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Northern lights in February/march 2013

Australia
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Northern lights in February/march 2013

Greetings,

My wife and I are planning a trip to Norway in February/March 2013 with the main purpose to catch the Aurora Borealis.

Also, we would like to do one of the cruises with Hurtigruten, either a northbound or a southbound voyage. These voyages finish/start in Kirkenes.

So, my question is – would Kirkenes be as good to see Aurora Borealis as Tromso?

Thank you

Stavanger, Norway
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for Western Norway, Stavanger
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1. Re: Northern lights in February/march 2013

Tromsø is often the most recommended place to visit. The other regulars will chime in once the wake up. However, I think you may find useful advise reading through some ot the Nothern Lights trip reports. You find the reports under the sticker "Please post your reviews here". It is the very first post on the Norway forum.

Happy planning!

Salisbury, United...
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2. Re: Northern lights in February/march 2013

Also search on this forum for Northern Lights, there has been a lot written about them.

You will be able to see the NL's from anywhere above the Arctic circle you just need a clear night and Solar activity. So the trick is to find somewhere that offers the most clear nights. This is why Tromso is usually cited as the best place as there is easy access to inland areas where the air mass is more stable and so clearer nights. The coastal areas can be cloudy due to prevailing weather patterns but still have clear nights and wonderful sightings.

We were in Tromso this March and had good weather and saw the NL's on the coast for 3 nights running and didn't have to go inland. At the same time friends were on Hurtigruten and also had excellent views of the NL's. The good thing about the ship is that they will wake you if there is a good showing.

A good combination could be to base yourself at Tromso for 4/5 nights and then take the ship to Kirkness and then spend a night or two there. You are coming a great distance so want to maximise your chances. If you hire a car and follow the weather forecasts there is every possibility to see them on your own but a guided tour will most probably maximise your chances. Be prepared to go out every night if the weather looks good.

Do remember ther is no guarantee you will see them. There was a long thread on the Iceland forum where someone thought they had been conned because the did not see the NL's.

Have a read and come back with more questions. The locals may have some more thoughts. Good luck and happy hunting.

Australia
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3. Re: Northern lights in February/march 2013

fantastic! thank you for the information!

Chattanooga, TN
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4. Re: Northern lights in February/march 2013

Thanks for posting this. I too am planning a winter trip and looking for advise on whether the south to north or north to south voyage on Hurtigruten is preferable. Please chime in.

Harstad, Norway
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for Bergen, Norway
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5. Re: Northern lights in February/march 2013

North or south really does not matter. If your main aim is to see the NL, anything south of the arctic circle is a waste. In other words, start or end your journey around Bodø and not in Bergen.

Australia
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6. Re: Northern lights in February/march 2013

at this stage we are looking to take a voyage north to Kirkenes (may be with a sleep over in the Ice Hotel – living in subtropical Australia one might consider this exotic!) and then continuing down to Tromso for a NL hunt.

Singapore, Singapore
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7. Re: Northern lights in February/march 2013

I have been on the Hurtigruten twice to see the northern lights with little success.

As much as I love the Hurtigruten cruises, contrary to its claim "hunting the lights" it is not truly geared up to viewing or photographing the lights. When it appeared in front of the ship this year , the staff refused to stop shining a powerful light (onto rocks) directly across the borealis, blocking our view of it. Again contrary to claims there have been few if any ship wide announcements of the the arrival of the lights.

Unlike Iceland there are no specific borealis hunting excursions when I was on the cruises. I have been to Iceland many times and seen it every visit.

if you study the Helios Ovation predictive model map of borealis activity http://helios.swpc.noaa.gov/ovation/ you will see that even though Tromso and Kirkenes are higher than Iceland in the Arctic Circle , that Iceland is directly under the path of the geo magnetic oval and a prime location for borealis activity. We found the lights of the Hurtigruten ship inhibit viewing of the borealis , especially in ports.

For serious Borealis hunters I would go to Alaska or Iceland. The Hurtigruten (Trollfjord) should be experienced for it's own sake and not for seeing the borealis. I saw hints of borealis in Tromso and in Troll Fjord , but theoretically higher up you go the more the chance of success especial since there is only about 2-3 hours of daylight as you cross Arctic Circle. But not in my experience.

Chattanooga, TN
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8. Re: Northern lights in February/march 2013

Dear Travelmuch (I'm jealous!). Thank you for posting the Helios Ovation link and advise. If you have posted (or will post) recommendations on "hunting excursions" in Iceland. I want last year and missed the borealis. Plan to return, but would love some guidance.

amersham
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9. Re: Northern lights in February/march 2013

Does the excursion from the ship departing Alta give you any more chance of seeing the Northern LIghts than the one departing from Tromso ,am going round in circles with all the advice from the cruise ships!?

Harstad, Norway
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for Bergen, Norway
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10. Re: Northern lights in February/march 2013

That would be impossible to predict. Normally, Alta has a drier climate and so the chances are slightly higher. It is all in the hands of the gods really.