Norway is a country known for its incredible landscapes and the wide variety of scenery but one of our greatest and most admired natural phenomenon is the magical Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights.
This phenomenon attracts large groups of tourists to every year but many who don't go searching for the Lady in Green aren't prepared and miss the opportunity to see it.
A common misconception is that you can see the northern lights anywhere in Norway. Unfortunately, that’s not quite how it works.
Are the northern lights visible all year?
The northern lights are active all year but they are only visible in the dark. Since the Norwegian summer is bright and the sun doesn’t even set in the northern parts, the Aurora won’t be visible.
You have the best chance of seeing the northern lights between September and April, as the nights (and days) are getting darker. Even though the Aurora is still as active as during rest of the year, it’s now visible in the sky for us to see.
Since the northern lights are happening in the sky, they are only visible during clear nights. If there are clouds you will not be able to see it. This is perhaps the biggest challenge when it comes to seeing the northern lights during winter as the weather is often unpredictable and, if you’re unlucky, it can be weeks without a clear night.
Planning a trip to Norway just to see the northern lights can be challenging, as much depends on your luck with the weather. Make sure you’re visiting between September and April to maximize the chances of seeing some lights.
Can I see the Northern Lights everywhere in Norway?
This is another common misconception that many have when traveling to Norway. Even though only 5 million people live here, it’s a large country by area (148 718 square miles) that stretches from 57° to 81° North.
Since the northern lights are a phenomenon that is mostly visible in the northern hemisphere, it’s not common to see them everywhere in Norway.
Northern Norway is the most popular region to visit for northern lights hunters. However, on some days they can be visible in all of Norway but not as strong as what you’ll normally see in the north.
How can I see the Northern Lights in Norway?
If you’re visiting Norway between September and April the odds are already in your favor that you will have at least one night where the northern lights appear in the sky. That, however, doesn’t mean that you’re guaranteed to seeing it!
When hunting for the northern lights you need to pay attention to the Aurora Forecast & weather forecast. If the KP Index (the northern lights prediction) is high and the sky is clear, chances are good!
Getting away from light pollution and city lights is essential if you want a good look at the Lady in Green, especially if you’re not in northern Norway. The city lights will lower your night vision and you will most likely not be able to see the northern lights even though they are dancing above you.
If you’re visiting major cities such as Oslo or Trondheim make sure that you get out of the city center and towards an area with less light pollution.
Ideally, the location you’re at should have a clear sight towards the north, as that’s where you’re most likely to see the northern lights.
During more active days, or in the northern Norway, the Auroras can often be see dancing right above but in the southern part of Norway, that’s much more rear. In the south, the Aurora is normally only visible on the northern horizon.