Oslo; it’s the land of hygge, beautiful fjords, and thriving nature. It’s a city of many faces. To some, the perfect destination for a romantic weekend getaway; to others, it’s the ideal place to spend an action-packed summer holiday. To me? Well, it’s a bit of both.
Travelers come from all over the world to experience Norway’s Viking capital, but there’s one question on everyone’s mind – when exactly is the best time to visit? The answer, unfortunately, is not so simple. Oslo is a city that experiences all four seasons, and each has its own unique charm.
The good news is that there really is no wrong time to visit Oslo. But, depending on what you’re looking for in a vacation, there are certain times of year that are better than others. To ensure you make the most of your trip, I’ve put together the ultimate seasonal guide to the best (and worst) times to visit Oslo.
Read on to find out when is the best time for you to travel to Norway’s picturesque capital city!
Hint: See if you can figure out what the missing month is!
H2: Fall ( Mid-August – October)
Say hello to crisp air, beautiful autumn colors, and long walks along the Aker River. Fall is a wonderful time to visit Oslo if you’re looking to escape the crowds but still enjoy all the city has to offer.
There are significantly fewer tourists than in peak season, which means shorter lines at attractions, cheaper accommodation rates, and a more authentic experience overall. Just be sure to pack a jacket – the weather can be unpredictable!
You might also like: One of My Favorite Hotels in Oslo
The fall season may start in mid-August or early September. The average fall temperature is +12C, but it begins to get even colder as October approaches. There’s no doubt that some of the most beautiful months in Oslo, Norway, are September and October, when the sky often glows in warm hues, the air is crisp, and leaves start to turn yellow.
Best things to do in Oslo during the Fall season:
● Visit the Oslo Opera House – One of Oslo’s most iconic buildings, the Opera House is worth a visit even if you don’t plan on seeing a show. The sloping white exterior is made from Italian marble and granite, and offers incredible views of the surrounding fjord. The Opera House is free to visit, but tours cost 120 kroner (about $15) for each adult and 70 kroner (around $8.50) for children between the ages of 4 and 16. Oslo Passholders get a discounted rate.
● Appreciate Art and Nature at Vigelandsparken (Frogner Park) – This is one of the most famous landmarks in Oslo, with thousands of people uploading photos of the sculptures in the park every year. It has more than 900 distinct works of art by Norwegian sculptor Gustav Vigeland, making it the world’s biggest sculpture park. It’s a beautiful spot to spend an afternoon, especially in September when the roses are in full bloom. If you visit in October, you’ll be able to see the leaves changing color.
● Explore the VÍKINGR – This is an immersive exhibit that transports visitors to the Viking Age and immerses them in the daily life of Vikings. See if you can spot the Gjermundbu helmet while you’re there, it’s the best preserved Viking helmet in the world! Check out my previous article to learn more about this incredible exhibition.
● Hiking in Nordmarka – Nordmarka is Oslo’s green lung, and it’s the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. There are numerous hiking and biking trails to explore, but you’re also sure to find a quiet spot to relax. The hiking trails in Nordmarka are usually well-marked, but a map is recommended for lengthier stretches.
● Sample Norwegian Comfort Food – Kjøttkaker (meatballs) , Pølse i Lompe (hot dog in a potato tortilla) and Vafler (Norwegian waffles) are just three of the many delicious Norwegian dishes you’ll find in Oslo. Be sure to also try out a shot of Aquavit – Norway’s national spirit!
H2: Winter (December – Mid(end)-March
Hibernation mode is real in Oslo during the winter months. From December until March, the city is often blanketed in snow, and temperatures hover around the freezing point. This might not sound appealing, but wintertime in Oslo, Norway, can actually be quite magical.
If you’re lucky enough to visit during the Christmas season, you’ll be treated to festive markets, twinkling lights, and gingerbread galore. However, even if you’re not visiting during December, winter is still a great time to experience Oslo’s unique culture. Ice skating, cross-country skiing, and sledding are just some of the fun activities you can enjoy in the snow.
