5 facts you must know to see the Northern Lights (Aurora)

This Year 2017 was a magical year for me as I got the best Birthday Present in my life that only God can give. 
I got to see the Aurora.

Do you know that It's just based on pure luck to have a chance to see the Aurora or Northern Lights?
These kind of luck does not happen everyday or even all year round and it all depends on how long your vacation time is in that area.

We actually did a lot of research about the  best timing and chances to get to see the Aurora / Northern Lights in Norway since we knew this would be an expensive trip and hope to not waste the effort of our trip going al the way north Norway and then not able to see the Nothern Lights.
Our research did not failed us and having friends with us up in Lofoten whom worked as tour guide, they gave us very good tips on finding the Aurora.

Our luck was like a jackpot as we arrived on a full week with the best weather in Lofoten that month.
A full straight 7 nights of dancing Auroras.

Since we stayed in Arendal, (South Norway) We planned to have a 7 day trip and took a sleepover train ride up North to Bodø which is the end of the line.
Our trip Started From 1 March til 10 March 2017.

And If you want to know our full itenary,
Here to Read more on our Full Trip Catching the Aurora in Norway, Lofoten.

1.  Not every part of the country gets to see Aurora or Northern Lights.

Especially in Norway, 
I had never ever seen the Northern lights in Oslo during winter.
Even Norwegians would travel far north of Norway in order to see the Northern lights.
So if you think if you can have a trip to Norway in 5 days, thinking of seeing the Midnight sun,
Northern lights and Trolltunga .
 You might be on an impossible ambitious quest.
Check the map, and if you think Bergen or Stavanger is quite north,
it's not even half of Norway yet.
The further north, the higher the chance you get to see the Northern Lights.

2.  Aurora can not be seen all year round
The worst mistake tourists make is to think they can see the Aurora / Northern Lights in Summer.
The season in Northern Norway 
is much different than southern Norway in Summer,. They would have the midnight sun where the sun never sets. Whereas, southern Norway , the sun would set and be darker by 1am.

Even in the ending of Autumn and Early winter would not be the best timing as it would still get pitch 
dark late night.  If you like darkness, the chances of seeing Aurora in Winter season all depends on 
which month you come. 
There are months where the sun only comes out for 3 hours where another month , it is up for 6 hours. It all depends if you prefer more day light or darkness.

The aurora forecast app can be downloaded and it would help you to determine your location as well as the strong activity of it. 
Best visibilty for our human eyes is  above 3 ! 

Norway even has a website for Tromsø where you can see webcam activity of the Northern Lights.
Well, as you can see they are taking a Summer break now. 

3. Don't go to big cities to catch Auroras
Tromsø , 
was not in our itinary because we knew how difficult it would be as we would need to travel night time in the cold to catch the northern lights. 
So, dont expect to walk out of your hotel in the middle of a big city like Tromsø to expect seeing the Aurora.

The Aurora is always there up in the sky, 
but when light fights light, you wont be able to see their beautiful colours. 
Only darkness, super pitch black darkness would make their colours stand out.
The lights in big cities like Tromsø would be a cause of light pollution and blind your eyes from being able to see the Aurora.

We were in Svolvær , the biggest town in Lofoten but still very small with quite some light pollution .
At times I had to cover the side my eyes making a shape of binoculars in order to see the Aurora in the city. But then walking out of the city takes 5minutes walk ! It was very convenient to find a dark spot. 
Plus, we also chose the time where the Moon is smallest. 
The light of the moon can also be a cause of Light pollution so remember to go the time where the moon is not big. Even with a small crescent, we were hiking through the snowy mountain at night, 
the moonlight was our torch throughout our hike. Can you imagine a small crescent with reflecting white snow, how bright would  it be if it was a full moon then ?

4.  The Weather in the Artic is Unpredictable

Always have a second plan to go somewhere else if the weather doesnt work in one destination.
Our friend got unlucky with the weather in North Norway and rented a car , drove to Finland which is not that far. Then, they got to see Aurora there instead ! But of course , they did check the weather forecast before driving there. 

Many Norwegians we had met up North told us how lucky we were with the weather as they had 3 weeks of snow and cloudy weather. Especially in Lofoten, the area is surrounded by Mountains and fjords. Thus , the weather can be less friendly compared to Finland. 
So don't forget to prepare warm outfits if you are not used to the cold. Plus, the temperature drops a lot from day to night so always prepare extra wool scarf  to keep yourself warm.
Never hike alone in the snow if you have no proffesional equiptments nor a guide.
Always bring emergency food in case the bad weather keeps you stranded.

To be Honest, It was not a very cold winter up in Lofoten when the weather was so good and the max cold I experience was only  -10 °C  and it was not very windy. The gulf stream passes through Norway and that's why Norway is much warmer with so much fjords surrounding them. The more inland, the colder it becomes.

But then the locals said again, we were very lucky with the weather as It was a perfect week with no clouds. Taking a timelapse without clouds seemed a bit boring as we had seen some photos of Aurora with clouds and they were beautiful !

5.  You need to put effort into finding the direction of Aurora.

Now, if you got perfect weather, or almost perfect weather and the forecast for aurora states quite strong 3 and above . Pack up your bags and go out !!
Depending again on your luck, the Aurora does not appear all directions.
When we were in lofoten, we realized the direction of the Aurora always came from 
We had 7 nights in Svolvær and 7 nights of beautiful sky
but we were so spoilt by just that 1 direction only Aurora.
Some nights it wasn't strong enough like the ones we seen on the first day where it literally dances with a mix of white and purple colour. 

The green colour became so common to us and we wanted more.
We wanted the super strong one Aurora that dances above us which only lasts for 1 minute or few seconds.
Well, it was just so beautiful that if felt time past so fast when it just go away.

The light usually starts with Green beem from North and then it usually travels.
Most of the time, it only shows at North and it goes across like a rainbow from afar and now directly above us.
If we wanted to be in that direction we needed to sign up a tour to go together with a group.
So, if you want a guarantee to be able to spot nice Aurora , I recommend to go with a tour group.

Meanwhile, luck was on our side after 3 days of wishing the Northern Lights would appear in the direction we wanted which is West to East and all the way across the island opposite Svolvær town, at Svinøya, we finally took this amazing shot of us on the Norwegian spark sledge just at their well known fish hanging racks.
An iconic spot of Lofoten, Norway which makes this picture so special.
The moment the Aurora appeared so strong, we ran like crazy in order to get to this location as we knew that the strong Aurora light would not last long. 

And that's my personal tips on our experience on a weeek straight of Auroras.
Watching these beautiful lights is definitely my best  birthday present ever and I couldn't Thank God more for such a perfect weather and amazing trip we had.

Thanks for reading and
All the best in your Aurora hunting in Winter or Early Spring !


Check out my Youtube: www.youtube.com/feliciazoe
Email: feliciazoe@live.com

Check out my Youtube: www.youtube.com/feliciazoe
Email: feliciazoe@live.com


HI, Im Felicia, a Youtuber, Special-Effect Makeup Artist , Linguist whom loves Batik painting. My blog started as a personal blog but then I gradually find that I enjoy writing reviews on products and sharing my experiences and travel stories with other readers. Feel free to drop me a message, and you can always email me at feliciazoe@live.com..

You might also like

  • Back to square one - Hi guys, I know it has been awhile since I last blogged and recently I haven't been much active on social media as before. A lot have changed during these p...
    2 weeks ago