I left my heart in Norway. Part 1 – The Northern Lights

I was planning on writing a blog post about Norway. I’ve visited Tromso twice and fell in love. However, it was taking me so long as I had so much to say about all the activities we crammed in so I decided to give the Northern Lights their own post, since this is one of the main reasons people visit Scandinavian countries. I’ll keep working on the Norway post, do not worry!

None of the photos have been edited, the photos of us were taken by the guides on the trip. The photos of the lights only were taken by us.

We visited in February 2015. We chose Tromsø as it is in the auroral oval which means there is a higher probability of seeing the lights. We decided to give ourselves the best chance of seeing them by going on as many trips as possible.

We had already experienced a big coach trip whilst we were in Iceland and decided it wasn’t for us so we chose a different experience.

We went in a small group booked through VisitTromso with a photography guide. We were picked up by a minivan which was much more comfortable and warmer than a coach.

We headed out to a spot and checked the sky. The guide had to decide whether to stay or move somewhere else, we were told if the weather wasn’t looking great we would head into Finland. However, the weather was looking promising so we hopped out and the guide set up a bonfire, we were kitted out with thermal suits and given hot drinks.

The guide dished out tripods for those who wanted one and gave advise on the camera settings. This was so helpful and you’ll see our photos came out loads better than previous efforts.

Being in a smaller group (around 10 people) means the atmosphere is so much more friendlier. We swapped stories around the campfire and passed snacks around. This was much more enjoyable and helped pass the time rather than standing around, freezing, staring at the sky.

We waited and waited and waited, just when we were about to give up, the sky exploded! They were so much more vivid, and the movement more clear than when we saw them in Iceland.

The guide took photos of everyone in front of the lights which gave everyone the opportunity to get a good photo whether they bought a camera or not. We were emailed the photos the next day and I was pretty chuffed.

Admittedly not the best aurora ever but it was there behind us. I couldn’t wait to get home, print the photos and frame them.

Usually, I am the type of person that once I have done something once, that’s it and I move on. However I got the Northern lights bug and wanted to see them again and again.

We visited Tromsø again the following year, we packed more activities in the day and set out hunting the lights again at night.

This time we went with Arctic Trip, our guide was Roy Sætre, and honestly, he is the best guide I have ever had on a trip. I’d highly recommend him. He went out of his way to make sure everyone was enjoying themselves and most importantly keeping warm. He even lent me his wool jumper his wife had knitted him. We were given thermal suits and boots too and Roy set up a campfire. He also set up a tent nearby with a mini wood burning stove for extra warmth.

While we waited for the lights to appear, Roy dished out snow shoes and even a sledge. It was so much fun. While everyone was busy playing, Roy started to make a traditional Norweigan fish stew from scratch, he offered everyone hot drinks and biscuits. Roy was knowledgeable and told everyone all he knew about Aurora Borealis while huddled around the camp fire.

I’ll admit, trips like these are more expensive but they are worth every penny. Having a campfire, homemade food and activities makes the experience much more enjoyable and warm! But more than that, having a guide helping you with your own camera settings as well as taking photos of you with the lights ensures you get good quality photos so you can show off to your friends and family!

Overall we have been on 6/7 northern lights excursions both in Norway and in Iceland. You are never guaranteed to see them however we found that the lights were more intense being in north Norway so if your heart is set on seeing the lights, I’d definitely recommend Tromsø.

I’ll keep working on my Norway post which will include activities to do during the day.

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4 Comments

  1. That certainly feels like magic. I would love to see that someday, I think it is one of those experiences that will be hard to beat. The photos you took are really amazing, I would probably need some advice on the settings as well, since my knowledge of this is quite poor.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, it is an experience that is hard to beat. If you head out on a tour with a photography guide they help you with your camera settings, we then left the settings as they were for the rest of our trip!

      Liked by 1 person

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