Northern lights in Lofoten

Lofoten is one of the world's best Northern Lights destinations

The Northern Lights also called the Aurora Borealis, is a magical phenomenon and nature's most spectacular light show. People come from all corners of the world traveling to Northern Norway to experience this light phenomenon. But what makes Lofoten one of the world's best and most exciting destinations for experiencing the Northern Lights?

Lofoten is located in the middle of the Northern Lights Oval

Lofoten consists of several smaller and larger islands that stretch from Norway’s mainland into the Norwegian Sea. The archipelago is located in the middle of the center of the Northern Lights Oval, is where the Northern Lights appear in the zenith when it is at a medium to maximum activity. Low northern lights activity usually stays north of the archipelago, but is visible as long as there is clear weather in the direction it occurs.

The strength of the Northern Lights is stated with a Kp-index. It mainly tells where in the sky the northern lights are expected to appear. Kp 0 will be completely out on the horizon seen from Lofoten, Kp 4 will be straight up in the zenith, while Kp 9 (occurs very rarely) means that it will appear far to the south, sometimes as far south as Southern Europe. There is a connection between the amount of Northern Lights and how far south it is pushed, it is not necessary that there will always be a wild dance in the sky even if the Northern Lights have a Kp 5. Likewise, you can get a fantastic northern lights dance towards the north with a Kp 2 forecast.

Lofoten's location and lines of sight allow us to see the Northern Lights in all directions. Our location gives us a very long Northern Lights season, and the Northern Lights can often be seen from the 20th of August to mid-April.

Large local meteorological variations in combination with short distances and good road connections across the Lofoten Islands

The combination of islands with high mountains that extend up to 1000 meters above sea level means that the weather conditions can be very local. We can, therefore, experience several types of weather, and even if it is cloudy in the southern part of Lofoten, it may be clear weather to the north, east, or west. In many cases, you will be able to see the Northern Lights from more or less every corner around the archipelago. The short distances in Lofoten allow you to move with the northern lights activity and get from the northern parts to the south of the islands in a very short time.

Although Lofoten is located at 68 degrees north, we have a mild coastal climate throughout the autumn and winter due to the passage of the Gulf Stream. The average temperature in autumn (September - November) is approx. 6+ degrees and in winter (December - March) approx. 0 degrees.

Perfect place for Northern Lights photographers

The Lofoten islands are known for its wild and dramatic landscape consisting of both lowlands and steep mountain ranges, surrounded by a spectacular coast with several chalk-white sandy beaches. Lofoten's unique landscape in combination with detached houses and fishing villages along the coast makes Lofoten a paradise for Northern Lights photographers. The motifs you can create in combination with the Northern Lights are also something that makes Lofoten the best Northern Lights destination in the world.

Svolvær is a vibrant small town in Lofoten. From Svinøya in Svolvær you can take fantastic northern lights pictures of the city, with the sea in front and the Lofoten Mountains in the background. Lofoten has on several occasions been named one of the world's most beautiful archipelagos, e.g. by Lonely Planet and the Huffington Post.

Read more about how to photograph the northern lights here.

Photo: Odd-Petter Tanke Jensen

Local and skilled guides who are very passionate about the Northern Lights and photography

Lofoten is lucky to have several local and very skilled Northern Lights guides who are passionate about the Northern Lights and photography. They know the archipelago well, have a very good understanding of the climatic variations, and find the best locations to experience the Northern Lights according to the reported weather conditions. Several of the roads in Lofoten are narrow and winding and as a visitor, it can therefore be challenging to drive on some of the roads. During the Northern Lights season, there can also be quite demanding driving conditions due to night frost, snow and mild weather. Our local Northern Lights guides know the roads and driving conditions very well and have the necessary insurances and licenses in order.

Even though the forecast has predicted the Northern Lights to make its appearance, you may not be able to see it from your accommodation. Our local guides usually find the Northern Lights even in cloudy weather if the climatic conditions are right.

We hope that you who visit Lofoten in the Northern Lights season, will book an organized Northern Lights tour with a local guide, it will definitely give you a better experience and perhaps the ultimate Northern Lights picture. The guides are happy to assist in taking a picture of you under the Northern Lights. You will also be contributing to the local community by choosing a local guide living in Lofoten.


Photo: Odd-Petter Tanke Jensen

Experience the Northern Lights with Svinøya Rorbuer as your base

Svinøya Rorbuer is located on an island in the town of Svolvær. Svinøya is connected to the town by a bridge and is still today a lively little fishing village where you can spend the night in fisherman's cabins. On Svinøya there are many beautiful photo motifs, which can be combined with the northern lights if you are lucky. It is the perfect location to take a picture of Svolvær with the sea, mountains, and the northern lights above when conditions allow it.

If you cannot see the Northern Lights from Svinøya, you can reach other good locations in just 30-60 minutes. It’s only 2,5 hours to Reine and approximately 2 hours to the mainland by car.


Co-writers

Steven Henriksen, Northern lights guide
Odd Petter Tanke Jensen, Northern lights guide
Jann Engstad, Northernlights guide