All secrets about Vanlife Seasons in Norway

All secrets about Vanlife Seasons in Norway

North or South?

If you are planning to explore Norway by camper van, you should be aware that each season comes with its own challenges. Norway is such a long country, stretching from the very south all the way up to the North Cape, a distance of about 1,800 km. This results in significant climate differences. For example, on Norway’s national day on May 17th, people in Oslo might be celebrating in T-shirts and shorts, while those in Tromsø (the largest city in the north) still wear winter jackets and mittens. Therefore, in this blog post, we will divide the country into North and South to be more precise.

Vanlife in Norway
Reinfjord in the mighty Lofoten, a must visit destination if you are traveling to Northern Norway.


Most of Northern Norway lies above the Arctic Circle, which means that during summer, the sun does not set, resulting in the phenomenon known as the midnight sun. Conversely, during winter, the sun does not rise, creating the Polar night. These two unique features make Northern Norway an exceptional destination for vanlife, offering an experience unlike any other.


The right tires for the transitional period.

The first question that comes to mind is when summer finally arrives in Northern Norway and when the roads become free of snow and ice. Due to the capricious weather conditions in recent years, this is hard to predict. For instance, the Norwegian authorities (Statens Vegvesen) recommend using winter tires until April 30th. However, you may still encounter snowfall or icy roads in mid-May. If you drive from Oslo towards the North, you will have to cross several mountain passes where the likelihood of encountering winter weather in the middle of May is quite high. In early summer, all-year tires for your van would be a smart choice. If you rent a van, the rental companies will surely equip you appropriately for the upcoming weather.

Husøya in Senja
Senja in the beginning of June. Famous island of Husøya, a 15 minute drive from the main road.

What is the peak tourist season in Northern Norway?

Northern Norway has become an increasingly popular travel destination for nature and wilderness enthusiasts, much like Iceland in recent years. During peak season, however, the hotspots can become crowded. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has led Norwegians to spend their holidays more often in their own country, exacerbating the situation. At such times, it is best to avoid visiting places like Lofoten or the North Cape. Besides facing an influx of large motorhomes, you will also have to contend with cruise-ship tourism, leaving you with less solitude than you might have anticipated. However, the good news is that all of this can be avoided. The ultimate peak season in Lofoten, for example, is from July 21st to August 4th. In Norway, summer school holidays usually begin in the last week of June, and children must return to school by the second week of August. If you want to explore Lofoten with fewer tourists, then “spring,” specifically the end of May and the beginning of June, is the perfect time. You will also witness the midnight sun and nature awakening from a long winter slumber.

After the peak season, the last few weeks of August and the rest of September are known as the “Golden Summer.” During this time, you will encounter fewer travelers on the road. Although the midnight sun has vanished by then, you can still experience the Northern Lights from the end of August. In the first weeks of September, the trees turn yellow and orange, providing a stunning backdrop for your photographs.


Midnight sun in Lofoten: 27.May until the 17.July

Midnight sun in Tromsø: 18.May until the 25.July

Midnight sun at the Nordkapp: 12.May until the 31.July

Our conclusion about summer season in Northern Norway:

If you want to experience Northern Norway by yourself and avoid tourist crowds, it is best to visit between the middle of May and the end of June, or from the middle of August until the end of September. To put it simply: it is best to avoid July.

Availability of ferries and campgrounds

If you plan to visit during these “shoulder” times, it is important to double-check if the ferries are still in service along your intended route. For instance, the popular connection between Andenes and Senja stops its service in the first week of September.

Most campgrounds in Northern Norway are open from May until October.


Lofoten vanlife

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