A Great Place
When should you visit very special and unique places in the world that touch you? Places with an atmosphere you can’t describe or where you even get overwhelmed with emotion.
Do the hike up the dunes before sunrise to avoid the heat of the day and enjoy a magnificent experience. That way you'll also dodge the crowds which are present during the day. Another great time is sunset of course. Check our Death Valley Guide for detailed tips for each season.
Horseshoe Bend is a truly magical place at almost any time. Read our tips about the best time for photos and how to avoid the ridiculous crowds:
Time of Day (Photography)
Ask ten people about the best time of day to photograph Horseshoe Bend, and you’ll get ten different answers. Read these quotes if you don’t believe us: Best Time To Visit Horseshoe Bend. Sure, at certain times there might be a lot of shadows in your picture, which you might not like: Sunrise to Sunset Photo Series. However, it’s never bad, just different.
Avoiding Tourist Crowds
As a local said: ‘Now, it’s always crowded as hell!’ During daytime, you’ll face tourist crowds year-round. It’s slightly less busy in off-season and shoulder season: From October/November until February. Regardless of the season, it’s always very busy during sunset. Our tips to avoid the crowds:
Be there around 8 AM (maybe a little earlier). This is a perfect time before it starts to get busy. More people arrive between 9-10 AM. After 10 AM it starts to get heavily crowded with tour buses and everyone else arriving.
Be there around sunset. Of course, it’s still super crowded. Wait until the sun goes down and the crowds will start to dissipate almost completely. You’ll have the place almost for yourself. Perfect for stargazing. Carry a flashlight for the short hike back up to the parking lot.
If you head to the extreme left or the extreme right of the viewing point up there, you’ll get away from most others. It’s not the perfect spot in the middle anymore, but you can still take great photos.
Weather Details: (you can switch betwen °C and °F): Page, Arizona Climate Details
This is a complete guide with unique tips you’ll love before visiting Death Valley National Park. The desert in Death Valley is one of the hottest places on our planet! Between May and September the temperatures reach extreme highs and exceed 115 °F (46 °C). The best time to visit depends on what you’re looking for. The must-read sections in this article are (click the links or scroll down to the end for even more tips):
- Spring | Season Guide
- Summer | Season Guide
- Autumn | Season Guide
- Winter | Season Guide
- Blooming Wildflowers
- Stargazing Tips
- The Best Tours & Hotel Tips
- 9 Must-Know Tips (Summer - Late Spring - Early Fall)
- 3 Must-Visit Places & Top Tips
Spring (March - early May)
Zabriskie Point by Giuseppe Milo, CC BY
This is a very popular time for a visit with pleasant temperatures. On the other hand, spring also brings the most wind. The blowing sand, which may last for days, can make camping uncomfortable. A real attraction is the gorgeous spring wildflowers. However, it’s an exception to see whole the desert filled with all kinds of colorful wildflowers. In some years, there are only a few. Regarding crowds: Keep in mind that spring is also a busy season. It gets very busy during spring break holidays from the last week of March through the week after Easter. Make sure to book well in advance for a spring visit.
Summer (mid-May – September)
Death Valley (July) by Murray Foubister, CC BY-SA cropped
Summer arrives early in Death Valley. In May, the average daily high is already 100 °F (38 °C). June, July, August are even hotter (up to 120 °F), as well as September. At least it’s a dry heat with low humidity, which helps a little. The month of August and early September also bring thunderstorms, sometimes causing dangerous flash floods. Always check the weather forecast. Camping or hiking is not recommended during these months with boiling heat. Hikes during the day in lower elevations are dangerous and can become life threatening because of the extreme temperatures. If you do anything outside at lower elevations: Do it until 10 AM. However, there are two summer hikes at higher elevations which can be done: Wildrose Peak and Telescope Peak. Most visitors tour by car on the paved road along the main Points of Interest. Despite the heat, July, and August are the months with the highest visitation from Europe and other continents. However, almost all of them stay in their car for a short tour between 2 hours and half a day or a little more, while stopping at the main viewpoints. Also read the 9 Summer Tips in the section below.
