WHAT TO PACK FOR EUROPE IN WINTER

What to pack for Europe in winter

PACKING LIST FOR EUROPE IN WINTER

If you are want to find out what to pack for Europe in winter, then this post is for you.

While you might have to think about which places to visit in Europe in winter, you will also need to plan what to pack for the cold winter months in Europe.

While Europe might not be the biggest continent, weather conditions strongly vary. So, it does make a big difference whether you visit North countries like Iceland or Norway, Central Europe like Switzerland or France or Southern Europe with places like Valencia in Spain.

If you head to Southern Spain you will not need all the super warm winter clothes – and you will be happy with some warm pullovers and jeans. In the Nordic countries you will definitely need to pack differently.

In this post, you will find one general part of what to pack in Europe for winter. Then you will find out about what to pack for warmer countries like Spain or Malta, but you will also find out what to pack if you visit countries like Switzerland, Estonia or Iceland in winter.

First ski experience in Verbier, Switzerland what to pack in winter

Winter Weather in Europe

Before talking about what to bring to Europe in winter, we should talk weather in Europe in winter. Because your packing list depends on where you visit.

Southern Europe is much milder and warmer than Eastern Europe or Northern Europe. While you could wear a light jacket in Southern Spain in the winter months, you surely have to dress very warm in countries like Norway or Iceland.

If you come to Europe in winter – come prepared. 

Be advised that the average temperature can reach as low as -10° degree Celsius in countries like Iceland and Norway and while it gets up to 15° degree Celsius in other countries.

Climate change has lead to much warmer climate in many countries – I remember the years – as a little child – where we had many days with freezing temperatures in Germany. And a lot of snow – but nowadays, snow is no longer the rule for many parts in Europe. But it can be.

What to do in Alicante, Costa Blanca

WHAT TO BRING TO EUROPE IN WINTER – GENERAL ITEMS

So, the first part of the post is a general packing ist. Then you will find an additional packing list for winter.

Luggage for Europe

Here is what luggage/bags you might need for your winter Europe trip.

  • Suitcase: Though it depends, where exactly and for how long you travel, I recommend taking a good, light, and quality suitcase with you where all your clothes and most of your toiletries fit in.
  • Carry-On: If you visit for longer and aren’t a minimalist, then you might need an extra carry-on luggage.
  • Laundry bags: They are great if you travel for longer and don’t want your dirty and clean clothes to mix up. I prefer them over plastic bags.
  • Packing Cubes: They are the new must-items when it comes to traveling, they are very handy and they also come in cool colors. I recommend using packing cubes because it makes packing and organizing easier.
  • For my handbag, I choose a cross-body handbag with a zipper (just to be safe) and several extra pockets. My tip: The size of the handbag is important: do you carry a camera with your? A water bottle? Keep that in mind when you decide on one handbag.
  • Passport Holder, since i have become more minimalistic, I prefer not using a passport holder but if you need a passport (and an ID is not enough) you might want to have one.
  • For a day at the hotel pool or for some shopping, I recommend a beach bag or a cotton bag. Plastic bags – fortunately – do costs money in many parts of Europe…and plastic you use only once, sucks anyway, so with a cotton bag you use for years, you do the environment a favour (and it looks much better than to carry your shoppings in a plastic or paper bag).

Toiletries to Pack for Europe in Winter

Lately, I have reduced the care products. Less is better if you ask me. However, in winter our skin is also subject to stress. Here you will find a detailed list – even if I do not use all products below throughout the year, you might use more products.

If I travel for 10 days or shorter I take travel sizes toiletries which I refill with my natural and organic beauty products from home. To pack light, shampoo, conditioner, hair masks, cleaning water and cleansing milk is all in small bottles.

Of course, you could buy toiletries in Europe as well, but if you do not want to waste your time in drug stores or supermarkets, use this checklist for Europe.

  • (TSA Approved Clear) Travel Toiletry Bag (if you fly)
  • Sunscreen (even in winter – depending on where you travel to. If you go for a ski trip, then take it but you most likely will not need it for most other winter trips).
  • Travel bottles to refill – I refill them with my own organic products that I normally use (I do not use shampoo & conditioner provided by hotels)
  • Electric Hair Removal Epilator (only if you stay longer than a week or if you remove your bidy hair with it) – otherwise a razor or whatever you prefer
  • Face cream – (which I also use as a hand cream, so I do not have to take another cream).
  • Refillable Travel Size Perfume Bottle
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste and mouthwash plus Dental floss
  • Tissues
  • Deodorant
  • Magnifying make-up mirror
  • Nail polish and nail polish remover + glass nail file
  • My favorite hairbrush (especially for longer hair) – or if you have less space take a comb
  • Hair ties
  • A small cosmetic bag with the following items: Mascara / Rouge / Eyebrow powder (Taming & Shaping Kit For Brows) / Tweezer / Eyeliner and Eye Shadow / Make-up brushes/ Cotton swabs

Here are a few more items which I personally do hardly use but which might be important to you, so I added them here:

hair spray, hand cream, foundation, powder, lipstick, sanitiser

Tech Stuff to Pack for Europe

  • I have my laptop with me whenever I fly – however, I do work online while traveling and I also watch Netflix on it.
  • My phone is without a doubt one of my most useful and important (travel) items.
  • My camera is a must – because Europe has so many great spots that need to be photographed.
  • I have to admit, that I still don’t have a kindle, so a “real” book is often an essential
  • Power Charger – how long does your phone battery last? Not long? Neither does mine, so this  is an essential
  • Do you need an adapter? It depends on where you travel to in Europe, so please check if you need one for your destination.

