Seeing the unique and colorful natural phenomenon called Aurora Borealis with your own eyes is a bucket-list thing for many globetrotters.
Because this “light show” is best visible in places above the Arctic Circle in the Northern Hemisphere, every winter hundreds of Northern Lights seekers head to chilly Scandinavia, boasting gorgeous snow-covered fjords, for this miraculous life-lasting experience.
In this piece, we zoom in the top ways to spend an unusual Scandinavian winter holiday and observe Northern Lights in Norway.
Northern Lights, camera, action!
Although technically Aurora Borealis can be spotted any time of the year as its visibility directly depends on geomagnetic storms, solar flares, and ionospheric conditions, this natural wonder is most often seen in late autumn and winter.
The main reason for this is that starting from fall the light days become shorter, therefore the chances to witness the polar glow become higher. Plus, the closer you are to the “top of the globe”, the bigger are your possibilities, hence northern countries like Finland, Russia, Canada, Sweden and, of course,
Norway are considered to be the best destinations to head to for catching Northern Lights.
Yet again, many travelers who are inspired by the idea of seeing the Aurora often decide not to make it their actual come-to-life adventure, often being intimidated by the fact that the wintertime in the already more than frosty Northern regions, such as Scandinavia, is the coldest time of the year.
Nevertheless, the good news is that setting off on such a winter journey doesn’t necessarily always mean dozens of layers of warm clothing, designed to help people survive in polar temperature conditions.
Actually, there are great climate-friendly alternatives, meaning that seeing Northern Lights is needless to be left in the “idea stage” and is easier to bring to life than it might seem at first.
Among the most favored winter itinerary options are land tours, which use trains and buses to take tourists from large cities all the way to the north. Sometimes these programs even include stays in unique hotels or even glass-roof igloos that give the chance to see Northern Lights right from your room, other Aurora-related activities may be snowmobile Northern Lights seeking group tours or visits to special Aurora observation platforms.
Another popular winter trip variant boasts an exciting mode of travel: the Northern Lights Cruise in Norway. The aforementioned cruise usually means that travelers not only live onboard a large liner or ship that’s like a floating hotel but also get to explore Norwegian cities during stops in ports of call, such as Alesund, Tromso, Kirkenes or the Lofoten Islands.
What is more, if you’re into the idea of seeing Northern Lights from the water side, there’s also a rich selection of smaller Aurora boat excursions in many places all over Scandinavia. As a rule, such cruises are done in the evening or the night time, take several hours, and nature’s show is observed right as you sail.
Frozen land of the fjords
The fairy-tale Norwegian fjords, sprinkled with snow, look all the more extraterrestrial in the winter, somewhat like the scenes Disney captured in the animated film “Frozen”. The natural beauty of the country certainly delights and the cities themselves sparkle, adorned with the white sheet of snow. So apart from Northern Lights hunting, a journey to winter Norway can offer many pleasant surprises.
Most travelers arrive in the capital, and it’s fair to say that Oslo is perhaps the most-visited city in Norway in winter.
The great part about going to Oslo in, for instance, January, is that since this time of the year is considered the low travel season there are way fewer tourists there than in the summer.
Thus you can count on no large tourist crowds, plenty of choices of hotels and tables in fine restaurants, and, undoubtedly, visiting the desired sights and museums, such as the Viking Ship Museum, in comfort with all the tranquility and quiet that you need.
To make the most of such a winter Norway getaway, plan a day or two to see the fjords. The best way to do that is to go beyond large cities, say, to one of the smaller towns in Norway like Flam which can be reached on an Oslo to Flam train that runs on the world-famous scenic Flamsbana Railway.
The destination is worth a visit due to the gorgeous Aurlandsfjord and the Naeroyfjord that are located there. Just imagine sipping a traditional hot honey wine, called mead, as you savor the views of the fjords. And what’s for winter outdoor activities, fjord cruises or highly trendy fjord safaris, are just the top of the list of things to do to brighten up your stay.
Summing up, if a Scandinavian winter fairy-tale is the adventure your longing for your next getaway, there shouldn’t be too many concerns in terms of the cold.
With proper preparation prior to the trip to Norway and a well laid out itinerary, you’ll definitely get a memorable combination of experiences from snowy fjords and fun winter activities to rich sightseeing and gorgeous Northern Lights.