Best things to do in Oslo during the Winter season:
● Visit the Christmas markets – One of the best things to do in Oslo during winter is to visit the Christmas markets. You’ll find them in various locations around the city. Expect to find handicrafts, gifts, and, of course, plenty of festive food and drink. Check here for 2022-2023 Christmas festival dates!
● Go Skiing, Sledding, or Skating! – Oslo is the perfect place to enjoy winter sports. There are several ski resorts within a day-trip distance, and cross-country skiing is also popular in the Oslo forest. If you’re looking for something a little more low-key, go ice skating at one of the city’s many rinks. Some of the most popular downhill ski resorts near Oslo include Winter Park, Tryvann, and Grefsenkollen ski slope. For cross country skiing start out at Sognsvann or Frognerseteren.
● Embrace Nature – Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you have to stay indoors. One of the best things about Oslo is its proximity to nature. There are several parks and forests within the city limits, so you can easily escape into the wilderness for a day of hiking or cross-country skiing. Nordmarka is a particularly popular spot for outdoor enthusiasts.
● Hibernate With a Good Book – If you’re not a fan of the cold, you can always hibernate indoors with a good book. Oslo has many cozy cafes where you can relax with a cup of coffee and a good read. Deichmanske Bibliotek in Bjørvika is one of my favorite places to curl up with a book. It’s the city’s main public library, and it has an extensive collection of both Norwegian and international literature.
● Rent a Cabin or a Hotel room In the Snowy Oslo Forest – For a truly Norwegian experience, rent a cabin in the Oslo forest. There are many cabins to choose from, and they’re the perfect place to relax after a long day of skiing or hiking. It’s a truly magical experience, and it’s one you won’t soon forget.
From the Voksenasen Hotel, the cross-country ski trails of Oslomarka (the Oslo forest) are directly accessible from just outside the front door.
H2: Spring (April – Mid-June)
As the snow begins to melt and the days get longer, Oslo comes alive. The city is filled with blooming flowers, and the trees are starting to turn a lovely shade of green. Spring is the perfect time to visit if you’re looking for a more relaxed atmosphere. Easter is particularly lovely in Oslo, as many flock to the mountains.
The 17th of May is our national day and a big celebration in Oslo. The streets are filled with people in traditional dress, and there are parades and celebrations throughout the city.
If you’re planning a trip to Oslo in the Spring, be sure to pack your walking shoes. This is the perfect time of year to explore the city on foot, and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to take in that fresh flowery air. Spring is also an excellent time for outdoor activities, so don’t hesitate to get out and about. Hiking, biking, and kayaking are all popular activities in Oslo at this time!
Some of the best things to do in Oslo during the springtime include:
● Take a Boat Ride on the Oslofjord – As the weather gets warmer, the Oslofjord becomes a popular spot for boat rides. This is a great way to see some of Oslo’s best scenery; you’ll have the opportunity to see charming landscapes, fantastic city views, and the beautiful hills surrounding it. There are several boat tours to choose from, so you’re sure to find one that’s perfect for you.
Find cruises on the Oslo fjord here.
● Explore the Akershus Fortress – The Akershus Fortress is a must-see for any history buff. This medieval castle is one of Oslo’s most popular tourist attractions, and it’s definitely worth a visit. Be sure to explore the fortress grounds, as there is a lot to see.
● Visit the Munch Museum – The Munch Museum is one of Oslo’s most famous museums. This museum is home to a collection of paintings by Edvard Munch, one of Norway’s most renowned artists. You’ll also find several other artworks on display, and you’re sure to learn something new.
● Hike to Holmenkollen – One of the best things to do in Oslo is to hike to the top of Holmenkollen. This is one of Oslo’s most popular tourist attractions, and it’s definitely worth the effort. The views from the top are absolutely breathtaking, and you’ll have the opportunity to see some of Oslo’s best scenery. Oslo Hiking actively plans scenic trips in the area for whoever wants to join; you can book via their website for 75 euros.
