A bucket list item for a lot of us is seeing The Northern Lights.
Norway is one of the top destinations for seeing this magical phenomenon and I recently visited Trømso and Alta to experience the Aurora Borealis.
Travelling with specialist tour operator GLOD Explorer, we were given a briefing beforehand from CEO Trygve Nygård, a fabulous and passionate educator. He explained that the reason for the different colours was due to Hydrogen or Oxygen being present in the atmosphere.
To the naked eye they appear white, but if you’re really lucky you can actually see some green or red dancing through the sky. However, he pointed out, like working with children and animals, the lights could be tricky.
Arriving in Tromsø there was so much cloud cover that it was impossible to see anything. So we held our breath for Alta.
We travelled there by ship and our first glimpses of the lights were from the deck. The excitement took hold and everyone was out in force, facing the icy winds and frosty temperatures.
However, due to the cloud cover in port, we were bussed to a special vantage point an hour away. There we were treated to a laneway lit with tea lights, leading us towards a stunning cabin decorated with twinkling lights, tinsel and all things Christmassy.
We braved the cold to watch this once in a lifetime experience
We braved the cold (and left the cabin’s log fire) – and being 10pm it was very cold – to watch this once in a lifetime experience.
Oh my goodness, the sky lit up in wave after wave of white lights. They were hypnotic as they swayed and pirouetted about the sky, performing a ballet just for us.
We were exceptionally lucky to experience seeing the gentle greens and soft red without a camera, but when we saw the photos it blew our minds, as the colours were so intense: the greens ranged from pistachio to vivid lime and every shade in between, while more subtle reds varied from vermillion to crimson and magenta. Mesmerised, we watched with mouths agape, enjoying every second.
To cap off the evening, we were treated to home-made cake and hot chocolate, which, enjoyed in a snow-covered landscape, somehow seemed deliciously decadent.
All too soon it was time to leave and our magical nights of nights was over.
The Northern Lights can be shy and don’t always come out when they’re expected, but don’t let that put you off heading off to Arctic Circle. As the beauty of the surroundings and friendliness of the Norwegian people more than make up for not catching a glimpse.
NDY Fast Facts:
Alta in Finnmark, Norway’s most northern county, is known as the Town of Northern Lights, which can be seen from late August to mid-April, with the main season stretching from October to late March.
Flights to Alta are 1 hr 45 from Oslo, with services by SAS or Norwegian.
Photo credit: Gregor Reid
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