Easter in Norway: What to expect from Norwegian Påske

Easter in Norway is something truly special. It’s not just another holiday for Norwegians; it feels like a heartfelt celebration of leaving behind the long, dark winter and stepping into the light, hopeful spring days. During Easter, you’ll notice cities and towns becoming remarkably quiet as most Norwegians head to their cozy mountain cabins, eager to catch the season’s final days of skiing.

We’re not here to give you a long lesson on Norwegian Easter traditions – we’ll touch on those just a bit. Instead, we want to provide some handy tips for visiting Norway during Easter. 

We will discuss what to expect from store and restaurant opening hours, when and where you can buy alcohol during Easter, and why you should keep an eye on public transport schedules.

We hope this info will help you better plan an Easter trip to Norway and make sure your adventure is full of pleasant experiences, not unexpected hiccups due to limited opening hours or public transport. 

Table of Contents

Norwegian Public Holidays During Easter 2024

Here are the Norwegian equivalents for each English Easter day, along with their dates in 2024. The public holidays are marked in bold:

🐣 Palm Sunday (Palmesøndag): March 24, 2024

🐥 Maundy Thursday (Skjærtorsdag): March 28, 2024

🐥 Good Friday (Langfredag): March 29, 2024

🐣 Easter Saturday (Holy Saturday) (Påskeaften): March 30, 2024

🐥 Easter Sunday (Første påskedag): March 31, 2024

🐥 Easter Monday (Andre påskedag): April 1, 2024

Are you planning hiking trip to Lofoten during Easter?

Easter Traditions in Norway

Norwegian Easter is centered around enjoying the outdoors, preferably heading to the mountains, and spending quality time with family or friends.

It’s the perfect time for skiing, munching on oranges and Kvikk Lunsj, and catching some sun, which grows stronger after the long winter, often resulting in sunburnt faces.


Easter Retreat to Mountain Cabins

One of the most cherished Norwegian Easter traditions is going to “hytta” – that’s what they call a cabin in the mountains here in Norway. It’s where families and friends take a break from their daily routines and dive into nature’s simple, peaceful beauty.

The cabins can range from simple, cozy places without much fancy stuff to big lodges with all the modern comforts you can imagine. But no matter how fancy or simple the cabin is, what matters is spending time with friends or family away from everyday city life.


Visiting Norway during Easter: What to expect

All pictures in this article were generated by Chat-GPT. However, I think it captured the spirit of Norwegian Easter perfectly. 🍊⛷️☀️


Skiing and Sunbathing during Easter

Easter time in Norway is all about skiing and catching some sun. Even though it’s technically spring, we usually still have plenty of snow in the mountains, making Easter the perfect time for both cross-country and downhill skiing. And when the sun comes out, it’s like a big invitation to everyone to soak up some warmth.

You’ll see people chilling outside, enjoying the spring sun. It’s quite a sight – folks in their ski gear, lounging on cabin balconies or right on the side of the mountain. After a long winter, these sunny moments feel extra nice. It’s a fun mix of winter sports and a little hint of summer vibes, making Easter in Norway a time everyone looks forward to.


Easter in Norway

All pictures in this article were generated by Chat-GPT. However, I think it captured the spirit of Norwegian Easter perfectly. 🍊⛷️☀️


Norwegian Easter Treats

Easter in Norway isn’t just about the snow and the sun; it’s also about indulging in some of our favorite treats in ways that might surprise you. Did you know that every Easter, Norwegians go through about 16 million oranges and 19 million clementines? That’s a lot of citrus!

There’s nothing quite like peeling an orange or a clementine during a break from skiing or hiking, enjoying the fresh, sweet burst of flavor in the crisp mountain air.

Now, if the hike or ski trip is longer, it might become a little adventure with campfires. Imagine roasting skewered sausages over an open fire, the smoke mingling with the chilly air, surrounded by friends or family. It’s these simple moments that really bring out the spirit of Norwegian Easter.

Of course, we can’t forget about Kvikk Lunsj and SOLO, the chocolate wafer bar, and orange soda, which are just as essential to Norwegian Easter as oranges and clementines.


All pictures in this article were generated by Chat-GPT. However, I think it captured the spirit of Norwegian Easter perfectly. 🍊⛷️☀️


Easter Crime Novels (Påskekrim)

Norwegians have this quirky but super fun Easter tradition that might seem a bit unusual at first: they love diving into crime novels during Easter, known as “Påskekrim” or Easter Crime. Imagine curling up in a cozy cabin or basking in the spring sun while losing yourself in a thrilling mystery story. It’s something some Norwegians look forward to every year.

So, how did this tradition start?

Believe it or not, it all began with a clever book advertisement back in 1923. A publisher promoted a new crime novel titled “Bergenstoget plyndret i natt” (The Bergen Train Robbed Last Night) on the front pages of newspapers, making it look like an actual news story. People were so intrigued by the story that it sparked a nationwide interest in crime novels during Easter. And just like that, a new tradition was born.

