where to see the northern lights in norway

Northern Lights in Norway – The best times and places

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! 

how to see the northern lights in norway in winter

Ready to discover how to see the Northern Lights in Norway? Let’s get started!

 

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. 

best time to see the Northern Lights in Norway

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

22

31

22

Northern Lights Norway February

19

28

19

Northern Lights Norway March

22

19

14

Northern Lights Norway April

21

0

0

Northern Lights Norway May

19

0

0

Northern Lights Norway June

10

0

0

Northern Lights Norway July

17

0

0

Northern Lights Norway August

17

0

0

Northern Lights Norway September

27

6

5

Northern Lights Norway October

18

31

18

Northern Lights Norway November

17

30

17

Northern Lights

Norway December

16

31

16

Historical Data of Northern Lights in Norway by Month in 2021
 

In addition to this chart, you will need to consider cloud coverage. If the sky is covered, it will be impossible to see the Northern Lights in Norway. I‘ll explain this in the next section.

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:
  1. 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.
  2. Lofoten Islands: The ideal place to see the Northern Lights over the best Norwegian landscapes. Ideal for photographers.
  3. Senja: In recent years it has gained popularity as a destination to see the Aurora dancing over the Norwegian fjords.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. North Cape: One of the most inaccessible but, at the same time, original places to see the Aurora Borealis in Norway.
  7. Hammerfest: This city located just above the top of Finmark is another increasingly popular destination to see the Aurora in Norway.

Top locations Norway Northern lights

AND THESE ARE THE BEST PLACES TO SEE THE NORTHERN LIGHTS IN Norway DIVIDED BY Area:

1. Tromso

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.

mejor epoca para ver auroras boreales en tromso noruega

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. 

Tromsø Ice Domes Hotel

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.

Radisson Blu Hotel

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.

SCANDIC GRAND TROMSO

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.

Aurora Camp Tromso

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.

2. Lofoten

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.

guided tour to see northern lights in norway lofoten tromso

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. 

northern lights hotel in norway

Eliassen Rorbuer

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.

Reinefjorden Sjøhus

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.

Anker Brygge

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.

Catogården

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. 

 

3. Senja

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.

Aurora Borealis Observatory

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.

Skrolsvik Kystferie

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.

Mefjord Brygge

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.

Senja Fjordhotell

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.

Norwegian Wild

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.

 

4. Alta

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.

Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel

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.

Aurora Canvas Dome

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.

Bjørnfjell Mountain Lodge

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.

GLØD Pine Forest Lodging

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.

CampAlta

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.

 

5. Svalbard

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.

Radisson Blu Polar Hotel, Spitsbergen

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

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.

Gjestehuset 102

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.

Northcape Seapark

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.

Arctic Hotel Nordkapp

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

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.

Cape Marina lodge

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.

 

7. Oslo

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 😉

northern lights in norway summer

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.

where to see northern lights in Norway

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.

when to see the northern lights in lofoten norway

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:

 

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.

it is possible to see northern lights in oslo bergen norway

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!

LEAVE A COMMENT IF YOU NEED MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE NORTHERN LIGHTS IN NORWAY!


COFOUNDER & PHOTO TOUR LEADER

Dan is a professional nature and landscape photographer, photography educator, and co-founder of Capture the Atlas. His base camp is in California, USA, but he spends long periods of time exploring and photographing new locations around the world.

Apart from shooting the Milky Way, the Northern Lights, and any breathtaling landscape, he enjoys leading photo tours to some of the most photogenic places on Earth.

You can find more about Dan here.

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33 thoughts on “Northern Lights in Norway – The best times and places

  1. Benjamin says:

    Hey there. First of all, great blog.
    My question is, when you say that the North Cape is the least accessible, what so you mean by that?

    • Capture the Atlas says:

      Hey Ben,

      Thanks for your comment and nice words.

      To see the Northern Lights in Norway, North Cape is the remotest of all locations (besides Svalbard of course), which might make things more difficult to plan in terms of logistics than easier destinations like Tromso, where you can find plenty of accommodation, tours, etc.

      Hope this helps!
      Dan

  2. Ali Faizan says:

    Hi,

    We friends are planning to fly from Frankfurt Germany to Norway to see northern lights in February 2020. Can you suggest which city in Norway is best in February? Keeping in view all the aspects of total cost and accessibility.

    Thanks,

  3. Sharon says:

    Hi ,
    We are planning to go to Norway for 4 days trip in November start from 14th-18th . Can i know are we have a chance to see northern light?

    • Capture the Atlas says:

      Hi Sharon,

      It’s still very early to have mid-November accurate forecast. I’d recommend to download the Aurora app and check in about a week what’s the forecast for the days of your trip.

