For members


Autumn in Norway: The traditions to keep you active as the days get darker

As the days get shorter and the darkness rolls in, you can find many locals in Norway stacking firewood and foraging for chanterelles.

Autumn in Norway: The traditions to keep you active as the days get darker
Russenes, Troms og Finnmark, Norway. Photo by Datingjungle on Unsplash

Popular Autumn activities

Hiking – Blazing sun or frigid ice, Norwegians are always down for a hike. But the sport of exploring nature tends to take off during the Autumn months. Popular hiking trails surrounding the major cities will likely be packed on the weekends. So if you like to explore nature in solitude, you may have to travel a few hours outside of the city. 

If you would like to socialise while exploring nature, many cities and towns have organised hiking trips for those who prefer group activities. Here are groups for those who live in or around Oslo, Trondheim, and Bergen

The Norwegian Trekking Association (or DNT) is the biggest outdoors activities organisation in all of Norway. You can sign up to be a member here to join guided hikes. You can download DNT’s app  that has plenty of practical information that you can use when planning your next solo hike.

Autumn is a great time for a hike, but be sure to wrap up. Photo by Martin Klausen on Unsplash

Foraging – Autumn is synonymous with foraging. Many like to combine their hikes in nature by searching for some edible treasures along the way. This is the time of year picking blueberries, mushrooms, and cloudberries becomes the highlight of one’s week.

A few tips – an area ripe with cloudberries is considered a lucky find. If you ask a Norwegian where they had their best luck finding these cloudy yellow berries, you’re likely to see them react with a sly smile and give a cryptic response. You don’t have to share your discovery either. It’s an accepted secret in this country.

Many Norwegians enjoy foraging in the autumn months. Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Hunting for mushrooms in a colourful forest may feel like you’re in a fairytale, but this whimsy activity should be taken seriously. There are many variants of mushrooms found in the forest that can be poisonous if ingested. So either take an expert along with you, or find an area that has volunteers set up at the base of the forest who will look through your mushrooms to help you identify what you have picked

Binging series – Sure, you can watch Netflix and binge on series any time of the year. But many Norwegians feel guilt over being inside when the sun is out. In fact, a lot of locals will refrain from starting a new season or show until the weather turns colder.

Autumn is a time when Nordic Noir series tend to make their series or season debut. Nordic Noir is a TV genre that consists of a dark crime that unfolds in desolate Scandinavian settings. These shows have gained a huge international interest. And they are especially popular to watch in Norway as the days get darker. 

Indoor hobbies – Same with indoor hobbies. Knitting, sewing, or squash. All hobbies that are traditionally done indoors see a boost in popularity between September and November.

Spending more time indoors doesn’t mean you have to be less social. There are plenty of specialty groups in Norway that allow you to meet up with others who enjoy doing the same activities as you.

Here you’ll find contact information for knitting cafes set up in many municipalities. And if you’re interested in a sport like squash or climbing  that requires a partner or haven’t found anyone, don’t stress. Many clubs have sign-up sheets that will pair you with others who are also keen on finding a partner. 

Autumn foods

If you’ve started hearing chatter about the notorious fårikål, then you know Autumn has arrived. Fårikål has been crowned Norway’s national dish since 1972. The cozy warm meal has a very distinct smell that will warm up any household. And while it may look complex, it is surprisingly easy to prepare. Fårikål is largely made up of  diced lamb meat, whole peppercorns, and layers of green cabbage. Paper thin flat bread is normally served on the side. 

In addition to the season of the national dish, traditional Autumn foods Norwegians enjoy dining on are lapskaus, or “stew”, baked root vegetables, mushroom soups, and blueberry muffins.  

What is Høstferie?

Høstferie is a school holiday that depending on where you live in the country, happens during week 40 or week 41.  You can look here to find out when your municipality takes this Autumn holiday. 

Historically, the free week was based around the time potato crops were ready for harvest. Now, it is a time where many Norwegians escape to their cabins for a week to explore nature and unwind. 

Prepping for the winter

For many locals, the sight of the leaves changing colour is a ringing alarm that the freezing winter months are just around the corner. Autumn is a time to bring out your winter gear from storage. Take an afternoon to gently unpack your wool and gather your gloves and scarves. 

In addition to having your extra warm clothing ready to throw on at a moment’s notice, Autumn is also a time to either chop or purchase enough firewood for negative temperatures. Yes, it’s manual labor, but there is nothing better than stacking logs and knowing you have enough to keep you warm through the long winter. 

The darker days are also a time to start lighting telys or “tea lights”. Norwegians love decorating their breakfast, dinner, and living room  tables with tiny candles to make the whole atmosphere a little extra koselig

What about Halloween?

Many newcomers ask, ‘what’s the deal with Halloween in Norway?’ It’s understandably difficult to give a concrete answer. Traditionally, Halloween and trick-or-treating were hardly acknowledged in Norway. It is only in the last few decades that October 31st became a day to dress up in costumes and celebrate. That being said, not everyone is on board. The residents living in and around the bigger cities in Norway are more likely to acknowledge the day and it’s traditions. If you’re living in a smaller, more remote town, don’t bet on anything special happening. 

