Don’t just chase the northern lights, catch up to them in Bodø, Norway. Enjoy a Sami dinner under the stars, hike Mount Rønvik, ski, or sled, all under the stunning Northern Lights. A trip to see the famous Northern Lights is on the top of every traveler's list, but you don’t need to travel all the way to the North Pole to see this mesmerizing phenomenon. The lights, also called Aurora Borealis, are right outside your window when in Bodø. If visiting during the summer, experience a different kind of light, the twilight during the midnight sun. Read on for our guide to experiencing the best sights of the skies in Bodø.
The need-to-knows about the Aurora Borealis
Aurora Borealis directly translated from Latin means ‘northern dawn’ and with the way the streams of green and red light up the sky, you can understand why. The Norwegians historically saw these rivers as old maids dancing but now we know they are created by charged solar particles that are moved around by earth’s magnetic fields.
Lucky for visitors to the city, Bodø lies directly under the Aurora Oval, which is a belt of light that centers around the geomagnetic poles. This means that on a clear night, at the right time and with some patience, a trip to Bodø could result in brighter nights than you would expect. The best time to catch a light show is between September and April and between the hours of 22:00 and 23:00. But they have been known to put on a show any time from 18:00 until 01:00.
If you want some help with the hunt then you can check the Aurora Forecast online or download the Norway Lights App and keep an hourly and three day forecast in your pocket at the ready. Visit Bodø also have a great deal of information to check out. With help from these tools you can get planning and join a light chasing tour or head off on your own walk and discover them yourself.
Sami dinner under the sky
Learn some more about Norwegian culture on a Sami evening using the Aurora Borealis as your light with Albmi tours. Have a traditional Sami dinner the Lávvu where food is made over an open fire as you sit on reindeer skins under the glowing sky. Your guide will tell stories about the Lávvu and teach you about the Sami culture and star charts as you munch away on reindeer. The word ‘albmi’ means heaven or sky in Sami and this adventure is certainly a great way to spend the evening while waiting for the albmi to light up.
Uncover the phenomenon yourself
Thinking of hunting for the lights on your own? Head to Mount Rønvik, a short three kilometer bus trip from the city. Up here you have an excellent view of the mountainous Lofoten Islands and the city. More importantly, this peak brings you away from the city lights giving you a better chance to see the aurora. If you do not wish to leave the city, you can still get a good view of the colorful smoke-like ribbons at the pier.
If you like to get active then there are plenty of unique ways to enjoy the magical night’s sky. As the stars are curtained with greens and purples, you can take a ski trip, camp out or go on a dog sledding excursion and be pulled across the white snowy planes. Learn a little more about the region and the great activities you can join with Bodø i Vinden Perhaps you are looking to take a cruise and make your way farther north to Tromsø. The Hurtigruten Company has a trip from Bodø to Tromsø that gives you a great view as you float north.
Including Tromso in your itinerary? Make sure to stay at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Tromso for excellent Northern Light viewing opportunities right from your room!
From the June 2nd until July 10th Bodø is doused in light 24/7. Enjoy endless days of fun whether you want to explore nature while rock climbing, scuba diving and kite surfing or if you just want to relax. The sun never leaves your side, meaning you have more hours in your day to do the things you love.
Bring your camera and capture the world that never sleeps. A great tip when snapping photos of the incredible land-hugging sun is to keep the horizon about a third of the way from the bottom. This will brighten up the photo, as the camera will expose better. This way you will be able to document your adventures with the amazing shadows and orange glow filling the background.