Now, it’s not just about books. The fun of Påskekrim has spread to TV shows, radio serials, and even games. However, one of the most unique aspects of this tradition is finding crime stories in milk cartons.

Yes, you heard that right! Around Easter, many milk cartons in Norway feature mini-mysteries on their sides for everyone to enjoy. It’s like the whole country turns into detectives, trying to solve these puzzles while enjoying their holiday.


All pictures in this article were generated by Chat-GPT. However, I think it captured the spirit of Norwegian Easter perfectly. 🍊⛷️☀️


Easter Eggs Hunt, Games & Quizzes

Easter egg hunts are a beloved tradition around the world, and Norway is no exception. However, the Easter egg hunt in Norway is often a more laid-back affair. While Norwegians do have the traditional search for chocolate eggs, it’s usually part of a quieter Easter celebration that focuses on family time and enjoying the outdoors.

Norwegian children might search around their cabin or house for small chocolate eggs hidden by their parents. However, the emphasis is on the fun of searching and the joy of being together with family rather than the quantity of eggs found.

Another unique aspect of Norwegian Easter is the enjoyment of “påskequiz” – quizzes that families and friends love to partake in during the holiday. These quizzes are more than just fun and games; they’re actually a smart way Norwegians sidestep the whole small talk ordeal 😉

Are you planning a winter hiking trips in Lofoten?

How long is the Easter break in Norway?

Easter in Norway is unique because it gives families a long break that everyone looks forward to. Schools close for a whole week, starting on the Monday before Easter Sunday and ending on Easter Monday. 

During this time, it’s common for most Norwegians to take extra days off work in addition to the public holidays of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and Easter Monday to match the school break and plan a big family holiday.

It’s like Norway hits the pause button on its usual busy life for almost a whole week, and everybody enjoys all the skiing, mystery-solving, and chocolate egg-eating they can handle.


Opening Hours for Shops During Easter in Norway

The Wednesday before Easter and Holy Saturday are two of the busiest shopping days in Norway during the Easter season. With most Norwegians preparing for the long holiday weekend, grocery stores see a significant increase in foot traffic as people stock up on food, treats, and other necessities. On these days, expect the stores to be crowded, with longer than usual checkout lines.


Opening hours of grocery stores and supermarkets during Easter 2024

🟢 Saturday, March 23: Regular opening hours.

🔴 Sunday, March 24 (Palm Sunday): Closed. (Norwegian supermarkets are closed on Sundays.)

🟢 Monday, March 25: Regular opening hours.

🟢 Tuesday, March 26: Regular opening hours.

🟢 Wednesday, March 27: Regular opening hours; expect crowded stores.

🔴 Thursday, March 28 (Maundy Thursday): Public holiday. Almost all shops, including supermarkets and retail stores, will be closed. 

🔴 Friday, March 29 (Good Friday): Public holiday. Almost all shops, including supermarkets and retail stores, will be closed. 

🟠 Saturday, March 30 (Easter Eve): Shops usually operate on a restricted schedule, often closing by 4 pm (16:00).

🔴 Sunday, March 31 (Easter Sunday): Public holiday. Almost all shops, including supermarkets and retail stores, will be closed. 

🔴 Monday, April 1 (Easter Monday): Public holiday. Almost all shops, including supermarkets and retail stores, will be closed.


All pictures in this article were generated by Chat-GPT. However, I think it captured the spirit of Norwegian Easter perfectly. 🍊⛷️☀️


Norway’s supermarkets are Always closed on Sundays

If you find yourself in Norway on a Sunday hoping to do some shopping, you might be in for a bit of a surprise. Norway’s unique and strict rules about Sunday shopping make it a little different from your average day out. Generally speaking, most shops are closed on Sundays and public holidays, so grabbing groceries or picking up souvenirs might not be on the day’s agenda.

However, there’s a silver lining! Small kiosks, gas stations, and grocery stores under 100 square meters can open their doors on Sundays and on public holidays, so if you’re in need of some essentials or a quick snack, you’re in luck. Just remember, these places tend to be pricier than your usual grocery store.


Grocery stores in tourist hotspots might be open

Now, here’s where it gets interesting: some places in Norway are designated as “tourist municipalities.” These areas have been given the green light to keep stores open on Sundays because they successfully argue that they’re hot spots for visitors.

If you’re in one of these places, you can shop to your heart’s content, whether for clothes, souvenirs, or anything else. The catch? Not every tourist destination has this status, and it can be hard to tell which is which without much research. Plus, just because shops can open doesn’t mean they will—owners get to decide if they want to open their doors on Sundays.


Restaurants might or might be not open

But don’t worry, not everything’s closed! Restaurants are more than happy to welcome you with open arms and regular hours on Sundays and some even during public holidays.

So even if the shopping scene’s quiet, you can still enjoy a lovely meal out.

