We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Northern lights in Alta in Feb 2012

In cooperation with: Visit Norway
Which Alta hotels are on sale?
dd/mm/yyyy dd/mm/yyyy
See hotels
Dillenburg, Germany
Level Contributor
21 posts
Save Topic
Northern lights in Alta in Feb 2012

Hello Everyone,

We are flying to Alta for 3 nights between 22 to 25 Feb. to try to see Northern lights. We are going to hire car from airport and try see lights without guided tours. After checking the websites about the weather it seems weather is dry mostly in Alta. That is the reason to come to Alta because it will increase our chances. Can anyone please give any advice for nearby beautiful scenery place where we can park car and wait for lights and also take good photos?

In case weather is bad in Alta or there any other places near Alta those have better weather if Alta is cloudy?

Best Regards,

Abrar

Oslo
Level Contributor
13,801 posts
92 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Northern lights in Alta in Feb 2012

Alta is relatively dry and cold. The interior (away from the sea/fjords) is even drier and colder.

The villages in the Finnmark highland (the interior towards Finland) are the coldest places in Norway. Average temperature there is around minus 15 C in Febr. Every third day is below minus 20 C, minus 40 C is likely. Think twice before going into the interior by car on the coldest days.

There are very few roads, so it is a matter of going in this or that direction.

Tromso, Norway
Level Contributor
5,072 posts
14 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Northern lights in Alta in Feb 2012

That`s the problem with Alta... if it get cloudy, then it will be the same over a large area. Just because Alta didn`t have mountains like Lyngen Alps, close to Tromsø. If it`s bad weather from SW, then it`s quite often good weather East of the Lyngen Alps.

The plateau of Finnmark are about 300 m.asl. and the clouds haven`t any mountains to drop the rain, so it will be grey all over...

But, in SW of Alta, about 70 km drive you will find Langfjorden, and there is some high mountains around the glacier Øksfjordjøkulen.

I guess that is the best area to be if the weather get to cloudy...

Tromso, Norway
Level Contributor
5,072 posts
14 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Northern lights in Alta in Feb 2012

Ab_Hassan wrote in a email:

After going through all the weather websites and every other information. We decided that we might have better chance of seeing Northern lights in Alta as both Tromso and Alta have same chance of Northern lights but as Alta has more drier climate so we choose to go there for 3 nights and then 2 nights in Tromso. That made our trip expensive but after our failed try to see Northern lights in Iceland where Weather was horrible we planned to go for a bit drier place. But that also depends on our luck if we get dry and sunny days in Alta and Tromso.

Can you please guide us a bit about Alta? As you also wrote on Tripadvisor about Skibotn. Which directions we should head out from Alta and where we can find the weather cameras websites like the one which you write on tripadvisor. Thank you very much. Best Regards, Abrar

I am answering this email at TA, so more people get the same information.

I haven`t lived in Alta, but I know the area quite well, and there is only 3 main roads out of Alta;

1: E6 south, where you can reach Kåfjord and Langfjorden, where you will find the highest mountains in Finnmark, and here the clouds can change a bit... You can also drive to the coast at Øksfjord. There is also small roads into different valleys, but in the winter time I am not sure how the driving conditions are...

2: E6 north, over Sennalandet, where you will experience the plateau of Finnmark. But, if you drive this way, be prepare that the road can be closed because of to strong wind = snowstorm. Before you come to the mountains there is several places along the fjord where you can catch nice Aurora pics.

3: Road to Kautokeino, takes you via an amazing canyon, and then into the Sami area around Mazi, before you come to the plateau and into Kautokeino.

If there is a great day, make a day trip to Kautokeino, and visit Juhls Silvershop, http://www.juhls.no/ and then use the evening back for the chase.

Just remember: Be prepare for bad weather, so take a shuffle with you, enough warm clothes, food and warm drink. And drive safe.

Sometimes the wind brings much snow out in the roads, and then you can really get problem, if you didn`t see this hill of snow in the middle of the road...

PS: The statistic says drier climate in Alta re: Tromsø, but did they tell how much clouds there are on the sky..?

Dillenburg, Germany
Level Contributor
21 posts
Save Reply
4. Re: Northern lights in Alta in Feb 2012

@Osloviking

Thank you so much. I will keep in mind the harsh weather conditions.

