Northern Norway is famously one of the best places on Earth to view the incredible natural wonder that is the Northern Lights. People travel in droves every year to make the pilgrimage to Scandinavia and take in the extraordinary sight of a sky which is no longer blue but glows green, red or even pink.
With so many fantastic holiday destinations under the Aurora Borealis to choose from, we’ve taken a look at what else these fabulous towns and cities have to offer, and came up with seven fun activities to enjoy while also taking in the lights.
For the active holidaymaker, what better way to take in everything Northern Norway has to offer than spending some time skiing across the various mountain ranges and parks in the north of the country? Whether you’re looking for a day trip or want the full skiing experience across a whole week, you’re sure to find something to suit your needs.
One popular area is the county of Finnmark, which boasts a vast collection of mountains with a sprawling tundra, which has to be seen to be believed. Also, the Lyngen Lodge in Tromso is another fine spot. Out in the mountains, wrapped up warm under the stunning green glow of the Northern Lights — is there anything better?
So you’ve tried your hand at cross-country skiing, but now you want something with a little more excitement. There’s only one thing for it — alpine skiing. The peaks and troughs of the Norwegian mountains throw up endless opportunities for downhill skiing whether you’re a novice or an experienced skier.
And with ski centres dotted across the north of the country — the ski resort of Narvikfjellet is an ideal location, with 13 ski runs and an array of lifts and cable cars available — you’ll have plenty to enjoy when it comes to apres ski as well. You may even indulge in a spot of what the Norwegians call ‘topptur’ — a hike to the top of a mountain, followed by skiing back down. With peaks as high as 1,000 meters above sea level, adventurous skiers are sure to have the time of their lives. Plus, if you go late in the evening, you’ll find stunning views of the Northern Lights, making for a truly exhilarating sight.
While skiing and snowboarding are loved by many, they’re not for everyone. So for those who prefer their mountain activity a little more laid-back, guided snowshoeing offers a fabulous alternative. The mountain town of Ringvassoya allows you to take in the stunning views of the Norwegian fjords from the top of small local hills with the help of special thermo boots and a warm suit to protect you from the chilly weather (hot drinks and sweets are provided to keep your energy levels up), and on a clear night you could find the best possible spot to view the Northern Lights, an experience you’ll never forget.
A popular pastime in many cities in the north of the country — most notably the ‘Northern Paris’ of Tromso and the small town of Kirkenes — dog sledding is a great opportunity to enjoy the snowy forests of the Norwegian hillside alongside some furry friends. The perfect day out for anyone who likes to ‘get back to nature,’ you’ll be whisked along behind a pack of tireless huskies on a comfortable sled as part of a thrilling day out, andwith hot food and drink around a camp fire usually thrown in as part of the deal. And at the end of the night, you’ll take in the Lights in a warm and relaxing atmosphere.
"Husky trip in the Finnmark - Karasjok" (Photo Credit: Martin Vmorris)
Slightly more exciting than most people’s idea of fishing (by the side of a lake with a sandwich and a warm beer) ice fishing is an essential part of everyday life for many Norwegians, and offers a fun and educational day out for travellers looking to live as the locals do. Travel to Tromso or any of the neighbouring towns, and you can spend an afternoon fishing beneath the ice (with the help of an expert guide — you don’t want to leave empty-handed) before retiring to base camp to cook your catch. Cod, trout and halibut are most common here, so you can grill up some tasty treats around the fire with a hot cup of coffee to wash it down, all while underneath the Aurora Borealis.
The arctic climate of northern Norway might not sound like an obvious place to take up surfing, but trust us, with fantastic waves, gorgeous views and plenty of opportunities to warm yourself up, the archipelago of Lofoten offers one of the world’s greatest surfing experiences. The extraordinary surroundings — blue seas and towering mountains — are an ideal setting for experienced surfers to strut their stuff, and there is plenty for keen learners to sink their teeth into. Plus, on-site saunas and hot tubs ensure that you’re never far from a warming glow, and with the Lights waiting for you back at camp after a hard day at sea, you’ll even have an ideal way to wind down in the evening.
For the true thrill-seekers out there, even skiing down the steepest mountains or surfing the highest waves Norway has to offer may not be enough. Luckily for those people, Norway also has ice-climbing. Exactly as it sounds, ice-climbing involves lots of climbing…on lots of ice. With ice-pick and harness at hand you’ll scale the terrifying frozen waterfalls which hang over the side of the Norwegian mountains. Northern Norway has some extraordinarily beautiful locations for ice-climbing, with Bodo and the Lyngen Alps among the most captivating. These destinations offer some of the world’s most incredible sights, not to mention the even more incredible experience of climbing them. Reach the top in time for dusk and you can take a hard-earned rest under the Aurora Borealis — a once-in-a-lifetime experience you’ll be talking about for years to come.
Courtesy of Expedia in partnership with Visit Norway.