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.
Geierlay is one of the most picturesque bridges in Germany. It's a half-day trip to the popular suspension bridge if you are in the Hunsrück area, at river Moselle, Eltz Castle, or as a good stopover. The bridge is open 24/7. The visitor terminal is opened each day from 10 am to 4 pm and provides a map in different languages.
It's utterly crowded during the summer and weekends are the worst, especially on sunny days. In autumn the views are just spectacular with the fall foliage. To avoid the crowds, visit the bridge early morning or late in the evening in the summer. Very few visitors in winter only.
Tip for photographers; The sunlight is best in the evening. The sunset is just gorgeous here.
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.
Long, cold winters. Mild, but short summers. The warmest months are from June to August and a great time for hiking. In spring the weather is unpredictable: Cold and even snow can linger into April and May. A warm jacket and rain gears are a must-have in spring. Fall months, especially SEPTEMBER and early OCTOBER may be the best months with mild weather, fewer crowds and lots of wildlife. In winter heavy snowfall occurs from December to March.
Avoiding Tourist Crowds:
July and August are also the peak tourist months. Crowds start to thin out after Labor Day in September. In October it even gets much quieter. A perfect month to enjoy many places without many others. Just keep in mind that a lot of facilities close sometime in October and November: NPS Yellowstone - Operating Hours.
Please note, that September became busier in the recent years. It's less busy than in summer but not a super quiet shoulder month anymore. Follow our September Tips:
- Go mid-September, as it gets quieter. A great sweet spot week is the last week in September.
- Go as early as possible. If you get up early you'll avoid heavy traffic at the busy areas like Old Faithful or elk rutting spots along the road.
Another great month is the first week of June with warm weather and fewer crowds before the peak summer season starts. Again, keep in mind that June became much busier recently: Go early in the morning and try to avoid weekends.
Best in the late afternoon - the crowds from the cruise ship may have left the gorge and the sunlight is shinning to the entrance of the gorge. Very early morning it is not crowded but it is not the best time of the day, the gorge is in shadow. It is very popular so if a cruise ship has docked in Roseau harbour it might be crowded the whole day same at weekends.
The dry season last from Dec. until April/May. This is also the peak tourist season. Anyway this is one of the wettest regions in the world with 7 liters of rain each year. The climate is humid tropical. The driest month is March and the wettest is August.
Best known for its fall season colors, the Parkway is beautiful and has treasures to offer ANY TIME of the YEAR. However, some sections get closed in winter during heavy snow. Check road conditions via the interactive map: Blue Ridge Parkway Real Time Status. Campgrounds are open from April/May until the end of October.
Highlight (Fall Colors):
Best time to catch the peak fall colors: Visit between MID-OCTOBER and LATE OCTOBER. Don't just visit one spot. Instead drive a while to be on different elevations. Some of the best spots to catch the fall colors: Fall Color Spots – Blue Ridge Mountains
Avoiding the Crowds:
It's busy on the road in fall. Especially mileposts can become crowded. Try to avoid weekends in autumn and get there early in the morning for an amazing experience. The morning light is also great for photos.