Contemplate the Northern Lights in Norway – Your Guide to the 14 Best Spots around the Country
Updated On: November 08, 2023
The sky always has a lot of breathtaking views to offer. During the morning, the bright heavens fill the world with light and positivity, along with the alluring clouds accentuating the scene. However, during the night, it is a total different story. The moon and the stars lighten the dark skies, presenting spellbinding views. No wonder stargazing is an exciting activity for many people.
This is not where the sky’s exceptional splendor ends. Somewhere around the Arctic circle takes place the divergent phenomenon of the Northern Lights. Often known as the Aurora Borealis, they’re one of the rare natural wonders that leaves the beholders in profound delight. Norway is one of the best lands on Earth to observe this peculiar phenomena.
Just to give a brief introduction about what the Aurora Borealis is. It’s an awesome rays of colorful lights that make an appearance in super dark skies when solar activity surges. In other words, it’s a result of the intersection of sun particles into atoms from the Earth atmosphere. Such a brief strike results in the magical lights we see from down here.
This magical wonder occurs around several destinations falling within the Arctic Circle. Several destinations fall into that zone, including Norway. In fact, observing the Northern lights in Norway is a main objective on top of many travelers’ bucket lists. This phenomenon’s occurrence is quite rare, so we’ll guide you to spots in Norway with better chances to see them.
1. The Lofoten Islands
Chasing the Northern Lights in Norway is not an impossible mission to achieve. The main factors to increase the chances of seeing those lights flickering across the sky are zero pollution and utter darkness. And, where else could offer such an opportunity other the Lofoten Islands?
The Lofoten Islands is a tranquil archipelago famous among travelers as a perfect spot for the appearance of the Aurora. It lies around 800 miles away from the Capital city of Oslo. Its seclusion from the bustling cities is among the main reasons the Northern Lights are clearly seen. That’s because artificial lights in the cities reduce the chances of observing this magic.
Needless to say, winter months are always the best time throughout the year to observe the Aurora. That is when the sky is at its darkest. Interestingly, there are other activities that you can do at the Lofoten Islands. These include hiking, Arctic surfing, kayaking, skiing, fishing, and cycling. It also hosts several attractions, with the painted fishing village being the most popular.
Tromsø is one of Norway’s most charming cities with friendly locals and captivating history. This sensational city has earned several nicknames, with “the Capital of the Arctic” being the most common. Such nickname is sufficient to put the city among the best spots to observe the Northern Lights in Norway.
Tromsø makes for a perfect spot for those hunting the spectral aurora for possessing several pollution-free areas. It is also where you can find many safaris taking place solely for that purpose. Several companies operate these safaris, so you can easily book a spot for yourself and embark on a this otherworldly journey.
While chasing the dancing lights, you can engage in other invigorating activities or visit prominent attractions in Tromsø. You can take on activities that you don’t come across everyday, including a reindeer sled ride, riding a cable car, or whale watching.
So, there is a main rule to increase your chances of beholding the aurora. The closer to the North Pole, the higher the chances. In this case, Svalbard places itself on top of the desired travelers’ destinations to spot the aurora.
This group of islands falls halfway between Norway and the North Pole. Such a strategic location creates the perfect conditions to catch the Northern Lights in Norway. There is one more privilege in Svalbard that no other spot in the world shares with it. It is the sole destination where the dancing lights can be visible during the daytime.
Svalbard has more in store to offer. This series of islands seem to soar straight out of the waters. Until the lights decide to show up, you can enjoy the scenic landscapes of snow-capped mountain peaks. The bewitching views of glaciers are another treasures that restfully sit on these islands.
Kirkenes is a little town in the Finnmark region where you can have a real winter experience. It lies in the far east part of Northern Norway where it meets the Russian borders. Luckily, Kirkenes possess the perfect conditions for the aurora borealis to make appearance most of the year. Consequently, it became a famous destination for many travelers.
