Norway is one of the few countries in the world that actually have four seasons. Outdoor activities are never restricted by the seasons, you can go skiing, diving, fishing, climbing, glacier walking, rafting or bicycling almost all year round. The transition from winter to summer offers exciting combinations. You can enjoy life by the sea and go skiing on one of Norway’s glaciers at the same place. Or you can simply take a deep breath of the fresh air and enjoy the quietness of the Norwegian nature. As long as the weather is right for it, of course.

The country has a massive coastline indented with fjords and a mountainous interior with some of Europe’s biggest glaciers. Norwegian weather has few extremes, but many local variations. The Gulf Stream current along the coast elevates the country’s temperature well above the global averages for the regions at equal latitudes.

The North has midnight-sun days – when the sun never drops below the horizon – occur from 14 May to 30 July. The opposite occurs in winter when the sun does not rise from the end of November to the end of January. The South has daylight from 4am to 11pm in midsummer and from 8am to 4 pm during winter.

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A small percentage of the population (yes, even the Norwegians) suffers from some form of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and most foreigners find the long dark winter months tiring at best and unbearable at worst. Those who are totally unable to tolerate the weather may decide to leave while others may adopt the Norwegian approach of getting away: either a vacation in a warm country, a skiing holiday, etc.

Tips to Handle the Winter

  • Wear proper clothing.
  • Learn how to layer – It may be freezing outside but it’s a toasty 20 deg Celsius or even warmer indoors at cafes or other people’s homes.
  • Get a sun/UV lamp for your office and home.
  • Escape during winter to a warmer climate.
  • Take up winter sports like skiing and snowboarding.
  • Plan activities with friends – dinner parties, board game nights, bowling competitions, quiz nights, etc to have something to look forward to in the week.
  • Hit the gym.
  • Take vitamin supplements.
  • Make an effort to go out even though it is freezing. Even a short walk will do you good.
  • Pick up a new hobby.

As the Norwegian saying goes, “there is no bad weather, just bad clothing.” Try to keep that in mind and be optimistic about the weather. Without a winter, there will not come a spring or a summer. So the winters, in a way, do make the springs and summers a little more special.