Fjord Norway promises adventure and outdoor experiences, as well as cultural highlights and sightseeing all year round. The landscape goes through an incredible transformation with the changing seasons, from snow-covered mountains to bright, almost neon-coulored fjords and forests, waiting to be explored. Not only do we see gradual changes as the months go by, but the weather can also change in an instant, and sometimes it feels like you have experienced all four seasons in just a single day! Therefore, choosing the right attire and footwear when visiting Fjord Norway is important for two reasons. Firstly, it will help you stay safe. Secondly, we want you to get the most out of your experience!
Some of our most popular activities like hiking, biking or kayaking take you through varied terrain in places where the next town or village can be miles away. Luckily, many hikes are mapped and graded after difficulty level, and we have compiled a guide of the grading system, a packing list and general tips for a safe outdoor experience.
This list is best suited for summer activities when most trails are snow-free. However, a multitude of guide companies offers all year round, off-the-beaten-track adventures. Choosing a guided adventure not only ensures you a safe experience but learning about the landscape, wildlife and maybe a story or two about the people who live here is worth it. While the guide will sort out the best route and consider which are the best viewpoints, it’s still up to you to stay warm and comfortable.
Visiting in the summer
The summer brings out incredible, bright colours in the fjords, and the charming fjord cities that line the coast provide a perfect base for exploration. Many visitors prefer to mix it up, combining cultural sights with excursions and adventures in the fjords and mountains. Your packing list should be suited to the type of activities you have planned and also to your destination. Mountain resorts and popular hiking destinations in high altitudes have a cool crisp in the air even in summer, and you may also see some snow. The cities and fjord valleys enjoy a milder climate, where temperatures can hover around 20-25 degrees Celsius from June-August, perfect for outdoor activities or a casual city stroll. Even though sunscreen might not be the first thing you think to pack when visiting a Nordic country, the sun sets late in the evening and we enjoy long summer days, so the sun exposure can be quite strong on days with a clear, blue sky. Especially if you plan to do a guided glacier walk or visit a summer ski resort, sunscreen and sunglasses will protect you from the powerful reflection of the blue ice. However, this varies from year to year, and there is always a chance of a cool summer where you may need rain boots and a jacket as well as sandals and shorts. Check the weather forecast at yr.no before you go!
Autumn, winter and spring
Picture this: you’ve hiked for hours. You’ve finally reached that panorama view of fjords and mountains that you’ve only seen in photos. At the top, the silence is broken by chirping birds and your chattering teeth. Your feet are plotting their vengeance for having put them through the long terrain hike in thin-soled shoes without ankle support. You snap a couple of quick photos and hope your camera or phone can endure a few raindrops, before heading quickly back to civilization. Those gorgeous views, enjoying a break after accomplishing your goal – it just isn’t the same if you are a shivering, wet mess, or if you can’t go at all due to lack of proper clothes. This is not to say that you should ignore the forecast if you have proper equipment – staying safe is the first and foremost priority. Bad weather is an excellent excuse to stay in and explore indoor activities until it is safe to go.
The key to tackling weather changes is to have layers that check these three boxes:
Every layer has its purpose and combining them makes you able to regulate your temperature with the changing weather. A good windbreaker jacket and pants keeps the wind and rain in check. Add a mid-layer of fleece or another warm fabric, and finally a layer of wool against your body to keep the cold out. If the sun suddenly smiles down on you, it’s easy to stuff the fleece in your backpack, and take it out again for when you sit down for break. A hat, warm gloves and good, solid shoes take care of the rest. Cold hands can be prevented with some mittens that can withstand a bit of rain. Having many layers gives you the chance to regulate your temperature, so do bring a backpack big enough to fit your extra clothing, or to stash away something if you get too warm.
Tip: Some guide companies have certain pieces of equipment and clothing for hire, so if you have already planned your activities, check what they have (and if they have your size) and what you may need to bring.