In the Viking sagas wintertime is often summed up as “that winter he stayed at home at the farm”. It was a time to stay indoors and rest up, but in this day and age, you might as well spend your winter days enjoying the snow under your feet.
In winter, much of Norway is usually transformed into a snow-clad paradise, and that means ideal opportunities for exciting activities in the snowy landscape. Skiing has a special place in Norwegian culture and history, and during this fresh white season, people of all ages head outdoors to enjoy the slick slopes and groomed trails.
But winter nights are long and dark in all of Norway, and from the middle of November until the end of January, the sun does not rise at all in parts of Northern Norway, north of the Arctic Circle.
However, the northern lights might appear over your head during this time, and light up the white landscape.
The northern lights are most commonly seen in the north, but may on rare occasions be seen in all of Norway – even at the country’s southernmost point. October, February and March are the best months for seeing the magical light show.
Winters in Norway can be bitterly cold, even if they aren’t always. How to dress for outdoor activities thus depends on what you are doing and where you are doing it.
If you are heading high up or far north – or both, for that matter – dress warmly and in layers. Use wool rather than cotton or polyester, and make sure you can protect yourself from getting wet and being caught in the wind.
Wind chill factor will make you feel much colder than the temperature actually says, and this effect will get worse the stronger the wind. If you’re wet, hypothermia and frostbite may not be far away – unless you are well prepared and dressed.
Most people prefer to think of seafood such as prawns, langoustines, blue mussels, scallops and lobsters as summer delicacies, but the fact is that the season is really in the wintertime, when quality and flavour is at its highest.
Dishes based on fish, mutton, pork or deer will also be popular Christmas food, and can be found at many restaurants in the run-up to the holiday season. Some traditional Norwegian dishes you should try are the “smalahove” (sheep’s head), the “lutefisk” (cod soaked in lye) and the pinnekjøtt (dried, salted and steamed sheep ribs).
In winter, the average temperature in Norway is -6.8 degrees, but the conditions may vary quite a lot. In Oslo and the surrounding areas, snowfall is common and the average temperatures are just below zero.
The lower inland areas of Finnmark, Troms, Trøndelag, and Eastern Norway can have very cold winters with lots of snow. The inland areas of Northern Norway have an Arctic type of climate with snow, strong winds, and severe frost.
The coastal areas of Fjord Norway and Southern Norway enjoy a milder climate. But large parts of the region is still snowy and cold, and that means good opportunities for skiing, especially in the mountains.
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The Norwegian cult of “kos” (cosiness) goes way beyond the Danes’ “hygge”, the Americans’ “perfect moment”, or the stressed society’s “quality time”. Norway’s mighty nature and distinct changes of seasons make people gather together to create intimate moments of cosiness.Read more