Catch the Elusive and Wondrous Northern Lights In Norway

Enjoy the light show, plus fun in the snow.

Catching the northern lights is as much a matter of luck as science, but your best chances are to be closer to the arctic in wintertime when nights are longer. You’ll want to avoid larger cities with light pollution by venturing somewhere remote with an organised tour.

Plan an itinerary with more than one stop since Norway offers much beyond the light displays:


Alta is officially the city of Northern Lights, where the formal study of these phenomena began in 1899 at the northern lights observatory. Closed in 1926, one of the original buildings of the observatory is now a Norwegian Trekking Association cabin.

Experienced northern lights hunters can lead you to expeditions on the Finnmark plateau or the Arctic coast. Even if the skies don’t favour you with these somewhat mystic and sometimes elusive lights, the fjords may treat you to orca or humpback whale sightings.

There are also fun activities in Alta, including dog sledding and snowmobiling.

In nearby Sorrisniva, you could stay at the annual Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel, where everything is ice. No need to catch a chill. You can warm yourself under reindeer hides in your sleeping bag. Or, try the Sorrisniva lodge, which offers panoramic glass windows overlooking the Alta river. Enjoy the northern lights from your cosy room.

Try the local fare featuring game, reindeer, Alta salmon, and other fish from the local lakes and fjords.

Sunrise in Norway

The Lyngenfjord Region

Hidden behind the Lyngen Alps, which rise 1833 metres, Lyngenfjord is one of the driest climates in Europe. You have a better chance of encountering clear skies, starry nights, and northern light displays. This region is sparsely populated, with little or no light pollution. Be mindful to explore the territory with a local guide to keep you safe.

You can visit the inland wilderness of Reisa National Park or the Three-Country Cairn at the northernmost point, where the borders of Norway, Sweden, and Finland meet. Explore the islands around Skjervøy or the Spåkenes peninsula to enjoy panoramic views of the Lyngen Alps range. Lyngen is also a popular spot for ski tours.

Stop by Aurora Spirit Distillery (the world’s northernmost whisky distillery). By the way, the distillery has a private cabin available for rent which can house up to eight people and an outdoor hot tub you can soak in to watch the northern lights.


This magical island near Tromsø is a memorable escape from ordinary life. Only an hour by boat from Tromsø, Senja offers dramatic alpine peaks, fjords and white beaches. The biggest village on this island, Hamn, offers fishing, snowshoeing, ski touring, and aurora hunting expeditions, among other adventures. Here you have a chance to spot more than the northern lights. You could also bump into moose and reindeer. Be sure to bring a guide.

Resorts offer cosy accommodations and great food. Try Garsnes Brygge, Senja Fjordhotell and Mefjord Brygge and take advantage of the fishing and ski tours.

northen lights over a bridge in Norway


Tromsø is a bustling city, so you may run into light pollution and want to venture out on a guided expedition for the lights. Still, you could get lucky, and besides, there’s so much happening in this youthful town that you’re bound to have fun. Tromsø is also ideal for familiarising yourself with Sami culture and arctic history in its many museums and art galleries.

The summits entice ski enthusiasts, with Mount Storsteinen (421 metres) offering views of the city below and a chance to see the lights. Its peak is accessible with the Fjellheisen cable car.

A local Alaskan husky farm offers dog sledging, and harbour tours offer whale-watching safaris.

Don’t miss the light-filled Arctic Cathedral. Make Tromsø your base and venture out to the more remote Senja, Alta or the Lyngenfjord region, then come back for a spell before heading home.

How to get there

Both Tromsø and Alta have airports. Consult with your LunaJets advisor on the best private flight arrangements for your itinerary.