Desperate to see the northern lights in Norway and explore the country’s beautiful sights? Our helpful guide is packed full of positive recommendations to make the most of your trip!
The spectacular dancing colors of the northern lights are an incredible natural phenomenon and watching them is an unforgettable experience. Anyone who has seen the stunning photos on Instagram will definitely be inspired to want to see them.
At TWISPER, the social app with only positive recommendations, we’re constantly looking for new and unique experiences. Seeing the northern lights is high up on our travel bucket list, so we thought we’d share some of the best places to see them!
For starters, the aurora, as it’s known scientifically, is only visible in high-latitude areas i.e. the Arctic (and the Antarctic, but you might find that a little harder to visit 😉). So, while the aurora borealis has been seen as far south as Scotland, your best chance of seeing them in Europe is in Scandinavia, Iceland and Russia.
Being a natural light display, the northern lights are best seen against a dark, clear night sky. Basically, get as far away from city lights as you can and cross your fingers for no clouds!
As somewhere offering excellent aurora-spotting opportunities and a beautiful country in its own right, we’ve compiled a list of our top recommended places to sleep, eat, drink and visit on your trip to see the northern lights in Norway. Let’s get to it!
Sleep: where to stay in Norway to see the Northern Lights
Wondering where to stay in Norway to see the northern lights? Now, every city has any number of lovely hotels to suit your tastes. But we really love it when our accommodation is a unique travel experience in itself.
Take the Lyngen North Hotel, for example. Their glass igloos offer panoramic views of the snow-capped Lyngen Alps, the Lyngenfjord and – of course – the aurora borealis. What better way to end a day of exploring than cozying up and watching the northern lights from bed? 🤩
For those who prefer a more immersive winter experience, you can’t get much more Arctic than sleeping in an igloo! Located in Alta, Sorrisniva happens to be the world’s northernmost ice hotel. Its igloos are hand-crafted from snow and ice every year and make for a truly unique place to stay in Norway. Thanks to its isolated location, this is an ideal place to spot the aurora and do plenty of other activities too – reindeer ride or ice fishing anyone? 🦌
If the idea of sleeping in an igloo gives you literal chills, never fear. Embrace traditional Norwegian culture and stay in a rorbua instead. These historic fishermen’s huts, like the ones at Nyvågar Rorbuhotell in Loftofen, are found perched on stilts along the coast. That means you get spectacular sea and sky views for northern lights viewing from the comfort of a cabin.
Eat: restaurants for your Northern Lights trip
Finding the best places to eat is always a priority when we travel. You’ve got to have a delicious meal to look forward to after being wowed by the northern lights in Norway! Happily, there are plenty of options: whether you’re looking for traditional local cuisine to experience Norwegian culture, a hearty burger to warm you up after a day exploring, or for dinner with a view.
Discover how good Norwegian cuisine is at Restaurant Smak in Tromso. This intimate restaurant’s philosophy is to make each guest’s visit extraordinary. Sounds right up our street! Their exquisite tasting menus showcase typical Norwegian dishes made with the freshest local ingredients.
Celebrating a special occasion on your northern lights trip to Norway? For fine dining in a romantic setting, head to Emma’s Drømmekjøkken. Highly recommended for its delicious Norwegian cuisine, this restaurant will be one to remember.
For dinner with a view of the Lights, Ladekaia Restaurant’s massive windows and spacious terrace make it the place to go. Located on the shore of Trondheim Fjord, this welcoming restaurant offers excellent aurora-spotting opportunities.
Drink: bars with a view of the Northern Lights
Searching for unique places to enjoy a drink in Norway? From bars with a view to bars made of ice, here are a handful of our favorites!
If you’ve never been to an ice bar before, make sure to visit the Magic Ice Bar in Tromso. You’ll be given a poncho and gloves to keep warm before entering a unique bar and art gallery carved out of ice. Enjoy their signature cocktail served in – you guessed it – a glass made of ice! 🧊
For a cozy place to warm up after your northern lights hunt in Bodo, head to Hundholmen Brygghus. This gastropub serves excellent food, beer and cocktails and is located just by the port.
It may seem an unusual place to recommend for a drink, but the Tromso Cable Car is a must-do on your trip! Not only will you enjoy stunning panoramic views of the city as the historic cable car climbs the hill, but there’s a café at the top to enjoy a drink with a view.
Alternatively, to experience a more elegant side of Tromso nightlife, make your way to the Skybar. This modern rooftop bar, located atop Clarion Hotel The Edge in Tromso port, offers excellent views over the city. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch a glimpse of the northern lights dancing in the sky above Tromso from these bars too!
Do: make the most of your trip to Norway
Obviously, the northern lights are amazing and you’ll definitely be going on a tour in search of this spectacular phenomenon. But there are so many other incredible things to do in Norway, you’ll definitely want to leave some time free to make the most of your time there.
This is the perfect opportunity to get up close and personal with some of the most magnificent creatures on the planet. From reindeer sleigh rides to whale watching trips, Norway is a haven for animal lovers.
Places like the remote Birk Husky offer unforgettable husky rides around the beautiful Norwegian countryside. Can you imagine anything more adorable than a sleigh ride through the snow pulled by husky dogs? 😍
Then again, maybe you’re more of a birdwatcher or a seafarer. At the Brygga Hotell & Restaurant in Lofoten, you can go on a sea eagle spotting safari and try out fishing in the icy fjords. If you’re feeling particularly daring, you can even go ice swimming! 🥶
For those of you who prefer to be toasty warm – even in the Arctic – you’ll be glad to know Norway has plenty of saunas. And what better place to try and catch a glimpse of the aurora borealis than from inside a steamy traditional sauna with panoramic sea views? If that sounds like your cup of tea, make your way to Trevarefabrikken. This former factory turned super cool hotel in Lofoten also has a great space for yoga, events and festivals. You definitely won’t be bored!
Feeling inspired by our recommendations for where to see the northern lights in Norway?
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All you need to do is download TWISPER (if you don’t already have it!), invite your friends to join you, and start recommending your favorite restaurants, hotels and bars around the world. It’s as simple as that!
Plus, you’ll find more positive recommendations for places to eat, sleep and drink on the app. All the places I’ve recommended here are on TWISPER so you can save them to your Try out list and find your way on arrival.