What to pack and what to wear in Norway in summer

What To Wear and What To Pack for Norway in Summer

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Packing for any trip to the Nordics somehow always stresses me out. Packing for an active summer vacation in Norway is simply not as straightforward as packing for a beach destination.  So when we had to pack our bags for the two week road trip in Norway last August, I was wondering what to wear in Norway in summer and how to pack light, yet be ready for all types of weather.

As we kept checking the ever-changing weather forecast, we realised that we would need clothes for pretty much all seasons for this summer trip to Norway. There was rain with temperatures of 6-12°C (42-54F) in one place and sunshine with temperatures over 24°C (75F) in another…

So here is a complete packing list for Norway in summer based on our experience. You may get lucky and you’ll have warm and sunny weather the whole time in Norway, but I wouldn’t count on it too much. It’s better to travel well prepared so that you can enjoy everything that Norway has to offer no matter the weather. Find out!

Disclaimer: This is not a packing guide for fashionista’s looking for a cool Scandinavian look for their summer trip to Norway. This is a packing list for active travellers who plan to explore Norway beyond Oslo, see the fjords, visit the charming towns and villages, and do some hiking.

What to wear in Norway in summer - complete packing guide

 

What to wear in Norway in summer

Here are just a few items of clothing that you really should consider packing for Norway in summer months (June, July, and August)

1. Layers of t-shirts and sweaters. The best way to travel light and be prepared for all kinds of weather in Norway is to layer your clothes. We had several days, especially along the fjords in Flam and when hiking to the Pulpit Rock, when we started out with 3 layers, went to 1, and then back to 3 or even 4 again.

This is what we packed: t-shirts, several light tops with long sleeves, a light fleece jacket, and a warm fleece hoodie. We also took a few shirts/blouses to wear at dinner.

2. Rain jacket. Make sure you always have a rain jacket with you in Norway, because sometimes the rain comes completely unexpected and in no time you can get soaking wet. Before our trip we were wondering whether a light rain jacket would be sufficient or if we needed a warmer insulated jacket in summer months. Despite the rain and the wind and rather cold temperatures, we were ok with the light jackets (sometimes in combination with two fleece sweaters underneath).

This is what we packed: we each have a light Vaude Escape rain jacket (also for kids). These are our favourite rain jackets and we have been using them on every trip for the last 6 years. As the kids grow out of one, we immediately buy a new one. They’re worth every cent.

3. Jeans, shorts, and hiking pants. Depending on what you plan to see and do in Norway, you should pack some smart pants or jeans and hiking pants for outdoor activities. I’d definitely take shorts because when the sun is shining it feels really hot, even though the temperatures are not as high.

This is what we packed: casual pants, jeans, and hiking pants. We never actually needed shorts because we were extremely unlucky with the weather (it was an exceptionally bad couple of weeks, the locals told us).

4. Sneakers and waterproof hiking shoes. What kind of shoes to pack for Norway depends highly on what you plan to do. In general, light sneakers or walking shoes are best for sightseeing. However, if you plan to go hiking, you really need good hiking boots. Most hiking trails (Pulpit Rock, Florli 4444, etc.) are very wet, so ideally you wear waterproof hiking boots. I don’t think you really need sandals in Norway, but water shoes might come in handy if you are planning to do some kayaking.

We never really missed rain boots in Norway, but we sure were glad we had waterproof hiking shoes.

This is what we packed: one pair of light walking shoes and one pair of waterproof hiking boots each.

5. Buff. Norway is not as cold in summer as e.g. Iceland, so normally you don’t really need gloves, shawls, and winter hats. However, a buff is extremely handy to have and we did use it quite a few times during the trip, especially during fjord cruises.

This is what we packed: BUFF original.

6. Sun hat and sun glasses. Sun can be really harsh in Norway in summer, so don’t forget sun protection. Those few moments when it was sunny during our trip, it felt really warm.

Exploring Trondheim in Norway in summer

This is pretty much what we wore when exploring Norway’s towns in August

Kids on a fjord safari in Norway in summer

And this is what we wore for hiking and outdoors

 

What to pack for Norway in summer

These are the travel essentials that will make your Norway summer trip more comfortable.

1. Sleep mask. If there is one thing you have to take to the Nordics in summer, it’s a sleep mask. It might be less important in August, but it’s a must in May, June, and beginning of July. The days are endless and the midnight sun makes it impossible to sleep, especially because many accommodations don’t have black-out curtains.

2. Swimsuit and a quick-drying towel. There are many places where you could swim in Norway (weather permitting), so it’s always handy to have your swimwear with you. A quick-drying travel towel is nice to have too.

3. Day backpack. A light day backpack is very handy in order to carry all those extra layers of clothes you may or may not need during the day. Don’t forget the rain cover!

