Part of exploring Norway is being prepared for any weather the country can throw at you. In this article, you will get a basic overview of the weather systems regionally in Norway. Use this reading to prepare for your trip to Norway, depending on what area you will be traveling in. Keep in mind, these are general trends. Weather patterns shift annually, weekly, daily and hourly. Stay updated on local weather by using https://www.yr.no/place/Norway/, and wait for the introduction email from your guide to get an update on the local weather.
Overall, it is best to pack for the worst case scenario weather. In Norway we have a saying: “No bad weather, only bad gear”. Prepare properly for your trip so you can enjoy the experience and reference the equipment list for your trip.
Norway is a Nordic country, affected by the Gulf Stream, so its climate is not as cold as you might think, especially along the west coast. The Gulf Stream’s warm air and currents is the reason Norwegians can live comfortably so far North, especially in places like Svalbard. The coast ranges 2,700 kilometers North to South, with 25,000 km of actual coastline touching the sea. From 50 degrees latitude to 71 degrees latitude (81 degrees if you include Svalbard), Norway has an extremely diverse climate with rugged coastline, plateaus, mountain ranges, and glacial terrain. Micro climates caused by its diverse and dramatic terrain make each area susceptible to local weather patterns that shift each day.
1. The West Coast has a cool, wet climate, characterized by the frequent passage of weather fronts, so that clouds, rain and wind dominate throughout the year. Precipitation is common along the western slope.
2. The North Coast is colder but still affected by the gulfstream. The result is that the open sea does not freeze even at this latitude, and this does not happen anywhere else in the world! The northern coast has strong winds in winter and spring, and is still affected by precipitation.
3. The Interior of Norway has a continental climate, with cold and snowy winters, and mild summers. Typically the interior is covered with hills and mountains, and the temperature decreases with altitude. This area of Norway typically sees less overall rain.
4. The South-Eastern part of Norway winters are cold, below freezing and frequent snowfall. The average temperature hovers around freezing in late November and early March, and is summer averages 20/22 °C (68/72 °F). Rainfall is mostly during summer and autumn, and at a minimum in spring.
The best time for hiking trips is from June to September. Temperatures are cool along the coast and in the mountainous areas, and most of the snow from winter has melted. Rain is common, especially along the West Coast. But many days are warm and dry, and you will see many Norwegians out in the mountains, absorbing the sunshine.
February, March, April and even May are best for skiing or snow focused trips. The temperature is less cold and the days are longer. The nice aspect of chilly winter trips is that there is snow instead of rain. Staying dry and warm on these arctic adventures is easy with the appropriate layering system.
Follow the equipment list for your trip. In mountainous environments, you should always be prepared for the weather to turn, and have a day pack with extra layers and necessary items. This video will guide you through your packing list, it was filmed at the end of Norwegian summer. As you can see, its snowy! Despite the snow, this packing list is for SUMMER tours.
Be prepared for any weather, the summers are often cool in hiking environments. Think spring/autumn clothes, being ready to add or remove a layer. Wear pants, a wool mid layer over a t-shirt; and have a puffy jacket that fits under your rain layer. On long hikes where you work up a sweat, having an extra base layer to change into on the summit will keep you warm and comfortable even when youre not moving. Its imperative to always have a raincoat (meaning gortex or equivalent), especially along the coast. A lot of hiking in Norway can be muddy, slippery or rocky due to the climate and ecosystems, be prepared by having waterproof boots or use boots with a gortex sock option.
For the northern islands (Jan Mayen, Svalbard): think Winter. Warm base layers, a down jacket, a hat, gloves, windbreaker, buff, and a rainjacket.
Warm clothes, wool thermal long underwear top and bottom, a fleece or thick wool mid layer, a down jacket, a hat, gloves, a scarf or buff, and your rain jacket that fits over all your layers.
Its always better to be prepared and comfortable by having the proper layering system, if days are warm, then you are prepared if the weather turns for the worse by having the proper gear.