Essential Information About Northern Lights in Norway
What are the Northern Lights?
Once the solar particles strike the atmosphere, hydrogen and oxygen atoms tend to light up, radiating an array of colours including red, white, purple, and green. The auroras are primarily composed of these colours.
The Norway Northern Lights are a very prominent and common feature of the country’s night sky and also have strong influences in its folk heritage and culture.
Best Time of Year to See the Northern Lights in Norway
- Autumn (September - November): After the autumnal equinox in September, almost every night offers maximum chances of witnessing the aurora, making Autumn the best time to see northern lights in Norway.
- Winter (December - March): With northern Norway experiencing longer nights in the winters, this is another best time to see northern lights in Norway.
- Spring (April - May): Spring experiences short nights and longer days, compelling you to stay up until midnight to spot the northern lights. By May, there isn’t sufficient darkness to spot the aurora.
- Summer (June - August): During summer, many regions of Norway witness the “midnight sun”, with no “actual” sunset happening. This makes it impossible to spot the aurora in the summers.
Conditions to Witness Northern Lights
- The sky has to be dark with no sun.
- The sky should be clear with no clouds.
- The aurora activity has to be high. If the strength of the aurora is weak, it may be overpowered by the moonlight.
How to reach Norway?
What causes Northern Lights?
Better known as the “solar wind”, these electrically charged particles originate from the sun and are constantly being pushed out of the huge star in all directions at a speed of 300 to 500 kilometers per second. As the Earth revolves around the sun, it intercepts some of the solar particles.
While 98 percent of the solar particles get deflected by the magnetic field of the Earth, a few of them get funelled downwards and travel towards the magnetic South and North poles. Upon colliding with the molecules and atoms of the upper atmosphere, these charged solar particles become excited. As a result, auroral emissions are created around the South and North magnetic poles of the earth.
How can I Photograph the Northern Lights?
- Set the camera focus to infinity
- Set the aperture of the camera as wide as possible
- Be sure about the exposure time. If the aurora moves really quick, try 5 to 10 seconds exposure and if it moves slowly, a 12 to 20 seconds exposure should be fine. If the aurora is vague, you can try a 20 to 25 seconds exposure.
- Adjust the ISO setting of the camera depending upon the brightness of the auroras.
Unknown Facts about Northern Lights
- The very first reference to the aurora was made as early as in the 500s.
- According to popular folklore, the Northern Lights are caused by the activity of powerful spirits. People in the 16th century, in Europe, have also regarded the red aurora to be scary omens.
- Many people have claimed to have heard crackling and whooshing sounds when they have witnessed an aurora in the dark sky.
Places to stay for Northern Lights in Norway
Tromso Ice Domes Hotel
The double beds in the suites are made of ice and covered with thick fur bedding for warmth and comfort in case you are worried about freezing as you spend the night here. This is also one of the best locations to see the Northern lights at their full glory.
Location: Storgata 83 B, 9008 Tromsø, Norway
Opening Month: December to March
Aurora Camp Tromso
After a few hours of stargazing and enjoying the Northern lights, one can retire for the night into the tents. The Warm Luvvu Tents are equipped with reindeer skin blankets and beddings for ultimate comfort and luxurious sleep that’s an experience unlike any other.
Location: Tromso, Norway
Opening Month: November to March
With a stunning backdrop of Alpine snow and the stunning Norwegian Sea in the front, each cottage in this resort is an ultimate paradise to stay at. From enjoying Deep sea rafting, cold water snorkeling, kayaking to even stargazing the Norway Northern Lights or Hiking and skiing, there are tonnes of activities to do while staying at Eliassen Rorbuer.
Location: 8390 Hamnøy, Norway
Opening Month: November to April
The primetime location by the E10 highway makes it a perfect spot to explore various hike-worthy trailers all around the hotel. Ryten, Tindstinden, Munkeb, and Kvalvika are a few most common yet breathtaking trails beginning from this tiny yet stunning hotel.
