Taking a trip to see the Northern Lights in Norway is an experience that you won’t forget.
Over the years, I’ve been traveling to many different areas to see and photograph the Northern Lights in Norway, and the beautiful landscapes and relatively mild temperatures compared to other regions are difficult to beat.
In this article, I’ll show you the best time and places to see the Northern Lights in Norway so you can have a memorable trip seeing the majestic Aurora Borealis over the spectacular Norwegian landscapes!
Ready to discover how to see the Northern Lights in Norway? Let’s get started!
- Best time to see the Northern Lights in Norway
- Best places to see the Northern Lights in Norway
- Best Northern Lights tours in Norway
When to see the Northern Lights in Norway
The best months to see the Aurora Borealis in Norway are from late September to early April when there are more hours of darkness during the polar night. However, in this period September and March are statistically the best time since the solar activity that causes the Northern Lights is higher during that period.
If you plan your Aurora trip to Norway during the summer, the brightness in the sky will be too strong to see the lights even at lower latitudes, so always consider the hours of light when planning your trip to see the Northern Lights in Norway.
In terms of weather and clouds, the best period during the Northern Lights season in Norway is usually either in the early fall or the late winter. Bear in mind that most of the best areas to see the Aurora in Norway fall above the Arctic circle and the weather at that latitude is always unpredictable.
As for the best time of night to see the Aurora in Norway, it varies depending on many factors but usually, there’s a higher activity between 10:00 pm – 02:00 am. For more info, I recommend checking this article on when to see the Northern Lights.
BEST TIME TO SEE THE NORTHERN LIGHTS IN NORWAY
In short, the best time to see the Aurora in Norway is:
- September and October: There are not many hours of darkness but during this period there is an increase in solar activity and fewer clouds.
- November, December, January, and February: This is the most popular time during the winter Northern Lights season in Norway. Some months like November usually have a higher percentage of covered skies.
- March and April: The spring equinox always brings peaks in solar activity which usually result in impressive displays of Northern Lights.
Additionally, I recommend, regardless of the time when you travel, using a Northern Lights prediction system for Norway with notifications, so you can be aware of any sudden growth in the solar activity and the KP index. (Check out how to read the Northern Lights Forecast)
Below, you can find a graphic with information about the Northern Lights in Norway during 2021, with Tromso as a reference. Thanks to this data, we can compare the days with KP≥3 (although in Tromso we can see the Aurora from KP 1’8) with the days when the night lasts more than 4 hours.
Nights with KP ≥ 3
Dark nights ≥ 4 hrs
Nights to see Aurora
Northern Lights Norway January
Northern Lights Norway February
Northern Lights Norway March
Northern Lights Norway April
Northern Lights Norway May
Northern Lights Norway June
Northern Lights Norway July
Northern Lights Norway August
Northern Lights Norway September
Northern Lights Norway October
Northern Lights Norway November
|Northern Lights |
|Historical Data of Northern Lights in Norway by Month in 2021|
Where to see the Northern Lights in Norway
The Northern Norwegian Coast and the Lapland regions are the best places to see the Northern Lights in Norway and even with relatively low solar activity, you’ll be able to see the Aurora.
In a nutshell, these are the best places to see the Aurora Borealis in Norway:
- Tromso: The most famous place to see the Northern Lights in Norway. Aurora tourism is well-developed and it’s easy to find great tour offers.
- Lofoten Islands: The ideal place to see the Northern Lights over the best Norwegian landscapes. Ideal for photographers.
- Senja: In recent years it has gained popularity as a destination to see the Aurora dancing over the Norwegian fjords.
- Alta: One of the northernmost and accessible places to see the Aurora in Norway. It has a wide variety of resorts dedicated to enjoying this phenomenon.
- Svalbard: The northernmost point of Norway is located at an exceptional latitude to see the Northern Lights. This island is also famous for its polar bears.
- North Cape: One of the most inaccessible but, at the same time, original places to see the Aurora Borealis in Norway.
