Northern lights boosting tourism to Norway

Northern lights boosting tourism to Norway

Seeing the Northern Lights in Norway tops many people’s buckets lists, and the best ‘solar weather’ for a decade is expected to attract a record number of visitors this winter. The spectacular Northern Lights are visible in the Arctic parts of Norway from October through March.

Northern lights boosting tourism to Norway

Northern lights boosting tourism to Norway

There’s nothing quite like the thrill of experiencing the Northern Lights – or ‘Aurora Borealis’ as they are also known.

The interest in trips to Northern Norway to experience this spectacular natural lightshow has soared in recent years. And visitor numbers are expected to receive a further boost this winter, as the forthcoming season is set to offer one of the best opportunities to see the Northern Lights in a decade or more. This is due to a natural phenomenon where the sun’s polarity flips, which happens approximately every 11 years.

The current period of solar maximum activity has already had one peak – towards the end of 2011 and early 2012. With the second peak at the end of 2013, strong sightings are set to continue this winter.

Surge in demand

The Aurora belt hits Northern Norway in the Lofoten Islands and follows the coast all the way to Nordkapp (North Cape), Europe’s northernmost point. There is no other place on earth that offers a better chance of spotting the lights, than in Northern Norway.

Norway is the best place in the world to spot the natural phenomenon for several reasons. Large areas of the aurora zone are inaccessible for travellers – and winter temperatures in the majority of inland areas within the zone are very low. However, thanks to the Gulf Stream, the coastal areas of Norway have a milder climate than other locations at the same latitudes. These areas are also much easier to access by several flight connections from all over the world.

From Trondheim, Norway to the Arctic Circle is about 350 km. Pick up your rental motorhome in Trondheim and head north to enjoy sights you will never forget.

Where are the Northern Lights visible?
In the Northern parts of Norway – the coastal areas from Troms and Finnmark – the Northern lights appear with a maximum of frequency. The lights are best seen in rural areas where the sky is dark and not blurred by the city lights.
The Arctic city of Tromso is an ideal starting point.

When are the Northern Lights visible?
The Northern Lights / aurora borealis activity takes place all year in all types of weather. However, to actually see the lights, the weather has to be dark and clear. The best chances of seeing the Northern Lights are between November and April, when there is limited amount of daylight. The display usually begins in the late afternoon or in the evening and continues with varying intensity into the night.

Motorhome rentals in Norway. Motorhome rental Trondheim

Due to its position as a ‘Northern Lights Hub’, Northern Norway is seeing a surge in demand. In the last five years there has been a 130 % rise in commercial bednights in the three most northerly counties in Norway – creating a growth value of around £14,5 million.

Arctic Adventures beneath the Northern Lights

The chance to observe the Aurora is an important draw to visit Northern Norway for people from all over the world and there are numerous exciting Arctic adventures on offer. They all present a unique chance of catching the elusive lights while trying out exciting and inspiring activities simultaneously.

Choices range from dog sledding or snowmobiling through the frozen plains, sleep in an ice hotel, to whale watching, ice fishing, photography tuition, cross country skiing and coach tours. Or you can go hunting the lights on board the traditional Norwegian coastal steamer, Hurtigruten, calling at 34 ports of call along the beautiful frozen coastline of Norway.