When it comes to having fun in the snow, Norway is the place to go! Here are our hottest tips for Norway’s coolest winter activities, as well as for warm, cosy, indoor experiences. Seek out the northern lights, relax in the fjords, or enjoy world-class museums, architecture, and culture on a Norwegian city break in a compact, walkable city.
Winter is the favourite season of many Norwegians. It's not so strange when you think about it: outdoor enthusiasts love the many sports and activities in the snow, while those who love 'the great indoors' can shelter inside museums, art galleries and restaurants.
Or maybe you just want to curl up by a crackling fire after a full day out? Here are some of the top things Norwegians love to do in winter, both indoors and out.
Who doesn’t dream of seeing the northern lights dance across the arctic sky? We know we certainly do! But part of the magic is that one never knows for sure when Aurora will put on a show. No matter, though – the winter light is magical in itself. Especially in Northern Norway, where the sun remains slightly above or even below the horizon for months. Which doesn’t mean that it’s pitch dark all the time, but rather that the sun illuminates the clouds and sky in a beautiful colour palette, and the dark sky is filled with endless stars.
The winter light up north is the perfect backdrop for wonderful outdoor experiences. Maximise the chance of seeing the northern lights by taking a guided tour or go dog sledding, snowshoeing, or whale watching.
Yeehaaw! Nothing beats the sense of freedom you get from plunging down a steep slope on skis. But don´t worry if you haven't yet mastered the art of skiing , or if you feel a bit rusty, you will find skilled ski instructors and slopes for beginners at all of the major resorts.
Find your favourite place to ski among Norway’s best ski resorts or take the family to one of the country’s many child-friendly ski destinations. You can find the latest updates on snow conditions at fnugg.no.
Do what the locals do – grab some skis and poles and set off on a cross-country skiing adventure! With seemingly endless mountains, plateaus, and huge networks of ski trails, Norway is a massive cross-country skiing paradise. Sign up for a skiing class to get the hang of the technique or join a guided skiing trip. The good news is that it's actually quite easy to master the basics!
Make your skiing holiday extra special by spending a few nights in a gorgeous mountain hotel or by renting a cabin. Find an overview of groomed ski trails at skisporet.no and learn more about the country’s top cross-country skiing areas.
At the indoor skiing facility SNØ, located just outside of Oslo, you can try both alpine and cross-country skiing year round.
Believe it or not – not all Norwegians are 'born with skis on their feet'. Most of us still love some snowy fun, though. If skiing isn’t your thing either, you’ll still find endless opportunities for other snow-based activities. Glide through a winter-wonderland on a dog sled or on a sleigh ride, try ice fishing, or experience nature up close on a snowshoe hike. There are also numerous ice rinks and toboggan runs throughout the country.
Many of Norway's largest alpine centres also offer organised outdoor activities for those who want to combine downhill or cross-country skiing with other exciting winter experiences.
Feeling cold? Heat up in one of Norway’s coolest, but still hot saunas!
When we feel the need to get away with someone special, we know exactly where to go. Norway is full of love nests: remote lighthouses and fancy tree houses, grand manor houses and gorgeous boutique hotels. Not to mention the coolest place to spend the night: Snow hotels! Many of these overnight getaways are situated in idyllic rural surroundings outside the cities and have been designed to blend in with their natural surroundings.
Why not surprise your partner with an unforgettable overnight stay? Maybe in a glass igloo, a lavvo tent, or a Mongolian yurt? In Norway, the glamping season lasts the whole year!
Norway is a nation that's built on fishing, particularly on the migrating Atlantic cod called skrei. If you’re into fishing, or are a real foodie, you should join us in Northern Norway between January and April, when the skrei return to the Norwegian coast to spawn. Go on a guided fishing trip, rent a boat, or fish from the shore in a picture-perfect arctic landscape. You are almost guaranteed to get a big cod on your hook! At the end of March, come along and enjoy the show at the World cod fishing championship in Svolvær in Lofoten.
Stay in a rorbu, or fisherman’s cabin (remember to book early), and enjoy creative varieties of arctic fish dishes in restaurants. Locally-sourced food doesn’t get more local than this!
You can also combine your fishing adventure with guided summit hikes, and visits to exciting museums and quaint fishing villages.
The global pandemic did actually bring ONE good thing: Hello all you new, digital nomads! Pack your laptop and go somewhere new and exciting! Get your work done next to a fjord, on a mountain top, or on an island far out to sea. Not only is a workation an opportunity to work to live, rather than live to work – it's also a great opportunity to mingle with locals.
Once you have logged off for the day, you can go skiing, hiking, surfing, or whatever tickles your fancy. Hire a guide or ask your new Norwegian friends to show you around.
There are coworking spaces all over Norway, so you don’t have to worry about being isolated. You can also try coliving, where you work and live in a community. Unless you want to have more time for yourself, of course – in which case, there are plenty of excellent places available for rent where you can work in peace and quiet.
The silence... The mighty mountains. The fjords can be otherworldly in winter, draped in white, when the unique light and dramatic nature can lead your thoughts back to the Viking Age. And the best part is that you'll have all this nature mostly to yourself...
The lively cities of Bergen and Stavanger are both good starting points with excellent international flight connections. From here, you can explore the Sognefjord or the Hardangerfjord area easily by public transport or join a package round trip at your own pace.
Bad weather? No worries. Norwegians are experts in the indoor art of kos. You can actually spend your entire holiday in Norway indoors – in world-class art museums, exciting galleries, or experience centres. city break the Norwegian way, a true adventure in winter time. By the way, the extraordinary new MUNCH museum is worth the trip to Oslo in itself!
You can also take the kids to cool, interactive science centres, or spend a few hours in one of Norway’s many fascinating folk museums. Read more about art and culture in Norway.
There's plenty of interesting things to see outside too. Norway is also a treasure trove of cool street art and impressive sculpture parks. Wrap yourself up warmly and get a big dose of art and crisp winter air.
A lot of our first-class seafood is actually at its best during winter! King crab, prawns, skrei.... Norwegians spend the long winter evenings around the table with good friends, enjoying comfort food made using fresh, local ingredients, and not least, some of the world’s best cheeses. We also have a selection of, well, … quirky dishes. A feast of flavours awaits in Norway’s many restaurants, many of which have been awarded up to three Michelin stars!
Thanks to our majestic mountains and long, snowy winters, Norway is an enormous playground for snowkiting and ski touring. Join the kiting trend and sweep across snow-covered plains, or experience the unbeatable feeling of racing down the mountainside through pristine powder snow. Both offer a powerful encounter with nature.
You’ll find courses and guided tours in many places, both for beginners and for experienced enthusiasts.
In December, it's time for the holidays! In Norway, the streets are lined with decorative lights, and there are lots of Christmas concerts, and last but not least, plenty of yummy seasonal food on offer. Meet the original, Norwegian Santa, Julenissen, and go Christmas shopping in one of Norway's cosy cities. The further north you go, the better the chances of a white Christmas!
Want more tips for a Norwegian winter break? Check out this wild and beautiful winter journey from Bergen to Flåm and the magical season in Hardanger.
See our selection of companies that work hard to make you happy all through your trip.
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