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10 great reasons to go to Norway in the spring

Visit compact cities full of life, see thousands of fruit trees in full bloom, or watch the seasons slowly change from a cosy treetop cabin. Every spring, Norway wakes up from its winter sleep and bursts into life. Here are some of the best ways to experience it.

1. Urban utepils

This is the perfect time for a city break! As soon as the first signs of spring appear – when the temperature rises above zero and the sun starts to carry some warmth – Norwegians pour out of their houses to make the most of the new season. The pavements start to buzz with life as the locals go to great lengths to enjoy the first utepils (beer enjoyed outside in the sun) of the year. If the sun is out, we will be, too – preferably sitting on a soft and warm sheepskin.

Hot tip: Did you know that Norwegian cities are so compact and full of experiences that you can see and do an awful lot in only 10,000 steps? Although you should also bring high heels, it's most important to pack your best walking shoes. ​Experience the walk of a lifetime, through world-class art museums, charming neighbourhoods, colourful street food markets. In many cities, you can even do a mountain-to-bar hike!

2. The fjords in full bloom

If you want a real once-in-a-lifetime experience, you should visit Norway when the country wakes up from its hibernation! During a couple of weeks in May in the southwestern part of Norway (the exact time varies from year to year), tens of thousands of fruit trees bloom by the fjords. Impressive snow clad mountain peaks frame the picturesque views – the same mountains that provide protection for the small areas that have fertile soil. With plenty of help from the fjords’ reflection of the sun, the landscapes create unique microclimates that make these cosy villages perfect for fruit cultivation, especially apples and cherries.

Special tip: The most famous place to experience the phenomenon is the Hardanger region where you can visit a range of idyllic fruit villages like Lofthus, Kinsarvik, and Ulvik. The Sognefjord area is another excellent option. And don’t even consider leaving before you have tasted the result of last year’s blossoming – tasty Eplemost (pure apple juice) and cider from local producers.

3. See the waterfalls at their mightiest

Witness how the dramatic Norwegian waterfalls roar to life in spring. May and June is the absolute best time to see them come to life, when the ice and snow melt away and from rushing cascades of water that plunge down the mountainsides. Norway has a long list of waterfalls well worth a visit.

Hot tip: Vøringsfossen, near Eidfjord in Hardanger, is one of the most magnificent waterfalls in Norway. Its new, impressive viewing platforms (a must-see for architecture buffs), provide breathtaking views of the roaring water and the deep canyons.

4. The birds at their liveliest

Spring really enlivens birds! Norway’s long coastline is bustling with life this time of year, when the migratory birds that left in autumn return home to breed and enjoy the warmer seasons. Bring your binoculars and camera, and maybe even your sound recorder, as this is an experience for the ears as well as the eyes. Just make sure that you behave respectfully towards all the newly hatched nestlings.

Hot tip: In the north, Varanger has become one of the most important destinations in the world to watch Arctic birds. The local architects at Biotope have designed award-winning sheds for the thousands of birdwatchers that travel to the area to spot species such as white-tailed eagles, gyrfalcons, Steller’s eider, and Arctic sea ducks. Bird lovers also flock to the small islands of RundeLovund and Røst from around mid-April, when thousands of Atlantic puffins return to their breeding grounds.

5. Farmers’ markets and food festivals

Farmers’ markets are held all over Norway. The earliest ones start as early as March. Browse and sample a wide range of fresh and delicious goodies, all produced by local farmers. Both food festivals and farmers' markets are an absolute must, and are a key part of Norway’s trendy culinary revolution.

Hot tip: You can find farmers’ markets in many places in the country. Two of the best food festivals that are held in spring before the festival season really kicks off in summer are the Spis & Drikk-festivalen in Oslo and the Oslo Vegetarian Festival.

6. Wake up in the treetops

One of the greatest things about spring is witnessing how nature sheds its winter coat and becomes fresh and green. Not to mention the bliss of longer and warmer days, combined with the intensely happy songbirds. What better place to embrace and observe the change of the seasons than among the treetops? More specifically, why not stay in a treehouse with modern conveniences and a cosy Scandinavian interior?

Special tip: Architecture lovers should seek out some of the treetop huts that have a very stylish and unique design. Yet another reason to go to Norway!

7. Dive into crystal clear waters

If you like diving, make sure to schedule your underwater adventure for early spring. At this time of year, the water is not only starting to get warmer — it still has the crystal-clear visibility characterised by winter. Later in the season, the seas become murky, which means that you need to bring a torch to see. On the bright side, the light from the torch will help attract various underwater creatures (all of which are diver friendly). Discover more about diving in Norway.

Special tip: Hattan in Fjord Norway is teeming with underwater life, and Saltstraumen near Bodø stands out as the place to experience exciting currents. Or, how about feeling like a real explorer and dive amongst the wrecks in Narvik?

8. The first outdoor swim of the year

Are you a real Viking? Prove it by taking at least a few bold strokes in the cold spring water. The earlier, the better, but for the modern Viking, it’s acceptable to start diving in around the beginning of May. Although you can simply jump off any pier that allows swimming, why not take it up a notch? Sweat your troubles away in a stylish sauna, before rejuvenating yourself with a refreshing swim (or vice versa!).

Hot tip: You can find some truly unique saunas in Norway, like The Arctic spa boat Vulkana in Tromsø, or the saunas hidden in a drying rack for fish at Salt in Oslo. There are also many floating saunas on Norwegian fjords and lakes, including the fairytale-like,  shimmering and golden Soria Moria sauna in Dalen in Telemark.

9. Experience the glaciers

A glacier hike is an absolute must for any true adventurer visiting Norway in late spring. Venture across ice that is more than a thousand years old in some places, be encapsulated in shades of turquoise and marvel at sculpture-like formations where nature itself is the artist. Skiing or hiking the Jostedalsbreen glacier lengthwise (60 kilometres; always in the company of a guide) is a particular favourite among those who are in good shape. Don't worry  — not all glacier walks are as demanding as that one.

Special tip: Glacier adventures for everyone are available several of the glacier branches of Jostedalsbreen, like the Nigardsbreen glacier in Sogn og Fjordane, the Folgefonna glacier in Hardanger, and the Svartisen glacier in Nordland, amongst others. Most regular tours on the glaciers start in May or the beginning of June.

10. Spring skiing

Vårskiturer (spring skiing), is very popular in Norway. In certain mountain areas and up north, there is usually plenty of pristine, powdery snow as late as April and May. The days are warmer (you might be able to ski in a woollen t-shirt), and are growing longer and longer. In Northern Norway, you even get midnight sun in late spring. Several ski resorts don’t close until the end of April. In many areas, spring is the perfect season for ski touring and kiting. Thanks to the sun reflecting off the snow, you might even get a spring tan! Just don’t forget to pack your sunscreen and sunglasses

Hot tip: Experience Narvikfjellet, a ski resort in the north where you can ski from the top of the mountain and down to the fjord, often until June. Or take the train to Finse between Oslo and Bergen for kiting (courses available) and cross-country skiing on the Hardangervidda mountain plateau.

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