Thanks to the latitude of its stunning landscapes, Norway is one of the best holiday destinations on earth to see the Northern Lights. Its Arctic regions are even home to the world’s first observatory dedicated to studying this natural phenomenon, built in 1899. However, its dancing greens and purples have been informing Norwegian culture since well before the 19th century, with mentions in Old Norse texts dating back to 1230.
Today, even in the age of computer graphics, the lights still stand out as possibly the world’s greatest visual display. They’re certainly the largest, capable of filling entire skyscapes with their sweeping tendrils; it’s not uncommon for the same lights to be spotted over three hundred miles away. And, unlike your Viking ancestors, you won’t have to trek for days over ice fields to see them.
Where to see the Northern Lights in Norway?
For the best chance to see the aurora, you’re going to want to get away from any light pollution – and that means getting out of town. That said, Northern Lights spotting in Norway has never been more accessible. Take Tromso, for instance. just a three-and-a-half-hour flight from London. Perfect for a weekend getaway – you'll find an abundance of superb restaurants and pubs for cosy evenings by the fire – it's located right in the heart of the aurora zone, so there's every chance you'll catch a glimpse of the lights, even from the city harbour.
For the best views, however, choose your favourite mode of transport – a snowmobile, a four-wheel drives or even a husky sled sleds – and head out into the wilderness. There are handy Northern Lights basecamps dotted throughout the surrounding countryside.
Of course, there are plenty more adventurous options, too, not least Malangen Resort. With its vast array of excursion options and dedicated Northern Lights camp, it's the ideal option for an extended break. And, there are plenty of other options, too, from a coastal cruise via the Lofoten Islands and North Cape to a stay at the Kirkenes SnowHotel, just a short hop from the Russian border.
Then, to the far north, there’s Svalbard. This Norwegian archipelago sits some 600 miles from the mainland, almost equidistant to the North Pole. To say it's remote is an understatement. Its blue-tinged icebergs and creaking glaciers are a fitting backdrop to some of the best Northern Lights viewing on Earth. Indeed, if you head there in February, the total lack of daylight means you can go aurora hunting, even in the middle of the day.
Northern Lights in Svalbard, Norway
When to see the Northern Lights in Norway?
It’s important to know when Norway's Northern Lights are at their most active in order to plan a successful holiday. The best time of year to spot them is from between September and March, with the Norwegian winter offering the best chance when it’s both cold and dry. This means unclouded skies making for uninterrupted viewing while longer nights give you the biggest viewing window.
Northern Lights at Malangen Resort (Credit: David González Foto)
However, the lights are actually at their most active in autumn, when warmer weather makes for comfortable evenings in the open air and activities such as hiking and mountain biking are set to the blazing colours of seasons change. Speak to our specialists for their expert advice, and browse our itineraries for the latest offers and inspiration.