Log cabin in Norway with a fine view of a winter sunset.
In winter much of Norway is transformed into a snow-clad paradise from November to
April. The best way to enjoy it is undoubtedly on skis, but there are many other
things to do as well. Just sitting by the fire in a warm and cosy log cabin is a
great pleasure for some, as is the friendly, relaxed atmosphere of the communal lounge
in a mountain hotel. Children of all ages (and many grown-ups) never get tired of
just playing in the snow. For the more active there is tobogganing, skating, ice
fishing, ice climbing, horse and sleigh rides, dog sledding, snow shoeing and snow-scooter
When to go in winter
You can be almost certain of snow in the main mountain areas from December to April.
Christmas in a snow-covered log cabin is idyllic, and New Year is very special with
fireworks everywhere at midnight. There is limited daylight at this time, but it
is still possible to have a full day's skiing if you don't delay getting out. The
bigger resorts have at least one floodlit downhill slope, and many towns and villages
have a floodlit cross-country track (lysløype). A cross-country trip by moonlight
is a magical experience, which will soon reveal the origins of the 'troll' folklore!
The days lengthen rapidly through January and February and by the end of March there
is of course more daylight than further south. Mid-February is the most popular period
and accommodation prices are higher then. Early March probably offers the best combination
of skiing conditions, daylight and low prices. Easter and the week before are very
popular with Norwegians, and accommodation prices then are very high. However, from
Easter Monday low season rates apply again. It is possible to ski in the higher areas
right through until May, and you can even ski all summer in a few places.
How to get there in winter
In winter most people choose to fly, though if you have time the ferry services run
all year and are very inexpensive. Many places can be reached easily by public transport,
but if you hire a car or take your own you will have access to a much wider range
Accommodation in winter
Downhill resorts: There is a very wide range of chalets, apartments and hotels of
all sizes and standards at or near all the downhill resorts. If you let us know what
sort of accommodation you want and how close you want to be to the skilifts we will
find something for you. Substantial savings can be made by staying some distance
away from the lifts and using the skibus service (usually free or very inexpensive),
or by going to the smaller resorts. More information can be found on the link above.
Mountain hotels: All the cross-country skiing areas have mountain hotels and guesthouses
(høyfjellshotel and høyfjellsstue), which offer a warm and comfortable base with
direct access to the trails from the doorstep. Mountain hotels in Norway are special
places, quite different from city and ordinary tourist hotels. The rooms are often
quite plain, but the lounges are very warm and comfortable with a log fire always
burning and usually a spectacular view of the surrounding mountains. This is where
guests sit and relax with a good book or conversation with friends after an invigorating
day outdoors. Some hotels have facilities such as swimming pools, jacuzzis, sauna
and steam baths freely available. The usual Norwegian buffet breakfast is always
served and guests normally make their own packed lunch from the buffet. A flask of
tea or coffee can be filled on request. The evening meal is also usually a buffet
of tasty, wholesome food, which you are sure to appreciate if you have been on skis
Accommodation in mountain hotels is very reasonably priced (typically about £45 -
£70 per person per night, depending on the date and standard) and usually includes
'mountain board' as above. Ski rental and tuition is often available at the hotel.
Click here for more information about mountain hotels.
Log Cabins: Staying in a log cabin in the snow is an idyllic way to spend a winter
holiday and Norway is the perfect place to do this. The best choices are to be found
high up (800m or more above sea level) where you can be sure of snow from mid-December
to April. There is usually direct access to cross-country ski trails from your doorstep
and often downhill skiing nearby. In the right spot you will also have sunshine,
even when it is low in the sky in mid-winter, and maybe a wonderful view. You will
need a car to reach the more private and secluded cabins, but in ski resorts cabins
are often accessible by train and a local bus or taxi and you will then have shops
and other facilities nearby There is more information on the self-catering page
on this web site, but please call or send us an email if you would like us to find
your ideal log cabin for you.
Norwegians learn to enjoy winter at an early stage (note the pram by the door).
A winter holiday in Norway is fun for the whole family.
Trains run all year round in Norway and are a good way of reaching many skiing areas.
Choosing and booking accommodation in winter
Most people going on a winter holiday know what kind of holiday they want and what
activities they want to do. If you can let us know as much as possible about what
you are looking for we can quickly make recommendations and check availability. We
will also need to know the dates you want to travel and whether you want to hire
Winter Motoring in Norway
If you are going to drive in Norway in winter you must be prepared for the conditions.
Most of the main roads are kept open by snowploughs all year round, but the road
surface will often be hard packed snow and ice. Journey times will be much longer
than in summer. 50km/hr is a typical average, and in bad weather there can be long
delays over mountain passes.
Many Norwegians use winter tyres with metal studs, but non-studded tyres with deep
cross tread and special rubber compounds are increasingly preferred as they do less
damage to tarmac roads. Any hired car will be equipped with these. If you take your
own car it is essential that you fit a set of winter tyres - remoulds are perfectly
adequate for limited use and cost from about £50 each in the UK. You must also carry
snow chains but these should only be used for short distances when conditions are
You should make sure your vehicle is well serviced and has sufficient antifreeze
in the engine and the screen washes. Temperatures as low as minus 20C are common.
A good ice scraper and snow brush are also essential. Diesel vehicles should use
winter grade fuel which is standard in Norway in the winter and cheaper than in the
UK, so it makes sense to arrive with an empty tank if you are bringing your own car.