How cold does it get in Norway? Norway is renowned for its majestic snow-covered cliffs, breathtaking waterfalls, vast glaciers, and picturesque fjords.
The country experiences a milder climate compared to regions at similar latitudes such as Alaska, Greenland, and Siberia, thanks to the temperate waters of the Gulf Stream.
Even though the country is in the northern region, the climate differs significantly across different areas, which clearly answers, “Why is Norway so cold?”
But, exactly how cold does it get in this part of the world?
Let’s find out now.
Norway gets a lot of snow and can get extremely cold, especially in some cities where temperatures can go as low as -40C.
Where Does It Snow in Norway?
Okay, so does it snow in Norway? Oh, you bet!
Norway experiences heavy snowfall in several areas. The coastal regions have temperatures that can drop as low as 32F, while the inland areas experience even colder temperatures.
Due to its northern location and mountainous terrain, cities throughout the country experience abundant snowfall and offer access to well-known ski resorts.
Oslo is one of the top cities for skiing, known for its iconic Holmenkollen ski jump. It is conveniently located near popular ski resorts such as Trysil and Hafjell.
The 1994 Winter Olympics were held in Lillehammer, which is also conveniently located near the slopes at Kvitfjell and Hunderfossen.
In the northern region, Tromsø is a great destination for seeing snow while enjoying the mesmerizing northern lights. You can explore resorts such as Narvikfjellet and Sollifjellet for an unforgettable experience.
Similarly, Bergen serves as a convenient starting point for exploring Voss, Myrkdalen, and other nearby resorts, all of which are easily accessible from the city center.
|City||Avg. Annual Snowfall||Snowfall Duration|
|Bergen||86 inches||Throughout the year|
|Kristiansand||51.2 inches||Winter months|
|Oslo||Heavy snowfall||About 80 days per year|
|Tromso||42.5 inches||Heaviest in January|
|Trondheim||10 inches||Snowfall in February|
Fact: Hemsedal, Geilo, and Oppdal are smaller towns primarily functioning as ski resort destinations, offering plenty of slopes and amenities for skiing enthusiasts.
How Much Does It Snow in Norway?
Norway has a diverse range of landscapes and climates, which means that it also experiences a wide variety of snowfall patterns.
Snow typically starts falling in October and can continue all the way through April, with the highest amount usually occurring during the winter season. The areas further inland and to the north tend to get the most snow, while the coastal areas, which are affected by the Gulf Stream, have less severe winters.
- In Oslo, the capital city, they typically get around 135 cm of snowfall each year, which usually happens over the course of 21 days.
- In the northern region of Finnmark, the coldest month is January, with an average temperature of -5°C.
- Tromsø, which is also located in the northern region, gets the highest amount of snow in January, with an average of 16.2 inches.
- Trondheim, located in the Trøndelag region, receives the highest amount of snowfall in February, with an average of 10.1 inches.
Basically, coastal areas receive moderate snowfall because of the ocean’s impact. However, it is in Norway’s mountainous and northern regions where the snowfall is most intense.
In Norway, heavy snowfall is more common from December to April, with an annual average of 74 inches.
|Month||Temperature Range (F)||Snow Accumulation|
|December||Up to 26.6°F||In the northern parts, there is no sunrise. It’s really cold outside, with temperatures dropping below freezing.|
|January||20°F to 30°F||About 8.5 days of snow. The best month to see Northern Lights. Less daylight in Oslo and North Tromso.|
|February||Up to 20°F||Snow-clad. Behold the Northern Lights before spring. Days longer than January.|
|March||Average 35°F||Rising temperatures melt snow and ice, with snowstorms in the mountains.|
|April||Up to 50°F||Increasing temperatures and melting snow in cities and mountains.|
Is Norway a Good Place for Winter Vacations?
Yes, definitely! Europe has some amazing skiing destinations like France and Switzerland, but Norway really stands out because of its breathtaking combination of mountains, glaciers, and fjords.
