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Norway | Tips and good spots to see the northern lights

'Chasing the dancing lights!´ It sounds as magical as it really is. The Northern Lights are a geomagnetic light phenomenon and seeing them is on many people's minds bucketlist.. I have during my journey Norway lucky enough to aurora borealis, or to see the northern lights. What a fairytale it was to experience! However, it cannot be seen everywhere in Norway and you need to consider factors such as location and weather conditions. In this article I will give you the necessary knowledge about where and how to spot the Northern Lights in Norway.

Lofoten | Spotting the Northern Lights
Lofoten | Spotting the Northern Lights

Plan your holiday to Scandinavia here

Where in Norway can you see the Northern Lights?

Norway is one of the best places in the world to spot the Northern Lights. What people often don't know in advance is that you can't see the light everywhere in Norway. In theory it could be, very occasionally it can also be seen The Netherlands, but the chance is very small in Oslo, for example. The higher you go, the greater the chance of seeing the aurora borealis sparkle. In principle, every northern city is a good option, but not every northern city is also a nice holiday destination. The two options below are the best places to experience Norway's winter wonderland.


The best place to see the Northern Lights is undoubtedly the Lofoten (Location here ). The Lofoten is an archipelago in the north of Norway and is also one of the most beautiful places in the world…

Lofoten archipelago | Spotting the Northern Lights
Lofoten archipelago | Spotting the Northern Lights

There are few city lights on the Lofoten, there is little population, little traffic and actually there is little of anything except beautiful untouched nature. Because it is completely dark faster due to the few city lights, the chance of seeing the northern lights is greater! You can look up countless places in nature where you can see aurora dancing.

I would personally recommend choosing Lofoten as a destination to go hunting for the Northern Lights. We ourselves have seen the northern lights twice in Lofoten, of the 5 nights we spent there. We were lucky with the weather, which I will tell you more about below.

Cycling archipelago Lofoten | Spotting the Northern Lights
Cycling archipelago Lofoten | Spotting the Northern Lights


Tromsø is Norway's largest city, north of the Arctic Circle, and is also known as the gateway to the North Pole. The cold Norwegian city (location here ) is a lot easier to reach than Lofoten, because it has an airport.

The city is the perfect destination for a winter holiday and for many people the ideal place to see the Northern Lights. In the winter months it gets dark early, but the houses give a lot of light, so you have to look for quiet places. Preferably in the middle of nature and as dark as possible to see the northern lights. You can think of the lakes of Tromsø, or the Fjellheisen Cable Car, which takes you to the top of the mountain and gives you a view of the city. Here you have a better chance of spotting the light!

Also read: Northern lights | Hotspots to Hunt for the Fascinating Aurora Borealis

Northern Lights tours

On the Lofoten en in Tromsø you can book a northern lights excursion at many organizations. You don't have to search long, because you will find activity offices everywhere where you can connect. Or easily book it online.

Short holiday? Book a tour!

I would recommend joining a tour if you are going on vacation for a week to a week and a half for example. It can be quite difficult to find the northern lights and this way you have a good chance of seeing the light. The experts know the best Aurora hideouts, so at least you won't have to return at the end of your vacation with the disappointment of not seeing the light.

Not a must, but handy

We ourselves spent more than a month in Norway, so we could spend as much time as we wanted to find the Northern Lights. That is why we did not opt ​​for a tour. When we arrived in Lofoten, the mission was soon accomplished, so a tour is not a must, but useful if you don't have weeks to spare!

Norway | Spotting the Northern Lights
Norway | Spotting the Northern Lights

Go camping to spot the light

As I wrote above, darkness is the best place for light in this case! Look for places where there are no city lights that can illuminate the sky, even if just a little. For example on a large lake, on the fjords, on the water, on a mountain or even easier; stand on a campsite! Campsites are often located outside the city, which makes it the perfect base to see the light ballet.

Gullesfjord camping | Spotting the Northern Lights
Gullesfjord camping | Spotting the Northern Lights

We have only visited campsites in Lofoten, and you will often find these in the middle of nature, surrounded by the rugged rocks of the island. A unique experience to camp here anyway, but the beautiful starry sky that we saw during the clear nights made it really special. The endless starry sky gives you the idea that you are one with nature and it is different than we are used to in the Netherlands. So, not only fun to spot the northern lights, but also the stars! We ended up seeing the Northern Lights twice on Camping Gullesfjord in Lofoten, located in the heart of a fjord.