Random Things to Pack for Europe

  • Umbrella (in many countries, like Germany, Switzerland, or England is can still rain quite a lot in the winter)
  • Guides
  • Medicine (headache pills etc.)
Cycling in London in winter

What to Pack for Europe in Winter

The key is dressing in layers for Europe in winter. The temperature can reach freezing levels, and yet the sun can be deceptively strong. Dressing in layers allows you to keep warm without compromising on comfort. 

Also, it really depends on where exactly you travel – as I mentioned before, Southern Europe has mild weather in winter where you will not need a super warm jacket and gloves plus a hat.

Depending on where you travel, the wind might make you feel much colder than the temperature actually says.

In worst case scenario, hypothermia and frostbite will be a result if If you’re wet and not appropriately dressed.

Your items should be versatile in function. For example, pack a jacket that is both waterproof and warm. In addition, comfortable walking shoes are essential.

December in Iceland, Golden Circle with Arzo Travels

Everyday Attire Essentials For Europe In Winter

At the top of your packing list should be the following versatile, essential items. Using these items to dress in layers will keep you both stylish and warm. 

  • Coat – Warm And Waterproof: A warm, waterproof jacket should be one of the very first items that you think to pack. Avoid choosing a bulky jacket that takes up a lot of space. This can make you feel uncomfortable when you have layers underneath. Instead, opt for a lightweight, trench raincoat that will keep you warm, dry, and comfortable. 
  • Hat: Science tells us that we lose up to 10% of our body heat through our heads, meaning that it’s essential to keep this area warm. A knitted beanie is a perfect solution for keeping the warmth in while you venture out.  A hat will keep you toasty warm whether you’re on the slopes, sipping coffee, or exploring the sights. 
  • Gloves: Have you ever tried to use your phone with frozen fingers? It’s a nearly impossible task. A pair of gloves can do wonders for your mobility, dexterity, and comfort. This makes it one of the most important items on your Switzerland packing list. When selecting your options, it’s worth investing in a pair that can dry quickly and are touch-screen compatible.
  • Scarf Or Turtleneck: A warm scarf and/or turtleneck sweater are key items for keeping your neck covered. Not only do these items keep you warm, but they also prevent you from getting ill (and thereby ruining the fun). A turtleneck sweater is perfect as a garment to wear underneath your jacket, while the scarf can be removed easily. 
  • Leggings: There’s a reason that almost every woman owns a pair of leggings. They are both comfortable and snug. Leggings are an essential item to pack as you can dress them up or down. You can even wear them underneath your denims as an extra layer of warmth. 
  • Socks: When it comes to packing socks for your Switzerland trip – the thicker the better. Chances are that you’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors in the snow, and you’ll want your feet to be warm and cozy. If you plan on hitting the slopes at any stage, then you’ll want your socks to be extra-thick or padded for increased comfort. 
  • Thermals: A quality set of thermals is your key to enjoying the winter weather in Switzerland. They provide the extra layer of heat that will allow you to spend an extra hour on the slopes, or to pack fewer items on your road trip instead of excess clothing.
  • Comfortable Walking Shoes: If you can only pack one pair of shoes, then make sure that they are a trusty pair of waterproof snowshoes. You’ll want your shoes to be as versatile as possible. Snowshoes allow you to enjoy a variety of activities while keeping your feet warm and dry. 
Verbier in Switzerland in the winter

Winter Sportswear

One of the best top reasons to visit Switzerland during the winter months is winter sports opportunities. While most ski resorts will offer rental equipment, there are a few essentials to pack for yourself. 

  • Ski Jacket: When choosing the perfect ski jacket, you need to consider warmth, level of waterproofing, and freedom of movement. A jacket that is adjustable in fit, seals effectively, and dries quickly is the perfect apparel for snowboarding, skiing, and other winter outdoor sports.
  • Ski Pants: A trusty pair of insulated ski pants are the next essential item for all winter sports fans. Make sure that your choice of pants is breathable, warm, and waterproof. These details will keep you dry, warm, and comfortable on the slopes.  
  • Winter Protection: There are a few items that will make your winter vacation all the more comfortable. The last thing that you want is to be soaked on your first day, or get a migraine from snow blindness
  • Umbrella: Regardless of what time of year you visit Switzerland, it’s always a smart move to pack a foldable umbrella. The nifty item doesn’t take up too much space. It can be the difference between a leisurely stroll in the city streets and getting caught in a flu-inspired downpour. 
  • Chapstick: Visiting Switzerland in winter will most likely find you spending hours of fun on the snow-covered slopes. This can quickly dry out your lips and burn your skin. In this instance, you’re going to be grateful that you’ve packed your moisturizing stick of Chapstick. 
  • Sunglasses: The best days on the slopes are the ones accompanied by clear, sunny skies and good conditions. These circumstances also increase the glare of the sun on the white snow, making it close to unbearable on your eyes. A pair of polarized sunglasses or ski goggles can protect your eyes from the wind and bright light.

