10 Day Winter Norway Itinerary: Northern Lights and Beyond

Are you planning a winter vacation to Norway? If you want to see the Northern Lights then winter is the best time to travel to Norway! There are plenty of other amazing places to visit including Oslo, Bergen, Tromso, Roros, Alesund for a real taste of the Norwegian winter experience! Use this post to plan your own Winter Norway Itinerary and experience an amazing Norway Winter!

Tromso Northern Lights

Things to note about Norway

Norway is a country located in the heart of the Scandinavian region. Sharing borders with Sweden, Finland, and Russia, is renowned for its dramatic coastline. Norway, is a captivating blend of rugged landscapes and vibrant culture.The terrain is a dream for adventurers, dominated by mountains and deep coastal fjords.

English is the main language spoken in Norway. Thanks to the high level of English proficiency among locals. While Norwegian is the official language, English is widely understood in all areas of Norway, making interactions smooth and effortless.

Norweigan Currency

Norway’s official currency is the Norwegian Krone (NOK). 1 USD is about 9.6 NOK. Norway is mostly cashless, so as a traveler you won’t need to worry about carrying cash to most places. Most commonly used credit cards such as Mastercard and American Express are accepted everywhere.

When it comes to expenses, Norway is on the higher end. Although, accommodation options cater to all tastes and budgets, ranging from quaint hostels to luxurious hotels, with prices averaging between 1000-2000 NOK per night. Dining out can cost about 200-400 NOK at a mid-range eatery.

Oslo harbour

Safety in Norway

Norway is consistently ranked as the safest country for women to travel or live, moreso it has also maintained its position as one of the safest countries in the world generally to travel to. Nonetheless I always found it best to exercise general caution as a tourist, same as you would anywhere else when traveling.

Weather in Norway in Winter months

Winter in Norway can get especially cold with the temperatures ranging between 0°C (32°F) to as low as 30°C (-22°F). The temperatures also can widely vary by region. Coastal cities like Oslo and Bergen thanks to the warming effects of the Gulf Stream, generally have milder winters, but can drop to below freezing. While in the inland areas and the Arctic Circle, including places like Tromsø and Finnmark, winter temperatures can frequently fall below -20°C (-4°F). In some of the more northerly and inland areas, it’s not uncommon for temperatures to plunge as low as -30°C (-22°F) or even colder during severe cold snaps.

Norway Winter attractions

Norway is most famous in winter for the Northern Lights, a must on any winter Norway Itinerary. These are best viewed from Tromso and the surrounding area of the Arctic circle. These are accessible by car but we highly recommend booking a Northern lights tour to see these.

Norway Summer attractions

Midnight Sun Norway

In the summer, Norway is most famous for its midnight sun, 24 hour daylights and hiking terrain which is not accessible during the winter months. In the summer the best time to visit Norway is June to August, with fringe seasons such as May and September also being great with lesser numbers of tourists.

Winter Norway 10 day Itinerary – Where to start your trip

What is the best place to fly into Norway and start your winter Norway trip? The most convenient place to fly into with plenty of international flights is Oslo, there are some International flights directly into Tromso and Bergen as well from some cities. However I would suggest Oslo as a good starting point based on its location relative to the other places to visit on this itinerary.

Norway Itinerary map – Winter Norway Itinerary

Norway, though a relatively small country, requires quite some travel time between the northern regions near Tromso and the southern parts near Oslo and Bergen. As such, we created the above map with travel time required in mind. If you are booking public transport, make sure to check out – and to book in advance especially during peak Northern Lights season.

How to get around Norway in Winter

The best way to get around Norway in winter largely depends on the regions you plan to visit and the weather conditions. Here are some effective options:

  1. Train Travel: Norway’s train network is reliable and offers scenic routes, especially popular for journeys like Oslo to Bergen. Further, these trains are comfortable, run on time, and are less affected by winter weather compared to other modes of transport.
  2. Driving: If you’re comfortable with winter driving, renting a car offers flexibility. Cars are usually equipped with winter tires and necessary equipment. However, be prepared for icy roads and limited daylight hours. Always check local driving regulations and weather forecasts.
  3. Buses: Extensive bus services connect various towns and cities. They are a reliable option, though services might be less frequent in remote areas.
  4. Domestic Flights: For longer distances or to reach remote areas like the far north, domestic flights can be time-saving. It is also worth noting that Norway has several airports well-connected through domestic airlines.
  5. Ferries: Coastal and fjord areas are often served by ferries, which are a scenic way to travel. However, schedules can be subject to weather conditions.
  6. Public Transportation in Cities: Within Norwegian cities, public transport systems like buses, trams, and in some places, subways, are efficient and reliable, even in winter.
Winter in Tromso Norway

Winter Norway Itinerary

This is broadly the itinerary we recommend following, after having done 2 trips to Norway! This winter Norway itinerary covers a good mix of cities and outdoor natural beauty and the winter essentials such as Northern Lights.