- Hammerfest: This city located just above the top of Finmark is another increasingly popular destination to see the Aurora in Norway.
AND THESE ARE THE BEST PLACES TO SEE THE NORTHERN LIGHTS IN Norway DIVIDED BY Area:
Considered the Arctic Capital, Tromso is perfect for seeing the Northern Lights in winter. Relatively cheap flights over the last few years have made Tromso one of the most popular places to see the Northern Lights in Norway.
Keep in mind that the Aurora season in Tromso is shorter than in other areas, as it is located in the most northern region, at a latitude of 69º, and there are fewer hours of darkness during the summer months. Travel from late September to early April to increase your chances of seeing the Northern Lights.
In addition, it is a reasonably big city, so you can hire many Northern Light Tours in Tromso. Besides, there are many things to do in Tromso, like visiting a reindeer farm, ancient Sami settlements, or taking a dog sledding tour.
However, if you are interested in photographing the Northern Lights in Norway, you should join a specific tour.
NORTHERN LIGHTS PHOTO TOURS IN TROMSO
The one-day Northern Lights tours in Tromso are recommended for anyone who wants to enjoy this phenomenon and capture some memories with the camera. The guides usually take you to an area towards the interior where there are more chances of clear skies and less light pollution.
My best advice if you want to enjoy a beautiful display of Northern Lights is to stay away from light pollution. If you are planning to stay in Tromso, the best bet is to take a tour out of the city during at least, one of the days of your stay.
If you want to live an ultimate experience, you need to sleep in an Ice Dome hotel away from light pollution, with a dinner cooked in a bonfire and a snowshoe excursion to see the Aurora.
The Radisson Blu Hotel offers a top-notch Nordic style along with superb quality and the cherry on the cake: a crystal bridge to enjoy the Northern lights from the hotel.
Providing with a supreme breakfast, in probably the best locations in Tromso, Scandic Grand is one of the best quality-price hotels for travelers who want to see Aurora in Tromso. Some of the best Northern Lights tours departure from here.
Another unforgettable experience is to see the Northern lights in the Norwegian wilderness from an Aurora Camp very close to Tromso. You’ll relax and stay warm in a traditional “Lavvu” tent waiting for the Aurora show.
If you’re chasing the Aurora on your own, keep in mind that Tromso is a big city, so you may find there’s too much light pollution. If the solar activity is not too high to see the Aurora, I recommend going to the nearby (2 hours away) Senja Island to see the Northern Lights of Norway.
Lofoten is the perfect place to see the Northern Lights in Norway over incredible landscapes. Here you will find a lot of beaches facing north above the Arctic Circle at a latitude of 67º, with ideal conditions to see the Aurora.
I visit the Lofoten Islands every winter and, to me, it is one of the best places to see the Northern Lights. In this guide to the best things to do in the Lofoten Islands, we cover the best locations to see the Northern Lights in the archipelago.
If you visit Reine and want to experience the magic of this region, I recommend you stay at the Eliassen Rorbuer, since there is nothing like seeing the Northern Lights from a traditional fishing wooden hut hotel. On our last trip, we were lucky to see the Aurora even from the window in our room.
Enjoy the Northern Lights dancing over the most spectacular fjord in Lofoten from one of the most renowned wooden cabins in the archipelago, the Eliassen Rorbuer. We spent a night in these cabins and the experience of seeing the Aurora right from the window was unforgettable.
The second best option to see the Aurora from the heart of the Lofoten Islands is the Reinefjorden Sjøhus. These cabins are newer than the classic Eliassen and offer probably the best views to see the Aurora even from your window.
A more classic hotel of wooden cabins close to the Svolvær airport is the Anker Brygge Hotel; the perfect location for seeing the Aurora and enjoying the traditional Lofoten food and other activities like boat trips or just relaxing in a Sauna.
A relaxed and welcoming hotel offering a breathtaking view to see the Northern Lights is the Catogården Hotel, located in the middle of the impressive Reinefjord.
