14 Places to Visit in Norway in Winter (That Aren’t Tromsø!)

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Are you considering booking a trip to Norway in winter? There are many amazing places to visit in Norway in winter but for some reason, everyone picks Tromsø.

I get it, Tromsø is awesome.  I’ve traveled to Tromsø in winter (and in summer).  But, you can have the ‘Tromsø’ experience in other destinations in Norway during winter.

This guide is not to deter anyone from visiting Tromsø in winter!  It is just letting you know that other options do exist if you get stuck with price, activities, or flights.  And trust me, many of these Norwegian cities, towns, and village ROCK during the winter.  

These are the best places to visit in Norway in winter… beyond Tromsø.

Where to Go in Norway During Winter

This list is hand-picked and I’ve chosen some very mainstream and popular places as well as some unconventional places.  Some require a bit of effort to get to, and others like Oslo, simply require a flight or train ride in.  

We have also listed the area of Norway, the daylight situation (is it completely dark in winter?), as well as unique experiences that will entice you to travel to the Norwegian winter destination. 

We also list a few pros and cons of the destination and we give some of the resources on this site that may help you plan your Norway winter trip.

If you have any winter tips for Norway, please drop them in the comments!

Considering a trip to Norway in winter? This guide will walk you through the best places to visit in Norway in winter and tell you the pros and cons of each. Tromsø excluded! | Places to visit in Norway | Norway in winter | Norway winter trips | Norway winter destinations | Tromsø | Lofoten Islands | Bergen | Oslo | Northern lights in Norway | Where to see the northern lights in Norway | Visit Norway | Winter in Norway | Christmas in Norway | Norway in December | Norway destinations | Norway nature

Things to Consider Before Booking a Norway Winter Trip

There are some things to consider before booking a trip to Norway during winter.  

  • Are you visiting Norway for snow?
  • Are you traveling to Norway for adventure?
  • On the hunt for the Northern Lights?
  • Really… why are you coming?!

When you figure out what is most important to you, personally, for your trip, then you can decide on which destination(s) are the best.

But, one thing we can assure you is that no matter which place you choose on this list- you will absolutely fall in love with Norway.

Best places to visit in Norway in winter - Lofoten
Best places to visit in Norway in winter 

Norway Daylight in the Winter

Another big thing to consider when planning a trip to Norway is the daylight situation.  It is poor in winter.  I say that with a laugh because in some places, it virtually doesn’t exist.

However, as you probably guessed, the further south you are, the more daylight you will have.  Oslo, for example, will still have like nearly 6 hours of daylight on the winter solstice.   

But, if you venture far north to Nordkapp, Hammerfest, or Svalbard, you won’t get any daylight.  I was in Lofoten during winter and the sun doesn’t actually ‘rise’, but there are a couple of hours of the day that look like a never-ending sunset.  

So, plan accordingly.

On this guide, we have also included an area that details the sunrise and sunset times.  We generically picked December 21 as an indicator as that is the winter solstice (the longest day of the year!).

Roros Norway in winter
Winter in Røros, Norway

Temperatures in Norway During Winter

The average temperatures in Norway vary during the winter.  It depends on what month as well as the location.  Generally speaking, the coastal areas are warmer than inland. 

For example, Bergen is warmer than Oslo.  We will list the average December temperatures for each destination (since holiday travel is the most common).

What to Pack for Winter in Norway

What you should pack really depends on which destination you’ll be visiting on a Norway holiday.  Some places, like Bergen, are reminiscent of autumn in Norway instead of a snowy and cold winter.  

We recommend you view our packing guide for winter in Norway to get a better idea of what we think you should bring.  It is very detailed and gives suggestions for both men and women.

Map of Places to Go to in Norway in Winter

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Winter Destinations in Norway

These fourteen places have been hand-selected and I will start with some of the popular destinations first and then move along to lesser-known places.  I think they are all fantastic picks for winter travels in Norway… but for very different reasons!

