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The northern lights
Nature’s own light show

Northern lights in Norway

Northern lights: Nature’s own rhythms.
Photo: True Stories / Visitnorway.com

Witness the magic

To experience the unbelievable colours that move across the Arctic sky is on many travellers’ bucket list, and few places on earth offer more ways to witness the northern lights than Norway.

Between late September and late March, Northern Norway is dark from early afternoon until late morning, and the northern lights frequently soar across the sky. Our bold claim is that this part of Norway, with its multiple islands, deep fjords and steep mountains, is among the most beautiful and interesting places to see the northern lights.

As hundreds of thousands of people live in this huge geographical area, the region has everything from cities with a lively night scene and great museums to small, cosy fishing villages and vast, tranquil spaces without any kind of light pollution. 

This means that in addition to hunting for the northern lights, you can go hiking, skiing, and dog sledging, experience the Sami culture, or join a whale or wildlife safari. Afterwards, you can relax in top-notch hotels and eat incredible local food. Or maybe you’ve joined a northern lights safari and get to eat your meal in a traditional lavvo?

So, what are the northern lights? On a very basic level, the phenomenon is quite simple to explain. It is created from a collision between electrically charged particles from the sun that enter the atmosphere of the earth.

The lights, which are also called aurora borealis, show up at night when the sky is dark. It’s like a celestial ballet of light dancing across the night sky, with a colour palette of green, blue, pink, and violet. Read more about the facts and fiction of the northern lights.

But even though you can’t take the lights for granted – it is, after all, a natural phenomenon, just like the weather – you are still guaranteed to experience magical light in Northern Norway all through the polar night. On clear days, you can see beautiful sunset colours in the south while the sky to the north is a deep midnight blue. In “the blue hour” at twilight, the landscape is bathed in a glassy deep blue colour.

The aurora borealis has its climax when the weather is cold and dry. Install the NorwayLights app for iPhone, Android or Windows – a northern light forecast that helps you find the best time and place to see the northern lights.

The best places to see the northern lights

Check out the destinations below.

Getting to Northern Norway

There are many ways to travel to Northern Norway. Enjoy a cruise or catch a plane – whatever way of travelling you prefer, the somewhat distant kingdom of the northern lights is easily accessible.

Photo: Ernst Furuhatt
Travel north

See it for yourself

Meet the people under the northern lights.

Activities in Northern Norway caught on tape.

Travellers’ own pictures

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More things to do in Northern Norway

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