The Tromsø region is one of the best places in the world to see the northern lights, also known as the aurora borealis. Our season lasts from mid-September until early April, which is the time of the year when it is dark enough in the evening and night to observe the aurora.
The northern lights oval
The northern lights can be observed under the northern lights oval. This is the ring that circle around the magnetic north pole. It is centered at around 65°N, with a width of about 10. Tromsø is located at 69°N, which means we are in the center of the oval with chances of seeing the northern lights even on days with low activity. The oval expands when the northern lights activity is strong.
Weather decides the place
Since there are northern lights in our region almost every day, the weather forecast decides which exact place is the best for the day. You need at least partially cloudy sky to observe auroras, and all clear sky is the best. This is also why going on a tour or by car increases your chances of seeing the northern lights. We have many microclimates in the Tromsø region which means the weather can be very local and change quickly. Guides have local knowledge of where chances are better for clear sky. Even on cloudy days in the city of Tromsø, there might be chances of better weather close by.
Light conditions are important for seeing the northern lights. The darker, the better. In the the city of Tromsø there are a few places with less light pollution, where it is possible to see northern lights when it is strong enough. If you go on a tour outside of the city and away from city lights, this can increase your chances of seeing the aurora. The guides will take you through arctic landscapes and find good places without much light pollution where it is safe to stop. Check out your options here.
Our favorite spots in Tromsø city
- Prestvannet: a lake on the top of the island Tromsø. Can be reached by bus number 28 and 40 or a 30 minutes’ walk from the city centre.
- Telegrafbukta: a park and beach area on the south side of the Tromsø island. Can be reached by bus number 33 or by a 40 minutes’ walk from the city centre.
- Fjellheisen/the cable car: on top of the mountain with a panoramic view of Tromsø. Can be reached by bus number 26 or a 45 minutes’ walk from the city centre.
- Visit Northern Norway has collected the best places for northern lights in walking distance from Tromsø here.
- Tromsø municipality has created this map where you can find the best spots in Tromsø.
Our favorite places outside of the city
Depending on wind and weather of the day, the different areas outside of Tromsø can provide possibilities of some clear sky and beautiful acric landscapes:
Kvaløya: Norways 5th biggest island with many good northern lights places and a connection to surrounding islands:
Tromsø municipality mainland: across the bridge from Tromsø there are many places away from city lights:
The Lyngenfjord area:
Visit Northern Norway have many a list of suggestions for chasing the northern lights by car in the Tromsø region.