March in Scandinavia: Weather, What to Pack, and What to See

the sky with a field of blue and red flowers
Nick Brundle Photography/Getty Images

March in Scandinavia or the Nordic region is a great month for travel because it is in the off-season. Travelers to the area can get better rates for a vacation. Summer activities usually start in March or April. The weather during spring in Scandinavia can still be wet, but temperatures are beginning their climb. The dreary winter days are over, and there is much more daylight available. You can also sneak in a late ski trip to Norway's ski resorts.

Scandinavia Weather in March

During the spring, the climate can be unstable with possible late winter storms near the North Sea in March, but overall, the air is warming up.

  • Average high: 42 degrees Fahrenheit (6 degrees Celsius)
  • Average low: 25 degrees Fahrenheit (-4 degrees Celsius)

Scandinavia's regions have different climates, so the weather can vary widely. The weather in Denmark follows a marine west coast climate. Copenhagen can even have snow in March although it won't accumulate.

The central part of Scandinavia has a more humid continental climate and tends to be warmer than the areas to the north. Mountainous parts of Scandinavia have an alpine tundra climate with very cold temperatures, ideal for skiing.

In the southern half of Scandinavia, flowers begin to bloom and the spring is in earnest. The length of daylight increases to nine to 10 hours.

What to Pack

Lighter coats are necessary for Scandinavia's spring months.

Since mornings and nights can still be rather cold, it is advisable to bring along sweaters, cardigans, or jackets, so you can layer clothing easily. Raincoats and windbreakers, regardless of the season, are always a good idea to pack. Shoes that are comfortable and that can take a lot of rugged adventuring are essential for a Scandinavian vacation, especially if you want to enjoy outdoor activities.

March Events and Things to See in Scandinavia

Events center around the arrival of spring and the lengthening of the days. There are natural phenomena and annual holidays to enjoy. You can celebrate waffles and beer, watch sporting events and fashion expos, or attend music festivals that rival others held around the world.

Northern Lights

Due to its northern position on the earth and proximity to the north pole, Scandinavian countries have some unique natural phenomena to check out. Take the opportunity to see the aurora borealis, or the northern lights, until April. Other interesting phenomena include the polar night and polar day effect, like the "midnight sun."

Easter
Easter holidays are movable dates in March (and sometimes April). They include Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and Easter Monday.

There are a variety of Easter traditions in Scandinavia that differ from the rest of the world. For example, in some Scandinavian countries like Sweden, the children dress up like witches paying homage to the country's witch hunt history. Much like America's Halloween, the children go from house to house collecting candies.

Before Christianity came to the region, the holiday was linked to the spring equinox and the arrival of spring.

As Easter is now based on the Christian holiday celebrated around the world, several traditions are similar to the American Easter. Families in Scandinavia may have a large feast and plastic eggs are filled with candies or real eggs are painted to be eaten on Easter day.

Mysteries
In Denmark, kids make special, often intricate letters, called gækkebreve, for their family members and friends, and the recipient has to guess who sent it. The theme of "whodunnit" is also popular in Norway in March. During this month, detective novels are all the rage as are the television shows centered around mystery stories.

Mark Your Calendars

  • March 1: Beer Day in Iceland celebrates the end of prohibition. Prohibition in Iceland lasted from January 1, 1915, to March 1, 1989.
  • Mid-March: There are many skiing events in Norway come March. January and February are dark and the coldest months in Norway, so if you want a ski vacation, consider March. Raw Air, a 10-day extreme ski jumping and ski flying competition in Norway takes place in March. It starts in Holmenkollen and then the athletes travel to Lillehammer, then Granåsen in Trondheim before it all ends with a super final in Vikersund.
  • March 25: Waffle Day in Sweden is celebrated by eating waffles. The name comes from the Swedish, Vårfrudagen, which translates to Our Lady's Day (Feast of the Annunciation) so there was originally a religious connection.
  • Late March to April: The Reykjavik Blues Festival, features well-known Blues artists from around the world and is hosted in Iceland.
  • Usually, late March: Copenhagen Fashion Week brightens up the runways with dazzling high fashion. 

March Travel Tips

If you are traveling in several Scandinavian countries, pack for the regional weather differences. A warm jacket, hat, gloves, and boots for the north, and layering in the south.

Spring is celebrated across Scandinavia beginning in April so look for increased festival activity if you extend your trip. Easter is celebrated widely, causing variations in operating hours and possible closures of offices, businesses, and attractions.