Oslo

Average Temperatures (December):  High: 1C/34F  Low: -4C/25F
Sunrise and Sunset on December 21:  9:18am and 3:12pm
Pros of visiting Oslo in winter:  usually gets snow, capital city so lots to do, cross-country skiing options
Cons of visiting Oslo in winter:  no northern lights or ‘Arctic’ feel, no dramatic fjords like you may imagine from Norway

Oslo snowboard winter in Norway
Oslo Winter Park

I spent a little over three years living in Oslo and I know that city like the back of my hand (I still go back a lot so I learn all of the new things to do in Oslo).  While it may not be everyone’s ‘cup of tea’ when it comes to a magical wonderland winter visit, hear me out…

You can ski and snowboard right in Oslo.  Seriously… you take the t-bane (metro) right up the mountain to Frognerseteren and you can ski, snowboard, cross-country ski, and sled.  There are Christmas markets in Oslo that also give it a cozy feel during winter.

While visiting Oslo during winter may not be for travelers hunting down the northern lights, it definitely has its appeal.  In addition, Oslo has the best museums in Norway and you can find everything from the Nobel Peace Prize Center to Viking Museums.  

Unique experiences:  KOK Sauna (floating sauna), SNØ (world’s largest indoor ski center), SALT (sauna and cultural hub on the Oslofjord), can take a metro to ski or snowboard right in the city

Here are some of our Oslo guides that will help you plan an epic winter trip:

Bergen

Average Temperatures (December):  High: 5C/41F  Low: 1C/34F
Sunrise and Sunset on December 21:  9:44am and 3:29pm
Pros of visiting Bergen in winter:  the fjords don’t melt and you can cruise on them, mild temperatures, Pepperkakebyen
Cons of visiting Bergen in winter:  no snow (if that is what you’ve come for), lots of rain, fewer tour options

Across the harbor from Bryggen in Bergen
Bergen in winter

Bergen holds a special place in my heart as it was where I first lived in Norway and the very first place I visited in the country before even deciding to relocate there. 

However, Bergen is often overlooked as a winter destination in Norway.  Is that warranted?  Not totally.

Bergen doesn’t always get snow during the winter and when it comes, it often melts.  But, it will get rain.  At least around 20 days a month of the stuff.

So, what makes Bergen in winter appealing?  I think it is a fantastic option if you want to take a few day trips to other places in Fjord country.  Some of my favorite road trips in Norway were departing from Bergen in winter.  I really loved Vøringsfossen, Kvamskogen (winter wonderland!), Flåm, Folgefonna, and more.  

If you rent a car for these trips, you will need to be sure you’re capable of driving through undesirable weather, but usually, the roads are clear enough to be confident driving on them (the larger highways).

However, if you’re planning to stick around Bergen, just don’t expect sun… or snow.  The city still offers fantastic food (especially the Norwegian Christmas dinner of pinnekjøtt with kålrabistappe and potatoes), breathtaking views, and cozy cafes.  

So, if you have a chance to book a winter getaway to Bergen, do it!

Unique experiences:  close proximity to beautiful sights and fjord country, Pepperkakebyen, Christmas food is the best (in my opinion)

Here are some of our Bergen guides that will aid you in planning your winter vacation:

Lofoten Islands

Average Temperatures (December):  High: 3C/38F  Low: -1C/31F
Sunrise and Sunset on December 21:  the sun doesn’t rise
Pros of visiting Lofoten in winter:  many adventurous activities available, few crowds, cheaper prices, northern lights are visible (weather permitting)
Cons of visiting Lofoten in winter:  possibly no snow but lots of rain and winter storms, exploring islands is better with a car

Northern lights in Lofoten Islands in winter in Norway
Lofoten in winter

Visiting the Lofoten Islands during winter might just be one of Norway’s most unexpected delights.  My first visit to the islands was in winter and I was surprised at how beautiful they were and how many winter activities existed, despite all of the tourists flocking north to Tromsø.

When I arrived on the islands, there was a large winter storm, making a bus journey from Narvik to Lofoten a random route that took an insane amount of hours through the Vesterålen Islands… but once I arrived in the islands, the weather stayed fairly calm throughout my trip.

During winter, the activities in the islands range from a sea eagle safari through Trollfjorden to snowshoeing through mountainous forest.  You can also go horseback riding on Gimsøy under the northern lights.

Can you see the northern lights in the Lofoten Islands?  Yes… and no.  If you don’t book a tour, I reckon finding them would be difficult as the weather patterns are a bit funny over the islands. But, with an expert tour guide and private tour, you can drive around until see you see them and it is definitely a phenomenon worth seeing.