CONCLUSION: WHAT TO PACK FOR EUROPE IN WINTER

Europe in winter is a fantastic travel destination. Whether you come for a ski trip in Switzerland, explore the Christmas markets in London or want to have a weekend trip to a warmer place like Valencia – Europe is so diverse and has something for every taste.

Just be aware of what to pack for Europe in winter and you can enjoy some fantastic time in Europe.

Stay safe and enjoy!

Safe Travels, Arzo

One-Week Norway itinerary 

HOW TO SPEND 7 DAYS IN NORWAY

Are you headed to Norway and are wondering about a fun one-week Norway itinerary? Then read on and find out how to spend a week in this gorgeous country.

It’s no secret that Norway is king when it comes to breath-taking sceneries. If you’re plotting an escape to Norway soon, you’re probably feeling incredibly overwhelmed trying to decide what to do during your visit. Seriously, there’s just too much to choose from!

Being the humongous country that it is, getting to see everything Norway has to offer in just one week is sadly not possible, but this itinerary is perfect for an introductory trip that will have you experiencing some of the best the country has to offer.

Day 1: Oslo

Chances are you’ll land in Oslo, and while you probably can’t wait to see fjords and get out into nature, exploring the Norwegian capital will give you an introduction to Scandinavian culture.

Oslo best city to visit in winter

There are so many things to do in Oslo and listing them all would require a post of its own, but a few of our favorite activities include checking out the Kon-Tiki and the Viking Ship museums and wandering the Vigeland Sculpture Park.

If you love theatre and ballet, don’t forget to check out the Oslo Opera House, too! When you get tired of exploring the city, head over to the Solsiden restaurant to grab a bite along with killer views of the mesmerizing fjords that Norway is so well known for. 

Days 2 and 3: Sognefjord

It’s time to get away from the bustle and hustle of the capital and into quieter respites. Hop on the famous Bergen Line for the ride from Oslo to Myrdal station, the getaway point to one of the best fjord areas in the country. The journey will greet you with glimpses of the ever-alluring Norwegian countryside. 

Once you reach Myrdal Station, you can change trains and continue your journey towards the quiet Sognefjord. This ride is considered to be the most scenic in Norway, as it zigs zags its way along the incredibly beautiful Flam Valley.

Of course, a stop at Sognefjord, the longest and deepest fjord in Norway, is a must. Getting here can take up to twelve hours, but the stunning fjord vistas accompanying you on the way will make the clock swirl a lot faster. 

Another can’t miss things to do in the area is hopping on a ferry ride to catch the best views of Nærøyfjord, a smaller branch of Sognefjord and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Unlike the rest of the natural spots being spoiled by massive herds of tourists, this one is certified as a sustainable destination and thanks to that, it’s also well looked after and maintained. 

If time allows, you can also opt for renting a kayak to explore the fjord independently or go on a hike along the railroad. 

oslo bergen shutterstock_510390316
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Day 4: Bergen

Bergen another top place to visit (whether in summer or winter). It is famously known for being another getaway for a fjord extravaganza, but today, we’ll focus on exploring this gem of a city before heading back to nature.

Places to visit in. Bergen Norway
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Start your day off by roaming the streets and checking out the signature wooden houses along the quay. After spending a while walking the streets of the city, take the cable car to up to the mountain and enjoy the birds-eye view of the city as the sun bids farewell for the day. 

Day 5: Hiking Trolltunga

Norway has a ton of iconic natural landmarks, and Trolltunga is possibly the most emblematic one of them all. The name Trolltunga literally translates into “the troll’s tongue”, as the ending point of the hike ends on a steep cliff that resembles, well… a troll’s tongue.

Best hike in Norway Trolltunga, Troll's tongue rock above lake Ringedalsvatnet, Norway
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Starting in Skjeggedal, the hike to Trolltunga is twenty-seven kilometers long, but the scenic views of snow-capped mountains and lakes will keep you company along the way.

The hike to Trolltunga usually takes a whopping ten to twelve hours, but you can save around three hours if you take the new shuttle to and from the upper parking lot. Take into account that you’ll need to drive four hours each way from Bergen, so I recommend starting the day as early as possible to make the most out of your time here.

Day 6: Allemande

Arriving at Alesund feels like stepping into a fairytale town. This quaint coastal town was recently named the most beautiful in Norway, and you’ll quickly see why!

Once you’re all settled in Alesund, take a stroll along the harbor to enjoy the architecture of the town. Alesund is also famously known for its Art Noveau scene, so make sure you don’t miss out on visiting the Kongens Gate and the Art Noveau Center.

