8 reasons to visit Norway in winter
Norway really knows how to put on a show in the snow. In fact, nowhere does winter quite like this beautiful Nordic nation. We might be a tad biased, but where else can you spot whales, zoom through the snow in a husky sledge, hunt the Northern Lights and stay in a cosy ice hotel all in the same day? In this article, we will give you top tips on the most incredible things to do in Norway this winter.
1. Explore Norway by sledge, snowshoe and snowmobile
One of the best ways to experience the Norwegian countryside in all its snowy glory is to head on one of the many amazing outdoor experiences on offer. The adrenaline-junkies among you can zoom through wintery forests on a snowmobile or drive a husky-powered sledge through pristine wilderness. Animal lovers – both adults and kids – will love meeting reindeer during family-friendly sledge rides. If all this doesn’t make you feel like a true polar explorer, slip on some snowshoes, and put your best foot forward as you explore snowy mountain trails. We also recommend joining a tour led by local Sámi, the indigenous people inhabiting Lapland, who will tell you more about their culture and the history of this region.
2. Watch the Northern Lights dance across the sky
The Northern Lights are a phenomenon that has fascinated people for thousands of years – and with good reason. There is really nothing quite like seeing the famous green (and sometimes pink) lights dance across the dark winter skies. A little luck is involved in seeing them since their appearance is linked to solar activity and weather, which can be quite unpredictable. To increase your chance of spotting the Northern Lights, we suggest a tour where local experts will lead you to the very best spots. Remember to bring your camera, and your tour guides will show you the best settings to capture the lights!
3. Meet nature’s most magnificent creatures
The Northern Lights are a phenomenon that has fascinated people for thousands of years – and with good reason. There is really nothing quite like seeing the famous green (and sometimes pink) lights dance across the dark winter skies. A little luck is involved in seeing them since their appearance is linked to solar activity Norway is teeming with wildlife, and you don’t have to look far to find it. Reindeer and moose roam the land, and if you look up, you might see white-tailed eagles soar past. In winter, there are a few special animals that you really won’t want to miss: whales and dolphins. Wrap up warm and hop on a boat that takes you out into Norway’s Arctic waters. The main whale watching season is from November to January, and you can spot humpbacks, orcas and sperm whales. The best places to see them are off the coast of Andøya, in the fjords of the Lofoten Islands, and in the seas around Tromsø.
4. Relax and unwind in a cosy cabin
Norway has an array of stunning lodges and cabins that will be the perfect base for your winter adventure. There is nothing better than relaxing by the fire after an enjoyable day out in the snow. Whether you’re looking for a luxury pad or a family-sized cabin, there is accommodation for every type of getaway. Many of our partners have a big focus on sustainability and support their community by working with local suppliers, which ensures an authentic experience. Some of our partners even tailor their menus to the different seasons, so that you will taste the freshest ingredients.
5. Experience a unique night’s sleep in a snow hotel
Norway has an array of stunning lodges and cabins that will be the perfect base for your winter adventure. There is nothing better than relaxing by the fire after an How does spending a night on a bed made entirely out of ice sound? Probably not that appealing, right? However, in reality, it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you will be talking about for years to come – and it is way comfier than it sounds. In Norway, there are two hotels where you can experience this: Kirkenes Snowhotel and the Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel. Every year, both hotels are built anew and are beautifully decorated by talented snow and ice sculptors from around the world. Sleeping in an ice room might not be for everybody – but worry not, as you can stay in a wonderfully warm room instead and visit the snow rooms during the day.
6. Sample Scandinavian sauna culture
Saunas are a staple of everyday life for people all over Scandinavia – and you should be sure to join them for a steam during your visit. When temperatures start to plummet, locals trade in their bulky winter jackets for swimsuits and soak up the heat. It’s the perfect way to recharge after a fun day in the cold. If you feel really brave, you can even jump (or just dip your toes) into the ocean for a cooling dip after your steam. Yes, Norwegians really do take the plunge all year round! You would be surprised at how long locals will happily stay in icy water.
7. Explore Norway’s Christmas markets
Christmastime is a beautiful time to visit Norway, especially Røros. The old mining town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that celebrates Christmas in a big way. The town’s main street transforms into a Christmas wonderland, filled with market stalls and festive spirit. The colourful wooden houses add to the charm. Wander around the cute little alleyways drinking a hot Gløgg or two – the Scandinavian version of mulled wine. The market is also a wonderful place to buy locally sourced souvenirs for your loved ones back home.
8. Give Norway’s national sport a try
It is often said that Norwegians are born with skis on their feet – and with good reason: the country is one big winter sports playground. As soon as the snow starts to fall, locals head to the countryside to cross country ski. This particular type of skiing is Norway’s national sport, and you will find lots of places to try it yourself. The landscapes are full of fun-filled activities. You don’t even have to go inside to ice skate. Head to a frozen lake, put on your skates and pirouette across the ice.