Norway’s annual “Easter Exodus” is underway, with new figures showing that nearly half the country’s entire population planned to take time off for a spring vacation combined with the Easter holidays. Many Norwegians still head for the mountains for traditional spring skiing holidays, while increasing numbers travel within the country or go abroad.
Norway officially observes more Easter holidays than any other country, with Skjærtorsdag (Holy Thursday), Langfredag (Good Friday), Påskedag (Easter Sunday) and 2. påskedag (Easter Monday) all red-letter days on Norwegian calendars. Schools are also closed for the three days after Palmesøndag (Palm Sunday), prompting many families to take the whole week off while only using three vacation days from work.
Kristin Krohn Devold, tourism director for the national employers’ association NHO, told news bureau NTB that Norwegians traveling tend to stay in the country, according to a new survey conducted for NHO by research firm Kantar TNS.
“Traditions are strong among Norwegians, and the ski resorts are hanging on to their positions as the preferred destination during Easter,” Devold told NTB. Many stay at their own hytter (cabins), but it’s an important week for mountain hotels and lodges, too.
Others, Devold noted, are taking advantage of special offers from hotels in various Norwegian cities, which compete to attract tourists at a time when there are virtually no seminars or business conferences going on. The survey showed that five out of 10 will take holiday this week, and half of them head for their hytter. Many others simply take time off at home, doing some spring cleaning or shining up their boats for the summer season.
Others are venturing further afield, on bicycling tours of Cuba, early holidays with sunshine in southern Europe or Asia. Newspapers were full this winter of special tours, airline deals and cruise packages during the Easter week.
Easter is late on the calendar this year but Devold and her counterpart at Virke Reise Norge, Line Endresen Normann, agreed that mountain hytter attracted the largest single segment of holidaymakers. “Easter means a hytte-holiday above all others,” Normann told NTB. “We also see a small increase this year of those planning to spend Easter at privately owned hytter.”
As Norway’s Easter holiday weekend sets in, we’d like to wish our readers a Happy Easter (God påske) and Happy Spring (God vår)!