From mid-April onwards the snow starts to melt rapidly everywhere as the sun gets
higher in the sky and the days quickly lengthen. Even in the southern part of Norway
it is light until 10pm by the end of April. When the snow has gone and the ground
warms up the green leaves of spring start to appear.
The south and western parts of Norway are the best areas to visit at this time, though
you should bear in mind that the weather is impossible to predict and it may feel
like it changes from winter to summer and back again overnight. All the low level
roads will be clear of snow, so motoring tours are very enjoyable but you should
bear in mind that the high mountain roads which are closed in the winter are not
normally open until the end of May, or even early June..
The tradition of ‘spring cleaning’ is still very much alive in Norway as everyone
makes full use of the long evenings and any fine days to tidy up their houses and
gardens, and to get their boats and holiday homes ready for summer. Even areas of
common ground and roadside ditches get cleaned up by communities arranging special
days when everyone turns out to help.
There are several public holidays in May and the Norwegians make full use of them
to celebrate springtime after a long winter. In particular, the National Day on
May 17th is marked by parties, music and street parades with many ordinary people
dressed in beautiful national costumes.
One common but rather strange sight for visitors in springtime is Norwegians standing
or sitting, often with their backs to a sheltered wall, staring into the sun with
their eyes closed. They are not all pagan sun worshippers, just ordinary people enjoying
the feeling of the sun’s warmth on their faces after a long, chilly winter. The real
experts in this art will have a piece of silver foil held under their chin to reflect
the sun there too.
Fishermen's cabins (rorbuer) in the Lofoten Islands (April)
Enjoying the spring sunshine but taking no chances with the weather in the fjords