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A woman smelling apple blossoms in Hardanger, Norway in the spring
Fruit blossoming in Hardanger.
Photo: CH / Visitnorway.com

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. 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!

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    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. 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. 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. 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.

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    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!

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    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. 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.

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    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.

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    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.

There’s no time like springtime

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