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Most websites say that March is the month where spring comes, but I’ve never seen it. For me, I associate March in Norway with one of the best months to travel for winter: the winter activities are running, the northern lights are still shining, snow is at its deepest, but daylight has returned to normal. March in Norway is one of my favourites.

The Weather

Temperatures

2020 High2020 Low2020 AverageNormal AverageDeviance
Oslo+12.2C (17 March)-6.4C (14 March)+3C-0.2C+ 3.2C
Bergen+9.3C (27 March)-2.8C (29 March)+4.7C+3.3C+ 1.4C
Tromsø+5.7 C (24 March)-11.5C (1 March)-1.6C-2.3C+ 0.7C
Source: yr.no

Precipitation, Snow & Wind

Wettest DayTotal PrecipitationNormalDays with PrecipitationSnow DaysHighest Wind Gust
Oslo1 March (12.3mm)44.4mm47mm98 (max depth 15cm)17.2 m/s (29 March)
Bergen26 March (42.4mm)256.6mm170mm22023.8 m/s (1 March)
Tromsø7 March (20mm)166.5mm69mm25Every day. Max. depth 100cm26.1 m/s (6 Feb)
Source: yr.no

Sunrise/Sunset

1 March Sunrise/Sunset1 March Day Length10 March Sunrise/Sunset10 March Day Length20 March Sunrise/Sunset20 March Day Length30 March Sunrise/Sunset (Note: Daylight Savings)30 March Day Length
Oslo7:14am / 5:45pm10:31:176:47am / 6:07pm11:20:186:17am / 8:32pm12:14:506:47am / 7:56pm13:09:22
Bergen7:36am / 6:06pm10:29:327:09am / 6:29pm11:19:326:39am / 6:54pm12:15:097:08am / 8:19pm13:10:45
Tromsø7:08am / 4:46pm9:38:186:27am / 5:23pm10:56:085:41am / 6:03pm12:21:285:56am / 7:43pm13:47:12
Note: Does not include twilight hours, which does make the days feel longer, especially for Northern Norway (i.e It’s not completely dark all day). Source/For Full Statistics: https://www.timeanddate.com/sun/norway/oslo?month=1&year=2020
Lofoten Islands March

Weather Overview

March tends to be a little rainier than January and February as the temperature is starting to warm up again. This isn’t always the case, though; In 2020 in Bergen, this was the first proper snowy month of the year.

Throughout Norway (and Sweden and Finland), March is the month with the deepest snow on the ground. So make sure you have spikes and good waterproof boots!

I saw so many articles online saying “March is the first month of spring!” Maybe the temperature is warming up, but it is the month with the deepest snow! Don’t expect waterfalls, blooming flowers and clear paths at this time of year.

Avalanches

As the temperature warms up, the snow begins to melt and fall down the mountains. Sometimes this creates a problem on the roads/train tracks, so just be wary of this. In 2020, the Bergen – Oslo train was affected multiple times by avalanches (no one was injured, it just blocked the path).

Driving

There can be a lot of ice on the roads in March, so driving isn’t recommended. Most scenic roads and seasonal roads will be closed, and major roads are at risk of closing due to avalanches or bad weather.

Northern Lights

March is a great month for the Northern Lights; the there is typically less rain this month.

Food

What’s interesting about most Norwegian restaurants is that their menus are always seasonal, so you’ll always see something different on the menu depending on what season you visit.

In March, like January and February, expect a lot of Christmas classics still on the menu. This includes:

  • Pinnekjøtt: A traditional Christmas lamb dish. I wrote about it, which you can read here.
  • Lutefisk: Yes, the famous Norwegian lutefisk. A lot of people come to Norway expecting to see it on the menu all year, but it’s only really eaten around Christmas.
  • Veal
  • Lamb Ribs
  • Dried Cod

Tourism

March in Norway marks the last month of winter tourism in the north. Most winter activities will run until the end of the month, so it will be busy in cities like Tromsø.

In Bergen, we start getting some cruise ships, though not many. The hotels are still quiet, and the museums and attractions have their winter hours. The major museums will be open 10am-4pm (or 11am-3pm), while the smaller ones will be open for even less hours, or only on weekends. If you love museums, this may not be the month for you. For the rest of us, the lack of museums gives us more reasons to go exploring outside!

Places will be covered in snow, but you’ll get long daylight hours to go exploring. So it’s winter for those who don’t want the darkness.

Most tours will not be running in March, unless they are winter activities in the north.

Events

  • In the Lofoten Islands you can watch (or take part in) the World Championship in Cod Fishing, which is held every March.
  • Holmenkollen Ski Festival in Oslo is one of Europe’s largest and most popular ski festivals with World Cup Nordic skiing, international ski jumping competitions, and Norway’s largest cross country race for amateurs. Even if you can’t attend, it’s amazing to watch on TV.
  • Stavanger VinFest: Food and wine lovers head to Stavanger for a week-long celebration in Stavanger’s best restaurants
  • Finnmarksløpet: Europe’s longest dog-sled race starts and ends in Alta, venturing along the entire length of Norway’s far north
  • Narvik Winter Festival: Starts in mid-March and is dedicated to winter sports, carnivals, concerts, and opera performance. The annual event is dedicated to those who built the railway across Norway and Sweden.