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Spring in Norway

Put a spring in your step
During the months of March, April, and May, the days get longer and the weather gets warmer all over the country. The melting snow creates natural waterfalls everywhere, and together with the blooming flowers – and people – they make spring in Norway quite remarkable.
A woman in a blossoming orchard in Hardanger
Photo: CH /

The Norwegian spring is probably the hardest season to define. Some years it comes early, other years late, sometimes it’s hot, sometimes chilly well into what’s supposed to be the summer months. And whilst many consider spring equinox around 20 March to be the first day of the season, spring may actually start in late February in parts of the country. Meteorologists keep insisting on spring starting on 1 March, but plenty of people flee to the mountains during Easter week for a final week of winter and skiing.

In May, though, the flowers are sure to be blooming, and so are the Norwegians. Nature is virtually exploding all around you – trees and flowers are waking to life, the melting snow in the mountains swells the waterfalls, rivers and lakes, and the blossoming fruit trees along the Hardangerfjord are an unforgettable sight. Thanks to the many public holidays in May – Norway’s national day on 17 May being the most fun – Norwegians get to really appreciate the season.

All in all, spring is a fickle mistress. But even though you might wake up to a sudden final day of snow well into April, you’re also sure to get days warm enough for “utepils” – the act of enjoying a cold beer outdoors on a sunny day.

How to dress for spring weather

When it comes to dressing for the weather in the spring months March, April, and May, don’t trust your own eyes – by the time you’ve put your jacket on and tied your shoelaces, the weather may have changed for the worse. Or better.

The weather and temperatures in Norway can always change quickly, especially in the mountains, so bring good footwear and warm clothes no matter what it’s like when you set out. Spring weather is especially unpredictable, so make sure you dress in layers and are prepared for both sun, rain, and even snow. As we say in Norway – wool is cool.

If you’re out to see the sights in a city or urban area, an umbrella is a good idea, unless it’s very windy. Out in the wilderness, however, bring a raincoat or windbreaker instead. Either way, you’ll probably want to wear your sunglasses, and remember sunscreen if you’re enjoying the sun, especially in the mountains where there is still snow on the ground. The white snow reflects the sun, and you’ll get sunburned much more easily than you’d think.

Seasonal food and drink

Spring is the time for lamb dishes, usually enjoyed around Easter, and the year’s first potatoes, asparagus and wild garlic are the extras that will leave many Norwegian foodies weak at the knees. The same is true for fresh fish of all sorts, including herring and cod from the Lofoten area, called “skrei” and considered a delicacy.

Closer to the summer, rhubarb will appear in all its leafy glory, and all the holidays in May will make cakes of all sorts emerge from many a kitchen, particularly in Fjord Norway.

Traditionally, spring was also the time to finish off the last of the winter stores, so salted meat and “raspeball” – a kind of traditional potato dumpling – is a popular springtime dish to this day.

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