Norway in January - Difficult to get around?
Replies: 10 - Last Post: Aug 15, 2012 2:28 PM Last Post By: coldplayer313
Aug 14, 2012 10:19 AM
Norway in January - Difficult to get around?Hi everyone. My husband and I have been wanting to do an arctic adventure in Norway for years. We'd like to see the Northern Lights, stay in an ice hotel, head to Tromsø, and go on a glacier hike. On the flip side, however, we'd also like to explore Bergen and Oslo.
Couple of questions/concerns:
I've heard that many attractions in Norway are closed during this time of year. Is that an exaggerated fact? We're not too interested in museums, but we do want to be able to get around and eat out. Are restaurants closed? Is public transportation up and running or are we on our own? If we do rent a car, how dangerous are the roads in the dead of winter?
We have about two weeks to work with. Planning this has been a bit overwhelming and we're having a hard time finding reliable information. Any thoughts/tips/advice you have would be greatly appreciated.
Aug 14, 2012 1:04 PM
1Driving conditions can be very tough in winter, and that goes for the whole country, not only for the far north. Occasionally, roads are closed to traffic. Public transport is usually running according to schedule, though. Restaurants and cafés will be open, but don't expect to find them in every small town or village.
I seriously doubt that you will be able to go on a glacier hike in January. Whether you will see the northern lights depends entirely upon luck - but it's a much exaggerated experience anyway...
Aug 14, 2012 1:13 PM
Aug 14, 2012 1:17 PM
Aug 14, 2012 3:27 PM
4I'm not too discerning about which glacier, actually. I was looking into this: http://www.icetroll.com/norway.htm It's a bit expensive, but looks very fun. Have you ever heard of this touring company?
Aug 15, 2012 6:54 AM
5In my experience a glacier in January will just be covered in snow. It will be more fun to do this in summer I think.
The winter tourism in Norway (especially the North) is geared towards husky sledding, northen lights, skiing and all things snowy. It is a totally magical time of year to go, and although the road surfaces are usually packed snow and some can be closed, I have (touch wood) never experienced a road closed and we go Arctic Norway and Sweden or Iceland for New Year quite alot. We hire a car and drive around no problems, just be wary of elk and reindeer etc. Hire cars have winter tyres with studs on them specially for driving in snow.
Some hotels and restaurants are closed in winter but there's usually still a variety open - there's always winter tourists around so the bigger places stay open. The icehotel in Sweden in Kiruna is excellent - about 3 hours drive from Tromso and the drive is so scenic, the Northen fjords etc...
My blog article of Arctic Norway and Sweden in winter may help:
Aug 15, 2012 9:19 AM
Aug 15, 2012 9:31 AM
Aug 15, 2012 12:33 PM
8I had a quick look at the www.icetroll.com website, and it seems that the season for glacier walks is from June to October. As #7 said, it would be pretty pointless in winter anyway.
As for driving, it is of course just a question of whether you are used to winterly conditions or not. The locals are driving all year round ;-)
Aug 15, 2012 1:43 PM
9What you should also take into consideration is the phenomenon of Polar Night, it will be quite dark in January, depending on how far north you go. In Tromsø for example, there won't be any sunlight before Jan 21st. It's not pitch dark, of course, it's more like dawn-dusk without the daylight in between. It's an experience, but might put a damper on the sightseeing, especially if you like beautiful scenery - it's there but you won't see it;-)
As for glacier hikes - it's quite dangerous in the cold and the dark, if you have an accident no-one will be able to find you, and the time you can survive while waiting is rather short in winter. There's a reason they only do these tours in summer.......
Don't let this put you off, but beware of it while planning!!! If you decide to go to Tromsø - get spikes for your shoes as it can be VERY slippery on the ice - YES, in the city! A good place to stay is the ABC Hotel Nord, where you can also rent snowsuits.
Aug 15, 2012 2:28 PM
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