Autumn (October – November)
Death Valley - Badwater Basin (October) by Paxson Woelber, CC BY cropped
Warm but more pleasant temperatures and usually clear skies. You may hike at lower elevations now. But still, start early to avoid the possible midday heat. Ranger programs and camping season begins in October. It’s relatively uncrowded, except for the Death Valley ‘49ers Week and Thanksgiving (both in November).
Winter (December - February)
Death Valley National Park (December) by Rob Rattray, CC BY cropped
Temperatures drop, but it never gets cold in the winter except at higher elevations. However, since it's cooler in the mornings, we suggest that you bring an extra jacket. There is less daylight in Death Valley now, but it usually lasts long enough: Sunset - Sunrise. Employees and park rangers say, the winter months of January and February are among the best months weather-wise. January and February bring the most rain, but it usually doesn’t rain heavily. Soaking rain, going for hours, can happen but it’s the exception. Winters also bring snow to the higher elevations and coat Telescope Peak (Panamint Mountains) in white. December, January and most of February are quieter months. Except for public holidays/holiday weekends (see below: Avoiding Tourist Crowds).
A very helpful weather and climate overview can be downloaded here: Death Valley | NPS | Weather & Climate. Rule of thumb for strenuous and longer outside activities: During summer, stay at higher elevations. During winter: Longer activities at lower elevations are possible. Bring layer of clothes for higher elevations.
Blooming Wildflowers (Highlight)
Death Valley is popular for its fascinating wildflower displays in the spring. However, only when the conditions are perfect you'll see blankets of gold, purple, pink or white flowers. Depending on the winter rain, it can be a great year for wildflowers or a moderate one with less blooming flowers. Check the official website: NPS Death Valley - Wildflowers. Another great website with updates and photos for each year: Death Valley NP Wildflower Reports
Peak Blooming Periods:
- Mid-February - Mid April: Lower elevations (Areas: Jubilee Pass, Highway 190 near the Furnace Creek Inn, base of Daylight Pass)
- Early April - Early May: 2000 to 4000 ft. Elevations (Area: Panamint Mountains)
- Early May - Mid July: Above 4000 ft. Elevations (Area: High Panamints)
Death Valley National Park is a paradise for stargazing. Why? For the best stargazing experience a dark sky is require and Death Valley is certified as the largest Dark Sky National Park in the country by the International Dark Sky Association. The park offers one of the darkest skies in the US. When you get the chance for a visit after dark, do it. It's an incredible once in a lifetime experience. Visitors report, that you can see the Milky Way galaxy almost as clearly as on NASA photos. Watch this intriguing video on YouTube: Death Valley Night Skies.
You might be wondering: Which are the best spots for stargazing at night? In fact the whole valley is excellent as long as you're not very close to buildings or other light sources. However, these are some top spots:
Dante's View: This is our favorite place in the valley for stargazing. Its altitude makes it perfect for sky-watching in the night. Read more details the place itself below. Tip: If you have enough time get there earlier to enjoy the sunset as well as the stars later. Also bring warm clothes, and maybe a blanket as it gets a lot colder up there in the night.
Badwater Basin: Different from Dante's View as you are at the lowest level, but almost equally stunning. The mountains may block the Milky Way view. However, the unique night sky view from the salt flats can't be missed. Especially if you want to take photos which look from out of this world. Read more details about Badwater Basin in general below.
Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes: We have a separate article here. For stargazing this is a perfect spot, since your view isn't obstructed by anything. There is as much dark sky to see as possible from here. The only small downside could be light pollution from cars driving on the close highway.
Harmony Borax Works: It's close to Furnace Creek Visitor Center (Harmony Borax Works Map Location). The big advantage here are the great foreground elements for taking photos, like the mule cart (see the photo above).
For the most stunning stargazing experience you should follow some rules and tips:
- The Best Season: The beautiful dark skies can be observed year-round. However, in winter and spring there are even special ranger tours and programs. Check them here: NPS Death Valley Program
- New Moon: Without a visible moon the sky is much darker, which will greatly enhance stargazing with more visible stars. Preferably visit during new moon: Moon Phases Death Valley Calendar
- No Light Pollution: Try to avoid places with nearby lights from buildings or cars. Since the whole valley is a natural area, it's often easy to walk away from light sources. Walking away 100m from smaller light sources is usually good enough.
