5 Necessary Items to Pack for a Summer Trip to Bergen, Norway
You're going, or want to go to Norway? Wonderful!
I have something I can't wait to share with you because a little practical advice in the right place and time could've saved me some cold, damp days in Norway and I would hate for this to happen to you. It's difficult sometimes to grasp what the weather will really be like in another location when you are experiencing the opposite at home, so do please read carefully the following words.
PREPARE FOR RAIN
There it is, in bold and blocky letters. Here's the thing. I knew before I went that it rained an awful lot in Bergen, which is where we planned to spend a good chunk of our time. What I didn't know is that it rained all. the. time. every. single. day. I remember four good rays of sunshine hitting me in my entire week there.
Update: I've recently heard from a friend, that a resident of Bergen said the week we were there was one of the worst of the summer. Huh.
There is one fashion accessory that 95% of Bergen residents carry and really, aside from a raincoat is the #1 thing you'll need to have a comfortable and stylish trip to Norway. Ready for it?
1. UMBRELLA, AS THE MAGIC ACCESSORY
Until you have seen a Norwegian elegantly dressed in a trench raincoat, black Nikes, and perfect blonde hair leaning on an umbrella while chatting with a friend you haven't seen northern style. Seriously. It's a little like Neil Caffrey in "White Collar" with his hat. It's an assault on the commonplace. No matter they're wearing athletic shoes... they look wonderful.
It is stylish to the hilt and also necessary. Please, oh please take my word for this. That umbrella will be popping up and down all day as you increase in thankfulness to me for this awesome tip. By all means, drop me a postcard to let me know how grateful you are (my address is posted below).
Note: I saw several people huddle down inside their hoods, but this can make you look cold and pinched.
Here is where the styles really diversify. Some wear something that looks a lot like it came from the North Face or Eddie Bauer catalogue, and some wear something more in the style of a trench or bomber jacket (bombers are all the rage over there at the moment).
My favorite was a yellow trench raincoat I saw. Why don't more people wear yellow? It is the most cheery thing for when the sun doesn't shine.
3. JEANS THAT FIT
This tip is equal parts weather and style. Jeans are a good idea for the coldness factor in Norway, and it's what 90% of the population currently wears: slim-cut jeans. Of course, if you don't own any and don't plan to own any with a tailored cut then there's no rules against going in what you have, however personally it's worth it to me to find out what the current "look" is in general to have a more integrated experience.
Aside from that I vote for the fitted experience in cooler climates, because the hems won't drag and become wet, and cold air won't make your legs cold as quickly. Just my two cents.
4. ATHLETIC SHOES OR BOOTS
Athletic shoes are definitely in-the-swim in Scandinavia. They were all over Oslo, Gothenburg, and Bergen and worked excellently as a practical option (I took Vans). Scandinavians bike or walk almost everywhere so it's rare to see someone in impractical footwear. Especially in Bergen, one could depend on either seeing a sort of ankle/knee-high rain boot, or athletic shoes. I saw maybe half-a-dozen pairs of shoes that were either leather business shoes (in which case they were sometimes covered in galoshes) and maybe three women wearing heels (usually on weekends).
Norwegians are laid-back in style and definitely don't go for glitz and glam most of the time. Practicality almost always takes the day there.
As the saying goes, "there is no bad weather, only bad clothes." This appears to be the mantra they all go by when they get dressed. In keeping with that I wanted to finish up with one last point:
5. BASICS & NEUTRALS
Norwegian adults choose to wear mostly neutrals with occasional bright pops of color or print, and often you will see them in all black or maybe accessorizing with a brighter shade. This wasn't the standard uniform by any means, but you see it enough to make it noteworthy. I was totally happy to fit in, as a devotee to the colors of black, grey and shades of white.
It has the added benefit of going with everything for a minimal travel experience.
Daniel and Janel rocking Scandinavian styles. Surprise! This happens to be the type of style they already love to wear all the time. They fit in well. Notice Lincoln peaking out the back.
Practical: temperatures in Norway during July or August will hang out between 50-60F. At best you'll be comfortable in short-sleeves when the sun shines for a few hours a day or every other day.
You can take sandals if your feet don't tend to coldness; I wore mine several days in Sweden and was comfortable, and then didn't wear them any in Bergen because the daily rain made everything feel colder. Extra advice? Take a light-weight wool sweater. You will likely be grateful for that at least half the time.
Style: Scandinavia as a whole seems more laid back than mainland Europe. It's very outdoorsy, and most of the time people will not be dressed up. A pair of black skinny jeans, Cons or Nikes, a trench or raincoat, and purse or umbrella often carry the day there. Somehow they still manage to communicate a kind of effortless elegance, but that might also be because all their clothes fit beautifully and they tend to wear minimal colors.
Ideas List for a Summer Trip to Norway
- Raincoat or water-repellent trench
- Waterproof boots, or athletic shoes and sandals
- Warm sweater
- Dress with Tights
- Sock cap
- Hat with wide brim
There's a wrap! If you have any questions don't hesitate to shoot me a message and I'll answer, some way or another. Thanks for joining, and if you do have a spare postcard, send it my way:
52 Court Sq. Apt 1. Mocksville NC, 27028