Even though it may be more expensive, the experience is truly one-of-a-kind. Norway spans a large area with a relatively small population, meaning that during the winter, you can expect to find peaceful and beautiful landscapes.
The ski resorts are open from November until April or May, which is the perfect time to see the stunning Northern Lights.
Just picture yourself sipping on après-ski drinks while gazing at the mesmerizing auroras! It’s amazing, isn’t it?
Can You Ski in Norway?
Norway is a skier’s paradise, with numerous resorts that open as early as October and remain open until May or June.
In coastal areas, the climate brings about heavy snowfall, creating ideal conditions for skiing. Meanwhile, locations situated above the Arctic Circle offer the unique opportunity to ski under the midnight sun.
They have something for everyone, whether you’re a beginner, a family with kids, or a professional skier or snowboarder. Norway has a wide range of ski destinations that cater to all kinds of skiers, making it an ideal place for winter sports.
Fact: Norway is one of the best destinations for those interested in skiing, as it has more than 125 ski resorts.
Best Ski Resorts in Norway
There are so many options for skiers, and it can become confusing to take a pick.
Be sure to choose your accommodation carefully and you will be in close proximity to more than one ski resort in Norway.
Here are some good options:
Radisson Blu Resort, Trysil
Radisson Blu Resort should be your choice when you want to be close to where all the skiing action takes place. You won’t be far from Trysil ski resort, which is one of the very best in the area.
Trysil is a huge ski resort in Osterdalen, Eastern Norway, close to the border with Sweden. The ski resort has a total of 78 kilometers of ski-able terrain, ranging in elevation from 415 to 1,100 meters.
The resort is located on what used to be a volcano, giving it the special feature of a 360-degree piste connection. This design offers a range of terrain options, including both easy and challenging slopes right next to each other.
Additionally, it allows skiers to follow the sun as they navigate the mountain, creating a one-of-a-kind experience. If you’re an experienced skier, you’ll love the off-piste options and challenging black runs. They offer plenty of excitement and thrills for days on the slopes.
Once you’re done skiing, the village really comes alive with après-ski activities. You can enjoy slope-side parties and treat yourself to some delicious traditional Norwegian cuisine. The airport is just a 40-minute transfer away.
Fact: Trysil is conveniently accessible from Oslo, Stockholm, or the Scandinavian Mountains Airport.
When you stay at Scandic Hafjell, you are less than a kilometer from Hafjell Alpine Center. Really, Hafjell is a must-see for any skier planning a trip to Norway for the winter.
Hafjell is notable for its varied skiing terrain, which welcomes skiers of all abilities. It is the third-largest ski area in Norway.
With slopes ranging in altitude from 195 to 1,059 meters, it boasts 47 kilometers of slopes, three separate terrain parks, and the innovative SkiMovie function, which films skiers in action.
Along its length and breadth, visitors are treated to stunning vistas. Hafjell has a long history as a major skiing centre, having hosted the downhill ski races at the 1994 and 2017 Winter Olympics.
Moreover, the resort offers a wide range of amenities to ensure guests have a memorable skiing experience.
Fact: From Oslo, you can take a train to Lillehammer and then a bus or taxi for around 1.5 hours to go to Hafjell in Western Norway.
If you’re a ski fanatic planning a winter getaway to Norway, you should check out Hemsedal in Hallingdal. There you can find many accommodation options, and Skarsnuten Hotel is one of the very best, as it is only 8 min walk from the Ski center.
Among Norway’s largest ski resorts, Hemsedal enjoys a long ski season (November through May) thanks to its location in the Scandinavian Alps between Oslo and Bergen.
There are 53 runs, 21 ski lifts, and a special kids’ section at this resort. Skiers of all skill levels can enjoy the varied terrain, which spans 48 kilometers and 620 to 1,450 meters in elevation.
Skiing and riding at night, riding snowmobiles, and staying in lodges with facilities like bouldering walls all add something special to the adventure.