● Kayak on the Oslofjord – As the weather gets warmer, the Oslofjord becomes a popular spot for kayaking. This is a great way to get some exercise, and you’ll have the opportunity to take in some of Oslo’s best scenery. Throughout it, you’ll see the beautiful city sights and wilderness highlights like bays, beaches, and islands. No prior kayaking experience is required.
Find available kayaking tours on the Oslofjord here.
H2: Summer (Mid-June – Mid-August)
My personal favorite; Summertime. In Oslo, late Summer is often referred to as “sensommer.” The days begin to get longer, the weather is warm, and the city is filled with people enjoying the outdoors. This is the perfect time to visit if you’re looking for some fun in the sun. Swimming in the fjord, fishing, park life, staying up late, and enjoying the summer nights should all be on your to-do list.
In the Summer, you can pretty much do everything you can do in the Spring, but better. The weather is nicer, so you can enjoy all of the outdoor activities without worrying about the cold. This is also the busiest time of year for tourism, so be sure to book your hotel room in advance.
Some of the best things to do in Oslo during the summertime include:
● Swim in Oslofjord! – As the weather gets warmer, the beautiful fjord becomes a popular spot for locals and tourists alike. The fjord is incredibly clean and refreshing, and there are plenty of places along the waterfront to just dive right in! This is a great way to cool off, and you’ll have the opportunity to take in some of Oslo’s best scenery. You can find entrances either from the docks, or from some public beaches. There is one at Bygdøy, one next to the Opera House, or jump off the docks right next to the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Contemporary Art!
● Fjord Galore – Oslofjord is unsurprisingly lovely in the Summer. As I mentioned above, this is a great time to swim, but it’s also awesome for fishing, or just simply enjoying the views. On Oslofjord, you can also take a boat ride, kayak, or splish splash while taking in all of the beauty Oslo offers. Many people also enjoy taking the small ferries out to the islands for swimming and a BBQ!
● Visit the Norsk Folkemuseum Open-Air Folk Museum – The Norsk Folkemuseum, located on Bygdøy in Oslo, Norway, has one of the world’s most comprehensive collections of artifacts from all social classes and areas of the country. It also features a large open-air museum with more than 150 reconstructed structures from across Norway.
● Rooftop Concerts at the Opera – During the summertime, the Opera House hosts a number of rooftop concerts, which are a great way to enjoy some live music. Sit back and relax as you let the sweet sounds of the city wash over you.
You might also like: The Best Low Budget Hotel in Oslo
H2: So, Did You Figure it Out?
If you remember correctly, I mentioned that there would be a missing month at the beginning of this post. Did you figure it out?
It’s November! But why November, you ask?
Well, in my opinion, it’s just not a great time to visit Oslo. The weather is starting to get colder, and the days are shorter. There are also fewer things to do, as many of the tourist attractions are closed for the winter. It’s cold, it’s dark, and it’s often raining. So, in my opinion, it’s just not worth it.
With that being said, if you would still love to visit Oslo and don’t want to wait until December or for the weather to get warmer, then you still have the option to embrace yourself in the history of it all. For example, you can check out two fantastic museums in Bygdøy:
● Kon-Tiki Museum: This museum is about the adventures of the famous explorer Thor Heyerdahl. The museum is located in a beautiful setting, and has plenty to see and do!
● Fram Museum: The Fram museum is also located in Bygdøy, and is a great place to visit if you are interested in the history of polar exploration. This museum has a lot to offer, including a huge ice-breaking ship called FRAM, as well as an impressive amount of artifacts!
You can also take a walk to the beautiful Oslo City Hall, where you can see architecture at its finest and take in the views of the city. Read all about Oslo City Hall in my previous blog, “Visit the Oslo City Hall – A public living room.” Or, enjoy a Sauna by the fjord, which is a great way to relax and bond with your friends or family, and they’re open all year round! Check out my blog post Enjoy Sauna by the Oslo Fjord, to learn more about this remarkable experience.
