Norway offers some of the best Northern Lights viewing on Earth. And, whether you’re looking for adventures out in the wilderness or something a with a bit more urban appeal, our recommended holidays take in the finest places to catch a glimpse of the aurora. To help you plan, our specialists have picked out their favourite spots below.
Tromso is widely known as Norway’s Northern Lights capital, and with good reason. Located right at the heart of the aurora zone (the best bit for spotting the Lights), it’s treated to celestial displays with freakish regularity. Direct flights from the UK mean getting here is a breeze – perfect for a long weekend, or a few nights midweek for fewer crowds.
Then, when you’re in town, you’ll have the chance to dash out into the surrounding fjords and mountains, away from light pollution, for the best auroral views. You can even head out on a Northern Lights cruise to see them from the water. Then, add on the likes of husky safaris, snowshoeing or a stay at the Tromso Ice Domes for a fun-filled, action-packed Arctic adventure.
Northern Lights over Tromso
2. Malangen Resort
Malangen is Tromso’s perfect partner, situated a 75-minute drive away on the edge of a fjord at the foot of the Lyngen Alps. Here, you’ll not only enjoy the same mesmerising and frequent displays as in Tromso, but you’ll also get the wilderness setting that its urban cousin lacks. Like Tromso, days here are spent out in nature, on husky sleds, snowmobiles, reindeer sleighs and snowshoes.
Come evening, though, it’s the Northern Lights that take centre stage. You might head out to the resort’s very own Camp Nikka, where Sami-style tipis, a roaring fire and hot drinks will keep you warm while you wait. Or, simply wander down from your room to the edge of the fjord to see it all played out overhead.
Northern Lights over Malangen Resort. Image by David González Foto
3. Lofoten Islands
To the south of Tromso, but still very much inside the Arctic Circle, the Lofoten archipelago offers a unique blend of island beauty, fishing heritage and superb Northern Lights displays. The region’s wildlife is superb, and there’s the chance to spot everything from orcas to eagles on organised excursions that range from boat tours to sea kayaking.
Back on land, take the chance to hike up steep granite peaks or stroll along windswept beaches to remote settlements as you wait night and the Northern Lights to appear.
Northern Lights over the Lofoten Islands
If it’s far-flung you’re after, then look no further than a holiday to Kirkenes. Just a short hop from the Russian and Finnish borders, this is about as remote as it gets for mainland Norway.
As well as some very fine Northern Lights viewing, you’ll also have the chance to stay at Scandinavia’s northernmost snow hotel, explore the local Sami culture and experience a whole range of excursions, including king crab fishing.
Gamme Cabins at Kirkenes Snowhotel (C.Kruse / arctic-photography.com)
if Kirkenes is far-flung, Svalbard might as well l be on another planet. Located just 650 miles south of the North Pole, this is Scandinavia at its wild best. Indeed, so far north is it that, in the depths of winter, the Polar Night affords Northern Lights viewing even in the daytime.
Of course, it’s all complimented by a vast array of excursion options, including snowmobiling, husky sledding and evenings of local food and drink served at remote aurora camps. There’s also a luxury hotel on hand when you feel like some pampering, and even the chance to enjoy a spot of champagne tasting, too.
Svalbard's Polar Night
Our specialists have hunted the Northern Lights all across northern Norway. Have a browse of our suggested holidays and then give them a call to start planning your trip.