Where to see Nordic lights in Norway, Tromsø – without guided bus tour

Many people asked if it is actually possible and where to see Nordic lights in Norway, especially in Tromsø  after publishing my blog post about my stay in this town. Therefore I will give you all my tips on how to spot Nordic lights on your own, without a guide or a bus tour in the area of Tromsø. Please be aware that it might be different from other destinations in Norway.

So is it possible to spot Nordic lights without a guide or a guided tour?

Of course, it is. It is pure luck though. We were super lucky and saw Nordic lights by accident in the town of Tromsø.

 The lights were even dancing and had various shades of pink and purple. A real highlight!

How to see Nordic lights in Norway (Tromsö)

In the area of Tromsö are basically 4 options to spot Nordic lights.

  1. A guided bus chase
    This means you are driving with a guide to various places and „hunting“ for Nordic lights. These tours normally start when it is getting dark and might take till the early morning hours. The advantage is that the probability to see Nordic lights is quite high because you go to various spots and there are many buses out there and the guides are connected and let the other know where they say Nordic lights.
    Further advantages are that the guide takes professional pictures of you (at least with https://chasinglights.com/), provide hot tea and snacks, and you have a toilet in the bus.
  2. A guided minivan light chase
    This option is quite similar to the first one. However, there is one significant difference: You don’t have a toilet on the minivan and believe me peeing in nature at -20 degrees is not fun! However, the advantage is that you are with fewer people and it might feel a bit more private than with a bigger group.
  3. A night camp
    This option sounded so romantic to us: a bonfire, hot tea and marshmallows, tents to heat up, furs to stay warm,… And it is, I guess (we didn’t do it). But you are just at one spot which lowers your chance to spot Nordic lights significantly. It might be a nice option in addition to a bus chase or if you have seen Nordic lights already
  4. Hunt the Nordic lights on your own.
    We didn’t do that but I saved the GPS data of all the spots where stopped during our bus chase and saw Nordic lights. And I will show you two more spots in Tromsø which you can even reach via public transportation where we saw (or were told to see) Nordic lights. Keep reading to find out all the spots where to see Nordic lights in Norway, Tromsø.

In general, you should be aware that tour operators in Tromsö offering any kind of Nordic light tour tend to underrate the chance of seeing lights and try to sell you a package with more days of light chasing. In my opinion, the chance is way higher than they tell you, they are just trying to sell their packages of course.

 

Where to see Nordic lights in Norway (Tromsø)

We decided for option 1 because it was the cheapest and the probability to see Nordic lights seemed quite high to us. But we saw Nordic lights at 2 more spots apart from the bus chase. I will provide you with all the spots where we saw Nordic lights during our stay in Tromsö (with and without bus tour).

If you want to read more about our light chase, which operator we booked and if I would recommend it, read my article about things to do in Tromsö.

So let’s start. Here are all the spots where to see Nordic lights in Norway (Tromsø).

 

Where to see Nordic lights in Norway, Tromsø
Spot 1: Nordic lights above the fjord during our bus chase

Coordinates to find the spot: 69°16’20.7″N 18°30’23.0″E
or address: Fv179, 9322 Karlstad, Norway

Where to see Nordic lights in Norway, Tromsø - without guided bus tour

Our first stop was in the water and the lights were not very strong. They appeared more like some light green fog rather than the strong super green lights you know from pictures.

In general, you should be aware that Nordic lights are not as green in reality as you see them on pictures. Due to the long aperture of the lens of DSRL cameras, the Nordic lights seem greener on pictures. In addition, photoshop is doing the rest. (by the way, you can’t catch Nordic lights with your phone camera, unless they are super strong and your camera super good).

Even if the lights were not very strong when we were there, the scenery of this spot was very beautiful, with the mountain and the fjord, look yourself:

Where to see Nordic lights in Norway, Tromsø - without guided bus tour

Where to see Nordic lights in Norway, Tromsø - without guided bus tour

 

Where to see Nordic lights in Norway, Tromsø
Spot 2: Nordic lights in the woods during our bus chase


Coordinates to find the spot: 69°06’03.6″N 18°36’29.4″E

Where to see Nordic lights in Norway, Tromsø - without guided bus tour

At this spot, we only stopped while driving because the lights were so strong and we could see them clearly from the bus. Therefore our guide decided to have a spontaneous stop at a parking within a forest.