If you’re looking for the best time to visit Oslo, I would recommend either Summertime or Wintertime. Both have their own unique charm, there is plenty to do, and the seasonal weather is perfect for enjoying all that the city offers.
Thanks for reading! I hope this ultimate seasonal guide has provided you with all the information you need to plan the perfect trip to Oslo. Happy and safe travels!
Traveling to Oslo soon? Check out my YouTube videos for visuals, and tips, and join me on my many adventures!
There's no doubt that some of the most beautiful months in Oslo, Norway, are September and October, when the sky often glows in warm hues, the air is crisp, and leaves start to turn yellow.What is the rainiest month in Oslo? ›
The month with the most days of rain alone in Oslo is August, with an average of 10.7 days. Snow alone is the most common for 1.3 weeks, from January 29 to February 7.Is October a good time to visit Oslo? ›
October is an ideal time of year to enjoy Norway's colorful fall scenery in peace and quiet, as travelers are few and far between. This is also when days get shorter, temperatures drop, and the Northern Lights begin to reappear above the Arctic Circle.How many days do you need in Oslo? ›
2 days is the perfect amount of time to spend in Oslo. You can easily cover the city's best sights, eat some delicious food, visit a few of the many amazing museums on offer, and enjoy being in nature – Oslo is, after all, situated on a fjord and surrounded by forest.When can you see Northern Lights in Oslo? ›
Northern Lights season in Norway
November through February is the absolute peak season for Northern Lights viewing because the nights are the longest, but a visit anytime between September and March should give you a good chance to see them, with March offering the best chance of clear skies.
If you're on a tight budget, the cheapest time to visit Norway is between November and April. You can find some pretty affordable tickets when you visit during this period. People around the world are less likely to travel during these months, so the low demand for tickets means lower prices.What is the best month to go to Norway? ›
June, July and August are the best months to go to Norway for warmer temperatures and longer days. The warmest month in Norway is July, when there's the fabled midnight sun – ideal for hiking, cycling, kayaking and berry picking. Prices will be at a premium and midges buzz (and bite) around the marshlands.When can you see the northern lights in Norway? ›
Between late September and late March, Northern Norway is dark from early afternoon until late morning, and the northern lights frequently soar across the sky.What months are dark in Norway? ›
November, December, and January are dark months in all of Norway though, unlike the north, southern Norway does continue to see sun during the winter months.Can you see the Northern Lights from Oslo in October? ›
During September, October, and November, you have the chance to see the Northern Lights in Norway when visiting above the Arctic Circle. It starts to get dark from early afternoon in September and by late November, there are few direct sunlight hours at all in Northern Norway.
What kind of shoes to pack for Norway depends highly on what you plan to do. In general, light sneakers or walking shoes are best for sightseeing. However, if you plan to go hiking, you really need good hiking boots.What is the rainy season in Norway? ›
On average, there is at least some rainfall in Bergen on 239 days of the year. September to November tends to be the wettest season and while there's no such thing as a dry season, you may have more luck from April thru June. That said, no matter what time of year you visit you should pack appropriately.What should I not miss in Oslo? ›
- Oslo Museum and First City Hall.
- Holmenkollen Ski Jump.
- Akershus Fortress.
- Edvard Munch Museet.
- Vigeland Sculpture Park.
- Oslo's Opera House.
- Oslo's City Hall.