Moreover, the town’s sunsets are unbeatable, so if you’re lucky enough to be there on a clear day, hike up to Aksla Viewpoint to get a 360-degree view of the town.

Alesund has signature desserts to keep your taste buds happy, make sure to stop by at a local bakery to get a taste of the town’s delicious cakes and sweets.

Tip: Norway is huge, so I highly recommend booking an early morning flight from Bergen into Alesund to save time.

Day 7: Hjørundfjord

Snow-capped mountains, roaring waterfalls, and small lakes are the specialty of Hjørundfjord. This fjord is considered one of the most beautiful in the world thanks to the sharp peaks that stand on both its sides. 

Around the fjord, you’ll find over seventy small lakes, with the most popular being Lekneset. If you want to get the most out of your time here, make sure you book a boat ride across the lake – this gives you the best views of the fjord. 

If boat tours aren’t your jam, you can also rent a kayak to explore the fjord in more depth. You can also hike to Mount Saska, where you can see the end of the fjord to one side and catch glimpses of the town of Alesund and the ocean to the other.

After exploring the Fjord, head back to Alesund, from where you can catch a flight back to Oslo.

And that’s my suggestion on how to create a perfect one-week Norway itinerary! From fjords to cities and fairytale towns, this action-packed itinerary will get you seeing some of the best this Scandinavian gem has to offer and hopefully, you will have a fun 7 days in Norway.

Safe Travels, Arzo

 

Best Places To Visit in Norway in Winter

best places to visit in winter in Norway.png

Where to Go and What to See in Norway in Winter

Norway is a country that boasts everything an avid traveler could ever ask for: Frozen tundra, unbeatable wildlife sightings, enchanting cruise trips through stunning fjords, and lively cities.

After visiting Iceland in winter, it was time to explore Norway in winter.

To find out about the best places to visit in Norway in winter read on – as I am about to spill the beans about where to go and what to see in the cold winter months.

Even though most travelers to Norway visit in summer, a trip to Norway in the winter gives you a totally different perspective of what the country has to offer. 

I’m talking snowy mountain peaks, snow mobiling, snowshoeing, reindeer on the snow, and of course, the mesmerizing Northern Lights.

Understandably, a lot of people hesitate to visit Norway during the colder months of the year due to the misconception that Scandinavia is unbearably cold and sees very little sunlight in winter. 

However, what most don’t know, though, is that Norway doesn’t get as cold as most believe thanks to the Atlantic Gulf Stream that keeps temperatures bearable. 

Plus, the permanent twilight only stays for a small percentage of winter. As long as you make sure to plan your trip to Norway around them and to pack the right clothes, you’re in for a trip of a lifetime!

With that said, I’ve put together a list of some of the coolest (no pun intended) destinations to visit in Norway during the colder months. 

From Oslo’s laid-back atmosphere to the magical Lofoten Island and the alluring Arctic Circle, here are some of the best destinations to visit during your winter escape to Norway.

For general tips on what to do in Norway, read this post but for now, it is all about the best winter destinations in Norway.

What to Pack for Norway in Winter

WHAT TO PACK FOR Norway IN DECEMBER

It depends, on where exactly you visit –  however, it is still important to dress warm. Or better to dress in layers.

Coat – Warm And Waterproof: A warm, waterproof jacket should be one of the very first items that you think to pack. Avoid choosing a bulky jacket that takes up a lot of space. This can make you feel uncomfortable when you have layers underneath. Instead, opt for a lightweight, trench raincoat that will keep you warm, dry, and comfortable. 

Hat: A knitted beanie is a perfect solution for keeping the warmth in while you venture out. A hat will keep you toasty warm wherever you are.

Gloves: A pair of gloves can do wonders for your mobility, dexterity, and comfort. When selecting your options, it’s worth investing in a pair that can dry quickly and are touch-screen compatible.

Scarf Or Turtleneck: A warm scarf and/or turtleneck sweater are key items for keeping your neck covered. A turtleneck sweater is perfect as a garment to wear underneath your jacket, while the scarf can be removed easily. 

Leggings: Leggings are an essential item to pack as you can dress them up or down. You can even wear them underneath your denims as an extra layer of warmth. 

Socks: When it comes to packing socks for your Norway trip – the thicker the better. Chances are that you’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors in the snow, and you’ll want your feet to be warm and cozy. 

Thermals: My favorite winter clothes are thermalsA quality set of thermals is your key to enjoying the winter weather in Norway. You have to wear them on a cold day to believe what a wonderful invention it is!

Comfortable Walking Shoes: If you can only pack one pair of shoes, then make sure that they are a trusty pair of waterproof snowshoes. You’ll want your shoes to be as versatile as possible. Snowshoes allow you to enjoy a variety of activities while keeping your feet warm and dry. 

Here are some of the best places to visit in Norway during the winter:

Tromso

No trip to Norway in winter is complete without a stop in the Arctic Circle. Famous for its 18th-century wooden houses and unbeatable natural landscapes, the majority of the city is perched on the island of Tromsoya.

