There are no clear boundaries between one day and the next in the far north during summer. These are the best places to see the midnight sun in Norway.
Where and when to experience the midnight sun
At the Arctic Circle: 12 June–1 July
In Bodø: 4 June–8 July
In the Lofoten Islands: 28 May–14 July
In Tromsø: 20 May–22 July
At the North Cape: 14 May–29 July
In Svalbard: 20 April–22 August
What is the midnight sun?
The midnight sun is a natural phenomenon that occurs during the summer in places south of the Antarctic Circle and north of the Arctic Circle – including Northern Norway.
The earth is rotating at a tilted axis relative to the sun, and during the summer months, the North Pole is angled towards our star. That’s why, for several weeks, the sun never sets above the Arctic Circle.
Svalbard is the place in Norway where the midnight sun occurs for the longest period. Here, the sun doesn’t set between 20 April and 22 August.
You can tell that it is five o’clock – your wristwatch reveals as much. But is it 5 AM or 5 PM? Who knows? Even the locals get confused sometimes. At midnight the sun will hover low in the sky and cast a magical yellow glow onto the coastline, the cities and villages, the sharp mountain formations, and the seemingly endless inland plateaus. It may sometimes hide behind a cloud or a tall peak, but it does not set. Here you can see the midnight sun in all its glory.
The North Cape
From atop the steep cliff heading into the sea at The North Cape, there is nothing but open sea between you and … well, Svalbard, and then the North Pole, and the sun is hovering on the horizon all night long. The cliff is technically located on an island and is not even quite its northernmost point, so this is mistakenly referred to as the northernmost point on the European mainland. Still, it is a more popular destination than the actual spot, Cape Nordkinn a little stretch to the east.
Mount Rønvikfjellet in Bodø
Just north of the Arctic Circle, you find the city of Bodø. It is squeezed – as is typical up here – between mountains, hills, and the sea. From the easily accessible Rønvikfjellet ridge you get an amazing view of the midnight sun over the city centre, the distinct, mountainous island Landegode with its whopping 42 inhabitants, and all the way to the Lofoten archipelago across the Vestfjord.
Eggum on the northern side of Lofoten
None other than Snøhetta – the designers of the Oslo Opera House and several other landmark buildings worldwide – are the brains behind the rest area by the small Lofoten fishing village of Eggum. An amphitheatre-shaped space with art by Markus Raetz, this place offers a free view to the open sea.
The Lofoten Islands are amongst Norway’s most famous natural attractions, and you can enjoy the midnight sun from a number of viewpoints all over the archipelago.
Storsteinen in Tromsø
The Tromsø Cable Car takes you 421 metres above the largest city of Northern Norway, known as “the gateway to the Arctic”. The cable car is open past midnight in summer, and from the mountain ledge Storsteinen, you can watch the midnight sun hover above Tromsø and the peaks at Ringvassøya island.
Nupen near Harstad
“The most romantic place in Norway” is the tag attached to Nupen not far from Harstad following a ranking in a Norwegian travel magazine. We’re inclined to agree. From the road or the surrounding hills, you get an unobstructed view of the midnight sun as it descends towards the water and almost meets the horizon in a gentle kiss before it rises again. The peaks of Grytøya island frame the scene.
At the innermost end of the Ofotfjord, the gondola in the historic town of Narvik takes travellers up to the mountain restaurant 656 metres above. You get an unforgettable view of the sun above the fjord, the town, the islands, and the surrounding mountains including the famous “Sleeping Queen” Fagernesfjellet. If you feel adventurous, you can go back down on a mountain bike, but please be careful at night.
Viewpoint Salen in Hammerfest
The city of Hammerfest is one of the northernmost in the world and one of the oldest in Northern Norway. If you follow the zigzagging path up to the old cabin at “Mount” Salen, you get a panoramic view of the city and the surrounding islands in the midnight sun.
Komsafjellet mountain in Alta
Admittedly, at 212 metres it doesn’t sound like much of a mountain. But with its dramatic location reaching out on a peninsula into the fjord, Komsafjellet mountain in Alta is a distinct landmark nonetheless. There is a history of settlement here going back to the stone ages, and the midnight view in summer was probably as magnificent back then as it is today.
The Finnmarksvidda mountain plateau
Do you crave to be alone with nature, to see wildlife, and set out on long hikes? The Finnmarksvidda mountain plateau is a huge open expanse of more than 22,000 square kilometres. And as it is located in the Land of the Sami in the far north, it is all bathed in midnight sun during summer.
Tungeneset at Senja
Like Eggum in Lofoten, Tungeneset at Senja is part of the Norwegian Scenic Route initiative where architecture and art amplify the experience of some of Norway’s most fabulous natural wonders. Here, a wooden walkway blends in with nature and leads you to a magnificent view of the distinct rock formation of Okshornan under the midnight sun.
You might have heard the popular myth that in Norway, there are polar bears roaming the city streets. This is pure nonsense, of course, unless you are in Longyearbyen. In this main settlement on the Svalbard Islands, the midnight sun lasts an astonishing four months. Remember to never venture out without a guard, as polar bears are a real threat.
Plan your midnight sun adventure
76 days of midnight sun greets travellers to Northern Norway in the summer months. The further north you go, the more nights of midnight sun you get.
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