- Time: Stay outside for at least an hour. It takes about 20-30 minutes for your eyes to get adjusted to the dark. Then enjoy the spectacular view. Even better with binoculars.
Avoiding Tourist Crowds
The busiest times are: Spring (March/April) - even busier from the last week of March till the week after Easter - and summer from July to August (mostly visitors from Europe and other countries), as well as September. According to a park ranger, the least crowded months are December and January. However, even during low season, it gets busy on certain days: From Christmas to New Year's, on Martin Luther King Day weekend in January, and Presidents' Day weekend in February.
To avoid the crowds at the main points of interest during peak months: We know it’s a challenge, but get up very early and try to reach most destinations around 8 AM, at least before 9 AM. It’s worth it, as you’ll dodge the crowds at beautiful places like Zabriskie Point, Badwater Basin, Devil’s Golf Course, etc. In the summer, you’ll not only beat the crowds but the boiling heat as well. On a single morning, you could cover the quick 2-hour tour: Badwater | Zabriskie | Devils Course - Google Maps
This is our complete Blue Lagoon guide with every question answered. Fully updated for 2019/20. Need quick tips? Jump directly to our 9 Must-Know Tips and the ultimate guide above it. Below the tips: Even more tips about viewing the Northern Lights, Opening Hours, Prices in US Dollars and Euros.
Tip: If you stay in Reykjavik and prefer it comfortable, book one of these tours: Blue Lagoon Tours incl. Transfer from Reykjavik. Some also include a 'small' Golden Circle tour with excellent guides!
Nearby Must-Do: If you have a rental car (click here for rental car deals), you must visit the stunning Skógafoss Waterfall (recent article written by us) nearby (2 hour drive from Blue Lagoon or Reykjavik)
Now: What about Blue Lagoon tickets? Pre-booking your admission tickets is necessary for this famous spa in Iceland, as they only allow a limited number of visitors. In this way, they avoid a heavily crowded lagoon. However, regardless of the season and month it still gets busy during the day. Read on for our best time to visit tips before you go:
Avoiding the Crowds
Long waiting lines, hectic locker rooms, ... In the year 2015 Bill Gates reserved the entire Lagoon for a swim at midnight without the crowds. We have a much cheaper solution for you: Enjoy a much more peaceful lagoon and its surreal surroundings by visiting either very early in the morning or as late as possible. Stay at a close hotel as it's more comfortable, but not at the super expensive new 'internal' Retreat (from 1000 EUR) or the Silica (from 500 EUR) hotel. Our more budget friendly but still top class hotel recommendation is the Northern Light Inn, because it's right there and excellent value for the money! (Bookmark the link to compare prices later if you like! You can read more about this hotel below in the hotel section). Also try to avoid weekends (Friday - Sunday), because it's busier then, even in the morning or evening. Make your reservation a couple of weeks in advance to get your tickets for the desired slot:
Book a ticket the first time slot available (see opening hours below). Being there first thing in the morning, you won’t see any crowds and no waiting lines, regardless of the package you booked. Often there are only 20-30 people within the first hour of operation.
It usually thins out in the evening. Book tickets for a time slot about two hours before they close. Timing your visit for sunset will make your photos even more amazing. After sunset, there is even a chance to see the Northern Lights in winter. Check sunrise and sunset times here: Sunrise / Sunset Grindavík
Weather and Water Temperature
Regardless of the season, weather and outside temperature, the water is always kept at 37–39°C (98–102°F). However, if it’s really cold and windy, some parts of the lagoon can be cooler (different temperature zones). Check the monthly weather details for the area, as well as average rainy days here: Average Monthly Weather Grindavík (you can switch between °F and °C). Keep in mind, that the weather is unpredictable, particularly in the winter months. However, almost everyone says that a visit is always a fantastic experience, even on a cold, windy and rainy day. The warmth of the water and the shelter of the heaters help a lot. Especially with rain and fog the atmosphere is just otherworldly and even more amazing.
