go to visitnorway.com
Bjorn Klauer
Spend a night in a traditional lavvu (Sami tent) under the northern lights in Northern Norway - Bjorn Klauer
Ole Jørgen Liodden
Go to Spitsbergen in Svalbard for a rare opportunity to see polar bears in the wild - Ole Jørgen Liodden
Elaine Smith
Reach the North Cape - Europe's northern border - with Hurtigruten this winter - Elaine Smith
Bjarne Riesto
Travel through the Norwegian wilderness at high speed on a snowmobile - Bjarne Riesto
Christian Bothner
Winter lights over the picturesque island of Moskenesøya in the Lofoten Islands - Christian Bothner
Martin Bril
Have a whale of a time in Northern Norway's Vesterålen archipelago - Martin Bril
Back to front page

Northern Norway: Home of the northern lights

Witnessing the aurora borealis is an unforgettable experience. Visit Northern Norway and combine nature's light show with the trip of a lifetime.

Out of this world

Like tulle curtains caught by the breeze, like rolling smoke or like ribbons across the sky in an unearthly, electric green, often with hints of pink and violet: the northern lights, the aurora borealis, are faint, translucent and illusive. Occasionally, the whole sky explodes in a corona of green, pinkviolet and white – like firework, organ pipes or opening flowers. Photographs can in no way do the lights justice and spectators pinch their arm in disbelief. And then it is all gone.

Excellent conditions

The northern lights are created by loaded particles from the sun hitting the outer layers of the atmosphere some 60 miles/100 kilometres above us. This is common in the so-called aurora belt around the planet. Northern Norway is situated in the middle of this belt, but whereas most areas in the aurora belt consist of freezing tundra and ice shelves, Northern Norway is easily accessible and has moderate winter temperatures. Hence the conditions to spot the best northern lights are excellent.

Show time

Aurora is a diva – you never know when she is in the mood for an appearance.  In Northern Norway, northern lights occur in up to 90% of every clear night in the period from early September to early April. Most northern lights occur in the time span from 6:00 pm to slightly after midnight, with an absolute peak at around 10:00-11:00 pm. 

Things to do

If you are hoping to see the northern lights, it is important to be out under the open sky between 6:00 pm and midnight.

Most people prefer to join a safe and warm organised tour, and there are numerous to choose from. A popular option is to hunt the northern lights by bus or mini-van – you will be taken to the place with the most favourable weather conditions at that moment. Other tours seek out vantage points of particular beauty, where you have an especially good view.

If you want to do something more active, the possibilities are endless: try dog sledding, snowmobiling, reindeer sledding, snowshoeing, kick sledging or cross-country skiing. Further suggestions are to go on a boat trip or on a whale safari. If you are curious about Sami culture, you have many opportunities to find out more.

Find more inspiration and information about activities on Northern Norway's official website.

Read more