@Gunnar

Thank you very much for the valuable information. Well I read everywhere on internet that go to inland instead of going to Tromso and they call Alta city of Northern lights because of frequent clear skies. I am not export, I am just desperate to see Northern lights and that is why I am planning my trip.

I have 3 nights in Alta and then 2 nights in Tromso so maybe I will be lucky enough to see the lights. I will drive according the routes which you have wrote down and plan my journey.

We have also one guided trip with you but I hope to see lights first 3 nights in Alta as I believe you are not magician and you have no control over lights and clouds but will be good help to find the clear skies.

I read that Skibotn and Alta have the most number of clear nights and that was the reason to go to Alta so if I didnt work out in Alta we can drive to coast or more inland depending on weather conditions.

Do you know any good guided tour for Northern lights in Alta?

Thank you very much for your time and dedication to help.

Best Regards,

Abrar

Leeds, United...
2 posts
Save Reply
5. Re: Northern lights in Alta in Feb 2012

Hey there! I wonder if you could help me at all....I'd love to stay with a Sami family and see the Northern Lights in December 2012. My research is pointing to Alta and Kautokeino however I'm worried about driving in northern Norway and the risks which may accompany it regarding cold temperatures and possible road closures.

What do you think?

Oslo
Level Contributor
13,801 posts
92 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Northern lights in Alta in Feb 2012

Most Sami people live in villages and towns, not different from other residents in Norway. A few have rein deer herds on the plateau, perhaps some of them live traditional style in tents during some seasons. I don't know how common that is.

Note that Alta & Kautokeino is far north and there is no real daylight in December.

If you go out in cold weather you should be prepared. While driving is actually easier in very cold weather than in around freezing (around 0 C is the most difficult driving), if you have little or no experience in these kinds of conditions perhaps consider other options.

Roads are closed to reduce risk, so don't worry about that.

Tromso, Norway
Level Contributor
5,072 posts
14 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Northern lights in Alta in Feb 2012

If you just like to get that feeling to stay out with the Sami you just have to do it on the commercial way, if you don`t have any good connections then...

If you are coming to Tromsø and stay safe and comfortable at one of the hotelsin the city, you can be picked up of http://www.lyngsfjord.com who drive you safetly to theirs camp, close to the Swedish / Finnish border, and you can enjoy Reindeer sledging, eat Sami food and stay overnight in a Sami tent.

Leeds, United...
2 posts
Save Reply
8. Re: Northern lights in Alta in Feb 2012

OsloViking and GuideGunnar thank you very much for your advice.

I can't wait to visit!!!!

Alta, Norway
Level Contributor
2 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Northern lights in Alta in Feb 2012

It can be a bit difficult to be objective since I live in Alta. But when it comes to the northern lights, Alta is one of the best places to go to to. One of the reasons, as you point out, is the dry climate.

Read here: glodalta.no/en/hunting-the-northern-lights/

And; there are roads from Alta, heading in different directions, south, north, east and west. All taking you in to rural, no light polluted areas. Giving you great visibility.

When it comes to mountains (Lyngen Alps etc.), Alta is located east of them. All the bad weather (snow, rain and clouds) comes from west (or from the sea as you might recognize from back home - it is the same all over). The moist stops more or less always in the same mountains, giving Alta what we normally see here, cold and clear weather. Perfect conditions for northern lights.

If you want a local tip to maximize your chances for seeing the lights; look for a spot east of "the dividing range of northern norway" - the Lyngen, Kvænangen and Loppa Alps. Ex. Alta. Alta is easy to reach by direct plane from Oslo. www.sas.no or www.norwegian.com

Oslo
Level Contributor
1,740 posts
147 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Northern lights in Alta in Feb 2012

Alta is great for seeing the northern lights. The samis are not distinguishable from other Norwegians. In the sami core districts, like Tana, Kautokeino and Karasjok, you will hear the sami language (related to Finish) spoken on the street, before they jump into their Toyotas an head for their jobs in the hosiptal or the tax office.

A small number of samis have reindeer and still live as nomads. But during the winter season, mostly young men are out by the flocks. They are out most of the day and sleep in small huts. They don't have time for visitiors. The families stay in the villages.

It is during the migrations in April and September that the whole family helps out. Some of these families take guests during the migration, and I guess it would be a life experience:

http://turl.no/me6

Get answers to your questions about Alta