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Northern Lights and scenic experience

I have checked out the general option/information regarding the best place and time of year to experience the Northern Lights to be in Winter at Tromso, Norway. I am trying to maintain a low budget travel itinerary as best as possible while still having a great experience. I will take 7-8 days and I do not mind the cold weather. I thought about using RyanAir to take in another experience such as World War II and the holocaust. I would appreciate any advice and suggestions to maximize my experience. I may decide to going in 2022 or 2023.

Thank you.

Bill

Posted by
2142 posts

Low budget travel and Norway can be a tricky combination but it certainly is doable with a bit of planning.

However, I'm not sure I agree that Tromsø is the best place to see the lights, the wet weather at the coast means it is often cloudy. Abisko in Sweden, just across the border, is usually a better option for the lights. (This blogpost does a pretty good job of explaining why: https://www.heartmybackpack.com/blog/best-northern-lights-europe-abisko/ .) There are tour companies in Tromsø that will take you to a spot with no or less clouds, but they can drive pretty far. One of those tours can mean 2 hours in a minibus out to somewhere, and then 2 hours drive back.

If the goal is to see the lights and nothing more I recommend December, it is dark but not as much snow yet and not as cold as January or February. But if you want to do other winter activities, January is usually better as there is a bit more snow.

Ryanair has very limited presence in Norway, only a handful of flights to Oslo and Sandefjord (which they call Oslo in their marketing) if I'm not mistaken. But there are other airlines serving the area. And there are some World war II-related things to see in Norway.

Posted by
1150 posts

Have you looked at Iceland? In late September or October. The weather would be pretty decent then. I have a friend who traveled there a couple of years ago and she came back with some amazing photos of the Northern Lights.

Posted by
9779 posts

I went to Iceland three years in a row in both October and November to see the lights. The weather never cooperated.

Next time, Sweden or Norway.

Posted by
4957 posts

Our Iceland attempt was in early April, right at the end of Northern Lights season. Our Lights tour, done by land, saw no Lights because of overcast skies. We heard that another tour, which took people out by boat, got some glimpses of Lights at sea, away from the land. Haven’t made it to Norway yet -hope you get a good Light show!

Posted by
1615 posts

Hi Bill, we visited Norway in February 2019. It’s a beautiful country. In Tromso, you might be interested in seeing the remains of the WWII German battleship Tirpitz. There is also a Tromso War Museum. The cathedral is nice and there are concerts held there on some days. We also went dog-sledding which was a lot of fun. The Northern Lights can be elusive, we weren’t lucky enough to see them. You need to get out of the city so a mini bus tour is your best bet. The weather wasn’t crazy cold, just dress in layers and get some hand/foot warmers if you plan to be out late chasing the lights. Have fun!

Posted by
2142 posts

No matter where you go, it is as others have noted, important to remember that the lights are a natural phenomenon that might or might not show up.