Sweet spot months in Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) without the heavy summer crowds, open Trail Ridge Road and a good chance of nice weather are late May until early June or September after Labor Day (mid-week) until mid-October. However, snow is possible at both times. September is also great for wildlife because of the elk rutting season (peak mid-September to mid-October). In fall the air is clear and crisp and the skies are blue. Please make sure to read our full season guide below (including monthly weather), seasonal crowd tips, hotel suggestions as well as more useful tips at the end of this article (scroll down!)
Top Tip (Very Easy Hikes)
Tip: Venture off Trail Ridge Road to experience the real beauty of RMNP. If you can't do any strenuous hikes but still want to be awed, then take a look this guide on Amazon: Best Easy Hikes Rocky Mountain National Park. It covers amazing hikes for everyone, even suitable if you visit with small children (like 0.5 miles or 2 miles round-trips). But also hikes which are slightly more challenging. Like John Muir said 'Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.'
Highlight (Trail Ridge Road & Tours)
The stunning Trail Ridge Road is open from Memorial Day (last Monday in May) until mid-October. The official closing date is October 23, but they often close it a few days before that date. Even in June or September, it’s possible that it’s closed for hours or a day due to snow, often between 8 PM and 10 AM. Make sure to check more tips for the Trail Ridge Road in our section below the season guide (scroll down).
Special Tour Tip (from Denver or Boulder): If you're staying in Denver or Boulder and would like to experience the Trail Ridge Road as well as the most stunning viewpoints hassle-free, we suggest the Unique Rocky Mountain National Park Tour (from Denver and Boulder). It's an 8 hour day tour which includes driving the amazing Trail Ridge Road as well as other mesmerizing parts of RMNP. The views you'll get to see on this trip are just spectacular. Everything is taken care of, including pick-up service from Denver and Boulder (In case you need a hotel in Denver, check these deals: Denver Hotels)
Regardless of the season: The higher into the mountains you go, the colder it gets. In general, RMNP is known for its extreme weather patterns which can change very quickly, as well as wide variations between day and nighttime temperatures. Find detailed weather data here: Climate Estes Park - Colorado
Spring | April - May
Early Spring in Rocky Mountain National Park
The weather in spring is unpredictable: Up to 70°F (21°C) on one day and a temperature drop together with blizzards on the next day. It varies between warm and cold, wet and dry. Many trails are still snow-covered well into May, often even at the end of May. After a warm April, trails can be snow free in May, but are very muddy. This means you either have to deal with snow or with muddy trails. In general, snowfall is not uncommon in spring. Temperature ranges between 70°F (21°C) and 60°F (16°C).
Summer | June - July - August
Cub Lake in RMNP at Dawn
The most comfortable weather is in the summer months from July to August: The temperature climbs up to 75°F (24°C). However, afternoon thunderstorms can occur and wind is normal. Always prepare for temperature drops of 10-20 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep in mind that the highest elevation trails are snow covered well into June. Wildflowers are in bloom from late June to early August. What to wear in the summer? Always bring layers of clothes, even if you don't plan to hike at higher elevations. A morning can be mild and in the afternoon temps can drop remarkably. Always bring a rain jacket, as well as a warmer long sleeve shirt in your pack. Usually you can start with a short sleeve shirt for hikes or walks.
Fall | September - October - Early November
Autumn is usually a great time for a visit. September and October bring clear, crisp air, blue skies, and generally dry weather. Especially in September it's generally still mild and warm. However, mornings and evenings can be a lot chillier. Always bring a jacket! Early snow is already possible in October. Looking for fall foliage? Leaves start changing colors in late August at higher elevations, peak is around mid-September and the beautiful fall foliage lasts until October in most years at lower elevations. Early October is often still a good time for leaf peeping at lower elevations. At higher elevations the vibrant fall colores will be already gone in October. Elk rutting season begins in September as well and continues through mid-October at least. Like in spring you need to be flexible, check the forecast and bring gear and clothes for various conditions.
