Norway in December: Winter Weather Getaway


Norway is a winter wonderland full of delights in December. Attractive old towns in the southern part of the country, such as Bergen, take on an even more impressive appearance with the run-up to the Christmas and new year celebrations during this time of year. While in the north, snow provides no end to outdoor activities, from skiing and reindeer-herding to capturing the magic of the Northern Lights. So while it may be time to slip on your thermals, there is no denying that a trip to Norway in December is a must.

Norway Weather in December

Man trekking on the snow mountain with sunlight and storm
If you're an extreme skiing junkie, Norway has the best places for your skiing fix

Given the country’s brilliance at the Winter Olympics every four years, it does not come as a surprise that temperatures can get pretty chilly in Norway in December. Daytime averages in the south hover at around 5°C, while they hardly rise above the freezing point in the north during this month. Oslo and the south coast see the mildest temperatures anywhere in the country. However, despite this, December is still one of the best times to visit Norway. Opt for a few hours of daylight that shines down each day, or pack right and head north of the Arctic Circle, around Tromso all the way to Nordkapp, to experience the polar night.

Weather in Norway in December - Rainfall and Temperatures

Avg Daily (°C)12691620222016104-1
Avg Nightly (°C)-7-7-31711131274-1-5
Avg Daily (°F)33.835.642.848.260.86871.66860.85039.230.2
Avg Nightly (°F)19.419.426.633.844.651.855.453.644.639.230.223
Avg Rainfall (mm)504060405080709070907050

Why Visit Norway in December

A couple sitting on frozen, snowy lake with fishing rods in hands
Ice fishing gear is highly specialized, more so than normal fishing gears
Surfer withstand high waves at Unstad beach in Norway during winter
The high waves at Lofoten's Unstad beach attract surfers even in winter

Norway sees its calendar jam-packed with events during December. Christmas festivities take hold in the middle of the month, while winter sports can be practiced all over the country. Check out some great reasons to visit Norway during this month below.

  • Winter sports: The ski and snow season is well in hand in Norway in December. Whether you are a virgin on the slopes or consider yourself a professional, there is an incredible array of routes to choose from.
  • Northern Lights: Escape the city glow for one of nature’s wonders, the Northern Lights, a scene that mesmerizes all who see them. This natural phenomenon is best enjoyed from places like Kirkenes and Tromso.
  • Christmas celebrations: Christmas in Norway takes place in a fairy tale setting, replete with snow and bright lights. It kicks up with the feast of Saint Lucia in mid-December and continues until the new year, meaning there is plenty of cheer on the streets of cities north and south.
  • Great food: Why not use the excuse of needing to keep warm to indulge in the very best of Nordic cuisine, from reindeer meatballs to smoked salmon?

Where to go and what to do

Cottage in Norway covered with snow at nightfall
A tour in Norway doesn't always have to be adventurous. You can rent a cottage and cozy up during the winter days

Perhaps surprisingly, Norway in December remains entirely open for exploration, from its valleys to its highest peaks. A tour in Oslo is always a good place to start, given its splendid mix of fjord location and cultural attractions that include several important museums. Explore Bergen, the gateway to fjords, sees waterfalls freeze and snow cover the surrounding peaks during this time of year. Similarly, the UNESCO World Heritage site of Roros not only provides great insights into Norway’s past but also offers one of the best Christmas-shopping experiences in December. Tromso is another must-visit destination while in Norway during this time of year. Lying on the Arctic Circle, it offers the chance to catch sight of the elusive Northern Lights. Head into Norwegian Lapland to see the traditional way of life of the country’s reindeer herders or brave the waters in the hope of seeing humpback whales.

What to bring

Discover Rjukandefossen waterfall in Hemsedal
Hike towards the mysterious Rjukandefossen waterfall in Hemsedal and get lost in its beauty
Beautiful aurora over Hamnoy, in the Lofoten islands, Norway
Witness beautiful auroras over the Lofoten islands in Norway

In addition to plenty of warm clothing – natural materials such as wool are best – you will also want to bring waterproofs with you to Norway in December to keep off rain and snow. Even if you plan to stick to the cities of the country’s south, a pair of shoes or boots with a good grip is essential, since cobblestone streets can be difficult to walk on when slippery.
Norway in December is very much unlike most destinations in the last month of the year. That is because the country arguably shows off its greatest face to the world during this month. Want to shop in designer stores in big cities? It can be done easily. Want to head off-piste in the mountains? That is equally doable!

Check out our Norway tours in December for further inspiration on all that is possible in the country during this month. Else, contact one of our local travel experts to begin planning for your customized trip to Norway.

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  • Tamara Kukovalsky
    Tamara Kukovalsky
    Travel Expert in Norway & Sweden
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    Emma Vestrheim
    Travel Expert in Finland & Norway
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