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Hunting For the Northern Lights in Norway: Ultimate Guide

Updated: Dec 2, 2020

The Northern Lights, also called Aurora Borealis, is one of the most captivating phenomena in the world. It is often the central theme on the postcards from countries where it is most common. When you google up some Scandinavian countries, it will appear in almost every photo. No wonder why many dream of the possibility to view northern lights in real, and experience them at least once in a lifetime. The good news is that you will have an excellent chance to see the Northern Lights in Norway during your trip.

Amazing view of the Northern Lights in Norway in Lofoten Islands

Many people plan to visit Norway, especially to be able to hunt for the Aurora Borealis. It has always been in the first place of their bucket list. For others, it is one of the many attractions they wish to enjoy during their journey. For sure, many of you, reading this post, want to have at least one picture which catches the beauty and uniqueness of this phenomenon.

The Northern Lights activity used to be associated with a coming war or said to be the dance of the souls. However, Its formation has a purely physical explanation, related to solar activity and the so-called solar storms. During the explosions and flares, elementary particles are thrown into space. As they approach Earth, they collide with the upper atmosphere. The energy released causes effects that can be seen by the human eye in the form of aurora borealis. The final color depends on the heights at which the atom is excited and the type of the particle. If the collision occurs with nitrogen, we can see red and blue colors; if it is oxygen, the colors are green and pink. The human eye can generally see it only in green and white because of the low sensitivity to colors. You will be able to admire its full colors only on the photos.

Where to see the Northern Lights

Northern Norway is considered to be the best place to hunt for the Northern Lights as it is within the Arctic Circle. That is not the only part of the country where you will be able to see them, though, so nothing to worry about. Northern Norway, however, has the best in the country. Its vast area has been transformed into a tourist-friendly places where you can find comfortable accommodations and numerous attractions. During the whole polar night, you will be able to enjoy the Northern lights show every night.

The Northern Lights stretches along with the Lofoten islands, but during the last few years, it was able to be seen even in the central part of the country. You will be able to watch them from any place in this area. Lofotens is undoubtedly the ideal place to watch the Northern Lights also because it offers the best landscapes for the background of your photo. If you are planning a trip to Norway to hunt the auroras, you should try from the coastal cities. It will give a perfect background for the lights show photos.

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

Lapland is also a popular place for the Northern Lights shows. It covers the entire northern part of the country. Tromso, one of the best coastal cities in Norway, is also open to the best place to see the Northern Lights too.

Best time to see northern lights in Norway

Certain factors have to be fulfilled, so you were able to enjoy the lights show. The time of the year you chose for your trip is vital! If you are planning a trip to Norway during the Midnight Sun, you will not have much chance to see them as for that; you need a completely dark sky. The aurora light is most often visible in late autumn and winter from September to April. The best chance to see them is at night, between 8 pm and 1 am, far from the city lights. As the Northern Lights are the show of our Mother Nature, the possibility of enjoying them depends on nature itself. The weather will be the primary factor determining the likelihood of seeing them. You need a clear, dark sky; if it is a rainy or cloudy night, your chances go down to almost 0.

In summer, it is almost impossible to see the Northern Lights in Norway. There are too many daylight hours, and the complete darkness is essential to know this phenomenon. You can as well use one of many applications that show the possibility of seeing the Northern Lights depending on the weather conditions. It is quite useful if you decide to hunt for the auroras on your own. You should be aware, though, that the fact that you are not able to see the Northern Lights in the summer is not because they are not there. The sky, though, is too bright to observe them. This is why the best time to see the Northern lights is winter when the sky is cloudless, and the solar activity is high.

The full moon and well-lit places should also be avoided. The external light causes that the Norther Lights fade and it is tough to spot them at all. There are also nights when the auroras do not appear at all, although all the other factors were fulfilled.

Take into consideration the weather forecast when planning your Northern Lights night out. Make sure you put some warm clothes on, and remember, you need to be patient. Sometimes you need even to wait a few hours for them to appear in the sky. Taking some hot drinks and blankets with you is not a bad idea at all. Prepare your camera on the tripod, put the correct settings, and wait.

Norway northern lights tours

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

If you do not belong to one of the most patient people, and you are not willing to drive around looking for the lights, you might want to go on one of the Northern Lights tours. The experienced guides know exactly where to go and what time, so you have the best chance to watch the show. Taking one of the trips to see the Northern Lights in Norway will be one of the best experiences in your life.

If the weather changes drastically and it becomes impossible to watch the lights on the first night, most of the companies offer the possibility of moving you to another day’s tour. Like that, you can make sure that you will be able to enjoy the show during your trip through Norway.

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