Will I see the Northern Lights on my voyage with Hurtigruten?
Although we can't make any guarantees, the odds of seeing the Northern Lights on a voyage with Hurtigruten between October and March are very, very good. In fact, if you book a 12 day Classic Round Voyage and do not see the lights, we will give you another voyage for free.
Why is a Hurtigruten and Norway the best combination for seeing the Northern Lights?
- Where Hurtigruten sails in northern Norway is directly beneath the Auroral Zone, and area of consistent auroral activity.
- Of the 34 ports we visit from Bergen to Kirkenes, 22 are north of the Arctic Circle, giving you plenty of opportunity to see the Northern Lights.
- Being at sea avoids the artificial ambient light common on land, so the Northern Lights will be brighter and more vivid.
What are my options if I want to see the Northern Lights with Hurtigruten?
To increase your chances of seeing the aurora, you should choose one of the following voyages with Hurtigruten:
1. Astronomy Voyage (12 days, Jan 2018 - March 2019): This limited voyage is accompanied by special lecturers - experts on astronomy and expeditions to see the Northern Lights.
2. The Classic Round Voyage (12 days): Sail from Bergen to Kirkenes and back. If you don't see the Northern Lights on this voyage between October and March, you get another voyage for free.
3. 6- and 7-day Classic Voyages: If you prefer a shorter cruise, our Bergen - Kirkenes and Kirkenes - Bergen voyages provide excellent opportunities to see the lights.
What temperatures should I expect?
To give you an idea of the temperatures you can expect to experience on your search for the Northern Lights, below are the average daily temperatures (°C) for Tromsø. These do not include wind chill factor, which will lower the temperatures.
Tromsø: Sep 6.9°C / Oct 2.7°C / Nov -1.2°C / Dec -3.4°C / Jan -4.4°C / Feb -4.3°C / Mar -2.8°C
What about frostbite?
This occurs when the skin and underlying tissue freeze due to extended exposure to very low temperatures. It can affect any part of your body, but the extremities, such as the hands, feet, ears, nose and lips, are most likely to be affected. However, by wearing appropriate clothing and taking sensible precautions, frostbite can be avoided.
What should I wear?
With the right clothing, the Arctic winter can be surprisingly comfortable. Many local suppliers will lend or rent you the thick outer garments that are expensive to buy. If your holiday consists of organised excursions such as Northern Lights viewing; plus, short dog sledging and snowmobile trips, good-quality ski clothing should see you through (tip – check out summer sales in for bargains on winter clothing, especially those marked ‘thermal’). However, if you’re going to be spending extended periods outdoors in sub-Arctic and Arctic weather, you should upgrade to a higher level of protection.
The Layer Principle
It is much better to wear a number of thin layers than just a few thick ones. The air trapped in-between thin layers warms to your body’s temperature and acts as valuable insulation. Make sure your clothes fit well and that some of your layers are of differing sizes. This will help you avoid feeling constricted, which will be uncomfortable and prevent air circulation.
In cold conditions, it’s better to wear wool, silk or synthetic polypropylene next to your skin. Avoid cotton; when you sweat, it gets cold and clammy and doesn’t dry out easily. Merino wool, on the other hand, is excellent. On top of your base layer, you’ll need to wear at least two or three additional layers, which should be made of fleece or wool. Remember that you’ll need long johns as well as upper body protection.
A well-insulated, windproof jacket is a must, as are insulated trousers or salopettes in cold conditions. If the weather is likely to be wet, you’ll need waterproofs. Some local suppliers, such as snowmobile operators, will loan one-piece thermal suits to put on over your jacket and trousers.