Northern Lights in Tromsø

Experience The Aurora Borealis in Beautiful Norway!


Best Northern Lights Tours in Tromsø, Norway (+Best Deals & Tips)

Have you ever dreamed of seeing the northern lights in Tromsø, Norway? This magical natural phenomenon is a breathtaking sight to behold and one that you will remember for the rest of your life. Tromsø, located in the northern part of Norway, is known as one of the world’s best places to witness the Aurora Borealis.

With its dark winter nights and clear skies, Tromsø provides a perfect backdrop for the dancing colors of the northern lights. In this guide I’ll share with you everything you need to know to plan a trip to Tromsø to see the northern lights and create unforgettable memories.

Are you planning a last-minute trip to Tromsø?

Plan ahead to visit Tromsø and its surroundings like a pro with these top northern light tours, hotels, and more!

Top 5 Best Northern Light Tours in Tromsø:

  1. Northern Light Minibus Tour
  2. Aurora Chase with Professional Photographers
  3. Northern Lights Husky Visit
  4. Northern Lights Cuisine Cruise
  5. Tromso Northern Lights Cable Car Excursion

Top Accommodation to Sleep Under The Northern Lights:

  1. Tromsø Aurora Lodge & Camping
  2. Melishome: Aurora Observatory

What causes the northern lights, and why are they visible in Tromsø?

The northern lights are caused by the interaction between electrically charged particles from the sun and the Earth’s magnetic field. These charged particles, also known as solar wind, are constantly streaming from the sun towards the Earth. When the solar wind collides with the Earth’s magnetic field, it creates a magnetic storm. This storm causes the charged particles to spiral along the magnetic field lines towards the Earth’s poles.

As the charged particles approach the Earth’s atmosphere, they collide with the gas molecules in the atmosphere, such as nitrogen and oxygen. This collision causes the gas molecules to become excited and release energy in the form of light, creating the northern lights.

Tromsø is located within the auroral oval, an area around the Earth’s magnetic poles with a high concentration of auroral activity. This means that Tromsø is in an ideal location to witness the northern lights.

Additionally, Tromsø’s latitude and longitude also make it a prime spot to see the Aurora Borealis. Its location at 69° 40′ N, above the Arctic Circle, means that it is within the auroral zone, where the northern lights are most frequently visible.

What are the different colors of the northern lights, and what causes them?

The Northern Lights can appear in different colors, including green, pink, purple, yellow, and white. The colors are caused by the interaction between charged particles from the sun and the Earth’s magnetic field.

Green is the most common color of the Aurora borealis and is caused by oxygen molecules colliding with charged particles. The higher the altitude, the more likely it is that the aurora will appear green.

Pink and purple auroras occur when particles collide with nitrogen molecules, which produce a reddish or purplish hue. Yellow and white auroras are also caused by collisions between charged particles and oxygen and nitrogen atoms, but they occur at lower altitudes and are less common.

The intensity and color of the aurora borealis can vary depending on the strength of the solar wind, the Earth’s magnetic field, and other atmospheric factors.

When is the best time of the year to see the northern lights in Tromsø?

The best time to see the northern lights in Tromsø is between late September and early April. During these months, the nights are long and dark, providing optimal viewing conditions.

Keep in mind that the northern lights are a natural phenomenon, and their appearance is not guaranteed. However, by visiting during this time frame and being patient, you increase your chances of seeing the lights.

What time of day can you see the northern lights?

The Northern Lights appear in the evenings, often between 19:00 and 2:00 (7pm and 2am); however, there is no set time, as they’re naturally-occurring and don’t follow a schedule. They can last anywhere from 10 minutes to several hours. The length of time depends on the magnitude of the solar wind the charged particles are traveling on. 

Where is the best spot to see the northern lights in Tromsø (and can you see them in the city)?

tromso northern light city

The best spot to see the northern lights in Tromsø is away from the city lights, where the skies are dark and clear. One great tour option to see the northern lights is the Tromso Northern Lights Cable Car Excursion. This tour takes you up Mount Storsteinen on the Fjellheisen Cable Car, where you’ll have a spectacular view of the northern lights from an altitude of 421 meters. Click here to get the best ticket deal!

The tour starts at the cable car station, where you’ll board the Fjellheisen Cable Car for a scenic ride to the top of Mount Storsteinen. As you ascend to the top, you’ll enjoy stunning views of Tromsø and the surrounding fjords.

Once you reach the summit, you’ll step out onto a large viewing platform, where you’ll have an unobstructed view of the night sky.

What are your chances of seeing the northern lights in Tromsø?

While the chances of seeing the northern lights in Tromsø vary, it’s estimated that visitors have about an 80% chance of seeing them during a three-night stay under favorable conditions. However, it’s important to note that the Aurora borealis is a natural phenomenon, and sightings cannot be guaranteed. You will need clear and dark skies without snowy or cloudy conditions.

What should you wear when chasing the northern lights in Tromsø?

northern lights tours norway

When chasing the northern lights in Tromsø, it’s important to dress warmly and in layers. Temperatures can drop significantly at night, and you’ll want to stay warm and comfortable. Dress in thermal layers, a windproof jacket, and warm boots. Don’t forget gloves, a hat, and a scarf to protect your extremities.

