Norwegian holidays have been possible since the country appeared on the UK’s safe list. However, a holiday in Norway this winter could be one of the best ways to embrace the season. With a sprinkling of snow, the twinkling of lights, and a hot beverage to warm the soul, it’s the little things that could make it a magical holiday for you and your loved ones.
Has Norway always been on your bucket list? Or are you looking for a last-minute Norwegian holiday for wintertime?
Either way, we’re here to share a range of holiday ideas and destinations, for you to enjoy the cooler months of the year in style.
The best Norway holiday destinations include:
- Oslo, an innovative city of culture and a culinary destination, was named the European Green Capital for 2019. With a commitment to sustainability, explore the contemporary art scene and museums via its excellent public transport network.
- Fjord Norway, in the southwest. A fjord is an ancient Viking term that relates to the phrase for ‘where you travel across’ (der man ferder over) and the word ‘ferry’ (ferje)”. The best fjords to view are the Geirangerfjord, Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord.
- Bergen the capital of Fjord Norway. It was made a UNESCO World Heritage City due to its chocolate-box, clapperboard houses, which are surrounded by seven hills and seven fjords. From there find a ferry to travel around the fjords from its medieval seaport.
- Stavanger, a historic city with a 12th-century cathedral and white sandy beaches. Step back in time by walking along the cobbled streets of Gamle Stavanger (Old Stavanger) past wooden houses, gardens, and street lanterns.
- Tromso, a famous place which has been the start of many Arctic expeditions, as well as the location to see the northern lights! Although it is 400km north of the Arctic Circle, its climate is moderate due to the Gulf Stream. Take the Fjellheisen Cable Car to see the best views of this splendid city.
At Christmas, why not visit the larger towns of Tromso or Bergen Oslo with family…
Visit Oslo for Christmas
Christmas in Oslo is the ideal way to spend a family holiday while exploring a winter wonderland, with a mountainous backdrop. You may be surprised to know that Oslo in December is a quieter time to visit. So with the twinkling of lights, cheerful Christmas carols, and the aroma of delightful delicacies throughout the city, you can embrace all that Oslo has to offer you in your stride.
How to spend Christmas in Oslo during December?
- December 13th is when the festive calendar kicks off with the festival of lights. In recognition of St Lucia’s Day, processions of children carry candles throughout the streets to waken the darkness.
- A Christmas holiday in any European city wouldn’t be complete without a wander through a European Christmas market. Stroll through Spikersuppa to find stocking fillers, a trip on the Ferris wheel, and a whizz around the ice rink.
- December 23rd is a day for baking, where the sweet aroma of cookies fills homes and hotels. It’s known as ‘Lille Julaften’, which translates as Little Christmas Eve.
- Give a nod to the Norwegian December tradition ‘syv slags kaker’, where seven different types of Christmas cookies are served, shared, and eaten.
- Christmas Eve is actually the biggest part of the yuletide season. It’s even more important than Christmas day, where families sit across from a roaring fire during dinner before exchanging gifts. This is when Santa makes an appearance.
Opt for an Oslo city break
Wish to spend Christmas at home, before a winter holiday in Norway? You’ll be in time to celebrate Romjulen, between Christmas and New Year’s Eve! Most shops are closed however although there are a few museums to visit, as well as the Vigeland and Ekebergparken Sculpture Parks. Wrap up warm to capture impressive and humorous statues in the snow, before a hearty meal of “ribbe” (pork rib) or “pinnekjøtt” (lamb or mutton rib).
Cheap Holidays to Norway are also a possibility after the yuletide season in January and February when visiting Oslo. It’s possible to see the northern lights in the city of Oslo too. However, if you drive one or two hours outside the city, you’ll have a better chance of viewing them. Then there is always the option of staying in Tromso…
A Tromso Holiday to see the Northern Lights in Norway
Tromso is one of the best places to see the Aurora Borealis on a clear night from mid-September – April because it’s situated at the centre of the northern aurora zone. While there, why not learn how to photograph them?
With gadget cover provided as standard with a Free Spirit policy, let your imagination lead the way to capture shades of blue, green, and yellow, which run across the starry sky to create a mystical scene.
To fully appreciate a trip to the capital of the artic, spend a couple of days exploring this cultural city surrounded by snow-capped mountains, thick forests, deep fjords, and pretty islands.
Or, combine a Tromso northern lights tour with a range of other excursions and activities to suit everyone in your party.
What can you do on a Tromso, Norway holiday?
- Walk around one of the many museums such as the Art or Polar Museum before visiting the famous Arctic Cathedral.
- Set off for a snowy safari through the Spitsbergen wilderness via snowmobile, husky sled, or a sleigh pulled by reindeer, while learning about the Sami people and the polar fox.
- Go whale watching along North Norway’s fjords during a boat tour, to seek out humpbacks and orcas, before warming up with a hot beverage and meal at one of the many pubs and restaurants.
- After dark on a guided aurora safari, head to Camp Nikka outside the city for a hot meal and take in the sights of the northern lights, surrounded by a warming campfire.
