If you ever wanted to experience the Northern Lights, now is a great time to do it. Experts have predicted that the sun has reached a peak in its cycle – the solar maximum – and that this will give us some of the best shows for 50 years.
Elusive and otherworldly, the Northern Lights are an infinitely magical moment on everyone’s ultimate to-do list. In fact, seeing the Northern Lights in Norway, is one of the most popular items on people’s travel bucket lists this year, whether on a cruise with Holland America Line or from land with Sunvil Real Scandinavia, staying in a glass igloo.
What are the Northern Lights?
Also known as the Aurora Borealis, the Northern Lights are a light display of greens, reds, and violets that occur in high latitudes. They are caused by changes in solar wind and magnetosphere that are directed by the earth’s magnetic field. They can vary in brightness from barely visible to bright bands cutting through the night sky.
They have inspired folklore, spirituality and a whole host of stories, artwork and tales throughout the ages, and continue to do so to this day.
How to See Them
The lights occur all year round, but to be able to see them, you need a dark sky. In the summer months, the sun does not set above the Arctic Circle, and so for Northern Lights seekers – wintertime is the best season, so now is the time to consider a cruise to Norway and beyond, P&O Cruises offer some great options, with interesting itineraries.
The Northern Lights are unpredictable, but scientists are able to offer suggestions as to when they might happen. For instance, because sunspots occur when the sun is most active, this is when the Northern Lights are more likely to appear. But the sky must be clear for a chance of spotting the light show, so cross your fingers that Mother Nature is on your side.
Where to Go
To seek out the Lights, it’s best to be underneath the Auroral Oval – centred around the Arctic Circle. So being near, or underneath this part of the world gives you the best chance of catching them. On the Norwegian Coast, there is plenty to see and do in the Arctic North in between searching for those Lights. With Inghams, for example, you can go husky dog sledding or snow shoeing.
Lofoten Islands – See stunning landscapes with Sunvil as you explore the beautiful Lofoten Islands. It is said that the light here (and not just the Northern Lights) is unlike anything else in the world; as a result, artists come from all over the world to paint it.
Tromsø – Visit the town of Tromsø, the largest town north of the Arctic Circle. Surrounded by mountains, this lovely town makes a great day trip, whether it’s visiting the unique Arctic Cathedral, or sitting down in a local establishment for a tipple from Europe’s northernmost brewery! Plus you can often see the Northern Lights from the surrounding hills on a dark clear night. Hurtigruten cruises, Norwegian specialists, come into port here for a great day’s excursion.
North Cape – Another item on many bucket lists is reaching the North Cape of Europe and looking out to a sea that leads straight to the frozen North Pole. Brace yourself as you step onto this high cliff; but the views are truly worth it. Cruise and Maritime Voyages offer longer cruises to take in more of this region, on their medium sized ships.
There are plenty of beautiful places to see and admire in Scandinavia and the Arctic whilst you keep one eye on that dark night sky for a hint of green.
Watch a video about the Northern Lights
Silver Travel Advisor recommends Hurtigruten