Photo: Haavard-Myklebust/Visit Norway


Sure signs of spring in Norway

You know spring has arrived in Norway when people are drinking beer outdoors while wrapped up warm in their jackets. Spring is a wonderful season. Here are some of the many reasons why it’s a nice to time to live in – and visit – Norway.

The famous Skarven in Tromsø is the perfect place for the first outdoor drink of the year. Photo: Christian Roth Christensen / Visitnorway.com

Outdoor drinking

OK, so maybe it’s only five degrees outside when we Norwegians move outdoors to drink our beer, but that doesn’t matter. The sun is shining and that gives us the warm feeling of spring. So on with this year’s sunglasses and off to join the rest of the crowd at the best places for a drink in the fresh air. It’s a time to see and be seen, chat and maybe flirt a little, as the sun and the first warmth of spring compete for your attention. In Oslo, the Aker Brygge and Tjuvholmen districts are full of atmosphere. In the not exactly sun-drenched city of Bergen, the place to be is beautiful Bryggen, while in Tromsø it’s Vertshuset Skarven and Skirri. Cheers!

The Øya festival at Tøyen in Oslo. Photo: Bjørnar Elvestad

Festival time

First off, it should be said that Norway has festivals throughout the year, but it’s in spring and summer that they reach their peak. After those long, dark winter months when long johns and mittens are the order of the day, there’s nothing at all that can compete with being OUTSIDE while listening to music….and drinking beer. Øya and Slottsfjell are the most famous, of course, but you should also check out the Skåtøy festival, on the beautiful island of the same name, or the Trondheim Jazz Festival.

First swim of the year in March maybe? Here at Sørenga Badstue- og helårsbadeanstalt in Oslo. Photo: Adrian Bugge

The biggest swim of the year

Those first swimming strokes of the spring are always such a celebration that they’re immortalized on Instagram, even if the water’s so cold that you almost have to drill holes in the ice to get to it. In Oslo, you can now take a dip in the fjord early in the bathing season. Sørenga Badstue- og helårsbadeanstalt is an idealistic association for all those who want to swim in the Oslofjord, even at low spring temperatures. They’ve created two floating saunas at Operastranda, about five minutes from Oslo Central Station. There’s a shower – with cold water (although they’re working on providing hot water too) – as well as a cloakroom. In Tromsø, you can jump in the sea during a trip on the Vulkana spa boat, as previously covered in Scandinavian Traveler.

Skiing as late as May. Here from Lofoten. Photo: Pete-Oswald – Visitnorway.com

Spring skiing

We Norwegians just love skiing in a t-shirt. There are few experiences that can match hurtling down slopes of virgin snow as the spring sunshine burns your nose. Visit Norway recommends the Narvik mountains, where you can ski right down to the fjord, often until as late as June. Beautiful Lofoten isn’t bad for a bit of springtime skiing either. So don’t forget the sunscreen!

Vøringsfossen is one of many great waterfalls that promise a spectacular spring cascade. Photo: Gaby Bohle – Visitnorway.com

Hear the waterfalls roar

When snow and ice melt, they don’t do it quietly. The powerful white torrent roars wildly down the mountain slopes and rocky outcrops. There are plenty of waterfalls around and you often have them all to yourself. One surefire tip is Vøringsfossen, near Eidfjord in Hardanger county. They’re building a viewing platform here to provide both a better view and improved safety – and that’s a sight to behold in itself. The platform was begun in 2015 and will be completed in 2020, but parts of it are already open to those keen to see a proper spring thaw.

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