It is probably the most frequent question I get about travelling to Norway. And let me spoil you: I don’t have an exact answer for you. If you know me a little bit already, you probably know that I will not give you the answer you would normally get. My short & preferred answer would be: go when nobody’s going! Travelling off the beaten path in Norway also means travelling outside of the main season. And what an experience it is!
For example, I have travelled to the fjords in the winter many times and it’s been among my best experiences! Most of the time I had good weather for the biggest part of the trip, I could stay at places that are always fully booked otherwise (or way too expensive) and the best part of it: there was nobody else around! So, yeah, you may need to arrange the program with the day light, be a little bit more flexible and add an extra layer of wool, but it is so worth it! You also don’t necessarily have to travel at the peak of winter – October, November, March, April.. are really nice periods to travel to the fjords, for example. The weather is also very unpredictable in Western Norway and we’ve had some terrible months of July and some wonderful Novembers… There’s always a lot to see & experience anyway and it is just so much better when you’re surrounded by locals rather than tourists!
In addition to all this, Norway is all about space and small places. Most travellers choosing Norway come to experience the Norwegian Nature, the mountain, the fjords, the villages… However, in the high season, some villages get so crowded
that the number of tourists per day gets as high as 16 times the number of people living there all year around… In some places, people queue to get to the top of a mountain or to take the picture that everyone takes (hi, Trolltunga ). A survey led by Visit Norway showed that more than half of the visitors experienced over-tourism during their trip. Of course, it depends where & when you go, and it is still possible to travel to Norway during the high season and not being drowned in the crowds. But travelling off season will definitely prevent you from that.
In short, here is why you should travel off season to Norway :
– Less people & more availability
– Cheaper accommodation & activities
– You can visit the highlights without any crowds around
– Better connection with the locals
– Supporting businesses during the low season
– Better reward
– You will get the true Norwegian experience
But ok – I will be nice, and I won’t leave you with this answer only.
It is common to say that the high season in Norway goes approximatively from mid-May to mid-September for the biggest part of the country, except for places like Tromsø, Svalbard or the typical winter destinations. However, in my opinion, in the beginning (May/June) and towards the end of the high season (September) there are way less people around and it is way quieter. It is, for me, the best time to visit Norway. The days are already/still long, the weather is usually good, you get the Spring/Autumn colours and most places already/still have the high season opening times. You can even get chances to see the Northern Lights if you’re travelling up north! The Northern Lights season goes from end of August to April (ish…) and they are visible mainly in the North of Norway (roughly from Trondheim & up…).
Major holidays are also peaks in Norway: Christmas & Easter are usually pretty busy and often priced as high season.
When it comes to Winter experiences such as dogsledding, snowmobile, skiing etc.. you usually have to wait until December or even January. It depends on the places and from a year to another, of course, but this is generally talking. In Winter destinations such as Tromsø, Alta, Svalbard or the popular skiing places in the south of Norway (Sunnmøre, Geilo, Hemsedal,…), the peak season is roughly from January to Easter, when the conditions are at their best for skiing & snow activities.
In the end, I can easily say that Norway is a year-round destination and that every season offers a different and special experience. It all comes down to what you want to experience, how you want to experience it, your budget & how used to travelling you are. Whether it is to avoid the crowds in the summer or to be well prepared for travelling in the winter in Norway, I would recommend you make sure to have the right information or to have a professional helping you. An adventure in Norway can become a budget so make sure to use your time, money & energy wisely and trust the experts to create an unforgettable adventure for you! If you’re planning a trip to Norway and have questions or if you just want to chat, don’t hesitate to get in touch. I am always super happy to talk and would love to hear from you!
PS: I’m quite stubborn… so all the pictures in the article are taken… outside of the main season.