Winter | November - March
Winter in RMNP means snow and arctic conditions. However, lower elevations on the east slope of Rocky Mountain National Park are usually free of deep snow. The west side of the park experiences more snow, less wind, and clear cold days during these months. Most high country overnight trips require gear suitable for freezing temperatures. Skiing and snowshoeing conditions are best in January, February, and March. There are lots of other exciting activities in Winter: Sledding at Hidden Valley, Winter Wildlife Viewing, Ice Climbing and more. Visit NPS Rocky Mountain Winter Activities and 20 Things To Do in the Winter. Trail Ridge Road: While it's closed in the winter, keep in mind that you're allowed to drive the first 8 miles until Many Parks Curve overlook. Depending on weather conditions of course.
Avoiding Tourist Crowds
With over 4 million visitors each year, Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most visited Parks in the U.S. Expect the most crowds in summer and fall. The busiest months are June until August, with heavy crowds in July/August. During the week it starts to thin out after Labor Day in September (first Monday in September), but not on weekends. Also, try to avoid National Public Lands Day at the end of September. Entrance to to all National Parks is free then and RMNP will be extremely busy on this day/weekend!! Visiting mid-week in September means less crowds as well as enjoying elk rutting and pleasant fall temperatures at the same time.
In general from July through September: Avoid weekends and/or go early in the morning to beat the crowds. In the peak months arrive between 7 and 8 AM to get a parking spot. Usually, it starts to get busier after 9 AM. Especially popular entrances like Estes Park or trailheads like Bear Lake Trail are extremely busy. In general, the west side (Grand Lake) is less crowded than the Eastern side (Estes Park Entrance). Regardless of the month, season or entrance: Go as early as possible, head out on a trail, hike a few of miles from the busy areas and you won’t see too many others.
Lofoten Islands in Norway - Our complete guide! The answer to the ever popular "when is the best time to visit?" is difficult. Of course, there are common patterns in the weather that can help you to plan out your trip to Lofoten based on what you wish to see. This guide will help you to narrow that down (scroll directly to the winter, spring, summer or fall section if you'd like to find out about a specific season only). Quick links to the 5 must-know things:
- Season Guide: Winter - Spring - Summer - Fall
- Spotting Northern Lights
- Lofoten Weather
- Hotel Deals and Tips
- 5 Amazing Activities
- 8 Must-Visit Places
Winter (November, December, February, March)
- Weather: It's cold – but not unbearable (average lows around -5°C, average high 2°C). Unpredictable in November/December with either rain or snow. January - March provide more predictable winter conditions.
- Crowds: Quiet season, but February and March became slightly more popular recently.
- Highlights: Polar Night (24 hours of darkness) from December 9 - January 4 and Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) throughout the winter. Fishing: Historical seasonal cod fishing in February/March.
For many, the quintessential landscape of Lofoten is a wintery one, with white-capped mountains and regular snowfall. However, in November and December the weather is usually very unsteady. Besides snow, a lot of rain is also possible during both month. That's why those who seek this famous winter wonderland view, should visit between mid-January and March, when there is less rain and more snow. However, keep in mind that even in February it may rain for a full week. By mid-January, the days are also slightly longer, with the sun at least peering over the horizon for a few hours each day to give you some exploring time. You should still expect long periods of darkness, however. But the lack of light is usually worth it: Because at night, you may see the Northern Lights (possible during the whole winter season).
By March, you can expect the sun to hang around for long enough to make wintery adventure activities a possibility. For those who seek fun in the snow, March is a great time to enjoy things like skiing and snowboarding, all against Lofoten's stunning backdrop. Lofoten's ski slopes cater to all ages and abilities, and the resorts are beautiful to see even if you aren't quite ready to brave the slopes.
Of course, this all assumes that you want some time in the daylight during your visit. There are many arguments in favour of visiting during the Polar Night (December 9 – January 4), where the sun does not rise at all. For those who have never experienced this phenomenon, it is a unique experience that is an attraction in itself. Plus, the pitch-black conditions mean that this is a great time to seek out the elusive Northern Lights in Lofoten, which are jaw-dropping in their beauty.
Tourism usually is at its lowest in November, so if you wish to experience a bit of peace and quiet amongst the striking environment, this may suit you well. Many tourists avoid this time as it does tend to be quite rainy and dark, but for others this only adds to the atmosphere. The chance to miss the crowds makes it an appealing time to visit Lofoten as you will have plenty of time and space to really embrace all it has to offer.