I won't lie and tell you that Oslo isn't expensive but I was to show you that it's still possible to visit Oslo without breaking the bank. Sure you can go all out and eat at the fanciest restaurants, stay at 5* hotels and get taxis everywhere but you don't need to. You can definitely visit Oslo on a budget.Is Oslo a walkable city? ›
Many central areas in Oslo are traffic-free, which makes the compact city even more walkable. Exploring on foot is also easy in Bergen, Trondheim, Stavanger, and Tromsø, where most attractions, restaurants and hotels are within walking distance of the city centre.Are Northern Lights tours worth it? ›
They're definitely worth the time, expense, and cold to see them at least once in a lifetime. And if you want to see the aurora Norway is the place to go! That said, I know there can be a bit of confusion surrounding the northern lights and how to set off in search of them.Is Iceland or Norway better for Northern Lights? ›
However, while all of Iceland is in prime northern lights territory, things aren't the same in Norway. You'll need to travel to the north of the country for a similar likelihood of a display.What airlines fly to Norway from USA? ›
Which airlines offer direct flights to Norway? Scandinavian Airlines and Norse Atlantic Airways both fly non-stop to Norway.How many days are enough for Norway? ›
We recommend a minimum of 5 days to really explore and delve into what Norway has to offer. If you have less time than that, don't worry – there's still lots you can see and do. Obviously, there is no one-size-fits-all trip to anywhere as everyone has different requirements and expectations.Do they speak English in Norway? ›
English is widely spoken in Norway, and virtually every Norwegian can speak fluent (or understand a minimum of, this is mostly the elder people) English. Tourist information is usually printed in several languages.
While sailings to Norway typically range from May to September, June to August is the peak of the season due to its pleasant weather, making this the best time to cruise the Norwegian Fjords.What is the best time to visit the fjords? ›
The summer, with its warmer weather and plenty of opportunities for outdoors activities, is the high season for travelers to Norway, with fjord Norway being a hugely popular attraction. The autumn will bring lovely fall colors to the fjord landscape and is a great season for exploring Norway's natural landscape.What is the best time to visit Scandinavian countries? ›
Summer (June – August)
No surprise here: June, July and August are the most popular months for travellers coming to Scandinavia. There are loads of reasons why people choose this time, not least of all being the temperate, sunny weather and the wonderful 'summer house' coastal culture found throughout the region.
No. Huge geomagnetic storms, the kind that can cause very intense displays of the northern lights, don't happen every night, even during solar maximum.What clothes to wear in Norway in September? ›
You might see a wide range of temperatures, a high probability of rain - especially on west coast and possibility of strong winds. Dress in layers with warm clothing inside and windproof and waterproof outer layer. A light scarf, light head cover and light gloves can be useful if you want spend time outdoor.What months are the Northern Lights the best? ›
The early fall and early spring are statistically related to periods of more solar activity, so the months of September and March are usually the best to enjoy a big display of Northern Lights. September is one of the best months to see the Northern Lights.What is the most famous dish from Norway? ›
Fårikål is widely considered to be the national dish of Norway. It's a simple but hearty Norwegian dish made with lamb, cabbage, and potatoes. Fårikål is a seasonal Norwegian dish that's traditionally consumed during Norway's colder months, starting in September, to welcome autumn.What is the least rainy month in Norway? ›
The drier season lasts 7.7 months, from August 24 to April 13. The month with the fewest wet days in Norway is February, with an average of 6.4 days with at least 0.04 inches of precipitation.What day is the shortest and darkest in Norway? ›
The December solstice (winter solstice) in Oslo is at 4:27 am on Friday, December 22, 2023. In terms of daylight, this day is 12 hours, 56 minutes shorter than the June solstice. In most locations north of the equator, the shortest day of the year is around this date.Is Tromsø worth a visit? ›
YES. Tromsø is a great city break for a long weekend in the winter or summer if you're Europe-based and is a perfect addition to a Norway trip if you're not. You can check out my Tromsø itinerary which details just how many days you should spend in the Northern Norwegian capital.
2022 was a great year in terms of solar activity, and we saw great displays during our Iceland Northern Lights Photo Tour and our Orcas & Aurora tour in Norway, with the biggest displays that we have seen in years.Can I travel to Norway from USA now? ›
Country-Specific Information: As of February 12, 2022, the travel-restrictions upon entry into Norway were lifted. The same rules as prior to the COVID-19 pandemic apply.What you Cannot bring to Norway? ›
Drugs, medicines and poisons (minor quantities of medicine for personal use are permitted) Alcohol over 60% alcohol by volume. Weapons and ammunition. Fireworks.What can you not bring into Norway? ›
Illegal drugs, prescription medicines that are not intended for personal use or in very large quantities, alcoholic beverages over 60 percent alcohol, weapons and ammunition, fireworks, birds and exotic animals, as well as plants for cultivation, are all prohibited. Also prohibited in Norway is the import of potatoes.How do you show respect in Norway? ›
- Greetings are casual, with a firm handshake, direct eye contact, and a smile.
