on the Geirangerfjord to see the Seven Sisters and Bridal Veil waterfalls. Or you could take a boat cruise from the waterfront city of Trondheim to Bergen to take in the Norwegian coast.
The flowers are in full bloom by May, and the roads and the attractions closed for winter begin to reopen. The entire country celebrates Constitution Day every 17th May. Bergen International Festival also starts in late May.

Visiting Norway in the Summer

Summer brings Norway’s warmest weather and the most crowded season. The weather is warm and pleasant in summer, with an average temperature of 23oC on mainland Norway in July, while temperatures in the far north remain under 15oC. Daylights are longer, and there are no sunsets in regions above the arctic circle. All the roads and mountain hikes are open by June, but the crowds do not arrive until July.
From going on a road trip to fishing or sailing on the fjords, plenty of fun activities fill your summer. And the best part is that all these can be done even at midnight.
You’ll experience the midnight sun in summer, a phenomenon where the sun is up far into the night (past midnight), offering abundant daylight hours. The midnight sun is better experienced in the northernmost cities, especially Svalbard, where the sun does not set from mid-April through August. Summer is the best time to see polar bears. So, don’t miss the opportunity to go on a polar bear cruise while in Svalbard.
Norway’s famous summer festivals are not to miss. The Midnight Sun Marathon, held every year in Tromso in June, the Norwegian International Film Festival and Riddu Riddu Festival are Norway’s popular summer festivals. Norwegians celebrate Sankthansaften or Midsummer Eve every 23rd June with bonfires and parties.

Visiting Norway in the Fall

The gorgeous colors of fall and the fewer crowds make this season a wonderful time to go to Norway. Flowers and trees at sea level are all shades of yellow, orange, and red, creating a beautiful setting for sightseeing and pictures. You can still enjoy all the summer activities in early September without the crowds, but fall is in full bloom by October, and the weather is colder. The average temperature falls to 6oC by October.
Autumn presents the last opportunity to go hiking and engage in other outdoor activities before winter sets in. Fall is also the start of the northern lights season and the whale watching season in Norway as daylight hours gets shorter. It’s an ideal time to experience Europe’s best train journey. Hop on the Oslo-Bergen railway and enjoy the view of the fall colors, fields, fjords, waterfalls, and villages while visiting Norway’s most popular cities.
Norway’s major fall festivals are the Bergen International Film Festival which holds in September, and Dark Season Blues which holds in Svalbard in October. Fall is also Norway’s harvest season so expect lots of fresh local foods.

What Type of Visa do You Need to Visit Norway?

Norway is part of the Schengen zone along with 26 other European countries. European citizens (members of the Schengen zone) could travel to Norway with their passports only, but that will change by January 2023. Some non-European visitors to Norway need a Schengen visa, while European citizens will need an ETIAS to enter the country from 2023.
ETIAS is an Electronic Travel Information and Authorisation System designed for travelers with visa-free entry into ETIAS countries. Whereas a Schengen visa allows access into the 26 Schengen countries and is often limited to the specific country of application, ETIAS grants admission into all European countries.
An ETIAS is valid for three years or at your passport's expiration. Applying for an ETIAS is easy. All you need do is log in to the ETIAS portal and complete the application form online. It takes less than 15 minutes to fill out, and you can get a response within an hour.

So, When is the Perfect Time for a Trip to Norway?

Norway is a delightful place to visit anytime. Its towering mountains, scenic fjords, majestic waterfalls, picturesque fall, and colorful northern lights draw many visitors. The best time to visit depends on which of its delights you want to experience since they’re seasonal.
Summer is a great time to visit for nice weather, but it's the high season - the most expensive and crowded time to visit. If you want to catch the northern lights, you should plan for a winter trip. And if you're going to explore the fjords, mountains, and Norwegian coasts quietly while avoiding summer crowds, plan your visit for spring or fall.
Written by: Fikayomi Abisola
Abisola is an ETIAS Travel and Immigration writer with several years of writing experience in the industry. Abisola has a unique enthusiasm for travels, tours, and tourism and loves to educate travellers about the criteria involved in international travelling.

FAQs

  • What is the most beautiful time of year to visit the fjords?

    Spring and summer are the most beautiful times to visit the fjords.
  • When can I see the Northern Lights in Norway?

    Northern Lights season is September through April. You can see the northern lights if you visit in any of these months. Your chances of seeing the lights increase the farther north you go.
  • How many days are enough to visit Norway?

    The length of your visit depends on your reason for visiting Norway. Ideally, one week should be enough for a short trip to Norway.
  • Does Norway have a rainy season?

    Yes, it has. The wet season in Norway is mid-April through August, but there can be rainstorms at any time of the year outside this period, especially in autumn.

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