However, I am not sure I would book to go to the Lofoten Islands without renting a car and I am not sure I’d rent a car in Lofoten without feeling totally comfortable driving in any conditions. 

That is the one downfall to winter travel there.  But, once you arrive- you’re in for the most remarkable trip of your life.

Unique experiences:  horseback riding on a beach with northern lights opportunities, staying in a rorbuer, snowshoeing options, and stunning views

Here are a few of our Lofoten guides that will help you plan a trip:

Voss

Average Temperatures (December): High: 1C/33F  Low: -4C/24F
Sunrise and Sunset on December 21: 9:42am and 3:22pm
Pros of visiting Voss in winter:  skiing opportunities, can take the train there
Cons of visiting Voss in winter:  no northern lights and you’ll miss many of the cool summer activities

Cabin in Voss Norway in winter
Voss in winter

Voss has aptly been named ‘Norway’s adrenaline capital’ and for very good reason. It is a small area with SO many cool activities and things to do.

Vossevangen (Voss) is known for its skiing opportunities and its close proximity (25-kilometers away) from Myrkdalen, one of Norway’s most famous skiing resorts.  During the summers, you’ll find everything from white-water rafting to skydiving and more. 

In winter?  It will still feel adventurous… don’t worry!  There are opportunities to go snowshoeing, visiting an ice igloo near Myrkdalen, snowmobiling, and more.  

My favorite thing about Voss was its location, however.  It is ideally situated and is near other fantastic regional trips like Steindalsfossen, the Stalheim Hotel, Gudvangen, and is the halfway point on a trip from Bergen to Flåm.

Unique experiences:  Voss gondola, smalahove (local dish that is renowned), many waterfalls in the region

Alta

Average Temperatures (December):  High: -3C/33F  Low: -10C/24F
Sunrise and Sunset on December 21: the sun doesn’t rise
Pros of visiting Alta in winter:  adventurous activities, ice hotel, and northern lights
Cons of visiting Alta in winter:  you have to get there

Alta in winter in Norway
Alta in winter

I had a meeting with Northern Norway’s tourism board during my last visit (which was in summer) and the woman I was meeting with looked at me and said, “Alta is the region’s best winter tourism destination.”  She was serious and meant it.

First of all, Alta is home to one of Norway’s ice hotels called Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel.  It offers the whole experience and is reason in itself to flock to Alta in winter.

But… there is so much to do in Alta during the winter months that you’ll have plenty more reason to add the town in the north of the country to your Norway winter bucket list.

Some of the most popular sights in Alta are the petroglyphs at Hjemmeluft Bay, the Northern Lights Cathedral, and the gorgeous Altafjord that the town sits on.  Aside from the sights, there are so many activities and excursions to keep you occupied on your Alta trip.

You can go whale watching, dog-sledding, go on a reindeer excursion, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and so much more.  Alta might just be Norway’s best winter destination and it certainly is an adventurer’s paradise.

Unique experiences:  loads of adventurous activities, Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel, Northern Lights Cathedral

Karmøy

Average Temperatures (December):  High: 6C/43F  Low: 3C/38F
Sunrise and Sunset on December 21: 9:33am and 3:41pm
Pros of visiting Karmøy in winter:  no crowds, looks like an idyllic Norwegian fairytale, many sights
Cons of visiting Karmøy in winter:  you have to get there, not much is open, no northern lights

Skudeneshavn on Karmøy in Norway
Skudeneshavn in winter

I have to say, this is a far-fetched place to visit in winter for a foreigner.  But, if you can make it happen and the weather plays friendly, it is pretty magical.

Karmøy is an island that is located in Rogaland and is known for being a summer holiday place for Norwegians.  But, I reckon winter might be a better time to flock there if you’re not concerned about swimming or getting a tan.

I first visited Karmøy around ten years ago and it easily became one of my favorite places in Norway.  It is a great day trip from Haugesund (even the local airport is on the island) and you will find a huge variety of things to do on Karmøy.  Below are some of my favorites:

» Skudeneshavn: This is a summer holiday destination… and while it lives up to the hype in summer, there is something so perfect about the quietness there in winter. Not much is open, but you can wander about and it looks like a postcard.

