The Northern Lights are simply magical. Broadly, we can say that the Northern Lights are created by the natural phenomenon where electrically charged particles from the Sun collide with the Earth’s atmosphere.
This occurrence of solar activity occurs close to the Earth’s magnetic poles in the night sky, leading to the creation of Aurora Borealis at the North Pole in the Arctic region and Aurora Australis at the South Pole in Antarctica.
That’s precisely why you should keep up with the calendar before planning to see the Northern Lights.
The lights have a universal charm that looks out of the world. It appears in stunning shades of green and blue, mixing in the night, full of stars with random red, pink, and violet flares.
Weather Conditions in Norway
The weather in Norway is bearably cold, but the more you move towards the Arctic Circle during the winter, the more severe. The temperature ranges from 6 degrees Celsius to -5 degrees Celsius. The lights are more evident when the weather is colder and dry.
How long Should the Trip be Planned for?
A 3-4 day trip is sufficient to see the Northern Lights, but a week or ten days is enough if you’re planning a trip to explore the Arctic Circle.
The place is a perfect combo of fjords and northern islands. So, you’ll have many places to entertain you throughout the day as you look forward to watching the Northern lights at night.
What is the Best Time to Visit?
The best time to visit the Northern Lights of Norway is in the winter, i.e., from late September to early April. During a polar night, dark hours are longer, making the Aurora Borealis more prominent and distinct. However, November to February is the most popular time to see the Aurora Borealis.
People say that those with good luck can only see the Northern Lights, but it is as trivial as it sounds. You can see the lights if you do thorough research, follow the calendar, and plan a trip during the Northern Lights season. Hiring a guide will always increase your chances of seeing the Northern Lights.
Summers are a no for seeing the Northern Lights as there are fewer dark hours, and the sky is bright in the lower latitudes. So, even if the lights appear, they are invisible to your eyes. The lights appear after 7 in the evening, but in the darker season, you can see them after 3 in the afternoon.
The nights should be pitch black, and there should be less light pollution to see the Northern Lights.
Best Places to see the Norway Northern Lights
Due to its location, northern Norway is considered one of the most popular places to visit to see the Northern lights. Besides, Norway is rich in natural beauty, such as beautiful islands, deep fjords, and steep mountains.
From September to March, the sky remains dark from early afternoon to late morning, which helps in the repeated appearance of the vibrant lights in the night sky.
Below are the best places to see the Northern Lights when you visit Norway-
The small city of Tromsø, also known as the ‘Arctic capital,’ is one of the perfect places that offer a breathtaking view of the Northern Lights in Norway.
Tromsø is pretty in the daytime, too, which gives you another reason to visit the place apart from seeing the Northern Lights. You can go sightseeing in the beautiful fjords and coasts. The place provides an overview of contemporary Arctic culture, traditional cultures, various cuisines, and a pretty landscape.
One thing to pay attention to if you’re planning to see the Northern Lights from Tromsø is that the season to see the lights here is the shortest because it is located at 69 degrees latitude. You can hire local guides to go out for Northern Lights safaris to receive a better experience.
The city is better known as “Paris of the North.” The place always holds concerts or events throughout the year.
Hike up to Ovi Raishinn and then visit the Reisa National Park on the northernmost tripoint. Another interesting spot is the three-country Cairn, where the borders of three countries- Norway, Sweden, and Finland meet.
This place is also popularly considered one of Norway’s premier destinations for ski tourists.
Bodø is a culturally rich city located in the southern part of Arctic Norway. The city is the absolute combination of charming natural beauty along with bustling city life.
You can experience the ecstatic Northern Lights and wonderful natural life from Salten, which has been recognized as a famous cultural center over the last few years with a sparse population of about 50,000 inhabitants. It is also famous for its new library and concert hall, which recently won an award.
4. Lofoten Islands
The Lofoten Islands make a stunning archipelago located right under the auroral oval, which makes the chances of seeing the Northern Lights more certain from here. The serene sea and stunning mountains surround it at 67 degrees latitude. Due to its location, the sun cannot be seen in this area mid-winter for about a month.
Lofoten islands are rich historically and are full of quaint fishing villages, and the cruise ports add more beauty to the island. The Northern Lights are ecstatic here, but it’s not just the colorful sky. The sea reflects the lights, which makes the view even more lovely.
5. Vesterålen Islands
Vesterålen is also known as the kingdom of whales located beneath the auroral oval and on the edge of the continental shelf. This place is the home of humpback whales, sperm whales, and killer whales.
Everything about this place warmly invites you to visit it and enjoy its rich natural beauty of unending white beaches, shoreline islets, open sea views, alpine mountains, and massive fjords.
See the Northern Lights from the modern Spaceship Aurora Visitor’s Centre and go on a whale safari in Andenes. A ski tour down the snow-covered mountains is a must to get a rush of adrenalin. You can also visit the beautiful fishing village of Nyksund.
Alta is the northernmost region in Norway where you can see the Northern Lights. The place is rich in culture and cuisines due to its multi-ethnic heritage from the Samis and Finns. It has been a meeting place for indigenous people from the old Stone Age.
Go out hiking and scale the top of the Haldde mountain. On reaching the top, you can see the world’s first permanent northern lights observatory, whose creation dates back to 1899. The building still stands there even after its closing in 1926.
You can explore the best places in Finnmark and the Arctic coast with the guidance of experienced local northern lights hunters. You may see the orcas and humpback whales if you are lucky enough. They are often spotted from November to January. The locals also provide facilities for whale safaris.