Aurora Borealis in Tromso, Norway in winter
@shutterstock

While the main highlight of visiting Tromso is getting the chance to see nature’s most amazing light show, The Northern Lights, the city itself is also worth lingering a while in. What I have learned that Aurora does look better in pictures than in real life.

Yes, they can be stunning but to know how to photograph Aurora is essential to “see” it the best way.

Tromso is one of the best places to visit in winter
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Tromso in Northern Norway is beautiful place to visit in winter
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Surrounded by birch tree forests that last for days and numerous museums to learn more about the North Pole, Tromso itself is a highlight on any Norway itinerary.

While here, make sure you take a cable car up to Storsteinen Mountain, where you can catch the unbeatable views of Tromso’s surrounding mountains and fjords. 

Trondheim

Dating back to the year 997, Trondheim was Norway’s capital and religious center in the Middle Ages and is home to the northernmost Medieval cathedral in the world. 

Trondheim winter sunrise best places to go in winter
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If history is your jam and you’re keen to learn as much as you can about Norway’s history, then Trondheim is a must while traveling Norway. 

River Nidelva in the city Trondheim in winter
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Aside from its historical value, Trondheim is also famous for its fairytale-like setting. Think medieval churches and colorful houses lining the waterway and you’ll get a pretty good picture of what this quirky city is all about.

Jotunheimen National Park

Commonly referred to as Home of The Giants, Jotunheimen is probably one of Norway’s most famous national parks. 

Jotunheimen National Park one of the most beautiful places in Norway
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Home to a number of stunning mountain ranges, including some of the tallest peaks in the country and the highest waterfall in Norway, Vettisfossen, spending a night or two here gives you the chance to fully connect with nature.

Glacier hikes, skiing, snowshoeing, and dog sledding are just a few of the things you can do while staying at Jotunheimen National Park during the winter months. 

Jotunheimen National Park in Norway is one of the best places to go in winter
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While you can visit on a day trip, I highly recommend staying at least a night in the wooden huts and cabins inside the park. 

Svalbard Archipelago

Svalbard is a cluster of islands sandwiched between the Barents Sea, Arctic Ocean, Norwegian Sea, and the Greenland Sea (yep, that’s a ton of seas!).

Svalbard Archipelago in winter with ice bears
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Even though getting to Svladbard is a bit of a trek due to its remoteness, visiting gives you the chance to step foot on the northernmost permanently occupied settlement on the planet, far more northerly than any part of Alaska and all but a few of Canada’s Arctic islands. 

Row of colourful chalet houses in Longyearbyen, Svalbard, most northery town in the world
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Northern lights in Norway Svalbard in Longyearbyen Where to see northern lights in Norway
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Spending time in Svalrvard means experiencing the Arctic at its best with untouched glaciers, rugged mountains, and some of the best wildlife encounters the world has to offer (think polar bears, walruses, polar foxes, reindeer, seals, whales, and caribou). And of course, there are the Northern Lights in Norway.

Alesund

Arriving at Alesund feels like stepping into a fairytale town. This quaint coastal town was recently named the most beautiful in Norway, and you’ll quickly see why!

Norwegian fjord, mountain landscape in winter Alesund
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Once you’re all settled in Alesund, take a stroll along the harbor to enjoy the architecture of the town. Alesund is also famously known for its Art Noveau scene, so make sure you don’t miss out on visiting the Kongens Gate and the Art Noveau Center. 

Moreover, the town’s sunsets are unbeatable, so if you’re lucky enough to be there on a clear day, hike up to Aksla Viewpoint to get a 360-degree view of the town.

Oslo

Even though many people traveling in Norway choose to spend just a day in its capital city in favor of other destinations, I highly believe spending at least two days in Oslo is a must to get a good introduction to Scandinavian culture and history.

Oslo best city to visit in winter
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The royal palace of Oslo on a sunny winter day
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Oslo is a city with an incredibly laid-back atmosphere. While here, make sure to check out the Nobel Peace Center in the old railway station, the Kon-Tiki and the Viking Ship museums, the Vigeland Sculpture Park, and Oslo’s lively nightlife.

If you’re not much of a museum person and would rather spend time in nature, you’ll love to know the fact that Oslo is made of two-third forests, which means you’ll find green spaces galore to get lost in. 

Lofoten Islands

Lofoten islands are a favorite destination for locals and tourists alike year-round but during the winter months, the islands take on a magic of their own.

Hamnoy, Lofoten islands, Norway. winter best time to visit
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Breathtaking panorama of night surrounded by snowy peaks, Reinebringen Lofoten, Norway
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With picture-perfect fishing villages squeezed amid fjords, snow-capped peaks towering over the ocean, and a storybook-like setting,

Lofoten Islands are often described as one of the most scenic destinations in Norway (and that’s saying a lot, considering the entire country is a treat to look at!).

Bergen

The list about the most beautiful places in Norway in winter would not be complete without mentioning Bergen. It is the perfect city to visit in the cold winter months.

