Updated on June 6th, 2020
No words can describe what it was like to see the Northern Lights in Tromso, Norway on the night of my 27th birthday.
We went hunting for the Northern Lights in Iceland for my 26th birthday back in 2018, but unfortunately we were dealt clouds and fog that hindered our viewing chances. For my 27th I went for round two, but this time to Tromso, in the Arctic Circle in Norway.
We had a very quick (and quite expensive) five day trip but it was packed with the ultimate winter adventures, from snowmobiling across three country borders to an Arctic Fjord road trip, and we even managed to squeeze in two (yes, two!) nights chasing the incredible Northern Lights across the sky. We went with Chasing Lights for both our Tromso Northern Lights tours, on their minibus lights chase, and I would absolutely recommend them.
Things you need to know about seeing the Northern Lights in Norway
- It is COLD. As in I’ve never been this cold in my life.
- The tour company will provide you with a big snowsuit and proper snow boots which are super warm, but you’ll still need your own thermal layers underneath (and lots of them). Best to over-prepare than under-prepare!
- Even if your body is warm, the air itself is literally below freezing so you’ll need your own beanie, buff/neckwarmer and a decent pair of gloves.
- Chasing Lights offers a minibus chase (our one) as well as a big bus chase. The big bus chase is cheaper but has more people on it, which means you are less flexible with where and when you move. The minibus was about 10-12 people which was the perfect size for packing up and moving to another spot if the weather changed.
- Your chances on seeing the Lights completely depends on the weather conditions, but going with a tour company gives you a much higher chance than seeing them solo, since they have all the knowledge and experience about where to go for different conditions.
- The Lights are TOUGH to capture in photos, so unless you have a manual camera it’s best to just put your devices away and enjoy the moment.
- If you do have a manual camera, most tour companies provide tripods and can also sort out your settings for the best chance of getting good photos. Most of my photos below were taken with an ISO of 1600, shutter speed between 4 and 15 seconds, and aperture at 1.7.
- Most tours start at about 6pm and can go until the early hours of the morning, depending on your luck. You’ll get dinner provided around a campfire, hot chocolate and marshmallows to roast, but take some snacks if you tend to get hungry often like me!
- This will be one of the coolest things you’ll ever see in your life, guaranteed. Know that photos are always going to look brighter and stronger than the Lights in real-life because of the long exposure settings, but seeing them dance right in front of (and above!) your eyes is hands down a bucket list moment you’ll never forget, you won’t be disappointed.
- There are a bunch of companies that run Tromso Northern Lights tours but Chasing Lights has five stars from over 2,300 reviews on TripAdvisor, so you know they’re legit!
Some of my favourite Northern Lights photos:
Have you been lucky enough to see the Northern Lights before, or is it still on your bucket list? I’d love to hear your thoughts, tell me in the comments below!
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If you’re considering a Tromso adventure, be sure check out my Ultimate Guide to Tromso and all my other Tromso blogs here! Love the photos? See more on my Instagram @findingalexx
Huge thanks to the legends at Chasing Lights for hosting us on their Northern Lights Minibus Chase. As always, all opinions are my own and are based on my personal experience.