Complete Guide to Visiting Norway in January + 10 Top Things to Do

Norway in January

blog authorBy Johanna Hansen shield verificationVerified Expert

    Exploring Iceland in January offers pristine snow landscapes and a chance to witness the northern lights. Choose a winter journey to experience the majestic fjords, glaciers crowd-free or partake in thrilling activities like ice caving. 

    If glistening fjords, majestic waterfalls and picturesque towns and cities sound good to you, you’ll love visiting Norway in January. Let’s explore everything you need to know, including the weather you can expect, our best Northern Lights hunting tips and our top 10 recommended activities to make your January in Norway the best experience possible.

    What Does Norway Look Like in January?

    Norway in January can only be described as a winter wonderland! Looking like the cover of a Christmas card, the beautiful, snow-covered landscapes of Norway make for epic surroundings for your winter vacation.

    While coastal areas usually remain snow-free, the rest of the country enjoys abundant snowfall, with the mountainous areas and northern regions of Norway receiving the most snow. The white magic of the Norwegian mountains in January draws many locals and tourists to soak in the ethereal landscapes and enjoy winter sports activities.

    January in Norway

    Is it a Good Time to Visit Norway in January?

    Visiting Norway in winter is the perfect time for keen skiers, those who dream about witnessing the famous Northern Lights and anyone looking for a beautiful winter getaway. You can expect Norway to be chilly in January, so visiting our unique country during this midwinter month will be an invigorating cold-weather trip for sure!

    Just make sure to wrap up warm and you can comfortably enjoy the snowy paradise that is Norway in January. Let’s learn more about what you can do in Norway in January, so you can work out if this is the right time for you to visit.

    Can I See the Northern Lights in Norway in January?

    Yes! The magical dancing light show that is the Northern Lights is visible in Norway during the winter months (plus the start of spring and end of autumn, namely from September to March). Seeing the Northern Lights in Norway is definitely one of the best reasons to visit this magical Nordic nation during the month of January.

    You’ll need clear and dark skies in order to see the aurorae and peak times for viewing the Northern Lights are between 11pm and 2am each night. Visiting the northern regions of the country that lie above the Arctic Circle will give you a higher chance of seeing the Northern Lights, although you can still spot the aurorae in the southern areas of Norway.

    Daylight hours in Norway in January are short, with around 6 to 8 hours of daylight in Southern Norway and just 5 hours of daylight in Northern Norway, giving you plenty of time to spot these magical lights during the hours of darkness.

    Northern Lights in Norway

    Weather in Norway in January

    As a midwinter month, January is actually Norway’s coldest month. The temperature in Norway in January averages between -1ºC and -7ºC (30ºF to 19ºF).

    Weather in Norway in January can range from sunny and dry to rainy or snowy. Certain coastal cities receive a lot of rain in January (and during the year!), such as Bergen in Southwest Norway, whereas the Arctic city of Tromso in Northern Norway receives the most snowfall in January of any month in the year.

    If you’re visiting the Norwegian capital of Oslo, you can expect a surprisingly dry January, with an average of 9 days of rainfall throughout the month. The sun may also be shining, but don’t let the sunshine fool you! You’ll still need to wrap up warm, as temperatures remain around freezing throughout January in Norway.

    Norway in January Packing List

    When visiting Norway in January, you’ll need to be prepared for the cold weather. Here’s our packing guide to make sure you’re warm and comfortable during your trip.

    • Winter parka – A thick, waterproof winter coat is a must when visiting Norway in January. If you have a windproof parka, that’s even better!
    • Hat, gloves and scarf – You’ll definitely want to cover up your extremities when exploring the great Norwegian outdoors during winter. Ideally, a hat that covers your ears is best.
    • Thermal clothing – Thermal underwear, tops and pants/trousers are necessary to stay warm and cozy when out and about exploring Norway in January. Wearing thermals as a base layer will make sure you're comfortable throughout the day. 
    • Sweaters – Pack your coziest sweaters and you’re golden!

    Top 10 Things to Do in Norway in January

    So, what can you do during your January Norway trip? Here are our favorite 10 activities to enjoy during January in Norway, including visiting inspiring cities, playing in the snow and enjoying Norway’s unique attractions and natural wonders.

    Enjoy Winter Sports in the Mountains

    A must-do activity during January in Norway is taking a trip to the mountains to enjoy some winter sports, such as skiing, snowshoeing or tobogganing. You can find many ski resorts and winter sport activity centers to choose from, plus places where you can learn how to ski and guided snowshoeing tours.

    Winter sports are highly popular with the locals during January, so this activity is not only fun, but lets you experience a Norwegian winter tradition for yourself!