In addition to dressing warmly, it’s also important to wear the right type of clothing. Avoid cotton, as it will absorb moisture and can make you feel colder. Instead, choose synthetic materials that wick moisture away from your body, such as fleece or wool. You may also want to consider bringing along hand warmers and toe warmers, especially if you’re planning on spending an extended amount of time outside.

It’s also a good idea to bring a small backpack with you to carry extra layers, snacks, and water. Many tours will provide warm beverages like hot chocolate or coffee, but it’s always a good idea to bring your own water bottle just in case.

Lastly, don’t forget to bring your camera! Seeing the northern lights is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and you’ll want to capture the moment. Make sure your camera is fully charged and has enough memory to store all your photos. Keep reading to get the best tips on photography and the Aurora borealis!

Can you see the northern lights without a tour?

Yes, it is possible to see the northern lights in Tromsø without a tour. However, going on a tour increases your chances of seeing them as tour operators have experience and knowledge of the best viewing spots and can take you to locations with optimal viewing conditions.

If you’re planning to go on your own by car, it’s important to research the best spots for viewing and to check the weather forecast. It’s also important to remember to dress warmly and be prepared for a long wait as the Northern Lights can be unpredictable and may not appear at all.

What are the best northern lights tours in Tromsø?

Are you planning a trip to Tromsø to witness the spectacular northern lights? With over 50 different tours to choose from, it can be overwhelming to decide which one to book.

To help you out, we’ve narrowed down the list to two of the best northern lights tours in Tromsø that we personally visited and highly recommend. These tours offer unique experiences and opportunities to witness the Aurora borealis in all its glory.

Northern Light Minibus Tour

aurora photography tromso

This tour is an all-inclusive, small-group tour that takes you on a hunt for the northern lights in the Tromsø region. The tour includes a knowledgeable guide who will share interesting facts and stories about the northern lights, as well as hot drinks and snacks to keep you warm and comfortable during the trip.

The minibus is equipped with Wi-Fi and power outlets, so you can share your experiences and photos with your friends and family in real-time.

The tour operator has a high success rate in spotting the Northern Lights, and they even offer a northern lights guarantee: if you don’t see the lights, you can join another tour for free. The tour also includes a professional photographer who will take photos of you with the Northern Lights and share them with you after the trip.

Click here to find the best deal!

Aurora Chase with Professional Photographers

northern lights photography tour tromso

This tour is a small-group tour that takes you on a chase for the northern lights in the Tromsø region. The tour is led by professional photographers who will provide guidance on how to capture the best photos of the Northern Lights using your camera or smartphone. The photographers will also take photos of you with the northern lights and share them with you after the trip.

The tour includes transportation in a comfortable minibus, hot drinks and snacks, and warm clothing and equipment, such as tripods and headlamps. The tour operator has a high success rate in spotting the northern lights, and they will take you to the best locations based on the weather and solar activity.

Both tours offer a unique and unforgettable experience of seeing the northern lights in Tromsø.

Click here to find the best deal!

The Northern Light Minibus Tour is great for those who want a comfortable and hassle-free tour with all the necessary amenities provided, while the Aurora Chase with Professional Photographers is perfect for those who want to learn how to capture stunning photos of the Northern Lights with the help of experts.

Whichever tour you choose, make sure to dress warmly and bring your camera to capture this awe-inspiring natural phenomenon.

How much does a northern lights tour cost in Tromsø? 

On average, a northern lights tour in Tromsø will cost around 120-200 Euros or 140-240 USD per person. The cost can vary depending on the type of tour and the inclusions.

The duration of the tour can range from 4-6 hours for a minibus tour to 7-8 hours for a more comprehensive tour that includes a meal. It’s important to note that while these tours can be a bit pricey, they often provide transportation, warm clothing, and knowledgeable guides to ensure the best possible experience of viewing the lights.

Northern lights tours combined with other activities

northern light husky tour

If you’re looking for a complete experience while in Tromsø, consider combining a northern lights tour with other exciting activities. Two excellent options are the Northern Lights Husky Visit and the Northern Lights Cuisine Cruise.

The Northern Lights Husky Visit takes you on a thrilling dog sled ride through the beautiful Arctic wilderness while also giving you the opportunity to meet and learn about the huskies. Afterward, you’ll enjoy a warm meal and hot drinks in a traditional Sami lavvo, followed by a Northern Lights presentation.

The Northern Lights Cuisine Cruise is a unique way to experience the Northern Lights while also indulging in delicious local cuisine. You’ll sail through the fjords on an eco-friendly electric catamaran, enjoying a 3-course dinner made from fresh local ingredients. If the Northern Lights make an appearance, you’ll be able to witness them from the comfort of the catamaran’s deck.

Both tours are led by knowledgeable and experienced guides who will ensure that you have an unforgettable experience. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to combine two or more amazing activities in Tromsø.

The history and culture of the northern lights in Tromsø and Norway

The northern lights have a long history and cultural significance in Tromsø and Norway. In ancient times, the indigenous Sami people believed that the northern lights had spiritual power and were a bridge between the living and the dead. They also thought that the lights had the ability to heal the sick and bring good luck.