Relax in the most iconic Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel, where everything is uniquely made of ice, whether the rooms, beds or even the glasses in the hotel bar. The hotel has a lodge with massive glass windows with a great view of the Alta River, and you can enjoy the Northern Lights from inside the warmth of your blankets.
On the way to the North Pole, Svalbard is another archipelago located 900 km on the northern outskirts of Norway’s mainland. This place is the home of polar bears, delightful huskies, snow-covered fjords, glaciers, ice caves, and beguiling wildlife.
The snow and the lively Northern Lights above the beautiful landscape of Svalbard makes the place so gorgeous and unique. Svalbard has one of the best wine cellars in Northern Europe at Husets Restaurant.
Spend an exciting day dog sledding, snowmobiling, glacial ice caving, and snowshoeing, and then relax in the warm saunas.
Varanger is one of the best sites to experience the Northern Lights in Norway, also claimed as one of the world’s top 1oo areas for bird watching by the Top Birding Sites of the World. This place is best known for its exquisite architecture, bird watching, hiking, and Northern Lights hunting.
Spot the stunning Aurora by driving past the Norwegian Scenic Route Varanger. The drive will surely be one of the most memorable because the lights magnify the beauty of the snow-covered roads and the surrounding nature. You can go there with a guide to know exactly when to be ready for the lights to show up.
Take a short boat ride from Vardø to reach Hornøya, where you will be bared to the most elegant natural beauty and wildlife. You can also visit the several fishing villages in this area. The Steilneset Memorial, also known as the Witch Memorial, is worth your visit because of its beautiful architecture.
The place offers combined Arctic activities along with watching the Northern Lights. Another best way to experience the beauty of Varanger is by going on a king crab safari or a fishing excursion. Want to make your sightseeing a little adventurous? Ride an ATV or go on a snowmobile safari.
Narvik offers a great experience to see the stunning Northern Lights in Norway during winter and the midnight sun in summer in its apparent skies proximity. A guided tour would help you explore all the fun things of the city during the day as you wait for the lights to show up at night.
To reach the top of the Narvikfjellet mountains, go for a ski lift or a ride in the cable car. Relax by the Langstranda Beach. You can also stop by the Polar Park Arctic Wildlife Centre and enjoy the wildlife in its natural habitat. Narvik War Museum is another prominent place to provide you with all the historical knowledge from the Second World War.
Take a relaxing train journey with a background of the Norwegian fjords by the Ofotbanen railways, which run from Narvik to the Swedish borders. You can also take part in winter activities like skiing and dog sledding.
Nordkapp is the northernmost point to watch the Norway Northern Lights in Europe. You can watch the Aurora lighting up the sky here as long as the sky is pristine and clear.
Another place worth visiting is the geological wonder of Kirkeporten, which is the best place to see the Northern Lights. Scale the mountain of Storfjellet in Honningsvåg to experience the fantastic views it has to offer. Also, stop by the northernmost fishing village in the world, Skarsvåg.
Explore the place in a snowmobile or an ATV, try ice fishing, go on a king crab safari, and try snowshoeing.
5 Things to Avoid in Norway’s Northern Lights
When visiting Norway to watch the Northern Lights, one must be aware of one’s safety, and thus, we have listed 5 things that one must avoid to enjoy one’s fullest with all precautions.
1. Pack the Right Clothes
The nights are freezing, and you would not want to freeze from the chills in the dark. So, pack all the warm clothes and be prepared to see the lights like a champ!
Thermal base wears to keep your body heat inside, woollen clothes to keep the cold outside, a scarf or a hat to keep your ears and head warm, a pair of gloves obviously, and a pair of warm winter boots are a must.
2. Settle in Northern Norway
Although the population is relatively sparse here, the country is quite extensive. Therefore, if you plan to see the Northern Lights in Norway, you must head to the Arctic Circle, i.e., northern Norway.
In rare cases, you may spot the Aurora in the southern part, but that’s almost like losing your chances to see the Northern Lights. The best places in the north that will guarantee you a sight of the lights are Bodø, Alta, or Tromsø.
3. Plan a Trip with Sufficient Time
The Arctic Circle is far from Oslo, so you need to plan the trip with sufficient duration. There are many cheap flights from Oslo to reach the Arctic Circle.
Also, once you are there, you will not want to leave without glancing at the Northern Lights. The weather is unpredictable, and so is the Northern Light.
4. Not Booking a Northern Lights Tour
You can see the lights anyway if it appears in the night sky. But signing up for a guided tour is also worth it.
It is said that if you hire a guide, they will try their best to make your experience of seeing the lights successful. The guides are amiable and will help you capture glorious moments with the lights. They will even lend you their cameras to capture the lights yourself.
5. Plan the Trip at the Best Time
You must have gathered by now that planning a trip in the summer is a no if your sole motive is to see the Aurora Borealis, but you must also know that the Northern Lights season can be quite cold. So, Norway has plenty of pretty places worth visiting at other times of the year.
Also, for those who want to see the lights but are not a fan of the extreme weather of November, December, and January, you can visit in September, October, February, and March.
Watching the Northern Lights is one dream every explorer or traveler wants to experience. But before that, they must be adequately guided about the places in Norway where they can have the best view.
So, this article was the capsulated guide for explorers who want to visit Norway to catch the Northern Lights. We have shared a list of 10 places where one can enjoy life to the fullest and have one’s lifetime experience.
Explore and catch the beauty by keeping the precautions in mind.