Fully one-third of all Norwegians are taking off for Easter holidays next week, according to a new survey, but the vast majority of them are staying in Norway. Cabins in the mountains are once again the preferred destination, where lots of snow can offer the best skiing conditions in years.
“Påskeferien (the Easter holiday) in Norway often involves local travel, with people heading back to the same part of the country not far from home, and most often staying at a hytte (cabin),” said Audun Pettersen of employers organization Virke, which has lots of members in the tourism industry. It’s behind the latest Virkes reisepuls (Virke’s Travel Survey), conducted on behalf of the organization by research firm Opinion.
It shows that 34 percent of Norwegians, who always get three paid holidays around the the Easter weekend, will be leaving home next week. Spending time with family and friends was the goal for 85 percent of them, with 45 percent planning to go skiing or hiking.
Only 20 percent of those responding to the survey planned to travel abroad, with Spain ranking as the most popular destination, followed by Sweden and Great Britain. State airports agency Avinor reported that it was expecting around 135,000 people to stream through Norway’s four largest airports on Friday (March 31), when the Easter holiday week gets underway: 86,000 through Oslo’s main airport OSL Gardermoen, 21,000 through Bergen, 16,000 through Trondheim and 12,000 through Stavanger.
The weather wasn’t expected to cause any problems for a change, with forecasts calling for lots of sunshine and no rain or snow, at least at the beginning of the holiday week. State meteorologist Iselin Skjervagen was predicting “a perfect weekend” in the mountains of Southern Norway, while Northern Norway should also get some sun on Sunday. Some of the best weather was expected in Trøndelag and Møre og Romsdal.
The rest of the week wasn’t looking bad either, despite cloudier weather and some snow flurries. “Many will also still get sunshine, but it’s kind of coincidental where it will pop out,” Skjervagen told news bureau NTB. Temperatures will remain well below freezing in the north, and cold at night in the south as well but warming up a bit during the day.
More spring-like weather was expected at lower elevations, after lots more snow this week, also along the coast. A low-pressure system was due to move in from Tuesday, though, bringing rain and snow.
The Easter week is known as “the quiet week” in Norway, with stores and businesses open only on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before the official Easter holidays set in from Thursday through Monday (April 10). Stores usually reopen on Saturday, but not for as many hours as usual.