So, the Northern Lights - THE most fascinating phenomenon that everyone is dying to see one day. Completely understandable. And in Tromso you can see them almost every night in winter, if the sky is not cloudy. However that doesn't mean that I'm spending all my nights on the hunt for them. The thing is that you have your everyday life. You have to go to uni and to work, you have to study and read a lot and then in the evenings you're just tired and go to bed early.
I know that everyone probably expects me to spend every possible evening outside waiting for the Northern Lights and I totally understand your enthusiasm but honestly, I can't be bothered anymore. Not that I don't find the lights fascinating or beautiful anymorejust because I now have seen them a couple of times, it's just that I don't have the energy and motivation to spend my nights in the cold when I'm tired and have a long day at uni the next day.Luckily, on Wednesday I was able to watch the Northern Lights from my bed. That's the most convenient place to see them right?! And I even managed to take a picture of them - my very first Northern Lights picture ever.
Most attempts at capturing the lights so far resulted in a pitch black photo because I didn't bring my tripod with me in August. My luggage was already overweight by all my clothes and kitchen appliances so I had to wait for my tripod to come in the mail. Ironically I've only been out on the Northern Lights chase when I didn't have my tripod yet but I like the pictures I took of my neighbourhood during nighttime so I wanted to share them with you anyway.
To not totally disappoint you by not sharing breath-taking Northern Lights pictures (as let's be honest, my out-of-the-window one is pretty shaky), let me share the most important information regarding Northern Lights Tours with you in case you think about coming to Tromso just to see them. There are a couple of tourist companies who offer these tours (just check out the
website) and yes, they definitely are expensive.
However they also give you the chance to visit beautiful mountains or beaches outside of Tromso (on some nights, these companies even drive you all the way to the Finnish border) and they also help you with capturing the lights and take a picture of you in front of them.
I did such a tour back in November 2013 with Tromso Friluftssenter and it was the best night of my life! I had such an amazing time in the snow under the stars and in a traditional Sami tent at the bonfire (although from a social anthropological perspective, these indigenous tourism things have to be seen very critically....).
We even visited the beach in the middle of the night while it was pitch black outside only to see fluorescent sand. Absolutely magnificent. Oh and yes, we saw the Northern Lights too though only very weakly but that didn't matter - I had a wonderful time!
Most companies offer you a discount if you do a second Northern Lights tour so I can only recommend you to go on such a tour on your very first night in Tromso so that you have the chance to go on another tour the next day, if you only stay here a couple of days.
If you don't have the money however, that's perfectly fine too. There are a lot of spots that you can easily reach from the city centre, either by bus or by foot, from which you can watch the Northern Lights. It is important that you are as far away from artificial light as possible because you can't see and capture the lights properly if you're surrounded by street lamps.
A few of those spots are for example: Prestvannet, Gronnasen Hoppbacke or just the roof of the student gym Kraft next to the university (that's where I live so naturally that's the place where I've been going to so far), mountain Storsteinen, probably also Sydspissen/Telegrafbukta and the northern tip of the island (although I personally haven't been there on a Northern Lights chase so I don't know for sure).
I have no idea how to include a virtual map here - you can however always go to the tourist information and they will hand you a map and mark those spots for you.
For Northern Lights forecasts for Tromso, visit this site.
I hope I could help you a bit with this information and I promise, I'll post better Northern Lights pictures as soon as I manage to take some outside!