Location: Skagen, 8390 Reine, Norway
Opening Month: Open all year round
Aurora Borealis Observatory
In addition to waiting at the huge open pavilion to enjoy the sight of the Northern Lights in Norway, guests can also take a dip in the outdoor hot tub or explore the nearby hiking trails that also lead to some of the most amazing viewpoints. The attached restaurant and bar allows guests a chance to replenish their hunger and energy with some delicious Norwegian food and drinks.
Location: Tors Vei 14, 9303 Silsand, Norway
Opening Month: December to April
In addition to offering guests a beautiful sight of the iconic Norway Northern Lights, guests can also try numerous other fun and adventure laden activities like hiking, bird watching, sea angling, a historical exploration of Steinaver, midnight sun safari, ice fishing, snowshoeing, night camping, etc.
Location: Skrolsvik Veien 1829, 9392 Stonglandseidet, Norway
Opening Month: All year
Places to See Northern Lights in Norway
Spread over a little under a thousand miles of Northern Norway, Tromso offers guests a chance to see a hidden side of Norway many do not know of. From visiting the iconic Arctic Cathedral or enjoying reindeer sledding to touring the Norwegian Fjords or even deep-sea fishing and ice fishing, travelers can explore some very unique and different adventures.
Notably, Lyngenfjord is the driest place in Norway, which makes it the perfect location with a sparkling clear sky for chasing the Aurora Borealis. Offering one of the best viewing spots for Norway Northern Lights, Lyngenfjord is also the most perfect place to photograph and capture this rare phenomenon in its best glory.
The strongest whirlpool in the world, Saltstraumen is also situated here. Another interesting aspect about Bodo is that its Murals and street arts are very unique and showcase the life and culture of Norway.
The ultimate destination choice for Midnight Sun and the Northern Lights, the chances of getting to see both of these stunning phenomena is best here due to its strategic geographical location under the Auroral Oval. Lofoten Island is often called a Photographer’s ultimate paradise because of the stunning backdrop it provides.
Krakberget Village on the island is a beautiful sight to cherish in autumn and spring when the entire valley is filled with colorful wildflowers. Additionally, the island has three trekking trails that are perfect for travelers who love to explore hidden trails and winding mountain routes and whale watch.
Alta is one of the other locations where Ice hotels are built each year during Winters for the Northern Lights hunters. Sami Culture, reindeer, and husky pulled sled give this city a very medieval era feel which is a surprising element.
The permafrost of Svalbard and the year round low temperature make it the perfect home to Polar Bears, whose population is more than double of the humans living in this city. In addition to Aurora hunting, you can also enjoy fishing and exploring the fjords & glaciers while touring Svalbard.
Other Things to do in Norway
Explore Mount Floyen
If you are in no mood to hike, you can also board the funicular railway and reach the top of this mountain within 8 minutes. Once you are at the summit, you can soak in the mesmerizing views of the Bergen city and its breathtaking fjords.
Visit Oslo Cathedral
Also remember to check out the stunning stained windows all over the church which were added much later only to enhance its old-world beauty further.
Take a Ferry
Tourists can take a ferry in Bergen and a trip to Kirkenes, exploring the best kept secrets of Norway over a period of 12 days. You can hop off and on at several picturesque ports and visit the local attractions.
Explore the Geirangerfjord Region
You can also go explore Sunnyland Fjord, which is known to shelter some of the most stunning vistas in the Norwegian countryside. Perched at an elevation of around 4,905 feet above sea level, Dalsnibba also makes for one of the most majestic peaks that you need to hike to.
Marvel at The Arctic Cathedral
Marvel at the entire structure of the cathedral, which looks like huge ice blocks with an iconic glass facade and shining mosaics. If you are visiting the place during winters, the beautifully lit up Arctic Cathedral will surely offer a real treat to the eyes.