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What is the Best Time to See Northern Lights NORWAY?

Best Time to See Northern Lights Norway

Want to know the best time to see Northern Lights Norway? In this article, we explain the best month, aurora forecasting apps, and other timing considerations to factor into your Norwegian adventure.

Whether you are planning your trip to Norway and haven’t left the ground yet, or you are already in Norway anxiously waiting for the aurora to make an appearance, then this article will have you covered.

For travel planners, we explain the best months and season to visit Norway to see the aurora, as well as recommendations for an excellent aurora forecasting app if you are already in the country and need details about the nightly best time to see Northern Lights Norway.

We also cover other timing considerations for travelers at all stages, including local weather conditions and moon phase.

Best Time to See Northern Lights Norway

When to See Northern Lights Norway – Monthly Planner

When it comes to viewing the northern lights in Norway, the best time of year is during the colder months. The daytime hours in summer are too long to see the aurora borealis due to the midnight sun phenomenon, bringing your chances to near-zero in the warm months.

Like other regions surrounding the north pole throughout Europe and America, the months of September through to March is the best time to see Northern Lights Norway. Many enthusiasts prefer September and March due to the milder days, but this is a personal preference, and if you are a cold-weather person then mid-winter may be your thing.

Remember also that the aurora only appears at night, which means you will have plenty of daytime hours to enjoy as well. If you are undecided about the time of year to travel, then it is worth learning about some daytime activities that excite you, and plan the timing of your trip to incorporate those activities as well. Some day activities, whale-watching for instance, only happen at certain months so it’s important to plan. Below we have listed a few classic Norway daytime activities that you may like to factor into your planning.

MonthAurora VisibilityNotes
SeptemberGoodMild temperature.
Less tourists.
OctoberGoodLess tourists.
Cloud cover increasing.
Cold weather starting.
NovemberGoodLong nights.
DecemberGoodCold, long nights.
Very touristy and busy.
Risk of snow cloud cover.
JanuaryGoodCold, long nights.
Risk of snow cloud cover.
FebruaryGoodCold, long nights.
Stable weather.
MarchGoodMild temperature.
Shorter nights.
April to AugustPoor / AvoidSummer.
Long days and midnight sun mean very low visibility.


The northern lights season begins in September and continues on through March. During September, the nights begin to grow longer, and the auroral activities increased substantially. The number of tourists visiting Norway is relatively low compared to the winter months, and the temperature is still bearable.


By the time October rolls around, the darkness of the night skies continues to increase substantially. As the temperature begins to drop, so too does the level of humidity and the chances of cloud coverage. October ensures that there will be plenty of opportunities for viewing the northern lights as the month progresses.


For many, the month of November is considered the prime month for viewing the elusive lights in Norway. The nights continue to get longer, allowing more hours of darkness, and increasing the odds of capturing a glimpse of the elusive lights. Naturally, the weather also tends to get much colder throughout the month.


December is probably the second most popular time of the year for viewing the elusive lights in Norway. It is an excellent time of year which has extended periods of dark skies that provide the perfect conditions for viewing the aurora borealis. It is also an extremely busy time of year for tourists, which means that there are limited vacancies in most accommodations throughout the country.


If December is the second most popular time of year, then January would be the most popular choice. During January, there is a dusting of snow across the countryside, which invites photographers from all around the world to Norway to capture the northern lights on film. The glistening white countryside perfectly contrasts with the vibrant colors of the elusive auroras as they dance through the night skies.


While February is an excellent choice for viewing the elusive lights, it is a frigid time of year to visit Norway. Nevertheless, the weather is extremely stable and the long dark nights provide ample opportunities for capturing a glimpse of the aurora borealis.


March ends the long northern lights season but offers plenty of opportunities for viewing the elusive lights. There is still just enough darkness in the night skies for observing the lights, and the temperature is more bearable than in the winter. However, with spring approaching, there is a greater chance of cloud coverage which can ultimately interfere with the viewing experience.

Best Time to See Northern Lights Norway at Night

Let’s say you are already in Norway, trying to work out what time of night to start searching for the lights. The best way to determine this detail is to use an aurora forecasting app or website.

In our article on the best app for Northern Lights, we reviewed all the best apps and websites for aurora forecasts across the world, that are currently active at the time of writing. Fortunately, there is one excellent aurora borealis forecasting app designed just for Norway.

Norway Lights app (iOS, Android)

This Northern Lights app is designed specifically for Norway, and is known to be extremely accurate. Because it has been built with just the Norway region in mind, it is very reliable and consistent in forecasting, offering forecasts up to 3 days in advance. It is packed full of features which means it can be a little overwhelming to learn, but after some playing around it is a very useful tool for tourists to Norway. It can also pinpoint and provide aurora viewing advice for specific cities in the country.

For other excellent apps and websites for aurora borealis forecasts, check out our article on great apps for Northern Lights here.

Other Factors for Choosing the Best Time (Northern Lights Norway)

As well as choosing the right time of year to travel to Norway to see the Northern Lights, there are other factors to consider as well. Some of these you will be able to plan around, such as the solar cycles, and others not so much, such as local weather conditions. Below are some other factors to consider when choosing the best time to see northern lights Norway.