Main ski season is February - April. If you're not into winter sports: It's the perfect time for visiting those small but very unique museums (see below). You definitely need a car to get around. Taking photos along E10 and exploring the must-see places. The best time to photograph the Northern Lights with snow covered mountains as backdrop is from mid-January until late March. Also check out the offered tours in winter like the Trollfjord Cruise or Lofoten Lights Tours (Winter Orca Whale & Safari or Northern Lights Tour). While the warmer months are perfect for hiking, winter is definitely not. Darkness, rain and snow make a hike on your own very difficult and even dangerous. Exceptions are guided hikes/walks like this a Snowshoe Walk or a Guided Lofoten Winter Hike. In general November and December are probably the worst month for longer outdoor activities, as it's usually very rainy, windy and icy. A traditional and memorable activity is the famous historical cod fishing every winter in February and March.
Road conditions depend on the weather and you need to drive carefully in the winter. However roads are cleared on a regular basis and are usually open to traffic and drivable. Experienced Lofoten visitors and locals say a 4x4 is not necessary if you stay on the main roads.
Some restaurants are closed in the winter. However, in towns like Svolvær or Leknes you'll have no problem finding open restaurants, even in deep winter. Shops are usually open regardless if they're in 'smaller' or bigger town. Which means that self catering is an option in the small towns.
Spring (April - May)
- Weather: Still chilly, snow can continue until May. April feels and looks like winter. More sunshine than in winter, however!
- Crowds: Quite reasonable, although they begin to pick up a bit as the days get longer and warmer.
- Highlights: Northern Lights are still visible until mid-April. Midnight sun begins May 26.
The months of April and May are usually still fairly chilly, while snowfall is quite common in early April. It may also snow throughout May. Those who visit Lofoten should bring warm clothing to keep warm on the crisp days and nights. Many consider this a great time to visit, as the conditions are more accessible yet you avoid the heavy crowds of the summer months.
Due to the ongoing snowfall and the added bonus of much longer days, those seeking wintery activities will not be disappointed if visiting Lofoten. You may also notice a change in the scenery, as the white snow gives way to lush green foliage in many places.
Spring also brings a welcome relief from the short days of winter, you can expect to have long days with plenty of light to make exploring Lofoten much more accessible. Lofoten's waterways and waterfalls will be at their powerful best due to the melting snow.
The main ski season is still in full swing in April, and many resorts stay open through May. Other outdoor activities include hiking, fishing and kayaking. While April is too difficult for self-guided hikes, in May hiking tours are more likely. However, you need to be careful, as rockfalls and avalanches can present a danger as much of the ice melts quickly and causes the terrain to be unstable in some parts. Museums are a must-visit in spring and of course you need a rental car to get around on your own. Check with the operators for available tours in the spring like kayaking along the Lofoten islands coast or other Lofoten Tours. Tip: Although the Northern Lights can still be spotted until mid-April, this phenomena shouldn't be the main reason to travel here in April. There are definitely better month for the Northern Lights.
Summer (June, July, August)
- Weather: Best chance of good weather during July and August. Average degrees about 15°C. On sunny days max temp of 25C° is not uncommon. Most sunshine, although rain and especially many cloudy days in a row can happen.
- Crowds: The most popular time of year, Lofoten is very busy with local and international tourists. Many hotels and attractions will be at full capacity.
- Highlights: Midnight sun from May 26 - July 17 (24 hours of daylight). Northern lights are back by the end of August
Although it is only in more recent years that international tourists have flocked to Lofoten, it has long been a beloved summer destination for Norwegians. Thanks to its beautiful scenery and up to 24 hours of sunshine per day, summer is peak tourist season in Lofoten as locals and international travellers flock to this outdoor paradise. Expect these months to be lively and busy.
By the time June rolls around, almost all of the snow has melted away and been replaced by lush green plant life, completing transforming the look of the islands. By early July you can spot hillsides covered flowerbeds. Although the weather remains somewhat unpredictable, it sometimes even reaches highs of 25 degrees Celsius. Blue skies are common, although so too are many cloudy overcast days and rain.