» Visnes: Visnes is a small village that has served a large part in US history.  This is the village where the copper for the Statue of Liberty came from.  The property was owned by a French businessman and the rest is history.  There is a museum there and a small replica of the Statue of Liberty.

» Vikinggården: So, technically, this is located on a small island off of Karmøy called ‘Bukkøy’, but it is basically only accessible from Karmøy.  Head to Avaldsnes, a historic area with Viking roots. 

Vikinggården on Bukkøy Karmøy Norway in winter
Near Karmøy in winter

There is a large open-air museum there and while it is only open during the summers, you can still walk around during winter.  This is where the Norwegian show, Norsemen, was filmed.

Aside from all the aforementioned sights, you can still find trails and beautiful views all over Karmøy and if you find yourself in this part of Rogaland, I definitely recommend a trip to Karmøy during winter (or summer).

Unique experiences:  Skudeneshavn (gorgeous village), Syreneset Fort, Viking Village on Bukkøy (Vikinggården), and Visnes (where materials that built the Statue of Liberty came from)

Nordkapp

Average Temperatures (December):  High: -2C/29F  Low: -5C/24F
Sunrise and Sunset on December 21: the sun doesn’t rise
Pros of visiting Nordkapp in winter:  fewer tourists, northern lights 
Cons of visiting Nordkapp in winter:  driving on Magerøya can be problematic, tour possibly needed, weather can play a factor

Nordkapp in winter in Norway
Nordkapp in winter

I must admit, I took my trip to Nordkapp in summer, not winter.  However, I know quite a few people who visited in winter and they said it was an incredible experience, even if it was dark and ominous.

One thing you must know about visiting Nordkapp during winter is that you may need a tour to get there.  There are convoys that head there, so you will definitely need to plan your trip ahead of time (and be flexible).

It is dark then and the weather on Magerøya is absolutely unforgiving, but if you can make it to Nordkapp during winter, I imagine that it will probably be one of your life highlights.  There are snowmobile tours available too, so options do exist!

The Nordkapp tourism office has some additional information about how to get there during winter.  Be sure to read up on it before considering Nordkapp as one of your places to visit in Norway in winter

Unique experiences:  you’re at the top of the world

Here are our Nordkapp and Magerøya guides that will help you plan a trip:

Røros

Average Temperatures (December):  High: -5C/24F  Low: -14C/7F
Sunrise and Sunset on December 21: 9:49am and 2:39pm
Pros of visiting Røros in winter:  Christmas vibes (markets and festivals), snow 
Cons of visiting Røros in winter:  it is very remote and difficult to get to, very cold, no northern lights

Roros in winter in Norway
Røros in winter

If you search for the most picturesque places to visit in Norway, you will likely stumble upon the town of Røros in Central Norway.  It is one of the coldest places to visit in Norway in winter, but easily one of the most charming!

Røros is a historic mining town that is famous for its wooden buildings and throwback feel.  It was even granted UNESCO World Heritage status in 1980.

The mountain village sits in Trøndelag and is kind of a living, open-air museum brimming with narrow streets and exuding Norwegian charm. It is one of the oldest towns built with wooden buildings in all of Europe.

Dating back to 1644, Røros is known for its stunning church, Røros Church, as well as a flat pastry called ‘Pjalt’, traditionally served with brown cheese (brunost).

I first remember seeing this town in a video where young children were using ‘spark’ to get around the town (kick-sled). I think it was on a Norwegian cooking show that picked different locations in the country and cooking in the outdoors. Nevertheless, my curiosity with Røros started long before I actually moved to Norway!

There are plenty of winter activities in Røros to keep you occupied from dog-sledding to skiing, and more. They are also famous for their Christmas market, which is one of Norway’s best Christmas markets.

Unique experiences:  UNESCO World Heritage Site, Christmas markets, pjalt (pastry)

Kirkenes

Average Temperatures (December):  High: -5C/24F  Low: -11C/11F
Sunrise and Sunset on December 21: the sun doesn’t rise
Pros of visiting Kirkenes in winter:  snow hotel, northern lights, other winter activities
Cons of visiting Kirkenes in winter:  difficult to get there

Kirkenes in winter in Norway
Kirkenes in winter

If you go to the north of Norway, and you keep going… you will end up in Kirkenes, a Norwegian town along the Russian border.  Kirkenes is a fantastic winter destination (pending you can find your way there!).