4. Reusable water bottle. Tap water is safe to drink in Norway, so don’t forget to pack a reusable water bottle.

5. European electrical adapter. Just as the majority of continental Europe, Norway has 220 volt electricity and uses type C/E/F electricity plugs.

6. Mosquito spray. I read that Scandinavia is a real mosquito paradise in summer. We encountered some mosquitoes in Norway, but nothing really significant (I guess it highly depends on where exactly you go and how the weather is). In any case, it’s a good idea to pack a mosquito spray when visiting Norway in summer months.

7. Sunscreen lotion. As I said, even if it’s not very warm, the sun can be really harsh in Norway in summer, so a good sunscreen lotion with high SPF factor is a must.

8. Face lotion and lip balm. We have a Facebook travel group for traveling to Iceland and Scandinavian countries and every time somebody asks what people wish they packed to the Nordics, people mention face lotion, moisturising cream, and lip balm. So now you know!

9. Portable charger. Portable charger has become a real must-have travel necessity for us, and also in Norway we used it daily. We use our smartphones all the time (as GPS with Google Maps, as a camera, video camera, etc.) and they are usually empty long before we reach our hotel for the night.

10. Camera gear. Unless you use your smartphone for pictures, don’t forget your camera gear, including extra batteries and memory cards. Everything is so expensive in Norway, so better bring all you need from home.

11. Umbrella. Usually we never pack an umbrella when travelling, but we could have definitely used one a few times in Norway. If you have a good rain jacket and plan to stay outside the cities most of the time, then you don’t really need an umbrella. But in town (and especially one like Bergen where it rains 230 days a year) a good windproof travel umbrella can be really useful.

12. Hiking poles. If you are planning on doing lots of hiking in Norway, hiking poles might be good to have. Most popular hiking trails are quite strenuous with lots of steep descents.


 

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What to wear and what to pack when traveling to Norway in summer months (June-July-August)

Complete packing list for an active summer trip to Norway

Comments

  1. Hello all Norway travellers!
    I am Norwegian and I have survived all the weather possible in my country. In the what to wearlist I only miss two very important things: really thin wool sweathers, one with long sleeves and the other with short sleeves. Skip two t-shirts, bring two wool.
    Wishing you happy days in my country. You are welcome.

    Eli

    1. Author

      Thanks for your recommendations, Eli. I can’t imagine wearing wool if it gets to 20°C and warmer, but I know how all the Nordic people seem to be wearing wool year-round. Might have to get me one of those short-sleeved wool t-shirts as well… 🙂
      Happy travels!

  2. Hi there, thank you very much for all the information. I’m from Canada and will visit Belgian, Nederland and Norway ( I plan to hike Trolltunga ). I will be in Norway at the end of July for a week. I’m use to travel and hike in cold and tempered weather. The thing is I will travel with a carry on luggage on plane si I need to calculate everything gram very wisely. I was wondering if I bring my hiking boots or my running shoes (I won’t bring both). I know the boots will give me a better support for my feet and ankle, but they weigh a lot. I didn’t know you had musquito issue, we have a lot of them here in Canada… a mean a shit load. I will manage that. Thank you again I will try to get in touch with the Facebook group for extra tips and help.

    1. Author

      Hi, I’m not sure if I haven’t answered your comment on FB already (or was it someone else…), but I would definitely take the best waterproof hiking boots that you have for Troltunga hike. It’s one of the longest and most strenuous of the popular hikes in Norway, and the terrain is very muddy. Good shoes are a must!
      Enjoy your trip.

  3. This is great – I have been researching Norway weather for July and all the advice I got was layers, but this was more informative. I am wondering about the plugs – I have plug adapters (had already purchased the kit from Apple), but do I need a voltage converter as well? We are ~110 here in the U.S. and I know a lot of my hair tools/steamer/etc. are not dual voltage. Wondering if I need to purchase a separate voltage converter on top of the plug converters.

    1. Author

      Hi Olivia, glad you found this info helpful. For Norway, you’ll indeed need a European adapter and it will be ok for most chargers (camera, phone). I’m not really sure about the other devices you mention. You should check each device to see if they can handle 110-220V. If not, then indeed, you’ll need a voltage converter (probably something like this – but do some research). Also – consider which of those devices you really need when traveling.
      Have a great trip!

  4. Thank you, I’m lucky enough to be on a fjords cruise in June and I think your advice is the best I’ve found. I started on what to pack and I’m clicking around all sorts of links and trying to work out how much I can fit in without relying on the cruise excursions. Feeling like Pulpit Rock is a must!

  5. Thank you so much your article, it has proved very interesting as we are just off on a cruise from Copenhagen to Bergen with Stavanger as a stop on our route. We shall definitely be taking suncream now and mossie spray (in case)

    1. Author

      Good to hear that, Debbie. Enjoy your trip!

