If you’ve read my Oslo travel guide or seen the photo diary, you’ll know by now that visiting Oslo in January is an extremely cold, snowy affair. It is why the prices are so much lower, why there aren’t as many tourists flocking around and why you’ll get those beautiful low light sunsets all to yourself. But how do you cope on a city break in -16 degree weather?

You get organised.

As soon as I realised the weather was going to be near artic, I made a list and I got shopping and hunting around for suitable items to pack in my suitcase. Coats, hats, scarves, thermals – so obvious right? But here is how to make them work for you on a short jaunt to Northern Europe.


Your usual UK winter coat will really not do here. You need something warm, insulated and something that will keep all the elements out. Andrew chose a puffa jacket (#sonineties), but I went for a good old woollen parka that had a massive hood and thick lining.

First timers mistake – not having a coat that covered my thighs (and not wearing something warmer than jeggings on the bottom). Get a coat that covers your knees!

Hats, Scarves & Gloves

These are very obvious items to take on a holiday, but I’d honestly recommend upgrading to something more warm than your average Primark £8 scarf. I didn’t wear a hat because my huge fur lined hood was sufficient, but Andrew’s hat was a thing of beauty and was honestly a lifesaver when trying to keep extremities warm. Do not worry about what you look like. Norwegians do not care. Warmth is more important.

With gloves, I actually wore a pair of the e-touch gloves which meant I could still look for directions on my phone without having to take them off.

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Oslo Photo Diary

Warm Clothes

So you’ve never worn thermals before? Now is your chance! I took two thermal long sleeved tops with me (and I wish I’d taken the thermal leggings too!) and wore them under a variety of Nordic patterned jumpers to keep me snuggly. Layers are quite important, because the restaurants and bars will be cosy so you don’t want to overheat whilst you are sipping on your hot chocolate.

Decent Shoes & Socks

With a foot of snow in some places, trainers or ballet pumps are not going to be helpful to you. We took some thick, heavy walking boots with us which kept our feet warm, but also kept us upright on the icy paths and snow. As I said before we walked almost everywhere, and our decent walking books were a big part of that.

I’m a sucker for not wearing socks anywhere, but Oslo is not the place for no socks – stock up on thermal socks that go past your ankles to ensure your toes don’t fall off after just one weekend!

Regular breaks

Sounds bizarre? Ok then. It’s really important when sightseeing and exploring in such low temperatures that you do give your body time to warm up. We took regular breaks at mealtimes, but also ensure we had lots of stops for hot drinks, cinnamon buns and a beer or two in cosy cafes and warm bars across Oslo. Oh it’s a hard life.

Have you ever visited somewhere insanely cold before? Share your keeping warm tips below!

There’s also full Oslo City Break Guide available RIGHT HERE!


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