On weekdays, Hemsedal offers a tranquil skiing experience, but on the weekends, it becomes a bustling metropolis, famous for its après-ski parties. You can go backcountry skiing or summit touring at the resort.
Fact: The Skarsnuten Hotel and Spa provides high-end lodgings and is conveniently placed near the ski area, other activities, and even a golf course.
How Cold Does It Get in Norway?
The location of Norway and its proximity to the water both play a role in shaping the country’s varied climate.
The Gulf Stream makes Norway warmer than its northern latitude would suggest it should be.
For instance, Bergen is on the west coast and enjoys the warm winters and pleasant summers typical of the country’s oceanic environment. A continental climate, with cooler winters and warmer summers, is typical in inland regions such as Oslo.
The climate grows more complicated the further north you go. While cool continental weather predominates in the interior, tundra, and alpine climates can also be found there.
Extremely low temperatures of -40°C (-40°F) have been recorded here throughout the winter.
Bergen and other southern coastal cities get cold winters, but average annual highs are above freezing. Sometimes, instead of snow, these areas may experience a steady, chilly drizzle.
Here are the details of the average temperatures in Norway:
|Coastal (e.g., Bergen)||Above 0°C/32°F|
|Inland (e.g., Oslo)||Colder winters|
|Northern Interior||As low as -40°C/-40°F|
Things to Explore in Norway During Winter
When in Norway, you will never run out of things to explore in winter.
Here are some you should always keep on your list:
Seeing the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) is a highlight of a winter trip to Norway.
Long winter evenings in places like Troms, Alta, and Narvik in high northern Norway above the Arctic Circle are ideal for spotting them.
For the best chance of seeing the northern lights, join a guided tour, try dog sledding or snowmobiling at night, or spend the night in a Northern Lights camp or glass igloo.
Dog sledding is a popular winter activity in Norway, allowing you to truly experience the beauty of its icy landscapes.
You can go on daylong rides through the Arctic tundra, or you can choose to go on shorter outings. Troms, Lillehammer, Rros, and Geilo are popular choices for dog sledding due to their close proximity to stunning forests and mountains.
In the winter, the fjords of Norway become even more breathtaking as the snow-capped mountains create a stunning reflection in the icy waters.
Come and explore the beauty of winter waterfalls and snow-covered villages on a fjord tour.
Visitors have the opportunity to explore the fjords of Norway from cities like Bergen, Alesund, and other coastal towns.
While on the voyage, it’s possible to spot seals, whales, or even both of them!
Winter City Exploration
Norway’s cities, like Oslo, Bergen, and Trondheim, have a wide range of attractions to enjoy, even during the winter months.
You can explore various museums, dine at delicious restaurants, and experience the vibrant city life. You should definitely check out the Viking Ship Museum; it’s a really cool place to visit.
And if you’re into ice skating, there are some great outdoor rinks where you can have a lot of fun.
Fact: Don't forget to explore the festive markets for some unique shopping experiences.
What is the Best Time to Plan Your Visit to Norway?
It really depends on why you’re planning to visit Norway, but as a general rule, summer is considered the best time to go.
That means the months of June, July, and August are considered the best. During these months, you can expect the warmest temperatures and enjoy plenty of sunshine, with many hours of daylight each day.
If you don’t have any specific vacation weeks, we suggest skiing in Norway during February, March, or even early April. There is usually more snow during these months than in December, and you can enjoy longer days and plenty of sunshine.
How cold does it get in Norway? The climate in Norway is different in various parts because of the Gulf Stream, making it less harsh than other northern areas.
In Bergen, the coastal areas have mild winters, whereas in Oslo, the inland areas have colder conditions. In the northern regions, temperatures can drop as low as -40°C.
Skiing is always the best activity in Norway, but besides that, one of the most popular activities in Norway is viewing the Northern Lights. But, no matter when you plan your trip to Norway, it knows how to enchant you with its beauty.