Tromso, Norway is one of the best place to see the Northern Lights


It’s 10.30pm and we simply stepped off the nice and cozy bus and into minus 25 diploma temperatures. We’re about to witness one thing actually spectacular, one thing I’ve been eager to see for so long as I can bear in mind. An astronomical phenomenon if you happen to like, aka the Northern Lights.

We’re about one hour exterior of Tromsø — a tiny metropolis in northern Norway with a inhabitants of about 64,000 and the place most days are spent in darkness.

It sees the solar for 2 months of the yr. However given it’s now January, throughout the Polar Night time, the solar briefly peaks out over the horizon. That is as a result of rotation of the earth and its tilted axis in relation to the solar.

The nation’s picturesque metropolis of Tromsø, positioned greater than 300km north of the Arctic Circle, just isn’t solely recognized for its cascading mountains and frozen fjords, however for being one of the best place on earth to see the Northern Lights attributable to its geographical location instantly under the Northern Lights oval.

As aurora borealis, aka the Northern Lights are a pure phenomenon, there are by no means any ensures, however we have been informed 2024 guarantees to have extra frequent sightings and so we have been hopeful that this pure surprise would come out to play.

In spite of everything, we’re in Tromsø the place you possibly can often see it even when the exercise is low and if you happen to enterprise additional afield you will have extra luck — and we did.

We’re in Aurora Alps, Slettmovein — a one-hour bus journey from town. And as I stepped foot off the bus and glanced into the evening sky, I may ever so barely see a inexperienced shimmer.

It then morphed into one thing stronger, because it continued to maneuver and sway effortlessly above our heads. The inexperienced color intensified and it was an unforgettable sight.

Award-winning Northern Lights photographer, Tor-Ivar Næss, was on the tour with us, informed me that attributable to Tromsø latitude of 69 levels and KP Index of 1-2 (a scientific score of depth), the tiny metropolis is hottest for mild viewings.

I rapidly whipped out my smartphone — I’ve a Google Pixel 8 Professional – and commenced taking as many footage as I may earlier than operating again on the bus to heat up and repeat the method once more.

Our tour information anticipated us to be out till 2am ready for the lights, so we have been fortunate to have seen it as quickly as we hopped off the bus.

Tor was additionally stunned by its fast look and instantly arrange his digicam within the ankle-deep snow.

He has lived underneath the lights his whole life, however it wasn’t till he captured his first photograph of it that he turned obsessed.

“It was not a very good one,” he joked, “But it surely was nonetheless the Northern Lights and from there it sparked my curiosity,” he informed me.

“I used to be amazed as a result of the digicam would choose up colors that I didn’t see with my very own eyes.”

Tor managed to snap some unbelievable images and whereas it’s price bringing your top-notch digicam, if you happen to don’t have one (like me) you possibly can nonetheless take some fairly spectacular images in your smartphone.

And if you happen to’re on a tour, which I used to be, the information will assist correctly modify your settings to get one of the best pictures.

As we watched on, Tor stated the Northern Lights will range simply because the climate on our planet, including he likes to chase the lights between mid-September and November as extra roads are open and climate situations aren’t so excessive.

“Typically it’s cloudy, typically it’s a very good sundown, typically it’s dim — it’s only a numbers sport, actually.”

For those who’re questioning what causes the Northern Lights, it’s photo voltaic winds, which blow digital particles into molecules of atmospheric gases, inflicting an emission of shiny mild.

It’s principally created when energised particles from the solar slam into earth’s higher environment at speeds of as much as 72 million km/h.

Most Northern Lights are inexperienced in color however typically you’ll see a touch of pink, purple, violet and white colors.

It’s an impressive and mesmerising mild present that it’s important to expertise as soon as in your life.

In truth, it’s a bucket checklist journey for many Aussies with Expedia revealing round 57 per cent wish to see it at the very least as soon as of their life.

It even beat Egypt’s Pyramids (44 per cent) and Japan’s cherry blossom season (43 per cent).

“With the subsequent couple of years set to ship probably the most aurora borealis exercise in 20 years, Expedia is already seeing a 40 per cent enhance in demand for Tromsø as many Aussies plan to make their bucket checklist expertise a actuality,” Sarah King, Journey Knowledgeable at Expedia informed information.com.au.

She stated whereas a visit to northern Norway in the course of the Aussie summer season just isn’t a typical vacation for a lot of, journey is all about creating new experiences and getting exterior of your consolation zone and it definitely delivers in that respect.

“From the polar evening, with only some hours daylight a day, to as much as minus 30-degree climate, sledding with huskies and that first second seeing the aurora borealis, it’s a magical and awe-inspiring vacation spot stuffed with a lot pure magnificence.”

It’s finest to guide a tour, it simply makes all of it a lot simpler as you don’t need to stress about the place to go, easy methods to get there and what to search for.

We did the Norwegian Journey tour for round $200 however Expedia additionally provide one for roughly $258 per individual. Costs range relying on once you go.