Bergen in the winter with roads , Norway
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Bergen, Norway in winter a must see place
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Bergen, Norway in winter months
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Whether you want to enjoy some winter activities like skiing, sledging and hiking or stroll the town center of Bergen, there is a lot to do.

Enjoy the mountain views from Mount Fløyen and Mount Ulriken – getting up there in winter is quite easy: just take the funicular or cable car so no hiking needed. So, when you visit Norway you must visit Bergen as well – it is actually a perfect place to end your Norway trip.

 

Now that you know the best places you can visit in Norway in winter, it is time for you to pack your bags and head to have the experience of your lifetime!

Safe Travels, Arzo

Top Things to Do in Norway – What to See in Norway

Top Things to Do in Norway – What to See in Norway

Norway is often considered as one of the most beautiful places in Europe! There is a reason – or better there are many reasons – why it is!

Wondering what to see in Norway? There are so many great places to visit in Norway and fun things to do in Norway, so I asked a few female travel bloggers about their top tips and here are their recommendations for visiting Norway and which things to add to a Norway itinerary.

As we all know, Norway is expensive. Like seriously expensive. So, here is what to pack for your Norway trip (so you don’t forget all neccessary items so you do not need to buy it there).

Here is my packing list for any Europe trip.

Here is my packing list for Norway in the winter.

Find out about the top things to do in Norway:

Visit Svalbard

Recommended by Megan from Megan Star

Svalbard is a group of islands in the far north Atlantic that belongs to Norway (and perhaps a bit of Russia) – however, it is definitely a place to see in Norway.

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The islands are renowned for their picturesque landscapes and being home to the northernmost town in the world, Longyearbyen.

But… the thing that makes them the most famous is that they are home to polar bears! In fact, Svalbard has more polar bears residing on its soil than humans. This makes the islands immensely popular amongst researchers, climate change experts, and nature enthusiasts and in my opinion it is one of the best place to see in Norway. Seriously!

Longyearbyen, the ‘capital’ of Svalbard and its main town, is named after John Munro Longyear, an American who owned the Arctic Coal Company which surveyed and mined on Svalbard (the islands have a rich mining history) at the turn of the 20th century.

Longyearbyen’s mining past is ever-present today as many of the mines still stand abandoned across this barren and harsh landscape.

Several dorms and accommodation for miners have been converted into hotels and guesthouses and you can stay at them cheaply today.

The long summer days and short dark nights really put reality into check that you are visiting a destination at the very top of the world!

Click here to find the best rates for accommodation in Longyearbyen

Discover Flam

Recommended by Jurga from Full Suitcase

The Flam area is without a doubt one of the must-visit places in Norway.

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It is best known for the scenic Flam railway and one of the most beautiful fjords of Norway – UNESCO World Heritage Site Nærøyfjord.

Considered as one of the most scenic train journeys in the world, a short trip on the Flam railway is certainly not to be missed. The fjord cruise is another must-do in Flam.

However, there is more to see and do in Flam area than that. You can visit tiny villages along the fjord, go hiking or kayaking, and the area is also known for some of the most beautiful waterfalls in Norway.

Europe’s longest car tunnel, the Lærdal tunnel, is nearby, or you can opt for the more scenic option and (in summer) drive one of the highest roads in Norway…

If you are looking for a special cultural experience, one of our favorite places in Flam area is the newly opened Viking Valley in Gudvangen. In this authentic Viking village you can meet real Vikings and learn more about their history and their way of life – centuries ago, but also today.

It’s a unique place, one I highly recommend to anyone visiting Norway.

Click here to find the best rates for accommodation in Flam

Pic: Full Suitcase

See Uloya

Recommended by Lavina from Continent Hop

If you’re screaming for somewhere remote in Norway, it doesn’t get more remote than Uloya near Tromso.

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To get to Uloya, you first need to get to Tromso, take a 3-hour drive, then a ferry for about 30 minutes…to Uloya.

Why head off to somewhere this remote? Well because all you need to do to see the Northern Lights is to step outside your cabin in Uloya or if you’re cold, sip some brandy (or tea) and watch it from the window!

There are few things that rival the beauty of watching the lights make mysterious, shimmery, colorful patterns in the sky. Sometimes for a moment they also seem like they’re falling down on you!

Watching the Northern lights is the top activity here, however, other than watching the lights, there are many other exciting activities you could take up here. One of the most unique ski slopes in the world is located here, so you could go skiing or snowmobiling!

If you’d rather not be too adventurous, you could try snow-shoe walking or ice-fishing on frozen fjords.

The landscapes here are breathtaking! At night the tiny island feels very peaceful and surreal. Definitely, a remarkable place to visit sometime!

Hike Preikestolen

Recommended by Lamar and Courtney from Travel For Days

Preikestolen, or Pulpit’s Rock as it is also known is a geographical treasure.

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You take a ferry from nearby Stavanger, Norway into Tau and the fun begins. At just shy of 2000 meters in elevation, it’s a healthy hike, growing steep and narrow at points, while fanning out for beautiful panoramas in other parts.

