July is the peak of summer for Norway, so this is a great time to visit the fjords, mountains and forests of this counrty. This is without a doubt the most popular months for tourism in Norway, both by Norwegians who want to explore their own country, as well as foreigners who want to visit Norway. This means that there’s a lot of people around in most places, so it’s a bit difficult to find accommodation unless you book it well in advance.
The big selling point of visiting Norway in July is the incredible weather. While there will be some rainy days, you have a high probability of getting quite a few warm, sunny days in July, and the temperature will be nice and comfortable at 20 °C or more.
So, let’s take a closer look at what you can do in Norway in July and what to expect when visiting at this time.
July is a great hiking season
Many people consider July to be the very best month for hiking the mountains in Norway, and you are in for a treat if you decide to go hiking during July. The chance if rain is the lowest for the summer season, the sun is up for most of the day (even for the entire day in the northern part of Norway), and there is obviously no snow cover on most mountain trails.
Pretty much all the hiking trails are open and operational at this time, so it’s a great time to visit Preikestolen, Trolltunga or just any other hike in Norway.
The warm weather and strong sunlight makes it more important to bring sunscreen than warm clothes, but keep in mind that it can get very windy in the Norwegian mountains – even in the middle of July! So bring a jacket just in case.
Hitting the Norwegian beaches in July
The warm July weather heats up both freshwater lakes as well as the ocean, and July is a great time to go swimming in Norway. You can take a dip in one of the thousands of lakes, in the fjords, in the ocean by a beach, or in one of the many rivers and streams in the forest.
July is also the time when the Norwegian beaches gets crowded. The long summer days attracts thousands of Norwegians and tourists to the many beaches in the country, and you will find that chilling on the beach during the summer days to be a popular choice.
So make sure to spend a few hours tanning at one of Norway’s many beaches if you are visiting in July and want a break from all the hiking.
Experience the midnight sun in Northern Norway
The northern part of Norway has midnight sun all July, and the sun will never set in these regions. Instead, the sun will go low in the sky, stay there for a few hours, then begin to rise again. During the peak of night during the midnight sun, you get incredible sunsets where most of the sky turns red. It’s an incredible sight, and a very unique experience!
We do not get midnight sun in the southern half of Norway, so be prepared to visit Bodø or a city further north to experience it.
Norwegians usually have a joint holiday in July
July is the month when the joint summer holiday is in place. This is a 3 week period where most of the Norwegian workers get their summer vacation, so it will be absolutely crowding with people at this time. The exact date changes from year to year, but it’s usually in the the middle of July to the first week of August.
There are some pros and cons to visiting Norway during the joint holiday. The pro is that most Norwegians are on vacation, so we are pretty happy and more friendly towards strangers than what we usually are. It’s a great time for social tourists who want to be chatting with the otherwise cold Norwegians.
The downsides to visiting during the joint holiday is that some specialty places are closed. You won’t find that any stores are closed, but it will take much longer to get an appointment at a bank, the tax office (Skatteetaten) or any government official. This is mostly a problem for people who are moving to Norway or Norwegians, but you might find that it can cause some issues for tourists as well.
The other downside is that everything is super crowded. Pretty much 70 % of all Norwegians will use July as their main holiday period, so places like zoos, theme parks, tourist attractions and pretty much anywhere else will be crowded. Expect long queues at popular restaurants or even at food trucks, because everyone is out and about.
The July weather in Norway
The July weather in Norway is as good as it gets, and it’s not uncommon to see over 20 sunny days during July in a good year. That said, it’s still Norway, so there will always be a chance of rainfall or just cloudy weather.
On sunny days, expect temperatures in the range between 20 to 25 °C during the day, and 10 to 13 °C during the night. Some nights will be warmer, and there will usually be a few nights with 18 °C during July.
And as with the rest of the year, the further north you get, the lower the average temperature will be. That said, most of Norway has a July temperature of 20 °C or more during July.
When it rains in July, it really pours down. This can be a bit overwhelming if you are outside, and we have seen more and more cases of flash floods in the last few years. So make sure to keep an eye out on the weather forecast before leaving for a long hike. It can get pretty difficult to hike in heavy rainfall.
Visit a “summer city” in Norway
Norway has plenty of “summer cities” that really flourish during the summer season, and has its peak in July. This is when these small cities turn into super crowded and cozy cities that is bustling with life. It’s really something special to walk the narrow streets of these cities in the middle of July when there are people all around, enjoying the sun and eating ice cream.
Some of the most popular summer cities in Norway are Kristiansand, Arendal, Grimstad, Risør, Stavern and Kragerø. All of these cities will have thousands of tourists during the summer season, and there will be plenty of attractions and entertainment opportunities for anyone who visits. If these summer cities by the ocean are not enough in themselves, be ready for concerts, festivals, food trucks and other fun things that makes the visit even better.
July is a perfect time to visit Lofoten
Many people consider July to be the best time to visit Lofoten, so if you want to see Lofoten from its best side, consider booking a trip in July. This is when the water is warm enough that you can comfortably swim at the incredible beaches on the island archipelago, and the hot sun makes it nice to just lie and sunbathe after you are done with your swim.
There’s also few rain days and no snow cover in July, so it’s a prefect time to tackle on the amazing hiking trails in Lofoten. And let’s not forget that there’s midnight sun as well!
The only big downside is that Lofoten is super crowded in July, so be prepared to share this natural wonder with a lot of other tourists. The municipalities have also recently introduced a wild camping ban, so you can no longer camp on or close to the beaches. They are also considering to implement a tourism tax, but that has yet to take effect.
But despite all this, July is a great time to visit Lofoten, and I urge everyone to experience the lazy summer nights in Lofoten at least once in their lives!
Finding accommodation in Norway in July
Since July is the most popular month for tourism in Norway, expect to plan your visit ahead of time. Many hotels are fully booked several months in advance for stays in July, and this is especially true to hotels in popular tourist areas. You won’t have an easy time finding an available room in Odda, Lofoten, Vesterålen or any place like that in July if you just drop by.
The other side of this story is that most hotels, AirBNBs and other places that rent out rooms tend to have higher prices in July. Norway is pretty expensive to begin with, and it’s even more expensive in July. It might not make that much of a difference to some, but it’s worth keeping in mind that finding a place to sleep is going to be more expensive and more difficult.
July is probably the best months for wild camping, so if you want a free place to stay, consider bringing a tent and put it up in the forest. This might not be for everyone, but it’s absolutely a viable option if you are comfortable spending your nights at a campsite.