Kirkenes lies in the heart of the territory of the Northern Lights in Norway. Despite being a tiny town, it welcomes visitors from every corner of the globe on a yearly basis. Besides hunting this wonderful phenomena, you can make your stay worth your while. There is a plenty of attractions lying around, including a nature reserve, a museum, and a historical bomb shelter.
Make sure you never leave the town without paying the Snow Hotel of Norway a visit. This bizarrely constructed hotel offers the visitors timber cabins and quirky rooms. Well, this sounds like pretty much any hotel. But, what makes this one really peculiar is the fact of being entirely made of ice and snow.
Narvik is one of the popular destinations where you can go chasing the Northern Lights in Norway. Its location near the head of Ofotfjorden in the county of Nordland inside the Arctic Circle. Narvik is a beautiful town rich in mountain ranges and fjords.
These natural blessings of this town offer great platforms for tours where you can search for the Aurora Borealis. The Narvikfjellet is a landmark that helped Narvik town gain its popularity. You can take a gondola tour on top of it, waiting for the delightful lights to wave across the dark skies.
Narvik is a town rick in history and culture. Keep yourself busy by visiting the popular landmarks that include historical museums and several mountains to climb. Try sleeping in the Arctic dome that overlooks hypnotizing snowy sceneries. You may also get lucky and catch the lights while staying inside. Don’t miss the polar park where you can watch rare wild animals.
Senja is the second largest island in Norway right after Spitsbergen Island. This island sits too far away from the major cities. This makes it secluded from any light pollution, increasing the chances of seeing the aurora.
The spacious areas of Senja present higher chances of getting lucky with the lights, thanks to the wide sky view. Not only that, but you will also please your eyes with the appealing landscapes of nature.
If you are a nature lover, then Senja town is the perfect haven for you. Not only is it a great spot to watch the Northern Lights in Norway, but also for seeing rare wildlife. Eagles, seals, and moose are among the animal life that you can come across while in Senja.
Here is one more city that is located in the county of Finnmark, it’s Alta. This city is the most crowded region in the county. It also has a very stable climate, allowing for high chances to experience the spectral wonder. Alta also has minimal light pollution, especially when you get deeper into the wilderness of the city.
It also happens to be where the first observatory of the Northern Lights in Norway lies. Scientific studies of the aurora borealis first took place in the city of Alta, thanks to its close location to the Arctic Circle. For that reason, people refer to it as “the City of the Northern Lights.”
Alta is also home to several activities to keep you busy while waiting for the lights to come around. While watching the lights is the ultimate activity around, dog sledding and snowmobile riding are also popular. Thus, reward yourself by having an authentic winter experience while exploring the freezing lands of Norway.
Lying right below the aurora oval, Bodø falls among the best places to experience the Northern Lights in Norway. Bodø is situated right above the Arctic Circle, making a great spot for hunting the aurora borealis. The right conditions gather around in this city, presenting waves of dancing lights that float overhead.
Thanks to the city’s wide views of the sky, it offers several tours around prevalent spots. Norway is home to prominent mountain ranges. One of the city’s attractions is the Rønvikfjellet mountain to which you can hike to the top. Getting closer to the sky allows for a better experience.
Explore the surrounding attractions of the city. If you are into museums, head to Bodø War History Museum, Nordland Museum, and Bodø Bunkermuseum. Nordlandsbadet is also a popular tourist attraction where you can dive into therapy pools. This waterpark is a perfect destination to relax and chill.
Being the third largest city in Norway, there is so much that you can see and do while in Trondheim. Observations of the flickering lights have been reported to be seen from within the city around twice or thrice a year. However, your chances get higher when you get a little further from the city’s light pollution and closer into the nature.
Trondheim is home several hills and unblemished forests in which you can dive into the winter darkness. The latter guarantees contemplating the colorful magnetic fields wavering across the sky. So, throw several layers of outfits over your body, grab something hot, and wait for the lights to come in sight.
While Trondheim is the among the best destinations to see the Northern Lights in Norway, there is more to offer. Interestingly, winter sports are popular activities in this city. Winter hiking, ice skating, skiing, and sleigh riding are extra things to check off your bucket list.