Unique is the midnight sun, which means all-day and all-night sunshine. It occurs between late May and mid-July. For those who have never experienced this, it is incredibly surreal to be able to hike in full sunshine at 2am. Even for those who experience it regularly, there is a certain charm that comes with such abundant sunshine and all it allows you to do.
Given all the benefits of summer in Lofoten, it is unsurprising that this is peak tourist time, with many accommodation places and restaurants completely booking out, even months in advance. While its popularity means that Lofoten in summer is a lively, exciting place, it is recommended to book well ahead of time so as to avoid any disappointments. While the whole summer is busy, the peak month is definitely July. Then all the famous areas like Reine or for example the parking lot to popular Kvalvika beach will be overcrowded. Especially when cruise ships arrive, the well-known places will be packed. Read our tips in the section below on how to dodge the crowds. By mid-August, the crowds have died down a fair bit, although so too has the sunshine. For many, a visit between mid-August and late August is the best of both worlds – allowing you to experience summer in Lofoten, but without the intense crowds.
Summer time has the most opportunities to try every outdoorsy activity like fishing tours, canoeing and of course hiking. From mid-June the trails are usually snow-free and you can do almost everything from short 1-3 hour walks at the coast to full day hikes or even longer. Be careful until mid-June, as some routes are still snow covered in early June, especially on Austvågøy. Besides hiking every other activity, except skiing of course, is available in the summer: From amazing day tours, like a midnight sun walk to kayaking or fishing trips. For more flexibility getting around in a rental car is recommended. The museums can be a bit crowded in summer. Visit them early in the morning.
Not only is the summer weather perfect for outdoor activities, but it also makes camping a great option. Norway famously gives everyone "the right to roam", and camping in the mountains and countryside is permitted anywhere by anyone as long as you are at least 150m from any inhabited houses or cabins.
Autumn (September - October)
- Weather: Days are getting shorter and more rainfall. It gets worse in October with storms, even more rain and first snowfall.
- Crowds: A quiet time to visit Lofoten, as the summer crowds are gone.
- Highlights: Northern lights are visible in September and October
The autumnal months of September and October bring even more unpredictability to the weather on Lofoten, discouraging the crowds and leaving much more room for visitors to breathe and relax. While autumn's reputation for being extremely unpredictable discourages many visitors, others enjoy seeing this side of the islands. Lofoten is a nature lover's paradise and it is so beloved due to its dramatic landscapes. In many ways, autumn is the best time to experience this, as it is when mother nature shows her true power on Lofoten and the weather becomes the most volatile. This allows visitors to experience the many faces of Lofoten, whether in the midst of a rainstorm or on a crystal-clear day. Another advantage are the lower accommodation rates and the possibility to book last-minute.
September: An interesting month, since the crowds thin out even more. The one downside is falling temperatures together with even more unpredictable weather. However, it doesn't get too cold in September and besides rain and strong breezes it can be sunny and warm as well. Additionally, September is bringing many beautiful colours to the landscape. Visitors can see diverse landscapes where leaves are a startling red-orange. Many outdoor tours from summer are usually still being offered till the end of September.
October: This is the time when it gets 'worse'. Visitors may experience heavy rainfall, storms, dark days, falling temperatures and the first snow. That's why at the beginning of October many 'part time locals' pack their things and leave. Of course, there are often still nice days in October, but the odds are getting lower.
However, autumn sees the return of the Northern Lights to Lofoten, so those looking to experience this unique and enigmatic phenomena may wish to consider September or October. This is a big plus, regardless of the weather conditions.
Most summer tours are still available till the end of September. Thus, you can do all kinds great day tours, like kayaking or even a Summer Photography Tour in September. Even self-guided hiking is still an option. However, you need to be careful as the rain can be responsible for a very slippery terrain. No tourist crowds, hiking tours, wide range of outdoor activities and the chance to spot northern lights make September a very interesting month. Later in October the downside is fewer tours offered by operators. Due to first snowfall hiking tours along with longer outdoor activities are no longer a good idea. But still, even in October you can admire the scenery from inside your car, stop at beaches or fjords, get out for taking photos, get back in warm up and drive to the next spot.