Norway has a temperate climate and experiences all four distinct seasons. It is in the northern portion of Europe, which is on the same latitude as Alaska and Siberia; but is a bit milder due to its fortunate geographic position with the warm currents of the Gulf Stream. In the summer months, July and most of August, average temperatures reach a pleasant 81°F during the day with sea water around 64°F for a chilly swim. In the winter temperatures can easily drop to -40°F in the central mountainous areas although the coastal regions stay a bit warmer and more pleasant. Realistically the average weather you can expect in a Norwegian winter is about 29°F during the day.
The summer in Norway is short, only lasting about six weeks, with a winter that extends six months of the year. During this time, Norway is blanketed by snow, making it a majestically beautiful place, albeit cold and barren. In the coastal areas snow does not stick much although strong winds can feel chilly, and clouds engulf the skies as they rise up over the Fjordland Mountains dumping rain and creating limited visibility. The fall is a particularly beautiful time to experience Norway, since the foliage changes to a mystical golden brown, painting the landscape with a myriad of colors.
Spring is also relatively short in Norway, about six weeks from the beginning of May until mid-June, when summer properly arrives. It is at this time where the scenery is most spectacular, leaving the snow and ice to melt into a pristine green wilderness with flowering buds that brighten the landscape with a cheerful display of color. The mountain top snow ensures that all the rivers and streams are topped up with crystalline water from the gushing waterfalls, and the land comes alive as the wildlife come to feed. The weather can be variable in spring, which as a general rule of thumb applies anywhere in Norway, any season. You should always dress in layers and pack at least light wet weather gear just in case.
Best Time to Visit Norway
The best time to visit Norway is the spring, which is May and June. During this time the weather is most pleasant, and the landscape highly scenic. Temperatures are better on the west coast, which is where the main fjords are situated. By summer the temperatures are warmer in the southern areas of the country. You can expect plenty of sunshine, although as the sun rises higher in the sky for the Norwegian summer this also brings a cloud cover. If you intend to go on a fjord cruise, the best views are in the spring, although prices will be more than any other time of the year.
If you wish to experience the midnight sun, you will need to go during the summer and head up to the Arctic Circle. The summer solstice (the longest day of the year) falls on June 21 so it would be best to travel a week before or after that. Generally, visiting Norway in the middle of winter should be avoided. The country is certainly beautiful as the crisp white snow dominates the landscape, but travel conditions can be tough as the weather puts a strain on the infrastructure. There are fun activities that can only be enjoyed in winter though like fabulous skiing and adventures in the Arctic Circle.