Alesund, Norway

Before locking in train tickets or car hire and accommodation, make sure you check availability of any key activities you want to cover in each city. For example in Tromso, we found that Northern Lights tours we wanted to book were more popular on certain days and we are glad we booked these first before finalizing our accommodation because this also allowed us to book a place to the Northern Lights tour drop off and pick up location.

Oslo Norway Itinerary

Oslo is located on Norway’s Southern coast, with the seafront lined with a lively atmosphere and beautiful harbor view. It also has Norway’s main international Airport, serving as a great place to start your Norway trip!

Oslo is a city known for its rich Viking history, Oslo is a hub for cultural exploration, offering a blend of art, architecture, and a lively culinary scene.

We recommend spending at least one full day in Oslo to get your bearings before embarking on your winter trip around Norway! Here is a guide on how to spend a day exploring Oslo

Oslo Norway 1 Day Winter Itinerary

  • Morning: Before heading to the town center, start your day at the iconic Oslo Opera House. Its striking architecture resembles a glacier floating in the Oslo fjord. Take a moment to walk on its roof and enjoy the panoramic views of the city and the fjord.
  • Midday: Head to the historic center of Oslo, where the Akershus Fortress stands as a testament to Norway’s medieval past. After soaking in the history, stroll down to Aker Brygge, a vibrant waterfront area perfect for a lunch break. Afterwards, indulge in fresh seafood or sample local Norwegian cuisine at one of the many eateries.
  • Afternoon: Visit the Vigeland Sculpture Park in Frogner Park, home to more than 200 sculptures by Gustav Vigeland. This open-air gallery beautifully captures human emotions and life stages.
  • Evening: Conclude your day in the trendy neighborhood of Grünerløkka. This area buzzes with eclectic bars, cafes, and boutiques. It’s the perfect spot to unwind and experience Oslo’s vibrant nightlife. For dinner we recommend trying out Maaemo for absolutely amazing food! Known for showcasing the essence of Norwegian flavors and fresh local ingredients, it is well loved by locals and tourists. Pro tip: For somewhere like this, make sure you book in advance.

If you are looking for something more adventurous, we took a short ferry ride to the Bygdøy Peninsula on our first day in Oslo. Here, you’ll find several museums including the Viking Ship Museum, which houses well-preserved Viking ships and artifacts.

Roros Winter Itinerary

Roros is a hidden gem nestled in the heart of Norway, we recommend adding Røros to your Winter Norway Itinerary if you are looking for a charming Norwegian town with plenty of history and culture. This is a hidden gem of a quaint town in Norway if you are looking for something a little off the beaten path! A UNESCO World Heritage site, Roros was once a bustling hub for copper mining. Today is a quaint village town renowned for its well-preserved wooden buildings and rich mining heritage which you still see traces of in the town.

A highlight is walking through streets lined with colorful wooden houses, an instagram dream. Røros is famous for its traditional Norwegian architecture, with buildings dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries. The town’s history is deeply intertwined with the copper mines. These were operational for over 300 years, shaping the local community’s development.

Roros, Norway

Roros 1 Day Itinerary

For a day packed with exploration and discovery, here’s a suggested itinerary:

  • Morning: Start your day at the Røros Church, an architectural marvel from the 18th century. Its grandeur is a testament to the town’s prosperous mining era.
  • Midday: Afterwards, stroll through the charming streets of the Old Town. Each corner offers a picturesque view, perfect for capturing memories.
  • Lunch: Stop by a local café. Indulge in traditional Norwegian cuisine, a treat for your taste buds.
  • Afternoon: Visit the Røros Museum, where you’ll dive into the town’s mining history. Interactive exhibits make the experience both educational and fun.
  • Evening: Wind down at a cozy restaurant. The town’s culinary scene is a delightful blend of tradition and modernity.

If you have more time to explore, Røros offers a plethora of experiences. The surrounding landscape is a paradise for nature lovers. Hiking trails lead you through breathtaking scenery, offering a perfect escape into nature. For a deeper dive into local culture, we recommend the Røros Nordic festivities!

Alesund 1 Day Itinerary

Nestled on the west coast of Norway, Ålesund is famous for its Art Nouveau architecture. This picturesque town, with its enchanting turrets, spires, something out of a medieval gothic novel with its many facades.

Alesund colour houses

This is a suggested one day itinerary to get the most out of your time in Alesund.

  • Morning: Begin at the Jugendstilsenteret, the Art Nouveau Centre, to immerse yourself in the town’s architectural history.
  • Midday: Climb the 418 steps to Aksla Viewpoint. The effort pays off with breathtaking views of the town and surrounding archipelago.
  • Lunch: Refuel at a cozy café. The town’s culinary scene offers fresh, locally-sourced seafood that’s a delight to the palate.
  • Afternoon: Explore the Atlantic Sea Park, one of Northern Europe’s largest saltwater aquariums, for an encounter with marine life. Alternatively, the Brosundet canal offers a peaceful and scenic evening stroll.
  • Evening: Afterwards, wind down at a local pub. The town’s vibrant nightlife buzzes with energy, perfect for ending the day on a high note.