Test yourself! How many famous Norwegians do you know?

Buying Alcohol during Easter in Norway

In Norway, purchasing alcohol, especially those with a higher alcohol content than 4.7%, is regulated differently than in many other countries.

Vinmonopolet, the government-owned alcohol retail monopoly, is the only store where you can buy wine, spirits, and all beverages with an alcohol content higher than what’s permitted in grocery stores. 

This means for anything stronger than light beer, you’ll need to plan a visit to one of the Vinmonopolet outlets.

During Easter, Vinmonopolet, Norway’s official retailer of wine and spirits, adjusts its opening hours to accommodate the holiday period.


Opening hours for Vinmonopolet during Easter 2024

🟢 Saturday, March 23: Regular opening hours.

🔴 Sunday, March 24 (Palm Sunday): Closed.

🟢 Monday, March 25: Extended opening hours for some stores.

🟢 Tuesday, March 26: Extended opening hours for some stores.

🟠 Wednesday, March 27: 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.

🔴 Thursday, March 28 (Maundy Thursday): Closed.

🔴 Friday, March 29 (Good Friday): Closed.

🟠 Saturday, March 30 (Easter Eve): Open from 10:00 am to no later than 3:00 pm (Hammerfest Vinmonopolet is closed).

🔴 Sunday, March 31 (Easter Sunday): Closed.

🔴 Monday, April 1 (Easter Monday): Closed.


Easter in Norway: Vinmonpolet liquer store opening times

All pictures in this article were generated by Chat-GPT. However, I think it captured the spirit of Norwegian Easter perfectly. 🍊⛷️☀️


You Can Not Buy Alcohol in a Grocery Store on Sunday

Just a heads-up for anyone exploring Norway and thinking of grabbing some beer for a cozy night or a sunny picnic on a Sunday: there’s a unique twist in the rules here.

Even if you come across a store that’s open on Sunday, like a local Joker that typically sells beers with an alcohol content lower than 4.7%, you won’t be able to buy alcohol. 

That’s right, even a light beer is off-limits on Sundays.


Alcohol sales have different hours

Additionally, it’s important to note that alcohol sales have different hours from the general opening hours of the store.

On Saturday, alcohol sales are only from 8 am to 6 pm, and on working days, you’re restricted to purchasing alcohol between 8 am and 8 pm (20:00). 

If you try to buy alcohol outside these hours, the cashier will refuse to sell it to you.

Keep these timings in mind to ensure your plans go smoothly and remember that for wine, spirits, or any alcohol stronger than 4.7%, you’ll need to head to Vinmonopolet.


Public Transport During Easter in Norway is limited

During Easter, much of Norway’s public transport runs on a Sunday schedule, which means less frequent service and, in some cases, no service at all.

Take the Reinefjorden ferry in Lofoten, for example, which takes a break on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Eve, and Easter Sunday and only hops back to a Sunday schedule by Easter Monday.

So, if you plan to roam around Norway during Easter, always double-check the timetables and watch out for sneaky notes about holiday schedules. This will save you from unexpected adventures or at least prepare you for them!


Ivar and I learned this the hard way. Several times. 

Once, driving up to Lofoten from the south, we totally forgot it was a national holiday. Picture our dismay when we rocked up in Bodø, all set for the Bodø-Moskenes ferry, only to find out we were stuck with the Sunday schedule and had missed the last boat. Our choices? A spontaneous overnight stay in Bodø or an epic 8-hour detour via the Bognes-Lødingen ferry. Adventure, right?

Then there was the time we were skiing through the stunning wilderness of Femundsmarka National Park during Easter. We were counting on a public bus to get us back to civilization. After five days in the snow, we reached the end of our trail only to find out—no buses run during Easter. Ouch! That led to a wallet-thinning 6000 NOK taxi ride. Lesson learned.


Easter in Norway: Public transport operates on sunday schedule


Easter in Norway: Final Thoughts

So, we’ve walked through what makes Easter in Norway unique, from the cozy traditions to handy tips on navigating the holidays, like when to shop and how to buy your Easter drinks.

We hope this has given you a general idea of what to expect when visiting Norway during Easter.

However, remember that while we can generalize about the opening hours of supermarkets, it’s hard to give specific advice about the opening hours of restaurants and cafés, as each owner decides whether they will stay open during Easter.

Do you have any questions about visiting Norway during Easter? Let us know in the comments!


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Hi there, this is us – Ivar and Radka – your guides to Lofoten :)

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Ivar & Radka

Hi! We are Ivar & Radka, an international couple who runs the Guide to Lofoten. We met in Trondheim and lived together in western Norway, Narvik and Tromsø. At the moment we call western Lofoten our home. We hope our page will make it easier for you to explore the beautiful places that made us chose Norway for our home.

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Ivar and Radka Guide to Lofoten

Hi! We are Ivar & Radka, an international couple who runs the Guide to Lofoten.

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