One of the biggest lures to Kirkenes is the Soviet history there.

You can visit the Russian/Norwegian border, see the Soviet Liberation Monument, and stop by the Andersgrotten Bomb Shelter that is symbolic today of how much Kirkenes was bombed during WW2.

Aside from learning about the city’s Soviet relations and history, you can also partake in a copious number of winter activities in Kirkenes.

Some of the things to do in Kirkenes in winter are King Crab safaris, snowmobiling, northern lights tours, dog-sledding, and more.  One of the best ice hotels in Norway, the Kirkenes Snow Hotel, is also located there.

It really is a fantastic place to visit in Norway during winter and a viable alternative to heading to Tromsø.  The hotels in Kirkenes tend to be cheaper than Tromsø during winter, too.

Unique experiences:  Kirkenes snow hotel, Russia/Norway border, King Crab safaris

Rjukan

Average Temperatures (December):  High: 1C/35F  Low: -5C/24F
Sunrise and Sunset on December 21: 9:26am and 3:21pm
Pros of visiting Rjukan in winter:  see the sun mirrors, many adventurous activities
Cons of visiting Rjukan in winter:  difficult to get there, no northern lights

Winter ice climbing in Rjukan Norway
Ice climbing in Rjukan in winter

If you’re visiting Rjukan during winter, don’t fear- there will be plenty to keep you occupied! It is located in a fantastic place for winter activities and you can experience winter at Gaustatoppen (beautiful mountain), go cross-country skiing, or even do one of the most famous winter activities- ice climbing.

Rjukan even has an annual ice festival, attracting adventurous tourists from all over the world!

But, what makes Rjukan very famous, aside from its WW2 history, is that it is one of the darkest places to visit in Norway in winter. Because of the mountains and position of the town, it truly is DARK. So dark that they made international headlines for putting up sun mirrors to give the residents a bit more light during these darker months.

While getting to Rjukan may not be as seamless without renting a car, it still is a must-visit place in Norway during winter.

Unique experiences:  seeing sun mirrors, Rjukan Ice Festival, ice-climbing opportunities, Gaustatoppen (one of Norway’s most famous peaks)

Hammerfest

Average Temperatures (December):  High: 1C/34F  Low: -4C/25F
Sunrise and Sunset on December 21: the sun doesn’t rise
Pros of visiting Hammerfest in winter:  northern lights, adventurous activities
Cons of visiting Hammerfest in winter:  difficult to get to, experiences heavy snowfall

Hammerfest winter Northern lights norway
Hammerfest in winter

Hammerfest is the northernmost town in the world and was made famous by Bill Bryson’s book many years ago.

During the winters, the sun never pops over the horizon in Hammerfest and it is dark. However, winter activities in Hammerfest are in abundance and it is a great time to experience the town for adventurous souls.

Hammerfest is also along the chain of the Struve Geodetic Arc, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and you can see it at Fuglenes in the town.

One of the best reasons to visit Hammerfest in winter is that the city has a nice little bar and restaurant scene, as well as some great museums. Don’t miss the Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society, a museum detailing the extensive history of hunting in the Arctic.

Hammerfest may be one of the oldest towns in Norway, but it looks quite modern. WW2 definitely wreaked havoc on the Northern Norway destination and you can learn more about the history of WW2’s impact on Hammerfest at the Museum of Reconstruction (Gjenreisningsmuseet).

If you’re interested in Sami culture, Hammerfest is a fantastic place to learn about it in Norway and you can go to Mikkelgammen, a Sami turf hut, to learn more and have an interactive experience.

Unique experiences: learning about Sami culture, Struve Geodetic Arc (UNESCO World Heritage), and the Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society (Arctic hunting museum).

Below is our Hammerfest guide that will help you plan a trip there:

Bodø

Average Temperatures (December):  High: 3C/37F  Low: -2C/29F
Sunrise and Sunset on December 21: 11:36am and 12:26pm
Pros of visiting Bodø in winter:  possibility to see northern lights, many local activities, cozy bars and cafes, good food
Cons of visiting Bodø in winter:  northern lights are not always visible

Winter in Bodo Norway
Bodø in winter

If someone asked me what the most underrated city in Norway is, I would likely tell them Bodø.  It took me years to visit Bodø and when I finally did, I was completely shocked at how inaccurately it was depicted by my Norwegian friends.

