Headed to Norway this winter? Chances are, seeing the mighty Northern Lights is high up on your bucket list. We’ve been lucky enough to see them in the Arctic Circle, and few experiences compare to see the shimmering hues of the lights dancing across the stars.
With that said, we’ve put together a list of the best places to see the Northern Lights in Norway. Your best bet is definitely heading over to the Arctic Circle, but there are a few cities and towns where you’ll have way higher chances of seeing them than anywhere else. We highly recommend allotting a few days to staying or traveling between any of these towns, as seeing the Northern Lights can be quite a hit and miss. On some nights, you might not get to see anything, whereas others, you’ll only get to see their faded shadows. For the best chances of seeing them in their full glory, you might need to stay awhile in the Arctic Circle (the good news is that there are tons of fun things to do in the area to keep you entertained!).
Some of the best places to see the Northern Lights in Norway:
If you saw from my Norway Instagram story highlights you know I had so much fun. I spent most of the time saying, “is this real life?” I went with Alyssa from My Lifes a Travel Movie and hired a guide and it was totally worth it. Read more about chasing the Northern Lights here.
Usually dubbed “The Capital of the Arctic”, Tromso is located right in the heart of the auroral zone. Tromso is usually the most popular go-to place for travelers wishing to witness the spectacle. It also happens to be one of the most accessible towns to access in the Arctic Circle, so if you’re flying into from another country in Europe, this is one of the easiest places to get to. The downside, of course, is that it tends to get more crowded than any other place in Norway during the aurora borealis season, but the upside is that the inhabitants thrive from tourism, so there are plenty of activities on offer to spend the day as you wait for the Northern Lights to show up.
Alta is another incredibly popular spot to catch a show of the Northern Lights, and while it’s a bit more out of the way than say, Tromso, this little town isn’t short of things to do. An added bonus of Alta is that it gets warm air from the nearby Gulf Stream, so temperatures are actually bearable even in the middle of winter.
Aside from giving you high chances of spotting the lights, Alta also boasts some unique sights, like ancient rock carvings, unbeatable mountain views, and the famous Northern Lights Cathedral.
Another highlight of basing yourself in Alta is getting the chance to stay at its famous igloo hotel. Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel is known to be the northernmost ice hotel in Europe and yes, it’s made entirely out of ice!
Helgeland is a quaint little coastal town that also happens to be the southernmost point of Northern Norway. Thanks to its location next to the ocean, a trip to Helgeland gives visitors the unique chance to chase the northern lights on a kayak. Aside from that, you can also try your hand at skiing or take a day trip to Rodoy Island.
Set between Tromso and Alta, Lyngenfjord is known for its clear skies which gives higher chances to see the Northern Lights at their fullest glory. Getting to Lyngenfjord requires driving from Alta or Tromso, but it’s totally worth the effort as it’s definitely one of the spots in Norway where you’re almost guaranteed to catch a light show.
Much like Lyngenfjord, Narvik is known for being one of the best places to see the lights thanks to its clear skies. Narvik is surrounded by jaw-dropping mountains, from where you can see the lights if you’re keen to go on a hike for a spectacular show!
Aside from getting the chance to see the lights, Narvik offers an extensive array of activities to try, like skiing, fjord cruises, and more!
Getting to Svalbard requires a bit more effort than any other destination listed on this post, but the rewards make it worth your time. Plus, get this: Svalbard is the only place in the world where you can see the Northern Lights during the day!
Svalbard is a group of islands separates from mainland Norway. These islands belong to the North Pole, and if you’re looking for a truly unique place to see the lights, this might just be it!
Senja is a recently popular place to see the Northern Lights at its fullest glory. The highlight of visiting Senja is the unique opportunity it offers to witness the lights over the most incredible Norwegian fjords.
Lofoten is an incredible set of quaint fishing islands on that feel as though they come straight from a fairytale and we actually think that visiting them is a must on any Norway itinerary regardless of the time of the year you come.
Aside from seeing the northern lights, you’ll get to spend your days in Lofoten Islands feeling as though you’re walking inside a storybook, learning about the islands’ unique culture and history, and exploring one of Norway’s best foodie destinations. Plus, Lofoten offers one of the most incredible photo spots to photographs the lights, as the islands are backdropped by breath-taking mountains and spectacular water reflections.
And that’s our list of the best places to see the northern lights in Norway. Wherever you choose to go, we can assure you you’re in for a real treat! Aside from getting the chance to witness Earth’s coolest light show, you’ll also be able to cross some serious bucket list-worthy items off your list, like going dog sledding, learning about the indigenous Sami culture and their reindeer, going skiing, or trying your hand at snowshoeing!
Photos to inspire you to see the Northern Lights
Here are more pictures that I took of the Northern Lights. It’s truly amazing to see. I love how you can see how faint they are to how vibrant they become. The dance is different every time and I feel so lucky to have gotten the opportunity to see them 3 nights in a row!
Have you ever seen the northern lights with your own eyes?
Want to know how to photograph the Northern Lights? That blog post is coming soon!