Norway is arguably one of the best places to watch the Northern Lights dance across the Arctic sky.
From the sophisticated 'Arctic Capital' of Tromsø to the fierce and frozen Svalbard Islands, Norway is an Arctic wonderland.
While luck plays an important role, there are certain things you need to take into account so you have a better chance of seeing the magical lights.
Here's our advice on how to maximise your chances of seeing the Northern Lights in Norway.
The darkest, coldest time of year runs from around October until as late as April. There is generally an abundance of snow, and the nights are long. For the best viewing opportunities, spend time in northern Norway between October and March when the polar night is at its darkest. Choose a cloudless night and keep a look out in the hours over midnight when they’ll be strongest, though the hours between 6pm and 1am tend to give you the best chance of spotting the lights. Ultimately, you should try to spend as much time in Norway as possible if you want to maximise your chances of seeing some activity.
Even if you pick the “perfect” cloudless night, you should consider finding a viewing spot that is nowhere near a city or busy road where light pollution could ruin visibility. Full moon can also have the same effect. Norwegian Lapland is beautiful by day and renowned for Northern Lights sightings at night. Venture into the wilderness in a husky sled and enjoy the snow hush as you gaze into the colour washed night sky.
Head into the Arctic Circle where you’ll find the craggy Lofoten Islands – another remote viewing spot. Here you can take your experience to the next level by boarding the Hurtigruten’s MS Midnatsol. Settle into your luxurious cabin or suite and enjoy an up-close view of the aurora borealis. The more deep into the unspoilt wilderness you can go, the more impressive the backdrops for your photographs might be, think dramatic mountains, deep fjords and moody seascapes.
Tromso, also known as the Artic Capital is a fantastic city from which to base yourself during your travels. A lively and beautiful port town, you can spend your day learning about the local cultures and traditions and then head out into the icy wilderness in the evenings to escape the light pollution and see the Northern Lights. Excursions from Tromso are a very popular way to see the lights if you prefer to be based in a less remote place.
Guides are the real experts here, due to their vast experience chasing the elusive lights. They’ll be able to plan the perfect evening excursion for you with the greatest chance of finding the lights. They’re also a great resource during your days, helping you plan your expeditions in the snow.
The lights are usually visible every 27 days or so, but keep an eye on the forecasts, trust the expertise of your guides and hope for the best. You may be fortunate and witness activity every night of your trip, or you may have to hunt a little harder with less success. But whether you get the full dazzling show or not, your visit to Norway will be full of lasting memories.
Ready to plan your winter escape to Norway? Ask our expert travel designers today.