Aside from the Northern Lights, there are many different issues to do in Tromsø, so if the lights don’t come out to play, you possibly can nonetheless profit from your journey. Some are listed under.

Husky sledding

I couldn’t await the husky sledding expertise. I used to be in a position to drive my very own group of huskies and boy, have been they energetic.

On prime of the already 4 layers of clothes I used to be sporting, they gave us what seemed like a spacesuit to place over it. It was minus 30 and we have been informed we’d be on the market for an hour, so I welcomed it.

After the security briefing which was principally “don’t let go of the sled or the canines will maintain operating”, we hopped on, with one individual steering and the opposite sitting.

It was a wild expertise — I nearly fell off however fortunately I had a agency grip of the bar.

The view was not like something my eyes had ever seen earlier than — cascading snowy mountains with the solar’s uncommon look making a backdrop of blues, pinks and oranges, within the morning sky.

I made a decision to whip out my telephone (once I was seated in fact), to take just a few fast snaps, however instantly regretted it as a result of it was painfully chilly. Tip: Put on touchscreen gloves.

This was once I was actually grateful for the GoPro Hero 12 that I strapped to my chest final minute.

I assumed it was going to be a headache making an attempt to suit the Chesty Mount over my enormous area go well with after which work out easy methods to document in these Arctic situations, however it was fairly straightforward.

I used to be additionally fearful it wouldn’t survive the minus 30 situations — however not solely did it take some superior footage, it was surprisingly clear and never blurry from the extreme climate.

The canines bolted by the snow, with every sled following the opposite at speeds of about 20km/h. The air was contemporary, the view was spectacular and it was actually an unforgettable expertise.

The canine sleigh has been used for hundreds of years all through the arctic area, primarily for journey, looking and transport. So it was fairly cool to tick this conventional expertise off my checklist.

It prices roughly $250 per individual.

Reindeer sledding

The reindeer sledding expertise is about 45 minutes exterior of Tromsø and is one other must-do exercise. You not solely get to have a beautiful, stress-free expertise hanging with the reindeers and feeding them, however you additionally study Sami tradition from a member of a Sami reindeer herding household.

In addition they kind you out with gear to put on as you’re spending lengthy durations exterior. After they serve you a stunning, heat lunch, your adventures proceed with a guided tour of the Ice Domes.

You may even spend the evening there which is fairly cool however it’s simply not my factor, so I didn’t do it. All the pieces is made out of snow and ice, even the beds, however they do have a mattress – fortunately.

They provide the correct clothes too for the minus 5 diploma temperatures. I used to be informed it’s nearly at all times booked out. It prices roughly $2,500 an evening.

What to put on throughout winter Tromsø

Aussies aren’t often outfitted for these freezing situations. So, the very first thing I did was head to Uniqlo to refill thermal tights and tops. It’s all in regards to the layering. I then headed to Kathmandu to nab a pair of their free, Miro tapered pants — which I wore religiously over my two pairs of tights. I additionally nabbed their Winterburn wind and waterproof down coat which was tremendous heat and ideal for dinners and exploring the township at evening. And naturally, thermal, insulated winter boots. It is a should as a result of your toes will get chilly, and it’s not enjoyable. I received the Oboz bangtail waterproof boots with a design that stops you from slipping and sliding on icy roads.

One other scorching tip is to purchase hand and physique heaters – they labored a deal with. It’s essential to have your ft breathe for circulation functions, so don’t go too loopy with the layering of socks.

One other suggestion is to rent arctic gear whilst you’re there. This helped a lot when spending lengthy durations exterior. Regardless that the excursions present the gear — it’s at all times good to have your individual employed garments so you possibly can put on it everytime you need, relying on what you do. It prices about $72 a day and features a thermal jacket, boots, gloves, hat and waterproof pants. It’s additionally a budget-friendly various.

Is chasing the Northern Lights costly?

Based on Expedia, 70 per cent of Aussies haven’t travelled to Norway to view the Northern Lights attributable to monetary causes.

Whereas it may be seen as a much bigger funding than different holidays, many think about it a once-in-a-lifetime expertise and are prepared to fork out the additional {dollars} to make it occur. Visiting Norway in Winter is gorgeous, with an array of actions and experiences, however you’ll have a greater likelihood of seeing the lights within the off-peak months between September and April.

“Essentially the most inexpensive time to go to Tromsø for the lights is in April with day by day lodge charges traditionally averaging $225, which is $121 much less per evening in comparison with February,” Ms King stated.

“With an Expedia package deal, you possibly can expertise every week at The Clarion Lodge The Edge, Tromsø, for a complete of $3,468 per traveller, together with flights from Sydney between March 24 to March 31.”

Whereas it might not be as low cost as different journeys, if it’s in your bucket checklist and one thing you propose on doing as soon as in your life, it’s an expertise price saving for.

“The suggestions we have now heard from travellers is that it’s nicely well worth the journey and there’s no higher time to go to than within the subsequent couple of years,” Ms King added.

This author visited Tromsø as a visitor of Expedia