How to prepare for the Norwegian weather
You may have an idea of Norway being a cold, desolate and frozen landscape for most of the time. And yes, it is true that Norway can be cold, but throughout the year the weather in Norway varies from cold winter nights to perfect summer days.
Norway is a long country with a long coastline. A straight line along our sea border is 2650 km / 1650 miles long and our coastline exposes us to the Skagerrak, the North Sea, the Norwegian Sea and the Barents Sea. Although we have a long coastline, the weather along our coast is relatively mild during winter, while the inland areas can see plenty of snow during winter and hot dry periods during summer.
The climate in Norway varies a lot depending on where you are, and there can also be large variations within separate areas of the country. Southern Norway offers great summer days with idyllic islands, skerries and inlets, while the Fjord Norway region is by many considered to be most beautiful during springtime, when the fruit trees are blossoming. In the northern parts of Norway you can get extremely cold temperatures during winter, while the Midnight Sun is up all night long during summer.
During the winter months from December to February, the days are short and the nights are long. North of the Arctic Circle the sun does not rise for months. Skiing and winter sports are popular during this period and seeing the Northern Lights in Northern Norway is a spectacular experience.
From March to May, the days finally get longer, and the weather get warmer. The left-over snow from winter starts melting, creating gorgeous natural waterfalls all over the country. Springtime also means the trees and flowers starts to blossom, making spring in Norway a beautiful season.
In the summer months of June to August the days are long, and the nights are short. North in Norway you can experience the Midnight Sun, with the sun never setting. The weather is often quite stable over longer periods of time with pleasant temperatures in large parts of the country.
From September to November, the days get shorter, the air gets crisper and the array of colors displayed are dazzling. On sunny autumn days, crisp fresh air and a gentle breeze on your face, might be enough to rival even the prettiest summer days.
Planning for the weather
As you might understand, the weather in Norway can be quite unpredictable and varies a lot throughout the year. It is never easy planning for the weather, but we have a saying here that goes “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes”. A bit of a cheesy phrase, but you can sum it up like so: “Dress according to the weather, and plan for all sorts of weather”!
The weather can change quite rapidly from blue skies and sun, to rain and wind in a matter of minutes. A back pack with warm extra clothes is always a good idea in Norway. And always, always remember to check the weather forecast in advance!
Smart things to bring:
Due to the some times unpredictable weather, it's always smart to think "layers" when packing for a trip to Norway. Irregardless of the season it will always be smart to bring:
- Waterproof hiking boots or shoes
- Waterproof jackets and pants
- A hat or beenie
- Long underwear
- Down jacket, gloves and scarfs
- Wool socks
A great source for checking the weather in Norway is Yr, the online weather service from the Norwegian Meteorological Institute. They also have an app for iOS and Android.