 

Where to see Nordic lights in Norway, Tromsø - without guided bus tour

Where to see Nordic lights in Norway, Tromsø - without guided bus tour

Where to see Nordic lights in Norway, Tromsø - without guided bus tour

And we had some bonfire and hot tea there:

Where to see Nordic lights in Norway, Tromsø - without guided bus tour

 

Where to see Nordic lights in Norway, Tromsø
Spot 3: Nordic lights in the countryside during our bus chase

Coordinates to find the spot: 69°39’24.5″N 19°34’01.4″E

Where to see Nordic lights in Norway, Tromsø - without guided bus tour

This spot was in the countryside and within some beautiful mountain scenery. The lights were very strong but some clouds popped in which made the atmosphere kind of mystic.

Where to see Nordic lights in Norway, Tromsø - without guided bus tour

 


INSIDER TIP: Spot 4: Spot in Tromsø, which can be reached by bus from the centre of town.

Coordinates to find the spot: 69°38’02.8″N 18°54’10.1″E

Where to see Nordic lights in Norway, Tromsø - without guided bus tour

This spot is a real insider tip and we were so lucky. Already when waiting at the bus station to go there we saw Nordic lights within the town which is normally quite hard because there are all the city lights around. And then when arriving at the final station of the bus in the South of the city (still some street lights around) the whole sky was green. Amazing! The lights were way stronger than on our bus chase. And we were even luckier and saw the lights dancing. See yourself:

Where to see Nordic lights in Norway, Tromsø - without guided bus tour

Where to see Nordic lights in Norway, Tromsø - without guided bus tour

Where to see Nordic lights in Norway, Tromsø - without guided bus tour

But that was not enough we even saw some pink and purple shades of the Nordic lights here – truly stunning!

And I guess this is the best proof that you don’t need an expensive bus chase in order to see this natural spectacle. All you need is luck!

How to get there: take bus 37 from Tromsö city centre to the South. Get off at Tromsø Museum and just walk down towards the dark to the water. And if you are lucky you will see this:

 

Where to see Nordic lights in Norway, Tromsø
Spot 5: Nordic lights from the peak of Storsteinen?

Last spot of my list of where to see Nordic lights in Norway, Tromsø, is a mountain called Storsteinen (420 meters above sea level) on the other side of the bridge of Tromsø. The view is spectacular there, especially when it is dark:

Where to see Nordic lights in Norway, Tromsø - without guided bus tour

Where to see Nordic lights in Norway, Tromsø - without guided bus tour

Where to see Nordic lights in Norway, Tromsø - without guided bus tour

Up there is a little cafe which serves view hot meals and it is open till 10:30 pm.  We meet a girl there who said that she will stay here the whole evening because people told her you can see Nordic lights from there. We didn’t stay and didn’t see lights there, but when looking at the pictures during the sunset there, and now imagining Nordic lights in this scenery, sounds quite amazing to me. Why not try it out? Let me know, how your experience up there was!

There are two ways to get to the viewpoint of Storsteinen: Hike or take the cable car Fjellheisen. Here you can find all the information, operating hours and schedule about the cable car: https://fjellheisen.no/en/

See an overview of all the spots on the following map (the hearts). I guess you can see that during the bus chase we were driving a lot, a lot.

Where to see Nordic lights in Norway, Tromsø - without guided bus tour

Do you have more spots where to see Nordic lights in Norway, especially in the area around Tromø? Let me and others know in the comments and help them make a unique experience!

 

When to spot Nordic lights in Tromsø

Tromsø is located further North than Iceland, which makes the chances of seeing Nordic lights way higher than in the South of Scandinavia. In general, winter is the time to go. We were in Tromsö in February and it seemed to be a good time. However, I think the whole winter from October till February or march must be a great time. February turned out to be a good month also because there is more daylight and it is light between 7.30 am and 5.30 pm. Whereas in November and December the days are way shorter and you will only have daylight a few hours per day.

I hope you liked my article about where to see Nordic lights in Norway / Tromsø? Show me how you experienced the lights up there? I think every shot of the lights must be different, that’s why you can probably never get bored of seeing the lights.

Wanna know more about my trip to Tromsø? Then read about our whole trip in this blog post:
http://ready-steady-travel.com/things-to-do-in-tromso-in-winter/ 
With these cuties:

Never stop exploring, guys!
#Maria


Some more inspiration on Instagram

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