Climate of Norway
Where is the country of Norway located? Norway is a Scandinavian country. Norway has a mild climate if you look at its position on the world map. Under the strong influence of the Atlantic Ocean, it gets quite cold in winter, but – given the latitudes between which the country is located – could have turned out a lot colder. The Atlantic Gulf Stream also ensures that the seawater is relatively warm and therefore almost never freezes. Only during very extreme winters can the seawater in the far north of Norway freeze. According to the Köppen-Geiger climate system, Norway has five climates. The coastal areas in the southwest and south have a temperate maritime climate, type Cfb. This is characterized by relatively mild winters and summers, in combination with precipitation throughout the year. Small spots along the western coastal area have a cool maritime climate (type Cfc), with temperatures slightly lower in both winter and summer than in the south. The interior in the south and southwest has a moderate continental climate (type Dfb), where the sea has less influence, the weather is more erratic and the winter months are somewhat cooler. Further north you will find a combination of three climates. For a large part the interior has a cool continental climate (type Dfd), changing into a tundra climate (type ET) and in some higher parts of central Norway a high mountain climate (type EH). About ninety percent of Norway falls under the umbrella classification of subarctic climate. Characteristics of this are the relatively short summers, the possibility of very low temperatures (minus 30 to minus 40 degrees Celsius) in winter and the large temperature fluctuations that are possible.
Influence of the Atlantic Ocean
The influence of the Atlantic Ocean ensures that the temperatures in the summer in the south are somewhat tempered and that it does not cool down too much in the winter, especially along the coast. Inland, the effect of the relatively warm ocean water fades quickly, so that temperatures there in winter can be a lot lower than along the coast.
The ocean also provides the supply of many rainfall depressions. As a result, the southwest of Norway in particular receives a fair amount of precipitation, of which a large part falls in the form of snow in the winter months.
The ocean also creates a lot of wind. The coasts of Norway are very windy. The interplay of wind and seawater has largely formed the characteristic landscape with the many fjords and rugged rock formations.
The wind along the coast of Norway is moderate to strong for about three quarters of the year. The windiest is the extreme southeast. The wind that is brought over the Skagerrak towards Færder Fyr and Frederikstad causes stormy weather in this region about 30 days a year.
Summers in Norway are on the cool side. Under the influence of high pressure areas above Scandinavia, it can get hot in the months of June, July and August, but it usually stops at 25 to 28 degrees. It can get a little warmer on a single day, but this is more the exception than the rule. The summer months in Norway are characterized by long days. In the south, the night in June lasts only 5 to 6 hours, in the far north the sun doesn’t even set at all and you can enjoy the midsummer night. Summers can be called cool in the northern half of Norway. Daytime temperatures there barely exceed 20 degrees in the summer (on average it is 14 to 15 degrees during the day) and at night it is on average only a few degrees above freezing. Not ideal conditions for a holiday in the sun.
Norway has a reputation for being a wet country. That is only partly true. The lower areas along the west coast can be called fairly wet. On an annual basis, depending on the exact location, about 800 to 1200 millimeters of precipitation falls there. That is about half more than in the Netherlands. On the windward side of the mountains, rising rains arise, which means that the precipitation amounts can quickly add up. This is especially the case in the south of Norway: there the annual amounts can rise to 2000 to no less than 4000 millimeters of precipitation. Characteristic for this area are the slightly drier spring and the considerably wetter autumn, in which precipitation is often combined with a fair amount of wind. In winter, much of the precipitation falls in the form of snow, hail and sleet. On the leeward side of the mountains there is little precipitation. With an average of 300 to 400 millimeters, the valleys in Oppland are the driest. Skjåk is the driest place in Norway with 278 millimeters on an annual basis. Norway’s northernmost county, Troms og Finnmark, is also considered a dry place in Norway. There is an average of four hundred and fifty (northwest of Finnmark) to about three hundred millimeters of precipitation per year. The places along the Oslofjord, including the capital Oslo, are also quite dry compared to the places a little further west along the coast. On average there is 500 to 600 millimeters of precipitation per year.
The figures below are based on long-term average climate statistics. The temperatures are displayed in degrees Celsius (°C).
|Maximum temperature||Minimum temperature||Hours of sunshine per day||Days of rainfall per month||Water temperature|
Best time to visit Norway
Do you want to know when is the best time to travel to Norway? You can determine the best time to travel to a destination based on the weather and climate. In addition, there are other factors that are not directly related to the weather and that can influence the best travel periods for a travel destination. Think, for example, of holidays or festive periods, which makes traveling more interesting or not, because daily life comes to a standstill as a result. The Kingdom of Norway is the westernmost part of the Scandinavian Peninsula. Norway has a very long coastline. Due to the many fjords and inlets, it covers more than 25 thousand kilometers. If you count the coasts of all the islands, you come to about one hundred thousand kilometers. The landscape of Noordwegen consists of highlands mixed with mountain areas and lowlands in the east and southeast. The western side of Norway is wet due to the influx of rain from the Atlantic Ocean. As a result, there is a moderate maritime climate in the western parts of the country, which locally changes into a cool maritime climate at higher altitudes. The moderate continental climate is common in the southeast. Locally, this is also referred to as the Baltic climate. The interior of Norway mainly has a cool continental climate, which is also referred to as a subarctic climate. At higher elevations, there is mainly a tundra climate. Northern Norway mainly consists of tundra.
Because it can get very cold in Norway during the winter and spring and autumn can also be cool in large parts of the country, summer is the best time to travel to Norway. The best months are June, July and August. This is the period with the highest temperatures and the most sunshine. You have to be a bit lucky when it comes to precipitation. Sometimes it can be dry for days, but it can also happen that there is a period of more than a week in which rain falls daily. It just depends on which direction the weather is coming from. If there is a stable high pressure area over western Scandinavia, it can be sunny, dry and warm for a long time. Maximum temperatures of 25 to 30 degrees are then possible in the south of Norway. In Norwegian Lapland it often stops at a degree of 22 to 24 in the summer.
If you want to make a city trip to Norwegian cities such as Bergen, Oslo or Stavanger, May and September can also be fine. The best time to travel for a city break is therefore from May to September. In Bergen, where more than two thousand millimeters of rain falls annually, we would rather opt for May or June because of the precipitation. Autumn is considerably wetter there than spring. In Oslo you see that spring is also drier than autumn, but the amounts of rain are smaller than in Bergen.
The combination of cold, snow and mountains provides good conditions for all kinds of winter sports. In Norway people mainly do cross-country skiing, but skiing, snowboarding and skating are also possible. In addition, activities such as snow hiking, snowmobile trips or trips with a reindeer or dog sled are very well possible in Norway. Especially if you go on holiday further north. There it can get icy cold with minimum temperatures that can drop below minus 30 degrees. The best travel time for winter sports in Norway is from December to March.
In winter you can witness a magical phenomenon in Norway: the aurora borealis or the northern lights. This mostly green light manifests itself during the dark polar nights when there is solar wind. To have a good chance of seeing the aurora in Norway, it is best to travel to Norway between November and February. The further north you travel, the more likely you are to experience the Northern Lights.
Norway is an excellent destination for whale watching. In addition to whales, you can also see other marine wildlife such as dolphins. Whale tours and dolphin excursions are organized from various places in Norway, such as Trømso and Andenes. Several species of whales live in waters around Norway, such as sperm whales, orcas and humpback whales. The best time to go whale watching is from May to September.