  6. Hi Jurga:

    We are traveling to Oslo on Spring break -we realize it’s going to be cold and we don’t mind that part. The biggest question in my mind is how to go about the train routes. For instance, our thinking is to do an entire loop: starting from Oslo to Bergen (with at least one overnight stay in Flam?). Then, from Bergen (on a rental car?) head south to Stavanger and from this town we will begin our way back to Oslo (with stops or perhaps one overnight stay along the way). I have read about the Norway in a Nutshell tour and it really sounds incredible. Should we fully rely on train rides? Another option I was considering was is just to get a rental for the entire stay than do shorter train tours along the way, including the Norway in a Nutshell in 1-2 days. I am a bit stressed about getting this all wrong. Any help, suggestions or advice would be incredible appreciated. Thank you!

    1. Author

      Hi Jose, it really depends on what you prefer – trains or self-drive. I think price-wise it will be cheaper to drive unless you’re traveling alone.
      We did a self-drive trip with a small part by bus (Stavanger-Bergen because you really don’t need a car in either of those towns) and also just a short train ride from Flam to Myrdal and back. Here you can find our Norway trip itinerary – it doesn’t include Oslo, but includes Flam, Bergen, and Stavanger – so maybe it will help you a bit.

  7. Hii jurga… hope u r doing good. I will be in Trondheim from this April for a year… what type of clothings I should carry. Tnx in advance.

    1. Author

      For a year? You’ll need ALL types of clothing – from shorts and t-shirts in summer, sweaters and rain jackets, to woolen sweaters, thick winter coats and waterproof warm boots in winter. For winter packing, you can check this guide. Hope this helps.

  8. Hi
    I am travelling to Norway in June 2019
    So I want to know about weather as well as culture

    1. Author

      Hi Neena, Norway is big and you never really know how the weather will be. You can find some information here, but the best is to just check the weather forecast a few days before your trip – that way you know what to expect.
      As for Norwegian culture, it’s also a very broad subject. Maybe this will be helpful
      Enjoy your trip!

  9. Hi Jurga,
    I am from South Africa and will be visiting Oslo/Bergen in May 2019. Thank you for the heads-up on the clothing.
    Is there something that you can recommend on local sim cards and cellphone networks in Norway?

    1. Author

      Hi Wendy, glad you found this useful. Keep in mind that May can be quite cold still, so you may want to take a warm jacket and a few extra layers just in case.
      As for cellphone, sorry I can’t help you with it as we just use our Belgian sim cards without extra charges in Norway. So we never had to look this up. You could try to ask this question in our Iceland & Scandinavia travel group on Facebook, maybe somebody will be able to help you out.

  10. I’m going to Oslo 2nd week in May 2019, what can you expect weather/temperature wise then. Thanks

    1. Author

      Hi Nicola, I haven’t been to Oslo, but I read that May is a beautiful month to visit the city. The time of spring blossoms and spring temperatures somewhere in between 6°C (42°F) and 16°C (61°F).
      But, as always, you never know with the weather. If you’re worried about the clothing, I think layering is always your best bet in Norway. Also, check the weather forecast one week in advance and then you’ll have a much better idea what to expect.

    2. Hi Nicola,
      We’ve been to Oslo last year in May…..it was very hot during the day,We wore light pants/shorts/skirts and shortsleeve shirts, Sunglasses, hat and sunscreen is recommened for this beautiful city.

      1. Author

        Please keep in mind that summer of 2018 was exceptionally hot and dry everywhere in Europe, including Norway. With average temperatures of just 12°C, May isn’t normally a short-sleeve month in Oslo. 🙂

  11. Thanks Jurga
    You have made our planned hike to Pulpit Rock in July 19 a little easier to organize. Layering is always the answer I guess

  12. nice details, will help during our visit to Bergen and Lofoten islands in april 19

    1. Author

      Beware that April is much colder than summer months, so you’ll need warmer clothes. Definitely in Lofoten. Pack enough layers and a good waterproof jacket, also a warm hat and maybe even gloves for the North.

  13. Thank you. This is very helpful to help us decide what we need to bring on our upcoming trip to Norway!

    1. Author

      Hi Carole, glad you found this useful. Just wanted to say – this year the whole of Europe (Scandinavia included) is experiencing the hottest and driest summer ever. So make sure you check the weather forecast before you go. I think you may need to pack a bit more summer clothes than on a regular Norwegian summer. I know someone who is there at the moment and they are wearing t-shirts, shorts, and sandals… This summer is just crazy weather-wise. In any case, I wouldn’t forget a sweater and a rain jacket – the weather can change quickly.
      Enjoy your trip!

  14. Beautiful pictures, reminds me of my trip……

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