Tekst: Mikael Lunde
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, sharp mountain formations and seemingly endless inland plateaus.
It may sometimes hide behind a cloud or a tall peak, but it does not set.
Here are some of the best places to experience the midnight sun.
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. 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.
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, and from the easily accessible Rønvikfjellet ridge you get an amazing view of it all. Including the distinct, mountainous Landegode Island with its whopping 42 inhabitants, and all the way out to the Lofoten archipelago.
Photo: Gulosten, CC BY-SA 3.0
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 archipelago itself is one of Norway’s most famous natural attractions.
“The most romantic place in Norway” – that’s the tag attached to Nupen 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 – almost meeting at the horizon with a gentle kiss – before rising again. The peaks of Grytøya Island frame the scene.
Hammerfest is one of the northernmost cities in the world, and one of the oldest in the Norwegian north. If you follow the zigzagging path up to the old cabin at Salen, you get a panoramic view of the city and surrounding islands – especially after the 180 degree viewing platform was added.
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’re in Longyearbyen. The main settlement on the archipelago of Svalbard, here the midnight sun lasts – astonishingly – for four months! But, seriously, even schoolteachers are armed here, because polar bears are a real threat – so never venture out without a guard.
Like Eggum in Lofoten, this is part of the National Tourist Route initiative, where architecture and art amplifies 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. Just imagine how it looks at midnight!
Paddling on the still waters of the north by midnight is probably the closest you’ll ever get to bathing in gold.
Almost immediately after it tosses and turns in the water, it’s ready to be served on your platter. In Northern Norway, they are totally hooked on the fresh delicacies of the sea.
Like a prolonged sunset and sunrise all at once, the midnight sun colours heaven and earth in a reddish yellow light.
You want to see both the legendary fjords and the midnight sun, but only have one week. With a bit of smart planning, it can absolutely be done.
Experiencing the unbelievable colours flashing across the Arctic sky is on many travellers’ bucket list. Few places on earth offer more ways to witness the aurora borealis than Norway.
To ease your navigation through an abundance of places and offers, we have gathered all our top lists and expert tips in one place.