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Right now, Norway is said to be the midst of the prime years for seeing the Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis. Seen in the northern region of Norway and other Scandinavian countries, as well as northern Canada, this translucent lightshow featuring colored bands of green, white, and pink light will still be around for quite some time! Yet, if you’re itching to head over to Norway ASAP, here are the best places to see the Northern Lights and get a memorable glimpse of this nighttime spectacular.

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Tromsø. Thanks to its location right smack inside the Auroral Oval, this city gives a very sure shot of having a good upward gaze. Its setting also provides nifty views of the arctic landscape, particularly for whale watching. Aside from the outdoors, Tromsø has a number of science and history museums and art galleries plus an aquarium to check out. At night, the scene involves bars and nightclubs, primarily along Storgata.

Alta. Alta offers another other prime viewing destination so much that it has been nicknamed “The Town of the Northern Lights.” Its ties to the Aurora Borealis go as far back as when an observatory was built on the top of Mt. Haldde in 1899. Nowadays, Alta’s centerpiece is Nordlyskatedralen, or known as the Northern Lights Cathedral, built with an upward spiral design symbolizing its connection with this natural phenomenon. Another bragging right for Alta is being the starting point for Finnmarksløpet, Europe’s longest dog sledding race.

A room in the Kirkenes Snow Hotel

A room in the Kirkenes Snow Hotel | Flickr CC: Otto

Kirkenes. For viewing The Northern Lights, this town has perhaps the coolest place to stay at – an ice hotel. Open since 2006, the Kirkenes Snow Hotel has iglooshaped rooms decorated with ice and snow fixtures replicating nature or Arctic cultural themes. For those on a tighter budget, properties such as Thon Hotel Kirkenes offer comfortable lodging right at the waterfront. Aside from accommodations that are pretty chill, Kirkenes has opportunities for snowshoeing, bird watching, snowmobiling, deep-sea fishing, and dog sledding.

The Lofoten Islands. Also under the Auroral Oval, this cluster of seven islands is graced with fishing villages and rugged coasts. It’s in the line of the Gulf Stream, so the climate is pretty mild. You can also get a lesson about the Northern Lights by heading to the Polarlightcenter in Laukvik, on the Lofoten island of Austvågøya. This educational center holds informative presentations and uses instruments that measure the Northern Lights’ activity. After your visit, get sent SMS alerts during your stay to get the 411 on the current activity.

Lyngen Alps

Lyngen Alps | Flickr CC: gego2605

Lyngen. For a clearer view, this area east of Tromsø is sidelined with afjord known as Lyngenfjord and has many viewing spots without any light pollution. Its natural beauty is personified with surrounding blue glaciers, alpine mountain peaks and deep ravines. Plus, the Lyngen Alps give mountain skiers some good time on the slopes.

On board the Hurtigruten. Along with being on land, it’s possible to view the Northern Lights while on the water. Hurtigruten, a passenger and freight shipping service, offers six-daylong voyages centered on The Northern Lights from Tromsø to Bergen or vice versa.

To get to Norway from the U.S., carriers like Norwegian Airlines offer flights to Alta from JFK and Fort Lauderdale/Miami, and to Tromsø from JFK, Florida-Orlando, and LAX.

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Tagged: Europe, Family time

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Michele Herrmann

Michele Herrmann

Michele writes about women's travel, destinations, culinary, and cultural topics for various outlets and has ventured as far as Fiji, to date. She also muses her tales on She Is Going Places.

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