In my opinion, Lofoten is the best place to see the Northern Lights in Norway. If you are a photographer, I encourage you to join us on our Lofoten Islands photo Tour where I will show you how to photograph the Northern Lights over majestic fjords, Arctic beaches, and mountains.
Although Senja has been in the shadow of Lofoten for many years and somehow gone unnoticed, in recent years, it has gained popularity as a Northern Lights photographic destination in Norway.
The landscapes are similar to those on the Lofoten islands, with rugged fjords and picturesque fishing villages, and not as crowded as the Lofoten Islands.
The top option for seeing the Northern lights in Senja is the Aurora Borealis Observatory. As its own name says, this hotel is specifically designed to observe and see the Aurora, with large window glasses and offering impressive views.
Another great option to see the Aurora in Senja is the Skrolsvik Kystferie, located on the eastern end of the island of Senja. The hotel offers wooden cabins with balconies and views towards the sea or the mountain to see the Northern Lights in Senja. From there, you can also enjoy other activities such as skiing or diving. It is the perfect place for groups and families, since all cabins include at least 2 rooms.
The Mefjord Brygge resort, surrounded by the sharp mountain fjords of Senja, is located in a small fishing village and offers a great opportunity to move around Senja and chase the Aurora. The complex includes options for relaxing like a sauna, hot tub, and solarium.
Another hotel offering some of the best views in Senja to see the Aurora is the Senja Fjordhotell, where all rooms have views towards the fjord.
Offering a wide range of options, the Norwegian Wild is one of the best options to see the Aurora in Senja on a budget. It also offers bigger cabins with more services/quality at a higher price, but the most remarkable feature of this lodge is the accommodation from just $58 a night for 2 people.
Seeing the Northern Lights in Alta is possible and accessible, which is why it’s known as the “City of Northern Lights” at 70º latitude.
Here you can even find some of the best Northern Lights hotels in Norway. One of the most popular is Sorrisniva, where you can see the Northern Lights from your igloo room. The prices aren’t low, but it is a unique experience. You can book your room here.
Not too far from Alta but far enough to stay away from light pollution, the most original and (literally) cool hotel to enjoy the Northern lights is the Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel. Just don’t worry too much about the cold, it’s set up to stay and sleep cozy and warm.
Seeing the Aurora in the pure wilderness while being comfy is possible in the Aurora Canvas Dome tent camp. It also offers a Sauna and the tent’s roof is transparent to enjoy the Northern Lights in Alta.
The Bjørnfjell Mountain Lodge is a homey wooden hotel located in a perfect spot to see the Aurora dancing across Alta. It’s located away from all the light pollution, and they have a restaurant offering local food and pizza.
This modern lodge decorated in gorgeous Nordic style is located close to the Alta river and away from the main source of light pollution in Alta.
GLØD Pine Forest Lodging offers sauna and buffet breakfast.
If you are looking for a more basic and cheaper option to enjoy the Northern Lights while being cozy in Alta, CampAlta is your choice. This resort offers small wooden cabins with all the basics to see the Aurora safe and warm.
Svalbard is the most famous place in Europe for polar bear watching. This archipelago is the northernmost region of Norway and is located close to the North Pole, at 81º latitude.
Most of the islands are uninhabited, but people live in some areas like Longyearbyen.
As I said before, most of the tourism in Svalbard is focused on polar bears, but there are also snowmobile and Northern Lights tours. Keep in mind that traveling here is more expensive than in other areas like Tromso or Lofoten.
With the title of the northern-most full-service hotel in the world, Radisson Blu Polar Hotel not only offers a great opportunity to see the Aurora during the Northern lights season but also other winter activities like glacier excursions. It also offers superb panoramic fjord views.
Mary-Ann’s Polarrigg is probably the most original location in Svalbard. Previously a miner’s barrack, the owner Mary-Ann revamped the whole building into a stylish and luxurious resort to enjoy the Northern lights in Svalbard.
The remoteness of the location in Svalbard makes the prices more expensive compared to the Norwegian peninsula. This guesthouse, however, offers the most affordable accommodation option in Svalbard with very competitive prices and a splendid view to the near fjords.