Bodø is in Nordland county and it is the launchpad for some of the most beautiful spots in Norway, such as Sjunkhatten National Park and Rago.  It is also near Svartisen glacier, one of the most famous glaciers in Norway.

But, what makes Bodø a great option of a place to visit in Norway in winter?  Well, the food… for one.  I had one of the most incredible meals at Lyst På in Bodø and they offer seasonal ingredients with a unique twist and one of the best wine selections in Norway.

You can also hop for a cozy drink at Hundeholmen bar- a microbrewery with bars overlooking the Atlantic.  There is also no shortage of cafes and artisanal places around the city.  Why do people overlook Bodø?!

Nevertheless, another plus to visiting Bodø is that it is accessible.  It is the last stop on the train line in Norway.  And the train runs year-round.  There are also Wizzair flights to the city.  And, the flights on standard airlines are never that expensive.  So, getting to Bodø is fairly easy and cheap.

Be sure to take day trips to Kjerringøy for cultural heritage and Saltstraumen, the world’s largest maelstrom.  Bodø is a wonderful winter destination in Norway.

Unique experiences: Kjerringøy (Norwegian cultural heritage), Saltstraumen (world’s largest whirlpool), fantastic people and food, epic street art

Below are our Bodø guides that we will think will help you plan your winter trip:

Senja

Average Temperatures (December):  High: 0C/31F  Low: -4C/24F
Sunrise and Sunset on December 21: the sun doesn’t rise
Pros of visiting Senja in winter:  northern lights, adventurous activities, whale watching
Cons of visiting Senja in winter:  can be challenging to get there depending on the weather

Winter in Senja
Senja in winter

Senja has some of the most dramatic scenery in all of Norway… but I reckon it is some of the most astonishing.  It is one of the best places to visit in Norway in winter and for many reasons.

If you’re heading to Norway to see the northern lights, Senja has you covered.  It is one of the top northern lights destinations in Norway and a totally viable alternative to Tromsø (or you can visit both…).

Senja has a plethora of winter options for those visiting. You can go snowshoeing through some of the world’s craziest landscapes, take a snowmobile tour, go dog-sledding, and more.

Another fantastic thing to do in Senja during winter is to take a northern lights and whale watching tour. You have the chance to see both together and it truly is a one-of-a-kind experience.  You can see the multitude of winter tour options available in Senja here.

Unique experiences: northern lights whale watching excursions, dramatic scenery like no other!

Lillehammer

Average Temperatures (December):  High: -3C/26F  Low: -8C/17F
Sunrise and Sunset on December 21: 9:31am and 3:01pm
Pros of visiting Lillehammer in winter:  ski destination, easy to get to, family-friendly destination
Cons of visiting Lillehammer in winter:  no northern lights, high-season (more expensive)

Lillehammer in winter in Norway
Lillehammer in winter

My first memories of Lillehammer take me all the way back to 1994 and watching the Winter Olympics that took place there.  I believe these memories piqued my interest in Scandinavia as a whole and I never could have imagined, at least then, that I’d end up moving to Norway one day.

Nevertheless, here we are many years later and Lillehammer is still a fantastic winter destination in Scandinavia and Norway.  There are so many activities going on in Lillehammer that it truly is the ultimate place in Norway to visit in winter.

You can visit the Olympic sights in Lillehammer or take to the slopes.  There are many downhill skiing opportunities as well as cross-country trails.  You’ll also find Hunderfossen Winter Park, a fantastic place for families to visit.

If you’re into more extreme activities, Lillehammer definitely has you covered.  You can go bobsleighing, snowshoeing, and much more when visiting.

If seeing the northern lights isn’t your priority and you’re traveling with young kids, Lillehammer is one of Norway’s best winter spots.

Unique experiences: Hunderfossen Winter Park, Olympic sights, skiing and winter sports galore

Flåm

Average Temperatures (December):  High: 5C/42F  Low: 0C/31F
Sunrise and Sunset on December 21: 9:42am and 3:17pm
Pros of visiting Flåm in winter:  fjord tours, not as many tourists, mild temperatures
Cons of visiting Flåm in winter:  no northern lights

Flamsbana train in winter in Norway
Flåmsbana in Flåm in winter

Flåm may not strike one as a Norwegian winter destination, but I have visited several times during the winter months and I beg to differ. It is so mysterious and alluring during the winter months that I prefer it over visiting during the summer when the crowds are in.