Geomagnetic & Solar Activity

In other articles on this website, including this article which explains how the aurora scientific phenomenon works, we explained how the sun creates and influences the aurora borealis. To summarize, the sun is responsible for the creation of the auroras on Earth and the sun also influences their intensity.

Solar activity moves through 11 year cycles, called solar cycles, and it is during the peak of these cycles that the most solar and geomagnetic activity occurs. As a result, during these peaks we experience stronger and more frequent aurora borealis displays. If you are flexible with your travel years, it therefore makes sense to try and plan your vacation to coincidence with a solar cycle peak.

For more information and a prediction of the best years, read our article on the best years to see the Northern Lights where we discuss this in great detail.

Local Weather Conditions

When planning a vacation to Norway, it is almost impossible to plan around the local weather conditions. However, some times of year have a greater tendency to experience certain weather patterns than other times of year. For aurora-chasers the most important local weather consideration is cloud cover. Even with everything else being perfect and even if the auroras are beaming uncontrollably in the sky above, you will not see them if there is cloud cover blocking the view.

Now, cloud cover is a debatable point. Some people point to mid-Winter as the very best time of year to view the aurora borealis, however, from personal experience I disagree. This is because of my own travel experience (which I explain on the AuroraTracks About page) where during January the region was wiped out with snow clouds and snow storms, making any views of the sky near-impossible.

I would personally avoid the months where snow-storms and snow-fall is more likely (December, January) since they inevitably bring clouds. However, some other aurora enthusiasts may disagree. I hope to put together a table in the near future showing historical weather patterns (especially cloud) for the most popular aurora-viewing locations so we can once and for all have a definitive answer on this. Watch this space!

Moon Phase

Lastly, you should keep your eye on the moon phases, since the moon can cast quite a surprising amount of light into the night sky. Think of aurora-chasing like star-gazing. You can’t see the stars very well on a Full Moon night. When star-gazing, you want to go out on a Dark/New Moon. The same applies with the aurora borealis; aim for dark skies with a Dark/New Moon, and avoid the full moon where possible.

Daytime Activities to Consider When Seeing Norway

While most people visit Norway during the winter months to view the northern lights, there is a never-ending list of excellent activities to keep you busy throughout the day. If you are undecided about the time of year to travel, then pick one of these activities, and as long as it falls between September and March (the best aurora viewing months) then you should be good to go.

Fjord Cruises

Time of Year: Early Fall (September)

Take an awe-inspiring cruise through the fjords of Norway and see the country on an adventurous safari. Explore the wilderness and see the diverse wildlife as you marvel at how they were carved away by ancient glaciers receding into the sea. Keep in mind most cruises only occur during summer and early fall, so if you want to combine this with aurora-chasing then arrange your vacation for September.

Dog Sledding

Time of Year: December to March

Viewing the countryside with the help of an experienced team of huskies is an excellent choice for many who visit the country. Experience the rush of adrenaline as you immerse yourself in the vast Norwegian wilderness. Since this is a winter snow activity, you should be able to package this with aurora borealis viewing quite easily.

Snowshoeing and Cross-Country Skiing

Time of Year: December to March

If you would like to get up close and personal with nature, then nothing beats going cross-country skiing or snowshoeing into the mountains. With the help of an experienced guide and rented equipment, view the Norwegian countryside as it was meant to be seen. Since this is a winter snow activity, it is a perfect complement to aurora-viewing.

Sami Culture Experiences

Time of Year: December to March

You can’t visit Norway without also taking the time to get up close and personal with reindeer. Learn more about the indigenous Sami culture by visiting a settlement and participating in reindeer rearing. Hear stories of old, and immerse yourself in the rich heritage of the Arctic. While you can enjoy sami culture anytime, the period December to April holds many events and festivals celebrating sami culture that you can enjoy. More information is available on the Visit Norway website.

Snowmobile Tours

Time of Year: December to March

For a high-speed adventure, take a snowmobile tour through the snow-covered Norwegian vistas. There are a number of different guided tours located throughout Norway, that will take you out into the Arctic wilderness for some fun and excitement. Since this is a winter snow activity, this is a great daytime activity to pair with your aurora viewing.

Final Thoughts on Best Time to See Northern Lights Norway

You should now have a pretty clear idea of the best time to see Northern Lights Norway and when to visit. To summarize, September to March are the best months, and if viewing the aurora is your primary motivation for travel then you should avoid April to August as the night hours are much too short to offer any chance of viewing the lights.

By now, you must be pretty excited about planning your trip, but there is one more thing to consider before you start booking. And that important thing is location and latitude. Latitude refers to the location you choose to base yourself for your northern lights adventure.

Be mindful that Norway is a large long country extending from north to south. Just because people say Norway is great for northern lights, it doesn’t mean that every part of the country is excellent for viewing the aurora. You want to head to a high latitude destination (closer to the north pole) above the Arctic Circle, such as Kirkenes, Alta or Tromsø. The further south you go, the less chance you will have of spotting the auroras.

For more information to help you choose the best destination in Norway for seeing the aurora read this article, and for more specific tour and other recommendations have a look at our Norway category on this website.

Happy aurora-chasing!

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