- Norwegians are egalitarian and casual; they often introduce themselves with their first name only.
- In some circumstances people may use the honorific title "Herr" (Mr.) or "Fru" (Mrs.)
During the Polar Night, which lasts from November to January, the sun doesn't rise at all. Then the days get progressively longer until the Midnight Sun period, from May to July, when it never sets. After the midnight sun, the days get shorter and shorter again until the Polar Night, and the yearly cycle repeats.Is October a good month to visit Norway? ›
Autumn is the perfect time for a city break – which can easily include both a mountain hike and a steaming hot spa. In Norway, autumn brings a wide range of temperatures and weather. Summery vibes may last well into October in Southern Norway, while the rain sometimes turns into snow in early November in the mountains.What is Norway famous for? ›
- Mind-boggling fjords. ...
- Awe-inspiring northern lights. ...
- Exceptional wildlife. ...
- Unforgettable rail journeys. ...
- Authentic heritage. ...
- Abundance of outdoor pursuits. ...
- Postcard-like islands.
September is an especially wonderful time to visit Norway, as the last bits of summer transition into the golden hues of early fall. Temperatures in southern Norway are in the 60s Fahrenheit during the day, 50s in the evening.What is Oslo like in September? ›
The average temperature in Oslo in September for a typical day ranges from a high of 59°F (15°C) to a low of 44°F (7°C). Some would describe it as moderately chilly, humid but cool. For comparison, the hottest month in Oslo, July, has days with highs of 70°F (21°C) and lows of 53°F (12°C).
September is a wonderful time to visit Norway! The busy summer season has ended and it's the start of autumn, so expect fewer crowds at top attractions and less traffic on the roads. There's still a good amount of daylight hours in Norway in September and the weather is pleasantly mild.What is the Weather like in Norway during September? ›
In September, days get shorter, the air becomes crisper, and golden hues begin to appear making it a dazzling time to visit Norway's fjords. Temperatures in the southern portion of the coast fall in the low 60s Fahrenheit during the day, and 50s in the evening.What is the rainiest month in Norway? ›
The month with the most wet days in Norway is July, with an average of 11.9 days with at least 0.04 inches of precipitation. The drier season lasts 7.7 months, from August 24 to April 13. The month with the fewest wet days in Norway is February, with an average of 6.4 days with at least 0.04 inches of precipitation.Can you see the Northern Lights from Oslo in September? ›
During September, October, and November, you have the chance to see the Northern Lights in Norway when visiting above the Arctic Circle. It starts to get dark from early afternoon in September and by late November, there are few direct sunlight hours at all in Northern Norway.Do I need a PCR test to go to Oslo? ›
You can travel to Norway without having to worry about anything more than having a good time! No testing, no face masks, no hassle.What time does it get dark in Oslo in September? ›
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The best months to see the Aurora Borealis in Norway are from late September to early April when there are more hours of darkness during the polar night. However, in this period September and March are statistically the best time since the solar activity that causes the Northern Lights is higher during that period.What months can you see the Northern Lights in Norway? ›
Between late September and late March, Northern Norway is dark from early afternoon until late morning, and the northern lights frequently soar across the sky.What time does it get dark in Norway in September? ›
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Almost everything in the Norwegian capital costs more than it would in any other Scandinavian city, second only to Copenhagen. Mercer's Cost of Living Survey for 2022 ranked Oslo as the 27th most expensive city in the world (out of 227 cities surveyed).
Winter in Norway
If you love snow activities and don't mind the cold temperatures, you'll find the most snow between December and April. January and February are dark and the coldest months, so if you're heading to one of the ski areas in Norway, pick March.