10. The North Cape (Nordkapp)
The North Cape is among the popular destinations to watch the Northern Lights in Norway. It lies in the northernmost point in Europe, making you feel like at the edge of the world. And, despite its seclusion, you can reach it by a car.
The Nordkapp is a spot that attracts adventure gurus, especially during the winter season. Reaching to this spot is an authentic escapade that you will remember for years to come. Watching the dancing lights at the most northerly point of Europe adds tales to the book of your journey.
Snowmobiling is one of the many ways by which you can get to Nordkapp. Just like many destinations around Norway, hiking is an essential activity at this spot. Fishing and skiing are other lively excitement to consider trying as well. Also, don’t forget to steal several peaks of the Arctic View.
Lyngen is a relatively long fjord in Troms og Finnmark county, and only a few hours away from Tromsø. It is the longest fjord in Troms, reaching almost 82 kilometers long. This fjord is situated behind Lyngen Alps, thus this region is one with the driest climate in Norway. It may as well be the driest region in all over Europe.
However, this climate is one of the main conditions that allow you to see the Northern Lights in Norway. You barely see any clouds in the sky of this region. It maximizes your chances to observe the wonderful lights dancing across the sky.
Lyngenfjord also offers you enthralling activities during the day. Snowmobiling into the wilderness is a great experience to try. You can also explore the snowy landscape in a reindeer sled. There is a lot to do in this incredible region during the day until the lights come in sight at night.
Hammerfest is a large city in Northern Norway situated in North Kvaløya island. This city also lies in the northernmost part of Europe, like the North Cape. Its latitude makes it a great base from which you can see the Northern Lights in Norway.
Spacious landscapes of nature surround Hammerfest from every corner. It also sits miles and miles away from the nearest town. Such isolation offers wide sky views as well as little to no light pollution, increasing the chances to see the lights. The cloudless sky in Hammerfest is another condition that makes it a great spot to observe the Northern Lights in Norway.
The deeper you get into nature, the better the chances. Thus, take a trip into the surrounding nature of Hammerfest. Walk away from the center of the town, and you will easily reach to Mount Salen. It offers great views of the lights. If you are spending a couple of nights in the area, you should head to Sørøya and Seiland islands. The air is less polluted on those beautiful islands.
13. Vesterålen Islands
The Vesterålen Islands is an archipelago located in Nordland Country. They are situated south of Tromsø and North of the Lofoten Islands. Most travelers pass by those islands just to reach the renowned Lofoten Islands.
Rarely do they know that the Vesterålen Islands is among the great spots to see the Northern Lights in Norway. However, it is not a popular destination. So, you may seize this opportunity and take the time to explore the islands instead of just traveling past it.
Whale watching is popular in this region, so you may occupy yourself with the breathtaking views. Also, you can go on a Moose Safari under the northern lights that take place in Vesterålen. There are many attractions and natural landscapes to explore around this region.
Situated along the Barents Sea, Varanger falls in the northeasternmost part of Norway. This region is so far off beaten paths that it can be a little challenging to reach. However, you can easily guess by now, secluded sites are the best spots to see the aurora.
Also, the Varanger region falls right under the auroral oval. That makes it an excellent spot to hunt the Northern Lights in Norway. Despite the quite long journey you will have to take to reach there, the reward of the spectral magic will be waiting for you. The minimal light pollution gifts you with fascinating views of the illuminating skies.
In between your sessions of chasing the lights, you can engage in other activities for fun. There are many small towns situated along the Barents Sea that you can explore.
Getting closer to the Arctic Circle has its own charm and fascination, but nothing beats watching the aurora borealis. There are many forecast centers that can help you with arranging your trip of chasing the lights. However, these spots are the best to maximize your chances of observing the Northern Lights in Norway.
Don’t forget to treat yourself to exciting historical tales about the Vikings by visiting the remote small towns. During your hunting journey, make sure you fill your vision with the exceptional snowy landscapes of the Nordic lands.