The views are absurd, and you’ll need to allow time to stop along the way. To blow past the skyline communing with this mountain, the vibrant lush greens popping out of every rock face, the natural lakes and the sheer serenity of it all…well, it would just be wrong. This rock formation was cut and forged by glaciers thousands of years ago, and the ancient art of the surrounding canvas will speak to you at the most-base level of your existence.

To say it was a cleansing experience might seem a touch on the intense or dramatic side, but the combination of physical exertion and dedication it takes to summit Preikestolen combined with a rather raw and untouched subset of nature, it certainly had that effect on us!

When you get to the top, you really feel like you accomplished a feat you’ll never be able to forget. Put that together with the colors (turquoise fjords, ice-gray rock, deep navy hued lakes, bright greens and misty, rolling fog) and the incredible views in all directions, your soul will be full.

Some tips to do it best:

1.      Plan for the excursion to take you 6-8 hours (1 hour to get to Tau and then to Preikestolen, 2 hours to hike it, an hour to take in the views on top, 2 hours to get down, and another hour to return to Stavanger depending on if you just missed or just made the ferry)

2.      The earlier the better

3.      Bring some additional layers (as the top is much colder than the bottom)

4.      Proper hiking shoes are highly recommended

Click here to find affordable accommodation in Stavanger

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Visit Tromsø

Recommended by Brooke from Roamscapes

Tromsø is the largest city in northern Norway; as a regular departure point for polar expeditions, it’s known as the “Gateway to the Arctic”.

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This city backed by the majestic Lyngen Alps is an outdoor lover’s dream, but Tromsø is also a cultural center for the region, home to both Nordic and Sámi culture as well as numerous festivals.

Because it sits within the auroral zone, Tromsø is one of the most popular destinations for seeing the northern lights (aurora borealis). If you’re lucky, you may catch sight of the aurora from within the city! Otherwise, you can always drive out of town on your own or join a professional tour for the best chance at seeing this magical, elusive wonder of nature.

Of course, Tromsø is such a fun destination because there’s much more to do than waiting for the aurora.

You can go whale watching, dog sledding or even reindeer sledding as part of a traditional Sami cultural experience, and enjoy a traditional meal inside a Sami hut. Want to relax? Simply stroll through town, visit the Arctic Cathedral, and enjoy great Norwegian beer at Tromsø’s many bars and pubs.

Although it’s seen as a sort of winter wonderland, summer is also an insanely busy tourist season in Tromsø because of the midnight sun: the annual Tromsø Midnight Sun Marathon sees runners arriving from all over the world to complete the challenge.

If you want to experience living in constant daylight while going hiking on the tundra and kayaking along the fjords, plan for your visit for mid-May through July.

Click here to find the best rates for accommodation in Tromso

Cruise the Fjords in Norway

Recommended by Great from Greta’s Travels

If you’re planning a trip to Norway you can’t do a cruise in the fjords.

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Cruises normally start in Bergen and go as far as Cape North, lasting from 2D/1N to a whole week – without a doubt, it is one of the very best things to do in Norway.

The highlight of the trip for me was cruising in the Geirangerfjord. This is a 15km long fjord that is protected by the UNESCO. You can admire the natural beauty of Norway while comfortably sat on the deck of your boat, as it cruises past the lush green vegetation and waterfalls, with the peaks of the fjords capped by snow or hidden by clouds.

Once you get close enough to the town of Geiranger the cruise boats will dock away from the shore (they’re too big to dock in the harbor!) and smaller boats will take you to the harbor. Here shuttle buses will take you to the top of the fjord, where you can admire the cliffs from above, one of the best views I have ever seen!

The best company to do the cruise with is Hurtigruten; they have been operating for over 100 years first as a cargo operator and more recently as cruise and ferry services.

It is a truly exceptional experience and not just because of the tasty salmon they serve at all meals!

Discover Norway in a Nutshell

Recommended by Kaylie from Happiness Travels Here

Norway, in a Nutshell, is a set itinerary that has been designed to showcase some of Norway’s most breathtaking scenery.

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The route runs between Oslo and Bergen and is as much about the journey as the destination – to see the most beautiful places in Norway this nutshell tour is perfect for you.

Catch the first of 3 trains from Oslo, sit on the left for the best views of the snowy landscapes and glacial lakes which remain frozen well into the summer. The train times its arrival to meet with the Flam railway, the steepest railway of its type in the world, the line drops 867 metres down to the town of Flam; past steep mountainside impressive waterfalls and through 20 tunnels it’s clear to see why the Flam railway has been voted one of the world’s best train journeys.

Flam is the natural halfway point in the journey, and the gateway to Sognefjord, Norway’s largest and deepest Fjord. Spend some time here hiking or exploring the remote corners of the fjords by boat.

Next, take the Ferry to Gudvangen, the boat passes down the Naerowfjord, Norway’s narrowest fjord and a UNESCO heritage site. Steep snow-capped peaks launch out of the depths, and waterfalls rush back down to the valley floors.