6. North Cape
If you want to go further north to increase your chances of seeing the Northern Lights in Norway, North Cape is the northernmost point of the country in the Scandinavian peninsula, with a latitude of 71º.
However, keep in mind that getting here is more expensive and complicated.
If you are traveling as a group to Cape North, staying at the Northcape Seapark is a good option for seeing the Aurora from one of their apartments with sea views. In the area, there are also places for hiking and wildlife watching.
If you are looking for a classic Scandinavian-style hotel with no frills, the Arctic Hotel Nordkapp is a fantastic option. Daily buffet breakfast, and a superb location in the heart of Honningsvåg where you can enjoy the Northern lights show at night.
Nygård Apartments offer quality-price units to enjoy the Northern Lights in North Cape.
In the surroundings, there is a wide variety of activities for the day like boat tours. bird watching tours, and local seafood restaurants.
With views to the mountain and to the open sea, the Cape Marina lodge is based in a big and cozy hotel-house where there are endless possibilities for seeing the Northern Lights. It’s a bit more pricey than other accommodations in North Cape but the quality and dreamy location worth the expense.
Seeing the Aurora Borealis in Oslo, the capital of Norway, is difficult since it is located at a latitude of 59º, significantly lower than the previous locations, and it is also a big city, so there is a considerable amount of light pollution.
However, it is not impossible to see the Aurora Borealis in Oslo. In fact, between August and September 2015 there were very intense solar storms that made it possible to see the Northern Lights in Stavanger and Bergen.
In any case, you need to be very lucky to see the Northern Lights at this latitude, so I wouldn’t recommend visiting Oslo if you intend to see the Aurora in Norway. However, if you do visit Oslo, don’t forget to turn on the Aurora notifications from your app, just in case 😉
In case it helps, here is a map of the Aurora Borealis in Norway so you can identify which KP you need depending on the area of Norway you are in. The “KP” term sounds complex but it’s simply an index of the solar activity that causes the Northern Lights.
As you can see, the easiest place to see the Northern Lights in Norway is the Norwegian Lapland and the northern Norwegian coast, since that’s where you need the lowest KP.
In terms of the best places to see the Northern Lights, remember: you need darkness. Stay away from urban centers or light pollution will keep you from seeing the Aurora.
And last but not least, check the cloud forecast. If the sky is covered you will not see the Aurora Borealis. Use a weather forecast system and search for clear skies. For Norway, the best website is YR.no, where the cloud prediction is shown on an interactive map.
Best Northern Lights Tours in Norway
Although Norway has endless tourist attractions, there is no doubt that the Aurora Borealis is one of the main ones. This is why more and more tours are offered to see the Aurora in northern Norway.
Out of all the places we mentioned, Tromso is the best place in Norway to take a Northern Lights tour since there are many options. The most common are the northern lights vacation packages, although you can also take day tours (these are the best Northern Lights tours from Tromso). If you want to have a good chance of seeing the Northern Lights in Norway, I would book one of these experiences:
- Tromsø Ice Domes Hotel Overnight Stay
- Aurora Camp Overnight Stay
- Northern Lights 7-Hour Tour
- 3-Hour Northern Lights Sailing Excursion
In Lofoten, there are also some Northern Lights tours.
In addition to the one-night tours to see the Aurora offered in Tromso, there are specific guided tours to see the Northern Lights in Norway that are run for several days. These packages also include other cultural activities such as photography, visiting ancient Sami sites, experiencing the local gastronomy, or visiting Viking museums.
If you prefer to focus on Northern Lights photography, we would be happy to have you on our next Lofoten photography tour, where we will spend a week photographing the best landscapes of the Lofoten Islands and “hunting” the Northern Lights every night.
Our best Northern Lights images in Norway
Here you’ll find my best Aurora Borealis photos from Norway.
As a final tip, if you want to capture the best possible images in your Norway Northern Lights trip, check our guide to photographing Northern Lights!