7 tips for northern lights spotting

7 tips for northern lights spotting

1. Double your chances, travel to Svalbard!

Take a northern lights holiday on Svalbard, where the polar winter gives you exceptional chances of seeing the natural fireworks of the Arctic. On Svalbard we have the phenomenon, “polar night.” From early November to late January the sun is so far below the horizon that we cannot differ between day and night. That’s a lot of darkness, you might think – but on the upside – we can see the northern lights day and night! 

2. Get out of the city

The northern lights are visible from Longyearbyen, but you’ll encounter the really eye-opening displays a bit further from town. Our current northern lights offer includes a northern lights safari with bus or link snowcat, and this is a great way to introduce you to the northern lights! 

But, there are several more ways to experience the magic light in the sky. How about going dog sledding under the northern lights? All you can hear are the tiny paws running across the frozen fields, as the sky above you explode in a colour scheme like nothing you’ve ever seen. 

Or how about getting all your woollen gear on and join us for a hike? We follow a trapper's trail and go chasing northern lights and memories. 

If you are of the thrill-seeking kind we have the northern light experience for you! Snow mobile safari! Join us for a ride out in the Advent Valley. At the beginning, only the headlights from the snow mobile will show the way, but as we stop, lean back and look up you can see the magnifiscent display of the Aurora in the sky. 

Check out all our other northern lights activities here.

3. Dress warmly

Unless you’re enjoying an exquisite at Funktionærmessen Restaurant with grand views over the city and northern lights show, most northern lights viewing activities take place outside. A snowmobile trip goes on for a few hours, and although we dress you up in a supercool snowmobile suit, it advisable to wear plenty of clothes underneath. Don’t stress about buying stuff before you travel – we have excellent offers and good prices on high quality Arctic gear that's perfect for your stay at Longyear78.

4. Download a northern lights app

There are several Aurora borealis apps. One we recommend is the “Auroral Forecast” app. It will notify you if there are any northern lights roughly one hour before the phenomenon is visible. The app gathers information about the weather, sun activity and astronomy from seven known northern lights observatories around the world and can reveal the position and activity level of the northern lights before the phenomenon is visible on the sky.

5. Charge your batteries

Your camera beats you eye! So where you can see a little northern light with your bare eye, your camera will pick up all the nuances, and the result can be quite spectacular! Read up on your camera’s functions (an all auto-focus won’t do it here…), get ready and shoot! But remember, northern lights season is often cold and the batteries needs to be fully charged! And a smart phone can actually get some pretty good photos too, so have your mobile charged as well.

6. Be patient

Aurora Borealis is a natural phenomenon, and not something that can be pre-ordered. If you are on Svalbard for a couple of days during the season, you have good chances of seeing the northern lights, especially if you go “hunting” for it on a northern lights tour.

7. Bring your friends

Well, yes, because although your northern lights adventure only lasts for a short time, the memory lives on forever, and who better to share it with than friends or loved ones?

Welcome to the northern light season on Svalbard! Book your adventure here! 


Did you know?


HURTIGRUTEN SVALBARD AS, P.O. Box 548, N-9171 Longyearbyen
Telephone.: +47 79 02 61 00 | Org.nr 951 251 579
Mail: info@hurtigrutensvalbard.com

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