The seasons in Norway are very different from each other and Norwegians vary their
way of life according to the time of year. As a result there are also distinct ‘seasons’
in the availability of facilities and services for visitors - you can’t stay in a
fjord hotel in October, or in a mountain hotel in May for example, because they are
nearly all closed. Choose the right place at the right time however and you can have
a wonderful holiday in Norway at any time of year. A brief summary of the seasons
is given below and the following pages give more details and recommendations for
where to go and what to do..
In general, the weather in Norway is rather variable and unpredictable as you might
expect in the northern part of Europe, but the climate is by no means the same everywhere.
There are wide variations to the general pattern not just according to the time of
year, but also the geographical location (especially the distance from the west coast
and the distance north), and also the height above sea level. More details are on
the following pages. For anyone interested in a detailed analysis of the weather
in Norway there is a superb web site with lots of information in English at www.met.no
. The best weather forecast site for Norway and indeed the rest of the world is at
www.yr.no . If you want to ‘see’ the weather in the western fjords, check out the
webcam at Midtnes Hotel in Balestrand at www.midtnes.no for both live pictures and
archive photos. Norwegians may not agree with the following definitions of their
seasons, but we think they will be understood by most visitors from abroad.
Fine winter day at Aurdal in Valdres. (late December)
Mid April to mid May
Easter normally defines the end of winter and soon after the snow starts to melt
rapidly and the green leaves of spring start to appear. The south and western parts
of Norway are the best areas to visit at this time. In the north, winter can return
with heavy snowfalls sometimes even well into May.
Mid May to late June
This is when the scenery in Norway is at its most spectacular with fruit trees in
blossom, snow in the mountains, and meltwater swelling the waterfalls. Low season
rates apply during this period.
Late June to early August
This is the high season in Norway when the weather is warmest and the schools are
on holiday. The most popular tourist places can be busy, but it is very easy to
find perfect peace and quiet if you wish. All the man-made tourist attractions
will be open and some public transport services will be more frequent.
Mid August to mid September
There is little change in the weather in the second half of August and this is the
ideal time if you have to travel in the UK school holiday period. Accommodation
and ferries are at mid or low season rates, mostly there will be very little traffic,
and so few people you will feel you have the whole country to yourself.
Late September to November
The temperature drops slowly through September and then you can enjoy the simple
pleasures of picking wild berries and mushrooms in the forests. In the mountains
the heather and blueberry bushes turn many wonderful colours and the trees lower
down change later. Motoring tours on the higher roads and walks in the mountains
are especially good at this time, though the snow can arrive at any time from October
December to mid April
Nearly all the mountain areas of Norway are covered in a thick blanket of snow for
most of this period, with the most reliable conditions and stable weather on the
eastern side. The southern and western parts of Norway (including the fjord area)
will have snow from time to time but it doesn’t normally last very long. Driving
in winter can be hazardous, so this is a time for staying in a cosy log cabin or
mountain hotel and enjoying some winter sports, or just looking at the idyllic Christmas
card scene outside. In the north of Norway the Northern Lights appear and it’s well
worth travelling there to experience this amazing natural phenomenon.
The sky may be grey in early Autumn but the scenery is still spectacular at Ana Sira,
near Flekkefjord on the south coast.
Summer walk in the Aurland valley
A city break in Oslo is enjoyable at any time of year.
Melting snow swells the waterfall at Steindalsfossen, near the Hardangerfjord.