Long, dark nights and clear cloudless skies from Tromsø to Svalbard go hand in hand with stargazing spectacles including the ribbons of colour that waltz above the dramatic landscape, and the famed bucket list experience welcomes visitors to snap images of whisps of green aurora.
Though successfully sighting the unpredictable phenomenon is entirely weather and location-dependent – occasionally even the skies of north Wales and Scotland become a ballroom for the charged solar particles – a getaway to the Arctic Circle is sure to increase your chances of a thrilling chase.
Cool cruises, skiing holidays and even sustainable train travel options take you off-piste far from light pollution, and the lights are complemented by the classic activities that come with a northern Norway trip – reindeer sleigh rides, Sami hut sips of gløgg, snowmobiling adventures and husky dog sledging.
From unique stays in a Snow Hotel to the Borealis on a budget during cosy city breaks, here are the best Northern Lights holidays to book in Norway this winter.
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Best for: Snowsport adventures
Sail, Hike and Chase the Northern Lights, Much Better Adventures
For a long weekend of hiking fjords, sailing past seals and hunting the aurora borealis, Much Better Adventures promises an active Arctic Circle holiday for groups of up to 12 designed to “maximise your chances of seeing the aurora in all its glory”. There’ll be catamaran cruises far from light pollution, cable cars to the top of Tromsø mountains and a minibus chase for the optimum chance of witnessing the Northern Lights from the wilderness.
Three nights’ accommodation, all breakfasts, lunches and experienced guides from £967pp between October and March, excluding international flights; muchbetteradventures.com
Return Wizz Air flights from Luton to Tromsø average around £50pp in November.
Best for: Cosy city breaks
Tromsø Northern Lights City Break, The Aurora Zone
The “Northern Lights capital” of Norway, Tromsø is a cultural city break that shines under the Northern Lights. With The Aurora Zone’s “Tromsø Northern Lights City Break”, a detailed itinerary of reindeer camp dinners, Northern Lights cruises, dog sledging safaris and renowned city centre restaurants blends the bright lights of Tromsø with the natural vibrancy of the aurora borealis for unforgettable light hunts, winter sports and city tours.
Three nights B&B accommodation, airport transfers, all excursions and required cold weather clothing from £795pp, excluding flights; theaurorazone.com
Best for: Unique sleeps
Northern Lights & Snow Hotel, Nordic Visitor
If an icy stay nestled in the north of Norway is your dream base for a bucket list sight of the Northern Lights, Nordic Visitor’s action-packed winter week at wilderness centre Camp Tamok, Tromsø and Kirkenes is the one for you. A midweek check-in at the Snow Hotel complete with a three-course meal is the ultimate sub-zero experience; rest your head after small group bus tours that help you chase the celestial ballet of green and purple well into the night.
Six nights’ B&B accommodation (including the Snow Hotel), domestic flights and all excursions from £2,292pp between December and March, excluding international flights; nordicvisitor.com
Best for: Skiing stays
Narvik Camp 291, Ski Safari
Ski Safari takes guests to Camp 291 in Narvik for skiing adventures that suit all abilities in the Arctic Circle. The Northern Lights often dance overhead when the sun goes down and summiting Narvikfjellet Mountain via cable car boasts the best viewing conditions for the spectacle. Wall-to-wall skylights in camp cabins also offer guests a glimpse of the aurora borealis from their bedrooms, or wrap up warm to catch the show on your fjord-facing balcony.
Seven nights’ self-catered cabin accommodation at Camp 291, car hire and return flights from £1,355pp; skisafari.com
Best for: Cool cruises
Norway in search of the Northern Lights, P&O Cruises
With P&O Cruises the spectacular fjords of Norway and stargazing spectacles of clear dark skies are both accessible from the comfort of your sea view cabin. Cruisers will explore the region in search of the iridescent sparkle of the Northern Lights, most visible between September and April, calling in at Norwegian destinations from Andalsnes to Tromsø and Narvik.
From £1,499pp for 12 nights. all-inclusive, onboard the adult-only Arcadia, departing Southampton on 20 October 2023; pocruises.com
Best for: Festive fun
Festive Tromsø & Svalbard’s Polar Nights, Trailfinders
A winter stay in festive Tromsø meets Svalbard’s polar nights on a Trailfinders package holiday to northern Norway. Highlights of a trip during the dark season include Sami tours and lessons around the fire, gentle reindeer sleigh rides, dog sledging in the wilderness and, of course, searching high and low on snowmobiles for a glimpse of the unpredictable phenomenon that is the Northern Lights. Take the whole family for a charming Christmas city break with three days of aurora borealis spotting on the polar landscape of Svalbard.
Six nights’ accommodation, return airport transfers, reindeer and husky sledging, a Northern Lights tour and an evening at Camp Barentz from £1,001pp based on two adults sharing. Excludes international flights; trailfinders.com
Best for: Rail adventures
Polar Express Train Journey, Baltic Travel Company
For an arctic adventure Polar Express style, join Baltic Travel Company on an eco-friendly journey through Swedish and Norwegian Lapland. Northern Lights hunters will travel by train from Kiruna, Sweden to Narvik, Norway through the icy wilderness of the Abisko National Park on a route peppered with opportunities to scout the famed aurora borealis and accompanied by traditional Nordic cuisine. Think dog sledging safaris, lavvu Sami tent hot chocolates and soothing spa afternoons between evenings spent chasing the lights.
Four nights’ B&B accommodation, return flights from Gatwick with one piece of luggage up to 23kgpp, all train fares and a dogsledding safari in Kiruna from £1,040pp between 1 December and 30 April; baltictravelcompany.com
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