Norway may lie on the northern edge of Europe, but its capital city is not as cold as one might think thanks to the Gulf Stream, which brings warm air across the Atlantic. Summers are remarkably pleasant (in the mid-60s and an average of 70 in July), and there’s plenty to do in a municipality that stretches over 174 square miles of streets, forests, and agricultural land.
On summer afternoons, picnickers fill the parks, locals cram into the sidewalk cafes, and small boats jostle along the Oslo Fjord. During heat waves temperatures can hit the 90s. Around the solstice the sun doesn’t set until after 11 p.m., offering luxuriously long days for exploration. August also hosts major festivals, like the outdoor Oya Festival of music, the largest of its kind in Norway.
Winter is also a popular time to visit, and temperatures are not as frigid as one might expect: averages are between 24 and 33 degrees. After the holidays, snowfall is reliable, and Oslo makes a good, affordable base for alpine and Nordic skiing, accessible right in the city itself and in the surrounding mountains. Though February is a peak month for snow seekers, it could hardly be called crowded. Outside of the city in winter, visitors are occasionally treated to the great northern lights.