The best weather conditions

No cloud cover

It is important that there are no clouds in the sky. You have the best chance of seeing the light on a clear winter evening. If it is cloudy, you will hardly be able to see the Northern Lights. The northern lights take place at a height of at least 80 km above the clouds, so you will not easily see them dance as beautifully with clouds as without. As soon as you see the stars shine extra beautifully on clear evenings, you can sometimes sense that this could be a good night for the northern lights.

Northern Lights Lofoten | Spotting the Northern Lights
Northern Lights Lofoten | Spotting the Northern Lights

Cold and dry nights

Aurora borealis does not like rain, snow or wind. She lives the most during cold and dry nights. The icy cold ensures that less water vapor clouds the sky. Heaven should be as calm as possible.

The best months

Between the end of September and the end of May are the best months. It is already dark early in the afternoon and the sun never rises. You wake up at dusk and around 14:00/14:30 it is completely dark again! This ensures that aurora borealis regularly passes by to show her dancing skills in the sky! Outside of these months you have little to no chance of seeing the Northern Lights. There are always exceptions, but don't assume.

When to go out?

What I was afraid of during our adventure through Norway was that I would have fallen into a wonderful sleep after a long day, waking up the next morning and hearing that the Northern Lights were on display! Also because the chance of seeing it is nowhere near 100%, you want to make sure that if you are there, you at least don't miss it. But how? You can't stand outside all day, because it's cold, freezing cold even... Fortunately, there is a simple solution: apps!

Gullesfjord camping: camping in Lofoten
Gullesfjord camping | Spotting the Northern Lights

My Aurora forecasts & Alerts app

This app was our hero (link here )! It works well and indicates exactly when Aurora is coming. Turn on the notifications, because you will receive a message when the northern lights are almost visible. It is then indicated: 'within an hour there is a chance to see the aurora borealis'. You can also see how the clouds are and you see a forecast per day, with the chance of spotting the northern lights. You can look ahead into the night if there is a chance to see 'the dancing lights'.

Ask the locals

The locals in Norway are so friendly and helpful. Even though they can often admire it, they still love aurora borealis. During our stay at campsites and other accommodations, we asked the Norwegians every day if there will be a chance to spot the northern lights. They feel the natural phenomenon like no other and can tell you a lot. In addition, they enjoy seeing tourists come to admire the beauty of their country and will make sure you don't miss it. The people are so helpful and enthusiastic that they even took us out of our house twice when the northern lights were coming!

Are the Northern Lights just like in pictures?

I know from experience that not all photos from the internet really give a realistic picture of reality. On the first day that we saw the northern lights, the campsite managers enthusiastically shouted: 'The northern lights, the northern lights, come and see!'. We were, of course, patiently waiting. We kept looking up and indeed saw the northern lights.

White clouds?

However, we could not have distinguished it from white clouds. It was that the campsite managers pointed out to us that this is the northern lights. The woman crouched down on her knees to take pictures and showed them to us. My mouth fell open in surprise when I saw on her phone how bright green the light actually was. I tried to take a picture with my IPhone and it took pictures of green hues all over the sky. We asked ourselves: are the Northern Lights a scam? Is it only visible through the camera lens?

The green light!

The second time we saw the Northern Lights, we got confirmation that the Northern Lights are definitely not a scam. It was just as beautiful as in pictures! Shades of green moved gracefully through the sky and took on different shapes. We suddenly understood why it is called 'dancing lights' and enjoyed the magical aerial ballet! The day after we were lucky enough to even see pink and purple hues glowing over us. beautiful!

Also read: Why you should NOT take pictures with your smartphone during a world trip

How long does it take?

How long you can spot the northern lights varies greatly. We were able to admire the Northern Lights for about an hour on both evenings when they were clearly visible. We heard from other travelers that it sometimes went on for hours. At other times you have to be lucky that you can grab it for the few minutes that are available. So it varies from a few minutes to hours. It is impossible to predict what exactly you will see one evening. This also makes it exciting and fun in itself!

Northern Lights Lofoten | Spotting the Northern Lights
Northern Lights Lofoten | Spotting the Northern Lights


In short, spotting the northern lights in Norway is not something that is guaranteed to succeed during your holiday. Still, you have a great chance during clear nights if you visit the northern destinations in the winter months. Be aware of the light pollution of cities and look for dark places to increase your chance. Hopefully you're as lucky as we are. You stand breathless looking up as the light starts to dance. So you can tick this amazing experience off your bucket list!

Plan your holiday to Scandinavia here


Hi! I'm Ilse, 23 years old. Since a backpacking trip through Scandinavia, my love for travel has grown and so has my bucket list! I fell in love with Norway and have since returned to the beautiful country twice. I have already seen many places in Europe. In September and October I will travel to Indonesia and Thailand, and in March next year I will explore Central America.

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