For those seeking a blend of adventure and tranquility, a boat trip to the nearby UNESCO-listed Geirangerfjord is unmissable. There are winter cruises running to Geirangerfjord, but be sure to check the timings and bookings in advance. Geirangerfjord is popular in summary, however winter time beauty of this place was also something to be seen! A stunning fjord, with dramatic waterfalls and steep cliffs. Moreover, this place is Instagram is worthy on many levels!

Bergen Winter Itinerary

Bergn Norway Winter Itinerary

Nestled among the famous seven Norwegian mountains, Bergen, Norway’s second-largest city, is a harmonious blend of historical charm and urban flair. Bergen is famously known as the gateway to the fjords. Further, this picturesque city is steeped in history, which you can see in its ancient Bryggen wharf, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The colorful wooden houses (can never cease to stop taking photos of these!), cobbled streets, and vibrant Bryggen waterfront reflect Bergen’s rich maritime heritage.

Today, Bergen is a thriving cultural hub known for its contemporary art galleries and innovative culinary scenes which coexist with its historical treasures.

Bergen 2 Day Itinerary

We recommend spending 2 days in Bergen, with a suggested itinerary as follows:

  • Day 1:
    • Start with a stroll around the iconic Bryggen area.
    • Visit the Hanseatic Museum to understand Bergen’s trading history.
    • Head up to Mount Fløyen via the Fløibanen funicular for panoramic city views.
    • Spend the evening exploring the local dining scene at the Fish Market.
  • Day 2:
    • Explore the Bergenhus Fortress and the adjacent Rosenkrantz Tower.
    • Wander through the narrow lanes of the old town and visit the Bergen Cathedral.
    • In the afternoon, enjoy some contemporary art at the KODE museums.
    • Finally, conclude with a leisurely walk around the Lille Lungegårdsvannet lake in the city center.
Bryggen, Bergen Norway Winter Itinerary

If you have more than two days, Bergen has plenty more to offer. Take a day trip to the nearby fjords, like the stunning Hardangerfjord, for a taste of Norway’s famous natural landscapes. For music enthusiasts, a visit to the home of composer Edvard Grieg, Troldhaugen, is a must. It’s not just a museum but a journey into the life of one of Norway’s most famous personalities.

For those interested in a more immersive cultural experience, the Bergen International Festival showcases a wide array of music, dance, and theater performances. This event, held annually, is a testament to the city’s vibrant cultural scene.

Tromso 2 Day Itinerary

Tromso is probably my favorite place on this Winter Norway itinerary. Known as the “Gateway to the Arctic”, Tromso is most famous for a winter time hub where a lot of Northern Lights tours start and end. In addition, Tromso is actually famous as a hub for polar expeditions!

Dog sledding in Tromso

We found Tromso as a place that was well suited to a host of outdoor winter activities if that’s your thing! We struggled to fit everything into 2 days, but it is entirely possible with some forward planning and advanced bookings – using the below as a rough guide

  • Day 1:
    • Firstly, start with visiting the iconic Arctic Cathedral, a marvel of modern architecture.
    • Next, explore the Polar Museum to dive into Tromsø’s polar history.
    • Embark on a Northern Lights tour – the highlight of your Winter Norway Itinerary!
  • Day 2:
    • Start the morning with an endorphine high icy dipping in a Nordic Sauna! We loved Pust Sauna, an outdoor floating Sauna right in Tromso’s harbor! Check out our blog post on the experience here.
    • Book a Tromso husky sledding experience! This is a super popular activity in Tromso given the number of huskies raised in this region, and was an absolute highlight in our Tromso itinerary. We booked ours through Arctic Adventures through the Get Your Guide app.
    • Finally, conclude with a cozy dinner at a local restaurant, trying out traditional Norwegian dishes.

If time permits it is also worthing taking the Fjellheisen cable car early in the morning for breathtaking views of the city.

Norway Nothern Lights

Northern Lights Travel tip

We reccomend booking a Northern Lights tour on your first night in Tromso. In the event you don’t see the lights on the first day, many tour companies offer discounts for next day/ second tours. Further, by doing the tour on your first day you will have as much chance as possible to catch the Northern Lights.

Final Thoughts on a winter Norway Itinerary

Norway is easy to visit, with just a bit of planning you can cover a lot of ground in about a week in Norway. We would highly recommend making Northern Lights a priority and planning the rest of the trip around other cities and regions that interest you. We hope you enjoy making your way through this Winter Norway Itinerary as much as we did!

Solar maximum