      Wish you all the best in your Northern Lights chasing experience!

      Dan

  4. Lim Shan Yie says:

    Hi,

    I got ticket to paris this 24nov to 8 dec. Will go norway for northen light from paris. Can u suggest how can i plan my trip and how can i fit into some of ur tour?
    i’m from Malaysia
    Thanks

    • Capture the Atlas says:

      Hi Lim,

      Your best bet is to book a flight to Tromso for a few days and try to see the Northern Lights from there.

      We only offer Photo tours, but there are plenty of companies offering tours in Tromso and Norway.

      You can check more information here 😉

      Good luck chasing the Northern Lights!

  5. M. Sharma says:

    Hi,
    We are planning a trip to Tromso around 25th March 2020 for 3 nights. Can someone please guide us if there are some chances to catch these beautiful lights. Our biggest concern is that year 2020 is the lowest on the 11 year cycle for seeing these lights.

    • Capture the Atlas says:

      We will be traveling to Lofoten in Feb 2020 and if it is clear, I really think we will see them, maybe not so strong like the last time, but see them at least!

      Dan

  6. CC says:

    Hi!
    I’m planning a roadtrip with a friend trough Denmark, norway and Sweden in October. We will be traveling all the way up in Norway. Which place will be the best to see the northern lights?

    Because we are just students on what aspect could we be saving money? I heard that the food is quite expensive

    • Capture the Atlas says:

      Hi!!

      You are right, Norway is very expensive. That is why we bring almost of the food from our hometown. Actually, we check in a suitcase full of fool ( 70€) and we saved a lot!

      If you want to see Northern Lights go to Tromso. You will have a great chance and it is not so expensive like Lofoten Islands.

      Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Ascen

    • AZ says:

      Hi! Same story here ? bunch of broke students, same itinerary at the same time. Maybe we’ll meet on the road mate ?

  7. Sayed says:

    Good Day to you !!

    We are planning for a 5 days trip to Tromso to watch the mesmerizing northern lights. Our travel date is between 21st to 25th of Nov, could you please suggest the best possibilities of seeing the northern lights and also any local tour operator contacts who can arrange for the northern lights tour.

  8. Ulrike says:

    Hi!

    We’re planning a trip to Lofoten from the end of August to the first week of September. May we have the chance to see an aurora? If yes, do we need to go up to Tromso or is the chance is bigger on Lofoten?

    • Capture the Atlas says:

      Hi Ulrike,

      At that time is very unlikely you can see Northern Lights in Norway, no matter if in Tromso or Lofoten since there is not completely night at any time.
      Ascen.

  9. S says:

    Hello! I am planning a babymoon trip with my husband to Norway in mid-September 2019 for 7-10 days. We will spend a few days in Loften as well. Question – What area of Lofoten would be the best to stay in, and to try to see the Northern Lights? Also, since most lodging would be in a farm house or cabin does that mean we’d have to provide our own food, or are there hotel-like services common as well?

    • Capture the Atlas says:

      Hi S! I think the best option is stay at Eliassen Rorbuer, if there is still available a vacancy. Across the road from the reception office, you will find the Krambua Restaurant, a great place to have breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The restaurant is run separately from the hotel and uses the freshest ingredients sourced locally, hence the menu changes daily depending on what is available.

      I hope you can still book a cabin. It was an incredible experience for us. If it is sold out for your date, please let me know and I will find a good option for you.

      Have a nice day,

      Ascen.

  10. Julia says:

    Hello there!

    I and 4 of my friends are planning a trip to Lofoten this winter for about 7/8 days. One of our main goals is to catch the Northern Lights, and of course enjoy the Norwegian landscape!

    We were thinking of November. Or October. And dividing our stay between Reine and Svolvaer.

    What would you suggest is a better month in terms of accomplishing the experience we want to have?

    We have been reading a lot of stuff online. We do keep on coming back to your series of blogs on Norway. Yet a little indecisive. ?
    Any insights you can provide will be very helpful, in terms of time and places also, if that’s okay.

    PS. We will fly+ use combination of ferry/train/bus to reach Lofoten.

    Thanks so much!

    • Capture the Atlas says:

      Hi Julia,

      It is a lottery. Each year is different. We went in November and the weather was great but most of the local people told us that normally November is a bad month so I would suggest going in October but maybe this year November is better than October again. You never know…

      Anyway, Lofoten is amazing and you will enjoy its landscapes.

      I hope the weather is also good and you can see the Northern Lights too.

      Let us know if you have any other question.

      Ascen.

  11. Rajnish Bali says:

    Thanks for so much of information . We are planning a trip and would request for some help.
    Thanks once again.
    Regards
    Rajnish Bali , New Delhi , India

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