Seeing the Northern Lights (also known as the aurora borealis) is often an experience at the top of everyone's bucket list, and it was on mine. I’ve always wanted to see the natural phenomenon that is the Northern Lights, and since I was on a road trip that was heading to Norway, a destination famous for seeing the Northern Lights, I knew I was in for a good chance…
I’ve been to high and low in Norway and I’ve seen the Northern Lights more than once, so below I will tell you all you need to know about seeing the Northern Lights in Norway.
And I warn you now ... they are as amazing as you think!
Yes, and very well at that. So, basically the further north you are in the world, the higher the chance you have of seeing the Northern Lights in Norway. This is why places in the north of Norway, such as Tromso, the North Cape and the Lofoten Islands are all famous for seeing the Northern Lights.
The best time is during the months of October to March where the days are darker. But if you are wondering what month is best to see the Northern Lights in Norway in specific, I would say October. November on wards brings greater chance of snow, and you can’t see them with snow.
The summer months in the north of Norway bring the midnight sun, which basically means it doesn’t go dark, so you have a 0% chance of seeing the Northern Lights.
So there are some things you need to know about the Northern Lights in general, that will help make your northern light hunting adventures a little bit easier…
Something else to note about where to see the Northern Lights in Norway, you’ll have a high chance of seeing the “colours”.
What I mean by this, is that sometimes if you’re looking at the Northern Lights further down the world, so say from Finland, or even Latvia, Estonia, then you’ll see the “white” of the Northern Lights, and you’ll only see the colours (predominantly green) when you put a camera too it.
Well, when you are in north Norway, you will see that green with your own eyes, it's amazing. We actually seen pink and purple too...it’s unbelievable.
I actually think the north of Norway is possibly the best place in the world to see the Northern Lights…
So with that being said, let’s look at where to see the Northern Lights in Norway!
The North Cape is the most northern point in all of Europe, so when it comes to seeing the Northern Lights in Norway, well you can’t go any further! This is without a doubt one of the best places to see the Northern Lights in Norway and when we seen the lights here, it was an amazing show.
We saw pinks, greens, purples, all with the naked eye. I couldn’t believe my eyes.
Since we had our own campervan, we parked up in an isolated area and had clear skies all night long.
I think you can do Northern Lights tours to the North Cape, but your best bet is hiring a car and finding a spot of darkness yourself away from the crowds.
Alternatively, hire a motorhome or campervan in Norway and stay there for the night like we did!
This was actually the first place Brad and I saw the Northern Lights in Norway. Hamningberg is a fishing village in the north east of Norway and it’s super remote. It actually closes in the winter, but we visited in October so managed to visit.
We were the only people in the village, and we parked up in what I think was a field by the water (everything was covered in snow) and we were greeted to a show from the Northern Lights.
So if you’re wondering where to see the Northern Lights in Norway in October this is the spot!
This is a great spot, and if you don’t want to go as far as Hamningberg, the port town of Vardo is close and it’s another great spot to see the Northern Lights thanks to its northerly location.
We pulled over by the huge fjord here whilst on our way to the North Cape. We weren’t actually planning on searching for the Northern Lights that night, but as soon as we parked up (around 5 o'clock), the lights were already starting to show.
Before we knew it, a full Northern Lights dance was out with the most powerful of greens! The stars were sparkling and it was magical. We ended up having a BBQ and enjoying the epicness of the Northern Lights in Norway.
We didn’t see the Northern Lights in Alta, but it is one of the most popular places for where to see the Northern Lights in Norway. They actually have a Northern lights cathedral which is pretty darn cool, and there are plenty of companies who offer Northern Lights tours in Alta.
And you can stay in igloo style accommodation (with glass/clear windows) to see the Northern Lights from your bed...pretty cool!
Tromso is one of the most well known destinations in Norway to see the Northern Lights ... and actually I seen them a little bit, but it wasn’t very strong and I was literally just popping my head outside the window to check.
This is a popular tourist city in Northern Norway, and there are a lot of tours that go Northern Lights hunting from here. But I suggest you rent a car and drive out of the city.
Lakes are always a good place to go, as you can get a reflection of the Northern Lights on the water!
This was actually the location of the campsite we stayed in before we went hiking to a frozen waterfall (which is awesome btw!).
We parked up, and it was a fairly cloudy day, but with some breaks in the cloud, so I set my tripod up, left it on stargazing mode and waited inside (it was freezing) and the Northern Lights showed again!
This time with the backdrop of a mountain which looked pretty darn cool.
This is another famous location in Norway that is known as one of the best places to see the Northern Lights in Norway. We actually camped 2 nights there and on both nights, the weather was not on our side.
So we did not see the Northern Lights ... but I’ve seen some of the cool pictures and one of the cool places to spot them in Reine or the town of A.
If you head to the Lofoten Islands, then check those locations out…
So those are my favourite and best locations of where to see Northern Lights in Norway. Basically the further north you go, the higher the chance. You’ll also need to dedicate some time to the experience too.
Give yourself at least 5 days and the chances are you’re going to get a clear night on one of those days.
And since you’re in Northern Norway where the KP doesn't need to be high, then if the solar winds and solar activity are on your side, then you’ve got a pretty good chance of seeing the Northern Lights in Norway.
I am not a professional photographer and I basically learn by doing, but here are some top travel photography tips I picked up on capturing the Northern Lights.
So the big question is, should you pay to take a Northern Lights tour in Norway? Basically, the way I look at it is, you either pay for Northern Lights tour, or you spend the money on a car rental and go aurora hunting yourself.
We did a Northern Lights tour when in Finland, and I do have to say it was awesome, we learnt a lot and the advantage a tour guide has is knowledge.
They know the best spots to catch the Northern Lights, so can take you to some “secret” locations. If you do opt for a tour, I suggest you research and pick a tour guide that does small group tours (or even private) so that you can really have the experience all to yourself.
Mass tourism style tours don’t really care if you see the lights or not, whereas a small group tour are eager for you to see them and will keep driving to locations to hunt for them!
Just be aware that if you pay for a tour, it is NEVER a guarantee to see the Northern Lights in Norway. Unfortunately we can’t control nature, and you can’t ask for a refund if you don’t see the Northern Lights. Just bare that in mind.
Your other option is to rent out a car and head to some of the locations I have listed above as where to see the Northern Lights in Norway.
You can check car rental prices for Norway here. But if there are travelling as a couple or with friends, then it will probably work out better financially to rent a car, plus you can control your itinerary then.
A lot of people visit the south of Norway too and to see the Northern Lights that far down, you’re going to need a KP of 5. If you can see them in deep south Norway, then you’ll see them in Scotland and possibly northern Ireland too.
But, it does happen! When we were in the north, the KP hit 8 and people in my country (northern Ireland) where seeing them strong, so it’s totally possible, just a lot less likely.
So if you’re wondering where to see the Northern Lights in Norway Oslo, then I suggest you head out of the city, away from light pollution to a lake, or even a forest for the best chance.
As a rule of thumb, the further north you are, the higher the chance.
So there you go, I hope you’ve enjoyed my guide on where to see the Northern Lights in Norway.
I hope you’ve got some good travel tips on how to see the Northern lights as well as specific locations on where to see the Northern Lights in beautiful Norway. If you’ve got any other tips to add to this Northern Lights guide, then drop me a comment below.