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During the winter months of December, January and February visitors come to experience nature away from the crowds. Find a peaceful moment by the winter fjord, try activities with or without skis and discover the culture and history of Fjord Norway.

Temperature and climate

Winters in Fjord Norway are milder and wetter than in other places at the same latitude, thanks to the Gulf Stream, a warm Atlantic Ocean current. The closer to the sea you are, rain and milder temperatures tend to be more common than snow and ice, whereas inland and mountain regions get colder days with more snow. Town centers in Bergen and Stavanger still have a chance of snow, but it rarely stays on the ground for long periods. In Bergen, the seven mountains that surround the city center usually have white tips in the winter months. Solstice in late December marks the shortest day of the year, when the region gets just shy of five hours of sunlight. This means that outdoor activities such as hiking trips need to be carefully planned according to daylight hours and weather.

Average low-high temperatures in coastal areas: 1-5 ºC

Inland and mountain regions: -3 ºC to -8 ºC

Loen Skylift.|© Bård Basberg

What to do in winter

Visitors in winter can choose from many activities with and without snow. Sea and sky show us the raw powers that have shaped the landscape, and areas along the coast go through what we call “storm season” during these months. On a storm watching adventure in Kalvåg or Solund, you can experience anything from a rainstorm, snow and howling winds, to a calm day with winter sun. Spectacular either way!

Skiing is a popular winter activity for locals and visitors, and ski resorts are lucky to have incredible views on top of great snow conditions. Voss, Stranda, Sirdal and Sogndal have some of the most popular resorts in the region, located at higher altitudes with heavier snowfall. The resorts normally open around December with the season lasting until Easter or later. However, opening and closing dates vary from one year to the next. Some locations like Myrkdalen get heavier snowfalls than others but are still subject to yearly fluctuations in temperature and snowfalls. The varied landscape means you can go cross-country, alpine skiing, snowboarding or enjoy family-friendly slopes. For the more adventurous, the mountainous region is also known as a great place for off-piste skiing. The location of the ski resorts close to the major towns and charming villages makes it easy to combine a skiing trip with a city break or winter fjord cruise.

To experience winter without skis, many activity companies also offer year-round adventures in nature. Snowshoeing, a guided evening walk with a headlight or a winter fjord safari by RIB-boat are some of the things you can experience.

Several museums and attractions have fewer visitors in winter and therefore shorter opening hours, so do check beforehand the opening hours and season of the sightseeing or activity you have in mind. Something that does not require any preparation or booking is also, according to the locals, the perfect way to wrap up a winter day. “Kos” translates loosely into “cozy”, and even though it can mean different things to different people, in wintertime there are some common elements. Key ingredients are either a blanket, a crackling fire or candles that create a warm, inviting atmosphere. Secondly add a good meal, a hot chocolate or a little snack. Finally, you need some music, perhaps a boardgame, good conversation or simply a peaceful moment all to yourself to read a good book or reflect on the memories you have collected.

Read more about winter in the fjords