One of the best things to do in Flåm in winter is to take the Flåmsbana, or a train that runs between Flåm and Myrdal. It is constantly rated to be one of the best train rides in the world and is a can’t-miss thing to do in Flåm when visiting.

You will be close to some UNESCO World Heritage fjords and you can take a cruise from Flåm to Næroyfjord and Aurlandsfjord. These are narrow and captivating fjords and everyone should see them on their Norway winter vacation.

Another reason to visit Flåm is that it is a great launchpad for some day trips. One of the best is to venture to Stegastein and take in the epic Norway views. There are also snowshoeing tours that you can take to reach the viewpoint.

If you’re not an active traveler, Flåm is home to Ægir Microbrewery and restaurant… which should definitely be on your Flåm bucket list!

I highly recommend visiting Flåm if you’re in the area and winter is a great time to go if you don’t mind the shorter days.

Unique experiences: Flåmsbana, UNESCO fjord tours

Svalbard

Average Temperatures (December):  High: -8C/18F  Low: -14C/7F
Sunrise and Sunset on December 21: the sun doesn’t rise
Pros of visiting Svalbard in winter:  fewer crowds, northern lights, unique tour options, cheaper
Cons of visiting Svalbard in winter:  long flight there, no polar bears, super cold

Svalbard in winter in Norway
Northern lights in Svalbard in winter

Svalbard is warming up at a much faster pace than anywhere else in the world.  It’s a fact.  Is traveling to Svalbard ethical?  I think if you plan your Svalbard trip correctly, it can be… but I definitely think you should give some consideration to what you do on Svalbard and visiting in winter is a fantastic option now.

The archipelago is far above mainland Norway and it is very dark during the winters.  But, this darkness lends itself to unique tour opportunities, and seeing the northern lights in Svalbard is one of them!  

While it may not be the optimal place to view the lights due to how far north it is, it is still possible and you can book tours to do so.  There are also other tour options during Svalbard in winter, such as visiting old mines and joining a Svalbard snowmobile trip.

Many people flock to Tromsø during winter, but I think that Svalbard is a fantastic alternative if you want something very different. 

Do be aware that in order to do anything in Svalbard during this time of year, you pretty much need a tour, so plan your trip accordingly!

Unique experiences: Barentsburg snowmobile trip, visiting an old mine, northern lights excursions

Below are our Svalbard guides that we will think will help you plan your winter trip:

Lillehammer Norway during winter
Lillehammer area during winter

Still Planning to Visit Tromsø in Winter?

This post was not to deter you at all from visiting Tromsø in winter, it was merely to give you alternative options that could be suitable for your desires for a winter trip to Norway

If you are still keen on a Tromsø trip, here are guides that will help you plan!

Should You Visit Norway in Winter?

YES!  Daylight may not be optimal in many locations but where daylight lacks, the northern lights don’t!  We recommend you take some time to plan your trip so that you end up visiting the right places in Norway during winter.

Otherwise, you’ll just have to book a return trip to check off some of the other places to visit in Norway in winter during the next season.  Not a bad alternative.

If you have recommendations of places to visit in Norway during winter that we didn’t mention, please leave a comment letting us know!

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Considering a trip to Norway in winter? This guide will walk you through the best places to visit in Norway in winter and tell you the pros and cons of each. Tromsø excluded! | Places to visit in Norway | Norway in winter | Norway winter trips | Norway winter destinations | Tromsø | Lofoten Islands | Bergen | Oslo | Northern lights in Norway | Where to see the northern lights in Norway | Visit Norway | Winter in Norway | Christmas in Norway | Norway in December | Norway destinations | Norway nature

One thought on “14 Places to Visit in Norway in Winter (That Aren’t Tromsø!)

  1. Carole says:

    What an awesome and informative post! I used to live in Newcastle, UK, and watch the ferries come in from Oslo and Bergen. I wish now that I’d taken the opportunity to hop over the North Sea and visit what looks like a stunning country. I’m a bit far away now (NZ) but if I get the chance to go in the future I’ll certainly do so, after seeing your gorgeous pictures and reading about Norway :)

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