Some tourists tend to warm regions in winter, away from snow and frost. Other, on the contrary, prefer a winter fairy tale. Norway is an excellent choice for those who love winter nature, snow-covered European towns and winter entertainment. Today, we will tell you why it is a good idea to go to Norway in winter.
The main thing first - the weather. Although Norway is located in the north of Europe, the climate there is mild thanks to the warm current of the Gulf Stream. In the capital, the temperature rarely drops below -7°C in winter, and in some places on the coast, it is completely stable at zero. This is a great opportunity not to freeze to the bone, but at the same time to admire the beauty of the Norwegian nature.
And now, we are going to tell you what to do in Norway in winter.
- Take a walk in Oslo
Acquaintance with almost any country begins with its capital. Oslo is a relatively small city, and it will take a couple of days to fully explore it.
The heart of the Norwegian capital is Karl Johan Street. While walking along it, you can look at the Royal Palace, admire the city hall, where the famous Nobel Prize is awarded, and go out to the embankment. Oslo's coastal area is not only about fishermen, cafes with local cuisine and plenty of masts, but also the New Opera is located here. The highlight of the building is that you can climb onto its roof, which is completely free of charge. On one side, you will have a view of the city center, and on the other - a view of the coastal islets.
Video by Mikołaj Szczepka
Norway is the homeland of the warlike Vikings. It is not surprising that many museums in Oslo are dedicated to them. One of them displays the ships of brave sailors, the other is completely dedicated to Thor Heyerdahl, the famous warrior and leader, who crossed the Pacific Ocean on a wooden ship. Fans of military history may also like the Akershus Fortress with its Military History Museum. And if your plan for Oslo includes more than one or even more than a dozen museums, then the Oslo Pass will come in handy. It gives you free use of public transport and free admission to 30 museums.
Speaking about the parks in Oslo in winter, the Vigeland Park looks the most interesting of them all with its hundreds of sculptures. Surrounded by bare trees and covered with a layer of snow, they look so fabulous.
- Go downhill skiing
The popularity of winter sports in Norway is as obvious and natural as the popularity of diving in the Maldives. Ski resorts are scattered across the country, so finding the right one for you will not be difficult.
If you do not want to go far from Oslo, then the capital's winter park Tryvann is at your service. One of the largest ski resorts in Norway, Trysil, with its 70 kilometers of ski slopes, is a three-hour drive from the capital. Eikedalen, another alpine center, is located a little further. Those who follow major world sporting events may be interested in the Lillehammer complex, which hosted the 1994 Winter Olympics.
In the north of Norway, you can not only go skiing or snowboarding, but do it with a view of the fjords. Be aware that the climate here is not as mild as in the capital. The air in the mountains can cool down to -20°C and below. But the adrenaline rush from the downhill skiing trail easily compensates for the frost.
You can not only go skiing in the Viking country, but also dog sledding. Locals call Norway the birthplace of this entertainment. A Sami village near Tromso offers a more exotic leisure activity - reindeer sleigh rides.
But perhaps the most interesting of these kinds of entertainment is snowkiting. A hybrid of a snowboard and a kite will allow you to reach speeds of up to 100 kilometers per hour, and from trampolines you will literally fly up to the sky. The most popular snowkiting spots in Norway are Geilo, Varanger and Hardangervidda.
- Sleep in an ice hotel
Every year, a hotel is built from the ice of the lake in the city of Kirkenes. In Kirkenes Snowhotel, you can warm up with a cocktail in the ice bar, sleep in the ice bedroom, all without the risk of getting frostbitten. Guests are given special sleeping bags that are placed on thick mattresses so that the cold is not felt. Moreover, the inside of the ice rooms is much warmer than the outside, thanks to the insulating properties of the snow.
The rooms in the ice hotel are booked very quickly, despite the high price, and the establishment itself is open from the end of December to the beginning of April. The room rate includes two meals a day and a lot of popular entertainment in Norway - snowmobiling, sauna and much more.
The second ice hotel in Norway is located in the city of Alta.
- Hunt for the Northern Lights
Due to its mild climate compared to other northern European countries, Norway is very popular among hunters for the Northern Lights. The greatest chance to see mesmerizing atmospheric lights is from December to February.
The best place to see the lights is in the vicinity of Tromsø or in areas north of the Lofoten Islands. From Oslo or any other major city, you can buy a tour, which may include additional entertainment such as a visit to a Sami village, a dog sledding ride and deer watching.
- Video by National Geographic
- Cross the Arctic Circle
If you do not want to leave the mainland of Norway for this, then you need to go to the North Cape. This is the northernmost tip of continental Europe and a place where only a scattering of small islands in the ocean will separate you from the North Pole. There are many lakes in the vicinity of the cape, so ice fishing is a popular tourist entertainment in these parts.
The Lofoten Islands are also located above the Arctic Circle. It is more difficult to get here than to North Cape, but you will receive a real portal to the past as a reward. The island has a Viking museum, housed in an 80-meter dwelling discovered by archaeologists. And the life of the inhabitants of the islands differs little from the life of their ancestors. Mostly fishermen live in Lofoten. This provides a number of interesting opportunities such as tasting fresh and inexpensive (by the standards of Norway) seafood or even spending the night in a rorbu, a traditional fishing hut.
In winter, flocks of whales and killer whales can be seen from the shores of the Lofoten Islands. Graceful animals jump out of the water and seem to pose specially for spectacular photos. Whales come closest to the shore near the northern archipelago of Vesterålen.
- Take a photo with the fjords in the background
Fjords, narrow bays and cliffs overhanging water, are the symbol of Norway. In winter, they are covered with snow and look especially impressive. The famous fjords Sogne, Lyse, Geiranger are located on the western coast of Norway. In winter, they are warmed by the Gulf Stream, so it is not particularly cold here.
The most popular fjord for winter excursions is Nereus. The world's narrowest fjord stretches for 18 kilometers, and its shores are lined with tiny fishing villages that you can visit during the tour. Near the village of Flåm, there is an amazing photo site above the fjord - Stegastein.
Norway is both austere and charming. In winter, many of its places look like fairytale pictures and are strikingly different from what can be seen here in summer.