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Check out the warmth and quietness of the pre-season

Come early to the party
Go right before or just after the high season and enjoy a warm welcome from locals, usually mild weather, and few crowds.
A person enjoying the view during a hike at Andøya
Hiking at Andøya.
Photo: Visit Andøy

All over Norway the pre-peak season is like a window that used to be partly closed but is now wide open for numerous opportunities, also on an island of untouched nature about 300 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle.

“Even though the beautiful view stays the same all year round, the colours change dramatically before and after mid-summer”, photo artist Espen Tollefsen says whilst moving around and between his large-scale art works theming the coastal landscape in different seasons.

Espen Tollefsen’s family art collective Atelier Nøss is located on the outer side of the Andøya island in Vesterålen – the side that faces the open sea.

Photo collage of Atelier NøssThe art photo collage by artist Espen Tollefsen shows his own family at their place Atelier Nøss on the Andøya island: Sister Siri, Espen himself, mother Åse, father Gunnar, and wife Heidi Marie Kriznik. 

“There is a special clarity to the light that you don’t find in mid-summer. The pre-summer and pre-autumn are fantastic times that one should not miss”, Tollefsen argues.

Rooms and space available

As one of the longest countries in the world, Norway is packed with exciting places to go and both brand new and historic places to stay, many of which are fully booked in high season and in some cases nearly a year in advance. But if you move your plans a week or two back or forth, there are still usually rooms available in the lesser visited periods.

Travellers on Andøya can spend the night in several places, for instance in the Atelier Nøss art collective’s cubistic building by architect Irene Sævik.

Atelier Nøss, Andøya
Atelier Nøss, Andøya.
Photo: Espen Tollefsen

Pre-peak season revival

One of Norway’s most popular wildlife attractions is also located on Andøya, and for many travellers the Whale and Sea Safari from the town of Andenes is the absolute highlight of the stay.

“The fact that the Whale Safari in Andenes is open practically all year round has helped other businesses like restaurants and hotels to be able to extend their availability way beyond the traditional high season”, Tollefsen says.

Photo: Marten Bril/visitvesteralen.com

A good example is the small place of Nyksund in Vesterålen that used to be a totally vacated fishing community, but is now populated by new settlers who have had great success with the gourmet restaurant Ekspedisjonen. Others have followed with similar services for locals and travellers.

From closed to open

“A great trend is that even small shops and services that used to be open only in the high season now keep their doors open almost all year round”, Tollefsen says enthusiastically.

“Our local grocery store closed down several times before new owners took over the business and changed it into Nordmela landhandleri, which in addition to basic goods offers a great variety of local food and other delicacies. They also serve food and drink you can enjoy in the store or as takeaway”, he says.

“Speciality places like that are becoming increasingly popular all year round by a new type of tourists who are genuinely interested in local life.”

Available activities

Frequently visited Norwegian destinations all report similar reasons to go right before or right after the crowd.

Lene Lunde at the Stavanger Region tourist office says that her area benefits from a mild climate all year round. And even just slightly outside of the high season, locals seem to have more time for visitors, and accommodation rates are usually lower.

“To tell you the truth, you will often get more dramatic photographs and films off high season, and I can tell you that some of the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets can be seen from Preikestolen (the Pulpit Rock) or other hiking goals in the low and pre-peak season”, she confides.

A person watching the sunrise at Preikestolen (The Pulpit Rock) in Ryfylke
Photo: Outdoorlife Norway

There is an array of things to do outside of the high season, on Andøya, in the Stavanger area, and many other places: “You can enjoy activities like RIB, SUP, surfing, fjord cruise, and hiking all year round, and every season offers great local food experiences. Concerts and festivals are happening non-stop regardless of seasons, and the museums are always open”, says Lene Lunde of the Stavanger Region.

Andøya pre-summer resident Espen Tollefsen adds: “We have two types of bike tourists here: Those who are slightly exhausted, and those who still have a lot of energy left. It depends on the season, whether they have had headwind or tailwind”, he laughs.

Experience the pre-season in Norway

There is no need to wait until you’re here to find out what you’d like to do. Filter your search and check out the offers below.

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