If you're following my Youtube channel, you already know that the sun has made its way back to the Arctic which means my favourite part of winter has only just begun! Yes that's right! While some parts of Europe already prepare for spring, we here in Northern Norway prepare for the best part of winter - the bright one!
As you may know, Northern Norway experiences polar night between late November and late January which means that during this time, we don't get any sunlight at all and only 2 hours of daylight each day.
During this time, the weather up north is mostly rather dull too so that we have to deal with storms and plus degrees resulting in ice and slush a lot of the time which is not exactly the winter wonderland you might imagine to find in the Arctic.
Now the good news is: You still have time to experience said wonderland this year as the season for snow AND sunlight has only just started!
The season between February and April is often described as the bright winter (as opposed to polar night being the dark part of winter), as this is the season where we have a reliable snow cover even on the coast and plenty of daylight and sunlight!
Honestly, what's better than snowy landscapes and pink sunsets?
Even though Norwegians don't mind the dark winter season and don't need my how-to on surviving polar night, the end of the dark season is still celebrated all over Northern Norway. In Tromso, the sun came back on 21 January and we celebrated by eating "sun buns" and watching the fireworks.
Just a little disclaimer: We don't usually celebrate with fireworks in Tromso - this was a rare but very welcome exception!
Usually, the end of polar night is celebrated by kindergardens gathering outside to spot the first glimpse of sunshine and companies even organizing sun partys! Well I guess the latter is just an excuse to get properly drunk between Christmas and Easter but pssst!
Anyway, I thought I'd summarize how the months of February, March and April usually are in Tromso and Northern Norway so you know what to expect when visiting during that time - which, quite frankly, you should!
February in Tromso - Quick Facts and Photos
Average temperature: -2,2° Celsius (in 2016)
Average snow depth: 90 cm (in 2016)
Sunrise 1st of February: 9:23 am
Sunset 1st of February: 2:34 pm
Sunrise 28th of February: 7:14 am
Sunset 28th of February: 4:41 pm
Now obviously, February is the most wintery month of late winter as in, it's still pretty chilly and there's lots of snow around! However as the sun hasn't been around for long, February offers some amazing opportunities for sunset/sunrise photography and you can even still go on a whale safari in the fjords.
As the weather is slightly better than in November or December, your chances to see the Northern Lights are also much better in February than during polar night.
March in Tromso - Quick Facts and Photos
Average temperature: -0,1° Celsius (in 2016)
Average snow depth: 74 cm (in 2016)
Sunrise 1st of March: 7:09 am
Sunset 1st of March: 4:45 pm
Sunrise 31st of March: 5:53 am
Sunset 31st of March: 7:46 pm
March is still a very wintery month with enough snow to go skiing, snow-shoeing or whatever else you'd like to do but temperatures get increasingly warmer throughout the month and the snow starts to melt.
Now we still get snow showers in March (and even way into May) but the ground isn't frozen anymore so the snow doesn't always stick. This also means that there's a lot of ice on the streets (which I absolutely loathe) but at least the sun is back properly which means Easter vacations spent sun-bathing AND skiing!
April in Tromso - Quick Facts and Photos
Average temperature: 2,9° Celsius (in 2016)
Average snow depth: 31,5 cm (in 2016)
Sunrise 1st of April: 5:48 am
Sunset 1st of April: 7:50 pm
Sunrise 30th of April: 3:26 am
Sunset 30th of April: 10:01 pm
Now April (or late March, depending on the year) is the month of Easter and traditionally in Norway, people like to go on cabin holidays in the mountains at Easter time. While the snow has already started to melt in the cities, the mountains still offer lots of snow at this time but the weather is usually so good, that you can even get a tan during your holiday too.
If you're Norwegian that is I guess - I'm red-haired and fair-skinned which means I'm a walking skin cancer warning whenever I've been trying to get a tan...
Anyway, if you look at the sunrise and sunset times of late April, you will notice that we're suddenly spoiled with daylight in April. While the Midnight Sun period (aka 24 hours of sunlight) officially starts in late May and lasts throughout late July, we really have 24 hours of daylight from late April to late August.
So if you're planning to see the Northern Lights, April is not the month you should be visiting. But if you're into snow AND sun, it's perfect!
I hope this gave you an idea about why I love late winter in Tromso so much and why I think it's the perfect season for a visit!
If you'd nonetheless like to visit Tromso during another season, you can read more about polar night here and about what summer in the region is like here or buy my e-guidebook for the full package of information on visiting Tromsø.
Would you rather experience a late winter or an early spring?
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