    Winter Sport in Norway

    Take a World-Famous Train Ride

    Norway’s famously stunning train rides through fjords, forests, mountains and valleys can be enjoyed at any time of year, but witnessing these impressive landscapes covered in snow during January is a truly unique and magical experience.

    The world-renowned scenic ride from Oslo to Bergen is a particular highlight. We can’t think of a better way to enjoy a relaxing sit-down during your time in Norway!

    Train in Norway

    Visit a Steaming Norwegian Sauna

    Winter is the best time to experience Norway sauna culture, with the high temperatures in these wooden cabins offering a much-needed respite from the cold temperatures outside. Known as ‘badstue’ in Norwegian, which translates to ‘bath cabin’, saunas are the perfect place for a cleansing and refreshing time during your vacation.

    Norwegian saunas are often located close to a source of cold water, even ice water, meaning you can even enjoy some hot and cold water therapy if you’re brave enough!

    Norwegian Sauna

    Explore the Winter Wonderland of Tromso

    During January in Norway, you can experience the most wintery of wonderlands in the Arctic Capital of Tromso. With incredible sights, such as the Arctic Cathedral, the world’s most northerly botanic gardens and expansive fjords, Tromso is one not to be missed.

    Why not rent a campervan in Norway to take you all the way up Norway’s stunning coast to arrive in the northerly city of Tromso? We promise you it’ll be an unforgettable journey into the Arctic Circle! 

    Tromso in January

    Glide Along the Water on a Fjord Cruise

    Another amazing way of experiencing the beauty of Norway in January is by taking a fjord cruise in the heart of Fjord Norway. Norway’s fjords are some of the most spectacular in the world, carving their way through mountains and forests to reach charming waterside towns, villages and cities.

    There’s no better way to visit a fjord in Norway than by boat, where you can get up close to the crystal-clear water and soak in the beautiful views as you glide along – perfect!

    Fjord Cruise

    Soak in Norwegian Culture and Art in Oslo’s Museums

    When it gets very cold during January in Norway, you can enjoy a fascinating afternoon indoors exploring the incredible museums in Norway’s capital city. Oslo is home to the famous Munch Museum and the incredible Vigeland Museum, as well as the largest collection of art across all Nordic countries, which can be found in the National Museum.

    Each of these galleries is full of thought-provoking and beautiful artwork, making for a culturally-rich experience, perfect for a rainy day activity!

    Museum in Oslo

    Watch the Majestic Whales

    Whale watching season in Norway runs from the end of October to mid-January, meaning you might be able to spot these majestic sea creatures for yourself during your Norway vacation.

    The types of whales you can spot around the Norwegian coast include orcas, humpback whales, fin whales and harbor porpoises.We recommend taking a guided whale-watching tour for the best experience.

    Whale in Norway

    Visit the Historic City of Trondheim

    Another beautiful place to visit in Norway in January is the city of Trondheim in central Norway. As the country’s third-largest city, Trondheim has a lot to offer visitors, including stunning nature reserves, historic districts, harbor streets lined with colorful houses, an impressive cathedral and fortress, plus interesting museums.

    While in Trondheim, you can also visit the tiny Munkholmen Island, where you’ll find a charming restaurant – an exciting place for lunch in the middle of the sea!


    Discover Norway’s Picturesque Villages

    Enjoy an authentic experience of Norwegian winter by visiting the country’s picturesque villages, such as Lillehammer and Geiranger. Make sure to bring your camera along to capture the breathtaking views you’ll be treated to in Norway’s villages.

    From cobbled streets and quaint cafes, to gorgeous mountain valleys and coastlines, the villages of Norway are well-worth a visit during your vacation.

    Fishing Village

    Go on a Northern Lights Hunting Adventure

    Of course, the Northern Lights have to be on our Norway in January bucket list! An unmissable sight when visiting Norway in January, this incredible light show is truly magical and unforgettable.

    You can choose to take a guided Northern Lights tour, by bus or even boat, or simply go Northern Lights hunting yourself. Whichever way you choose to experience these breathtaking aurorae, we’re sure you’ll feel like you’re in a dream when you see them!

    Northern Lights in Norway in January

    Make Your Dream Norway January Vacation a Reality!

    You can enjoy all of these fun winter activities and more during your Norway vacation. So, who’s ready to get packing? Let’s make this dream a reality by planning your trip, including finding accommodation, travel options and a rental vehicle.

    Check out our affordable and reliable motorhome rentals in Norway to set yourself up for a wonderful trip where you’ll have the ultimate freedom and flexibility to explore Norway to your heart’s content, all while taking your home with you on the road. Sounds good, right? We’ll see you there! 

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