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Is there a shoulder season in Norway?

My husband and I spent an absolutely wonderful 10 days in Norway from September 20-29 this year. I thought we'd picked a time of year that would have a good balance between attractions still being open but not many crowds. The crowds were definitely gone by the time we got there - we had Maihaugen, the Norsk Folkemuseum, stave churches, the fjord cruises, etc. practically to ourselves. I hate crowds so this was really great for us. But a lot of the buildings at the folk museums were locked up for the season and we missed seeing any performers there; we almost had to skip the Setesdal Valley entirely - which we had planned two nights for - because all the camping cabins seemed to be closed for the season (we eventually found the Sølvgarden Hotel in Rysstad, which was lovely and had a perfect little cabin for us); a lot of the TIs in the countryside were closed; some stave churches were closed for the season so we were only able to visit the exteriors.

My mom has fallen in love with the photos of our trip, so I'd love to take her on a trip to Norway but I was wondering if we'd have better luck finding that balance between attractions being open and low crowds if we went a little earlier. Rick says in his Norway book that August is still high season - what about late August or early September? Or maybe sometime in early summer? I'd be willing to deal with a few more tourists if we could have better luck with things being open, but we'd still want to avoid the big crowds.

Any thoughts would be appreciated!

Posted by
4745 posts

Even in high season, Norway doesn't get very crowded. Kids go back to school in mid-August so the hours/activities start to be reduced then. The "high" season in Scandinavia is really from approx. June 20 to August 15. For example, look under "Seasonal activities" in last year's brochure for the Norsk Folke Museum. It shows the types of activities during the various summer periods.
http://www.norskfolkemuseum.no/PageFiles/154/Turistbrosjyre%202014%20web.pdf

I've visited in July and in late August. I preferred July, but in late August things are mostly open.

Posted by
5792 posts

High season in Noway seems to be Easter (påske) week with mountain lodges fully booked and at premium rates from påske Thursday through the Monday after Easter. Trains to the mountains are packed the weekend before Easter as families head for their cabins.

It's less crowded the weeks in advance of Easter week but mountain lodges usually open when ski trails are set late January or early February depending on location. Lodges close a week or so after Easter depending on Easter being late or early.

Summer mountain openings are also limited. Wet trails too early and risk of snow too late.

I should add that bus service to mountain resort areas can also be limited during shoulder seasons. Busses may only serve resort villages vduring weekend travel.

Posted by
12040 posts

I've been to Scandinavia in different years during every month from May to September. This region just doesn't see the huge crush of crowds that some of the most popular destinations elsewhere receive. So take the "high season", "shoulder season", "low season" concept with a bit of a grain of salt. The biggest crowds I've seen anywhere in Scandinavia were February skiing at Trysel, a Sunday shopping day in Stockholm in November, and some kind of Justin Bieber rally in Copenhagen in April. Go figure.

Posted by
5792 posts

Full service mountain huts are very seasonal. See the DNT website for hut schedules:
http://english.turistforeningen.no/index.php?fo_id=3610

Most staffed lodges are open from late June until early September, but
some have longer or shorter seasons. Many no-service cabins also close
in some seasons. Seasons usually are stated in the cabin lists for
each trekking area. The local trekking associations, as well as DNT
online at www.turistforeningen.no, list seasons for all association as
well as most private cabins.

Winter schedules tend to be Easter week oriented with staffed huts opening a little before Easter week and closing after Easter.