Weather & climate
Norwegians love to talk about the weather. A joke about people from the north of Norway goes that they’ll never do anything else when the weather report is on, and the following types of phone conversations ensue: “You’re pregnant? That’s great! Excuse me, the weather is on.” “You’re dying? oh, that’s… can you call back after the weather?” etc.
But it’s not really that strange. Weather in Norway is dramatic and changes very fast, and it can often completely change the options for what is possible to do on any given day.
Four seasons in one day
If you get a map, you’ll see that Norway is at the northernmost end of Europe with the second largest city, Bergen, on the west coast roughly being the same latitude as southernmost Greenland. Norway is therefore often regarded as a cold and wet country. Though this is true in some regions, Norway’s climate is wildly different from region to region and season to season, and the entire coastline is greatly warmed by the Gulf Stream, turning Norway into a more attractive vacation spot than Greenland.
Most of Norway south of Trondheim is a temperate climate. This means that southerly inland climates are dry and very cold in the winter and quite hot in the summertime. The North can be pretty cold and wet except for the brief summer months. Coastal climates in the south are mild and wet in all seasons.
The Norwegian summer in all regions is quite pleasant, being neither too hot nor too cold, although it will sometimes be interrupted by rainy or colder periods. Summer also brings about a marked change in the psychology of the average Norwegian, turning them into a boisterous, joyous people, eager to catch up the wintertime by enjoying the outdoors with friends.
In Northern Norway, the summers have midnight sun. The summer is literally one long day and evening that never turns into night. This is all peachy, but in the winter the Northerners pay for this extravagant summer with a month of no sun, in which the sun never leaves the horizon.
Winters in general are quite different in different parts of the country, with the north having hard, arctic winters, and the southwest mostly having mild, wet average European winters.