Norwegian folklore is also filled with stories and legends about the northern lights. One such tale tells of a man who angered the gods and was banished to the ends of the earth, where he became the northern lights. Another story suggests that the lights are the spirits of the dead, dancing across the sky.

In Tromsø, the northern lights have become a major tourist attraction, drawing visitors from all over the world. The city has embraced its connection to the aurora borealis, and many businesses offer northern lights tours and experiences.

In addition to the cultural significance, the northern lights have also played an important role in scientific research. Tromsø has long been a hub for auroral research, and the city’s location within the auroral oval has made it an ideal location for studying the lights. Today, Tromsø continues to be a center for auroral research, with scientists from around the world coming to study the phenomenon.

Overall, the northern lights have had a significant impact on the history and culture of Tromsø and Norway. They continue to captivate and inspire people from all over the world, and their beauty and mystery will undoubtedly continue to be studied and celebrated for generations to come.

Northern lights festivals and events in Tromsø

Tromsø is not only a great place to see the northern lights, but it’s also home to various festivals and events celebrating this natural wonder. One of the most popular events is the Northern Lights Festival, which takes place annually in late January or early February. This festival features a variety of concerts and performances held in venues across the city, showcasing local and international artists.

Another notable event is the Sami Week, which celebrates the culture and traditions of the Sami people, an indigenous group that has lived in Northern Norway for thousands of years. This week-long festival includes various activities such as reindeer racing, traditional Sami music and dance performances, and lectures on Sami culture and history.

Attending one of these festivals or events can be a great way to experience the unique culture and traditions of Tromsø and Norway, while also enjoying the breathtaking beauty of the northern lights.

Where are the best accommodations in Tromsø to sleep under the northern lights?

northern light tromso

When it comes to unique accommodations in Tromsø where you can sleep under the northern lights, there are a few options that stand out. Here are two accommodations that are worth considering:

  1. Tromsø Aurora Lodge & Camping – This campsite offers the chance to sleep in a traditional Sami lavvo, a tent-like structure used by the indigenous Sami people. The lavvos are equipped with wood-burning stoves for warmth, and there are communal facilities such as showers and a kitchen. The campsite also offers guided tours to see the northern lights.
  2. Melishome Aurora Observatory – This accommodation is situated on a hill overlooking the city and offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and sea. The rooms are designed with large windows and skylights for optimal northern lights viewing, and there is also an outdoor hot tub. The observatory also offers guided tours and lectures on the northern lights.

Both of these accommodations offer unique experiences for those looking to sleep under the northern lights in Tromsø. Prices vary depending on the season and availability, but generally start around €100-€150 per night for two people. The average length of stay is typically one to three nights.

How to photograph the northern lights in Tromsø?

Photographing the northern lights in Tromsø can be a truly breathtaking experience. However, capturing this natural phenomenon on camera requires some knowledge and preparation. Here are some tips on how to photograph the northern lights in Tromsø:

  1. Use a tripod: To avoid blurry photos, it’s important to keep your camera steady. A tripod is essential for stable shots.
  2. Use a wide-angle lens: A wide-angle lens will help capture the entire aurora and any surrounding landscape.
  3. Manual focus: Autofocus can struggle in low light, so it’s best to manually focus your lens to get a sharp image.
  4. Use a high ISO: In low light, using a high ISO will help capture more light and detail in your photos.
  5. Slow shutter speed: A slow shutter speed will capture the movement of the aurora and create a more dynamic image.
  6. Experiment with white balance: Different white balance settings can create different colors in your photos, so it’s worth experimenting to find the best setting for the conditions.
  7. Dress warmly: Photographing the northern lights in Tromsø can mean spending long periods of time outside in cold temperatures, so it’s important to dress warmly and bring extra layers.

Remember, photographing the northern lights takes practice and patience. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different settings and compositions to capture the beauty of this natural wonder.

Where can I find a good Aurora borealis forecast for Tromsø?

To find a good aurora borealis forecast for Tromsø, there are several websites and apps that can provide up-to-date information on the current and predicted northern lights activity. Here are a few options:

  1. The Norwegian Meteorological Institute provides a three-day aurora forecast for Tromsø on their website. The forecast is based on several factors including solar wind activity, and is updated daily.
  2. The Aurora Forecast app is a popular choice among aurora hunters. It provides an hourly aurora forecast for Tromsø and other locations around the world, as well as real-time alerts when the northern lights are active.
  3. The Space Weather Prediction Center, run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), provides a 27-day aurora forecast for Tromsø and other locations in the northern hemisphere. The forecast is based on solar activity and is updated daily.
  4. Aurora Watch UK is a website that provides a real-time aurora alert system for the UK and northern Europe. Users can sign up to receive email or SMS alerts when the aurora is predicted to be visible in their area, including Tromsø.

It’s important to note that while these forecasts can provide helpful guidance, the northern lights are a natural phenomenon and can be unpredictable. It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on the weather and aurora forecasts, but also to be flexible and ready to head out on short notice if the conditions are right.