Useful Vocabulary


blåbær – blueberries

sopp – mushroom 

potetferien –  or “potato holiday”. The former name of høstferie

ull – wool 

fyringsved – firewood. Many locals simply refer to it as just, ved.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members


The most common complaints that foreigners have about Bergen

Bergen, Norway's second-biggest city, is a beautiful international hub that almost effortlessly captures the hearts of both visitors and new residents. However, even amidst its beauty and hospitality, some aspects of life in Bergen can leave you a bit frustrated.

The most common complaints that foreigners have about Bergen

It’s hard to overstate how magnificent Bergen actually is – due to its unique coastal location in western Norway, it’s commonly known as the “gateway to the fjords,” and it is widely popular as the starting point of many a fjord cruise.

Nestled among seven mountains, the city also offers almost limitless hiking and outdoor opportunities for nature lovers, and its rich cultural heritage (best embodied by the old Bryggen wharf and old town) draws in tens of thousands of tourists each year.

However, as is the case with city life in any town, even Norwegian urban gems have some aspects that leave visitors – and new residents – somewhat perplexed or frustrated.

The rain, does it ever stop?

If you’ve read any review of a trip to Bergen or a guide to the city, the first complaint you probably noticed was related to the weather.

The city is located on the coast and surrounded by mountains, so it has a very wet microclimate. How wet can it be, you ask? Well… Barely a day goes by that it doesn’t rain.

According to the latest figures, it rains in Bergen more than 230 days a year. If you moved to western Norway from a southern or eastern European country, you’ll likely quickly develop nostalgia for sunny and warm days back home.

But don’t give into depressing thoughts – the key to accepting Bergen’s weather is in adopting a lifestyle that is best described by local mantras such as “there is no bad weather, just bad clothes” and “if you wait for nice weather, you never actually leave the house.”

So, invest in some waterproof clothes and footwear, and start treating the rain like any other local – as an everyday fact of life in Bergen.

The dialect… This is not what I was taught in my language course!

Locals in Bergen speak a dialect (called bergensk) that is very different to the Norwegian language taught in many foreign language schools and which is closer to the eastern, Oslo dialect.

If you weren’t prepared for Norway’s linguistic diversity and wealth of dialects, this could come as somewhat of a negative surprise – especially if you have invested tens of thousands of kroner in language courses.

Instead of being angry at Bergen and its residents, complaining to anyone who’s willing to listen, try a different approach – pick up a local language course to upgrade your Norwegian language skills and master one of the key challenges related to this dialect, pronunciation.

Be patient and show yourself some grace. The transition to a new dialect will take (at least!) a couple of months. However, you can speed up the process by expanding your social circle and spending more time with the locals.

As a first step, you can also consult The Local’s beginner’s guide to the Bergen dialect.

Bybanen Flesland

Bergen Airport offers a broad range of regular services to more than 60 destinations. Photo by Jørgen Håland on Unsplash

Why aren’t there more flight options?

This is a complaint you’ll hear way too often once you relocate, considering the available flight routes from and to Beren.

While Bergen has more modest flight connections, if you compare them with those in the capital, Oslo, it is by no means poorly connected.

Bergen Airport (Flesland) currently offers an extensive range of regular services to various destinations (roughly 65), supplemented by a selection of seasonal or charter flights primarily during the summer months.

 Around twenty, operate regular flights out of Flesland, ensuring a comprehensive network of connectivity for travellers.

So, while Flesland might not offer flight routes to insert your European city of choice as the second-largest airport in the country, it does not deserve the bad rep it sometimes gets.

Bergen is so expensive!

When complaining about life in Norway, it’s quite common for people to mention its reputation for being expensive. This holds true for all of the country’s cities.

According to Eurostat, Norway ranks second in terms of food and non-alcoholic beverage prices in Europe. A report by Statistics Norway (SSB) in 2018 revealed that the cost of food and non-alcoholic drinks in Norway was 63 percent higher than the EU average.

The same report highlighted that food prices in Norway were 40 percent higher than in Sweden and 25 percent higher compared to Denmark… So, yes, the fact that Norway is expensive is well documented, and if you continuously lament about the high prices, you’ll likely start annoying even the typically stoic Norwegians.

The other side of the story is that, apart from being among the most expensive countries in Europe, Norway is also among the countries with the highest salaries and most generous welfare systems.

So, at the end of the day, most Bergen residents will tell you that the two sort of even each other out.

Don’t dwell on the negatives

While it’s important to acknowledge the occasional complaint voiced by foreigners about Bergen, it’s also important not to let these gripes overshadow the incredible experiences that await prospective visitors.

Instead of letting these perceived “downsides” of life in Bergen discourage you, why not embrace the city’s unique qualities, adopt local wisdom, and cultivate useful habits?

By doing so, both Bergen and Norway will warmly embrace you, despite their occasional rainfall, leaving you with enchanting memories and a resilient attitude that will prove invaluable when faced with challenging situations in life.