Seeing the Lights in Norway

Located at the centre of the Northern Lights Belt, Tromso has become a key destination for viewing the dramatic sky display.

People flock to the northern Norwegian city from all over to the world to see the colourful spectacular

Camp Tamok.

Camp Tamok under the stars: Nathan Brown.

between September and March.

As unpredictable as the lights can be, it’s clear you have a better shot of seeing the full show under an empty sky and away from downtown areas.

Here are two unique ways to see the Northern Lights from just outside Tromso.

Camp Tamok:

For those wanting an action-packed Northern Lights experience, this is where to get it.

Lyngsfjord Adventure hosts the winter camp situated about an hour and a half from Tromso.

Visitors can be picked up by bus in the city, and choose whether to sleep over at the remote camp or make the return trip back to Tromso.

The company advertises its activities as “soft adventure”, making the point that there are excursions for people of all ages, and guides to provide the skills and experience that participants probably don’t have.

It's a particularly chilly dash to the sauna at Camp Tamok: Nathan Brown.

It’s a particularly chilly dash to the sauna at Camp Tamok: Nathan Brown.

Perhaps the most adrenaline-pumping, is a night-time snowmobile trip, which takes riders across an alpine track, through desolate forest, over frozen streams, and up and down steep hills.

The ride eventually reaches a frozen lake, where you can lie back in your snow suit for an unobstructed view of the lights.

Against a backdrop of pitch black, with nothing but white mountains around you, there’s nothing too see but the dancing sky.

For those wanting a more traditional Norwegian experience, the camp also has dog sledding and reindeer sledding, both of which also take you into the wintry wilderness.

Sami tents at Camp Tamok provide visitors with the chance to try out more traditional accommodation.

Sami tents at Camp Tamok provide visitors with the chance to try out more traditional accommodation.

The adventure doesn’t stop with the activities; accommodation at Camp Tamok is also a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

While there are individual Aurora Chalets and other cabins, those looking for something more unusual can sleep in a traditional Sami tent.

In a curtained off individual sleeping berth, visitors ward off the extreme cold on piles of reindeer skins, and in several layers of sleeping bags.

Lauklines Fisherman’s Cabin:

While Camp Tamok is a chance for people to get moving under the lights, Lauklines is an opportunity for a peaceful stay in secluded beauty.

Northern Lights over fisherman cabins at Lauklines in Norway.

Northern Lights over fisherman cabins at Lauklines in Norway: Léon Fuchs.

About an hour’s drive from Tromso, these two-storey self-catering cabins sit on a tranquil fjord surrounded by snow-capped mountains.

Each has a private jetty, where hopeful Northern Lights photographers are likely to settle in for the long haul.

Away from any big city lights, it is an ideal spot to capture the fast-moving green, pink and purple extravaganza of the heavens.

Some people may be forced into the cozy cottage by the frosty temperatures – an average low of -7C –  but it’s a safe bet that most will be too captivated by the sky’s performance to head inside.

The sky lights up between two cabins at Laukline: Léon Fuchs.

The sky lights up between two cabins at Laukline: Léon Fuchs.

The property has links to a number of local tourism operators, so, for visitors wanting to go snow-shoe hiking or kick-sledding, activities are easily set up.

But the reality is that this spot needs no action – nature offers it in spades.

While the lights are an unforgettable experience, an equally remarkable feature of this destination are the whales that visit the fjord from late December.

Sitting inside the cabin’s living room, people can watch a pod of humpbacks swim and sleep just metres from the shore.

At night, the noise of the whales breathing is the only sound that breaks a wide-sweeping silence of this truly breathtaking area.