Late June to early August is when the weather is warmest and the days are long and bright. Temperatures in July and August can reach 25°C - 30°C. At the same time there is hardly any humidity in the air. Sea temperatures can reach 18°C and higher, making swimming a popular pastime.
The warmest and most stable weather usually occurs on the eastern side of the southern mountains, including the south coast between Mandal and Oslo. Even further north, summer temperatures are rather pleasant – sometimes reaching up to 25°C. However, the summer weather can be wet and changeable, especially in Fjord Norway, Central and Northern Norway.
The midnight sun
The midnight sun is a natural phenomenon which means that the sun does not set during the summer months. In other words, given fair weather, you can see the sun for a continuous 24 hours. If you want to experience the midnight sun, you will have to cross the Arctic Circle and travel to Northern Norway, where you can experience the midnight sun from the middle of May to the end of July.
How long the midnight sun is visible depends on how far north you are. At the Arctic Circle in the county of Nordland, you can see the midnight sun from 12 June to 1 July, at the North Cape in Finnmark you can see the sun from 14 May to 29 July, and at the North Pole the sun does not set for six months.
Where and when to see the midnight sun
|The Arctic Circle
||12 June - 1 July
||4 June - 8 July
||28 May - 14 July
||20 May - 22 July
||17 May - 26 July
||16 May - 27 July
|The North Cape
||14 May - 29 July
||20 April – 22 August
In the autumn the landscape is painted in golden colours. The temperature drops slowly through September, making for good berry and mushroom picking weather.
During autumn the land areas lose more heat than the sea, and eventually the coastal areas have the highest temperatures. In September the outer part of the Oslofjord usually has the highest average temperatures. Later in the autumn, the warmest areas are usually found along the coast of Rogaland and Hordaland in Fjord Norway.
In winter much of Norway is usually covered in snow –a paradise for winter sport enthusiasts.
The lower inland areas, both in the southern and northern parts of Norway, can have very low temperatures in winter. Temperatures can drop below -40°C in the inner areas of Finnmark, Troms, Central and Eastern Norway, even if this does not happen each winter.
By contrast, the coastal areas have comparatively mild winters. However, gales, rain and clouds can be frequent and heavy.
The northern lights
From the middle of November until the end of January, the sun does not rise at all in Northern Norway. October, February and March are the best months for seeing the northern lights (aurora borealis), although the lights, given the right weather conditions, can be spotted from the autumn to the spring equinox (22 September to 20 March).
The northern lights belt hits Northern Norway in the Lofoten Islands, and follows the coast all the way up to the North Cape. This means that no other place on earth offers better chances of spotting the lights, and one location in this area might be as good as another. In fact, one often observes the same northern lights in the Lofoten as in Tromsø, just from a different angle. The driest weather, giving clear skies, is found inland, statistically providing the best chances, but with strong eastern winds, the coast can be clearer than inland areas.
No guarantee can be given, though. Some weeks, you are treated to fantastic displays, repeated several times during the evening. Other times, the snow falls densely, or the northern lights simply stay away. Naturally, the longer you stay and the more time you set aside, the better the odds. Remember you should avoid the full moon and places with a lot of light as they make the experience considerably paler.
May to mid-June is when the scenery in Norway is at its most spectacular, with trees and flowers waking to life, snow in the mountains and melt water swelling the waterfalls. Orchards of flowering fruit trees along the Hardangerfjord in May make for a unique sight.
There are several public holidays in May, and the Norwegians make full use of them to celebrate springtime after a long winter.
Spring is the season when the temperature differences between the southern and northern part of the country are largest. This is also the time of year when daytime and night-time temperatures differ the most.
In early spring a zone near the coast of Western Norway usually has the highest mean temperatures, but in May the highest temperatures are usually found in the southern part of Eastern and Southern Norway. The weather in spring can be very varied. There may be days when it is cold enough to snow, and days when it is warm enough to sit outside in the sunshine. Spring months can also be very windy.
Remember that the weather and temperatures can change quickly, especially in the mountains, so no matter when you are visiting, always pack good footwear and warm clothes.
Average daytime temperatures
Source: Meteorologisk institutt
Recorded weather extremes
The lowest temperature ever measured in Norway is -51,4 °C, recorded on 1 January 1886 in Karasjok on the Finnmark Plateau.
The highest recorded maximum temperature is 35,6 °C, recorded on 20 June 1970 in Nesbyen (Buskerud).
Brekke in the county of Sogn og Fjordane is the wettest place in Norway, with an annual precipitation of 3,575 mm.
Øygarden in the county of Oppland is the driest, with Norway’s lowest annual average precipitation (278 mm).
Weather forecasts on yr.no.
See also the Norwegian Meteorological Institute.