A Love Letter to Norway’s Winter Wonderland

A Love Letter to Norway’s Winter Wonderland

There are many good reasons to visit the winter wonderland Norway. Here we list only a few of them. And this is a true love letter to Norway’s winter wonderland.

Light and fluffy snow
Enjoy the pure magic of snow in January or February in the mountains of Norway. You are guaranteed a winter wonderland. Whether you are a ski enthusiast or just want to feel the highest quality snow, you’ve come to the right place. The true raw beauty of Norway is greeting you every day. Particular cold days are full of glittering snow – it’s basically fairy dust.

A Love Letter to Norway’s Winter Wonderland
Enjoy the pure magic of snow in January or February in the mountains of Norway

The winter in Norway is not nearly as dark and cold as many people seem to believe. The glistening snow makes everything lighter. And it is not as cold as many people seem to believe. Thanks to the magic of the Gulf Stream, temperatures in many areas are rarely dropping below zero.

An ocean cruise in search for the Northern Lights
Going on an ocean cruise is only one good reason. Viking Ocean Cruises offers a new kind of adventure that really appeals to those seeking to go to new places and check a few items off their lifetime wish list. The 930-passenger Viking Sky has become extremely popular and is drawing passengers from all over the world searching for the Northern Lights (nordlys).

A Love Letter to Norway’s Winter Wonderland
Northern lights over Tromsø

People from all over the world are visiting the northern regions to watch these amazing lights showing in one place, dance across the sky, disappear, and immediately show up again somewhere else. If you ever get the chance to witness something like this, it is a scene that will never leave you and will bring you joy deep into the core of your being every time you think about it.

Several companies in Norway have specialized on excursions taking passengers out in coaches with specially trained guides to head off the spots where the skies are clear and offer the best chance to get great sightings and photo opportunities.

Sailing the Norwegian fjords
The stunning physical features along the coastline of western Norway are for many visitors a definite highlight. Visitors are treated to breathtaking views all along the way – snow-capped mountains high above the fjords, small lighthouses, hillside homes and fishing villages.

A Love Letter to Norway’s Winter Wonderland
The stunning physical features along the coastline of western Norway are for many visitors a definite highlight

A Taste of Norway
Try the flavors associated with the Norwegian regions, for instance cooking fresh reindeer sausages or a reindeer stew on an open flame inside a Sami tent. Lutefisk is another Norwegian traditional seafood dish which for many good reasons you should try. Some fall in love with it, but I must admit – many don’t. The same goes for the Norwegian brown goat cheese.

Norwegian waffles, however, with jam and sour cream, are favorites for children as well as adults.

A Love Letter to Norway’s Winter Wonderland
Norwegian Christmas food

When it comes to drinking, you should probably think twice before you drink in Norway. Alcohol in Norway is a complicated thing, especially if you want anything heavier than 4.7%. Alcohol is state regulated and strong alcohol is only sold in state-run Vinmonopolet. However, Norwegian beer is very tasty and there are many brands and several micro-breweries. Drink it together with the traditional Norwegian snaps – the aquavit.

Christmas in Norway
You don’t mess with Christmas in Norway. It is a synonym for love, chaos and memories. The Norwegians love Christmas time, a season rich with traditions, good food and at least seven sorts of cakes, among them kransekake – and funny Christmas stories. Different regions have different food traditions. Up noth and on the southern coast cod is the favourite Christmas dish. On the west coast, pinnekjøtt and smalahoved are the preferred main dishes. In the rest out the country lutefisk or ribs of pork with Christmas sausages and surkål (sweet sauerkraut) are common.

A Love Letter to Norway’s Winter Wonderland
Cgristmas in Norway. Photo: Baard Løken

Add to that a beautiful decorated Christmas tree and a burning fire place – life can’t get any better.    A proper Norwegian Christmas is unlike anything else in the world. You simply must experience it to understand.

At the Norwegian Christmas markets most everybody is drinking the wonderful spiced wine Gløgg, baked treats and are buying handmade crafts and other gifts. Christmas markets in Norway are really great places to enjoy with family or friends.

A Love Letter to Norway’s Winter Wonderland
Cozy Norwegian homes

Norwegian homes
The dark winters are no excuse not to visit Norway during wintertime. The fact is that just because of the dark winters, the Norwegians make their homes beautifully charming. Many homes look like wooden cottages built into the sides of mountains so they look much smaller than they really are.

They might appear fairly simple and are usually one of about three-color choices. It’s a bit of a reversal of another country’s love of elaborate mansions decorated with expensive cars out front, while the insides are left strangely bare. Norwegian homes, on the other hand, positively glow with warmth. Norwegians love lamps, candles, fireplaces, and any other source of light, and are not afraid to use them all at once.

In my opinion, nothing is cozier than looking across a frozen landscape and seeing clusters of cottages twinkling through the snow.

A Love Letter to Norway’s Winter Wonderland
Dog sledding in Tromsø. Photo: Baard Løken

Outdoors fun and adventure
The traditions of working with reindeer (husbandry) is a typical Sami way of life. They raise the animals and utilize them for transportation, clothing, crafts and food. The interaction with the animals is important. The Samis welcome visitors and are keen to share their traditions. Experience a day of cross-country skiing in the wilderness and learn the proper techniques from the residents to get up and down gentle hills.

Dog sledding with a team of huskies is a popular outdoor activity in Norway and so is cod-fishing, especially in the Lofoten archipelago. However, fishing is popular all along Norway, whether it is in the lakes or at the shore. And in winter time when there are fewer competitors out fishing, you can really get lucky.

In Norway people use their skis and sleds or sparks everywhere. Many people are still skiing to school or the post office. And what better way you make it to work on time than sledding down the hill into town?

A Love Letter to Norway’s Winter Wonderland
Sparks are super fun, but you should know how to handle the sled.

Even if you’re not a fan of partaking in winter sports, it’s pretty hard to ignore the contagious excitement with which Norwegians follow any sport on skis. Especially when the Winter Olympics roll around! The town of Lillehammer hosted the Winter Olympics in 1994.

Lillehammer is called the Town of sparks (a spark being a chair sled where one person sits on the chair and the other person stands behind and kicks and steers the sled. It’s super fun, but you should know how to handle the sled.

A Love Letter to Norway’s Winter Wonderland
Panoramic view of amazing Aurora Borealis northern lights over beautiful winter wonderland scenery with trees and snow on a scenic cold night in Alta,, northern Norway

A Love Letter to Norway’s Winter Wonderland
Winters in Norway are a perfect time to gather together with family and friends and truly appreciate the meaning of koselig. Turn away from the distractions, enjoy each other’s company and have a cup of coffee.

The truth is that whether or not you ski or even enjoy winter at all, this time of year is perfect for focusing on what matters most: quality time with loved ones.

Bottom line: if you can learn to appreciate the harsh and cold winters of Norway, you are guaranteed to be rewarded with incredible scenery and amazing memories.

The winter season in central Norway is from December through March. Farther north you can add a month on both sides.

Feature image (on top): From Kvamskogen

A Love Letter to Norway’s Winter Wonderland, written by Tor Kjolberg