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The Ultimate Guide to the Northern Lights in Norway

Updated: Apr 3

Few things on this planet offer such a theatrical piece, such as the Northern Lights in Norway. It’s a powerful cosmic event that has inspired legends for centuries and will leave most of us in complete awe and disbelief when we see it.


Sometimes, it may hide behind a strong light or thick clouds, but rest assured, we know how to catch the Northern Lights in Norway. In this article, we share everything you need to know about how, when, and where to see the lights.


What are the Northern Lights?


About 150 million kilometers away from Earth, the largest nuclear power plant in the solar system is constantly working hard to make sure we get the energy we need to survive. Yes, we’re talking about the sun. From time to time, the sun shoots out a little extra wave of powerful energy that eventually reaches our home planet. This is nothing to be worried about, even if the next bit of information might sound a little scary.


The Earth’s magnetic field acts like a shield to protect us from getting too much solar radiation. Around the magnetic poles of the Earth, the magnetic field is not as strong as around the equator. This means that when the sun shoots out that extra wave of energy, some of that energy comes a little further into the atmosphere than in other places. This energy interacts with the molecules in the atmosphere and shoots out different colors of light, which is what we see as the Northern Lights in Norway.


Even though the Norway Northern Lights is the result of this extra energy, it’s nothing dangerous at all and can be safely viewed from the ground.


Amazing view of the Northern Lights in Norway in Lofoten Islands

Are there Southern Lights?


As you might have guessed, there are two magnetic poles on Earth – south and north. This kind of raises the question: if we see the Northern Lights in Norway, around the North Pole, then we should probably see the same around the South Pole, right?


The answer is: Yes! In the north, it’s scientifically named “Aurora Borealis”. In the south, it’s named “Aurora Australis”. The lack of countries around the South Pole is why we don’t hear as much about it, though.


Where Can I See the Northern Lights? 👀

The Northern Lights can only be seen above the 60° latitude in the northern part of the hemisphere. This is why you can spot the Northern Lights in all countries with areas above this invisible line.


On a good day (or night) you will be able to see the Northern Lights in Norway all over the country. There are a few things you would have to keep in mind, even if the lights are strong. You need to be at a place with as little light pollution as possible, the sky can’t be too cloudy, and the sun can’t be up.


Geographically, your chances of seeing the Northern Lights in Norway will increase the further north you go. The further north you go, the weaker the magnetic field is, making it easier for the energy to interact with the atmosphere and produce the light.



A show of the Northern Lights in Norway, with a coastal town in the foreplan

Where are the Best Places for Northern Lights in Norway? 🌎


The Northern Lights in Norway will be “drowned out” by city lights or the sun, and the clouds are simply in the way. This means that the best place will be a somewhat remote place with no light pollution. If you want the experience to be extra amazing, sitting at the top of one of Norway’s stunning mountains will make you feel like you can almost reach out and touch the lights.


Tromsø


Widely regarded as the best place to see the Northern Lights in Norway, Tromsø tops the list. It’s a large town with a lot of lights, but you might still be able to see the lights here. If not, it’s easy to take a trip out of town and up in the mountains to get the best view. Whilst you’re in the neighborhood, you can also check out the Arctic Church in Tromsø!


Lofoten


If you are looking for a way to see the Northern Lights in Norway au naturale, Lofoten will be one of your best bets. It’s a popular area among both local and international visitors and is well-renowned for its stunning nature.


Svalbard


There is also a small place far to the north, very close to the North Pole, far off the coast of mainland Norway, called Svalbard. This is one of the best places in the world to spot the Northern Lights. If you’re lucky, you might even spot the Northern Lights in Norway during the day here, even though it is extremely rare. 


Husøy


A lesser-known area for spotting the Northern Lights in Norway is an island in the northern part of Norway (not quite as far away as Svalbard) that rocks both a guesthouse and a motorhome. Husøy in Norway is small but has a big character.


The Northern Lights in Norway, in the mountainous area, covered in snow

How Can I See the Northern Lights in Norway?


One of the best things about the Northern Lights in Norway is that you can see them on your own terms. You will have plenty of options to choose from.


Guided Tour


If you’re not the one who wants to go chasing Northern Lights on your own, a guided tour will likely be your best option. This way, the guide will do all the hard work and simply deliver you to the desired location so you can take that perfect photo of the cosmic spectacle.

Explore on Your Own


We are big fans of being at the helm of our adventures, so renting a car, campervan, or motorhome and exploring our destinations is how we prefer things. From the comfort of a motorhome, campervan, or tent, you’ll have all the time you want to experience the show. With the right to roam in Norway, you’ll be able to overnight wherever you want on uncultivated land.


Go on the Water


If the waters are still and you have the chance, getting on a larger boat or a ship out at sea will give you an amazing opportunity to get an unobstructed view of the Northern Lights in Norway. If you go on one of the many tours along the Norwegian coast, this will be a given aspect of your trip. Just make sure to book a tour in Norway in the right season.


📷 How do I Photograph the Northern Lights?


Seeing the lights in person is the experience of a lifetime, but it’s hard to do that memory justice with just words. However, a picture is worth a thousand words, so we’ll lay down the basics for a great Norway Northern Lights photography session:

  • A quality camera is a must. A top-end phone might do the trick, but don’t take that for granted.

  • The ISO and aperture need to be well-balanced to get the right detail quality.

  • A long shutter speed is a must to get the right amount of light into the picture. If the shutter speed is too short, you won’t be able to see the lights.

  • A steady hand or a camera holder is key to getting good details. A shaky hand makes for poor photos.


Northern lights in a city in Norway

📅 When can I See the Northern Lights in Norway?


Depending on where you are in Norway, the Northern Lights season may differ a little bit. In broad strokes: you need to visit the Land of the Midnight Sun in the colder half of the year. The season will be between late August and early April on average but will be a little longer in the north.


The best time of day to see the Northern Lights in Norway will be the hour right before midnight. This is perfect if you’re a night owl. If not, you better put on a pot of coffee if you want to be awake for the golden hour of the Northern Lights.


The Legends Surrounding the Northern Lights


Before we could explain the Northern Lights in Norway, locals would make up stories to explain the otherworldly lights dancing above them. The Vikings considered the lights to be the bridge between the realm of the Asa gods and the humans. The bridge was guarded by the god Heimdal and used by the gods as well as the Valkyries, who brought fallen heroes to Valhalla.


The Sámi (folk group in the north of Sweden, Norway, and Finland) thought it was the souls of the dead. Interacting or reaching towards the Northern Lights is still considered to be bad luck in the Sámi community. The Finns had a story about foxes running over the heavens and creating sparks when their tails hit the mountains.


🚌 Northern Lights in Norway – At the Helm of Your Adventure


The Northern Lights in Norway are a sight to be seen, and we urge you to take the opportunity whenever you can. Now that you have all the info you need to find, capture, and experience one of the most stunning cosmic displays in the world. The only thing left to do is to rent a motorhome in Norway and begin the adventure of a lifetime.


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