- Spend a day on the slopes at ski resort Tromsø for some snowboarding or skiing…
Try Bergen, for a Norway ski holiday
Norwegian ski holidays in the mountains are a great way to embrace winter before and after Christmas. In the west of Norway, you’ll find Bergen, which sits within a unique, Norwegian fjord landscape.
With a combination of heavy snowfalls, there’s a small ski network of slopes within Bergen’s grasp, which are just waiting for eager ski enthusiasts to master! Also, a ski holiday is one way to add a little action to your holiday.
Where are the best ski holidays in Norway?
- The Voss Resort is in the centre of Fjord Norway. Reach it by car, bus, or train from Bergen or Oslo. New to skiing? Book into the ski school for lessons and some ski equipment. By day and night, take to the slopes after some homemade local cuisine and warm waffles. View the resort by travelling through the mountains in a gondola from Voss Railway.
- For family-friendly trails within charming countryside ski in Myrkdalen, Voss. It’s the largest ski resort in Western Norway due to its 22 slopes and a large space for off-piste skiing. Book a guide who’ll share where the best snow is, before resting in a modern hotel, cosy cabin, or apartment. The best way to reach the resort is by train.
- Drive 45 minutes outside Bergen in an electric car to support ecotourism to discover Eikedalen Ski resort. With 13 alpine runs of varying difficulty and cross-country trails, there will be a new challenge for everyone to try. Purchase a ski pass to enjoy the best of Norway’s snowfall in January. To view the snow forecast, visit the onthesnow website.
If you’re booking a last-minute holiday in Norway, ensure you purchase a package holiday so all the legal protection will be included and your break will be protected. To find more super snowy ski holiday inspiration for a winter holiday in Europe, read our recent blog.
What else can you do in Bergen? Visit the fjords!
‘Go Viking in the Norwegian Fjords’
If you weren’t aware, fjords are long, narrow inlets with steep sides or cliffs, which have been created by a glacier, surrounded by mountain scenery.
You can visit Norway’s fjords at any time of the year but if you visit during ‘Viking Season’, (October – April) you’ll be confronted by some of the world’s longest fjords without the crowds!
During Viking Season, experience the fjords enveloped in the midst of mighty, mountain peaks covered in snow. As the warmer Gulf Stream keeps the fjords free of ice, snow can only be found within the surrounding landscape.
However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t an array of things to do, apart from admiring the fjords!
What activities can I do in Fjord Norway?
- Join a guided Snowshoeing tour to Trolltunga to see a set of famous rock formations and maybe a local fox in the hillside!
- From Bergen spend a day climbing the mountains via one of the world’s most beautiful train journeys – on the Flåmsbana railway to Myrdal. Find more top train journeys and adventures from reading our previous blog.
- The Stavanger region is where you can find wooden houses within villages. Visit an array of restaurants to try local delicacies, such as the world’s best cheese (2016).
- Learn about the history of the Vikings within the Viking village of Njardarheimr. See the Old Norse way of life and have the option to take part in some ancient activities.
- Explore adventure capital and art nouveau town Alesund, where you can set sail for a fjord cruise on a hybrid electric ship. Also, you could sail right around the Norwegian Fjords on a Cruise Liner throughout a Norwegian cruise holiday.
As you can see there’s a lot to experience around the fjords of Norway during the winter months, as well as a lot of winter sports to choose from. With this in mind, take Free Spirit’s winter sports travel insurance for peace of mind. Once you’ve decided what activities you wish to do and where you want to spend your holiday in Norway, refer to our top tips for a winter sports holiday before considering where to stay.
Norway Holiday Accommodation
Escape the crowds and tuck yourself away as the locals do during winter by staying at one of these homely hideaways in the snow.
Where to stay in Norway?
Within Tromso’s ice domes for a snow-hotel experience. The domes are built afresh each year with artistic sculptures. Also included is an ice bar, ice restaurant, and ice cinema to relax in after your daily excursions.
Stay in an ICEHOTEL for a true Scandinavian experience. Sleep within a snow-sculpted ice room with an en suite and warm room. Or, a traditional hotel with mountainous views and the chance to see the northern lights from your bedroom window. At the end of a long day enjoy a complimentary supper.
Spend a short break at the Lyngen Lodge on the edge of Lyngenfjord within the Lygen Alps. Found far away from the city lights, it’s a peaceful place to learn how to photograph Norway’s northern lights and wildlife. Looking for a holiday that’s off the beaten track? Book a Norway cabin holiday in any Norwegian holiday destination. This is one way to live like a local, embrace Norwegian culture and “hyttekos” (cabin cosiness). Luxurious or just equipped with the essentials wake up to picturesque panoramic views!
Travel insurance for a Norway holiday
Have we inspired you to take a holiday in Norway this winter? From celebrating Christmas and joining in with Norwegian festivals and traditions like ‘syy slags kaker’, to embracing “hyttekos” throughout the winter months, Norway has a lot of warmth and magical experiences for all.