The Bus from Gudvangen to Voss is unlike any other you will take, a scenic detour on the old postal road gives a fantastic view back down the Fjord, as you pass waterfalls which almost spill over the road.

Meet your final train in Voss and sit on the right to enjoy the last views of the Fjords before arriving in the port town of Bergen. Catch an overnight train back to Oslo or even better stay and explore Bergen a few days.

Visit Bergen

Recommended by Alina

If you were looking for a place surrounded by beautiful views and rich culture, then Bergen is the perfect choice and one of th best cities to visit in Norway.

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Considered to be the Gateway to Norway’s Fjords, Bergen offers plenty of attractions throughout all seasons.

The main activities in Bergen are the trips in the seven surrounding mountains, with different walking and hiking tours. You can also opt for a walk on marked trails to explore the beautiful view of the city and its surroundings.

Tourists in Bergen can explore colorful houses, friendly people, and small streets. A walk through the entire town will definitely be a pleasure for any tourist. Tourists can also visit different Unesco attractions, such as the Bryggen, the Fish Market or the Bergen Aquarium.

For those who want to explore the surrounding areas of Bergen, the Flam Railway is the best choice. The train crosses the mountains and tunnels of Norway, offering beautiful views for all passengers.

Another place for the most beautiful views is the Trolltunga. This attraction allows tourists to explore Norway’s amazing rock formations, dating back to the Ice Age. Hiking is also a great activity in this area, so make sure you’re prepared for an adventure.

A 3-day trip glacier trip is the best escape from city life. Among the most popular activities are kayaking and hiking in Rosendal, the Blue Ice Hike in Juklavaas Glacier or different other guided glacier hiking trips.

The fjords are among Norway’s most popular destinations. Tourists can join different day trips and cruises in this area, or enjoy trips and cruises to Rosendal and Mostraumen.

Overall, if you decide to spend your holiday in Bergen, you will have plenty of activities to choose from. This is definitely one of the most beautiful places in Norway. Find a Bergen itinerary here.

Click here to find out about rates for accommodation in Norway

Lofoten

Recommended by Daniele & Elena from Cycloscope

The Lofted Islands are something in between an archipelago and a peninsula and a unique place in Norway.

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Situated in the north of Norway, beyond the Arctic Circle, the Lofted are indeed cut into separate islands by dozens of fjords – and one of Norway´s points of interest.

The mountains fall into the sea and mirror in incredibly placid waters, often made uncertain by the fog. The mosses are so thick that you can stand on them, even where there’s nothing below. A magical fairytale land.

The largest islands (Austvågøy, Gimsøya, Vestvågøy, Flakstadøya, Moskenesøya) are connected by bridges, those are the ones where the most populated cities are located. One of these is Svolvær, the oldest city in the Arctic Circle, already inhabited during the Vikings times.

Despite being so northernly located, temperatures on the Lofoten islands rarely drop below 0°C. The economy of this archipelago relies almost entirely on fishing.

The Lofoten Islands are a great place to spot the northern lights, enjoy unreal views while hiking, and take boat rides through the many gorgeous fjords. They also are perfect destinations for a bicycle trip, even for beginners.

The desolately beautiful Lofoten Islands have long attracted the attention of the wider world because of the terrifying marine phenomenon off their shores, known as Maelström (Moskenstraumen).

A convergence of fast-flowing currents close to Moskenesøy, the westernmost of the five main islands, creates a mighty whirlpool that has entered the collective imagery thanks to the writings of Jules Verne, Edgar Allan Poe, and Herman Melville.

Click here to find good accommodation in Lofoten Island

Ålesund

Recommended by Silvia from Heart my Backpack

People are always surprised to hear what my favorite city in Norway is. No, it’s not Bergen, Tromsø, or even my old home of Trondheim, but a smaller city on Norway’s west coast – Ålesund!

Pic by Heart my Backpack

The city itself is gorgeous, and really unique in Norway. After a fire wiped out most of the downtown in 1904, Ålesund was rebuilt with stone Art Nouveau buildings, instead of the traditional Norwegian wooden houses. It’s really special to see streets full of Art Nouveau buildings – the downtown looks so perfect it’s almost like walking through a painting.

But aside from the city’s beauty, Ålesund is worth a visit because it’s located right by some of Norway’s most breathtaking landscapes.

Seriously, if you’re heading to Norway and only have time to explore one place, hop on a flight to Ålesund and spend a day in the city and the rest of your time in the surrounding fjords.

Trollstigen, one of Norway’s tourist attraction and most dramatic roads, is less than two hours from Ålesund, and Geirangerfjord, one of Norway’s most beautiful fjords, is just two hours from Ålesund – it is my top favorite places in Norway.

Click here to find out about prices for accommodation in Alesund

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What do you think? Have we missed some great things to do in Norway? Let us know about the most beautiful place in Norway and your recommendation for visiting Norway!

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Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links which means I might earn a small commission when you buy a product/service via my link (at no extra cost to you). More about it here.

 

Safe Travels, Arzo

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