Experiencing the Northern Lights

Aimee Spicer

Cruising in search of the Northern Lights can be one of most captivating experiencing you'll ever have.



The ethereal Northern Lights have long been sought out by intrepid travellers who want to see the sky light up with colour. However, you don’t have to trek to the furthest reaches of the North Pole to witness this incredible phenomenon. You can experience the other-worldly beauty of the Aurora Borealis from the prow of a ship.

Tour the Norwegian fjords

It would be a crime to head to Norway and not pay homage to its stunning landscapes. Skim through the waves as the Vikings did hundreds of years before and see the fjords of Norway. Fjords form when the sea flows into narrow inlets carved from the surrounding mountains by glaciers. There are fjords all over the world, but the most famous ones are undoubtedly found in Norway. The culture of the Vikings grew in the shadow of these imposing cliffs; the fjords provided shelter from rough waters and the powerful winds of the North Sea for their trading (and raiding) ships.

Discover Norway

Along with the fjords, this Scandinavian jewel boasts lush forests, craggy mountain ranges, Arctic tundra and bright nestling towns. The terrain is dramatic and sweeping, a mixture of the beautiful and the severe, and the further north you go, the more you can experience the untouched wild beauty of the Arctic. See the Lofoten Islands to the north of the country and learn about how the local fishing communities thrive in one of the harshest environments in the world.

The Northern Lights

Of course, one of the biggest pulls to this part of the world is the opportunity to stand beneath nature’s most famous light show: the Aurora Borealis. Named for the Roman goddess of dawn, and created when solar flares interact with our upper atmosphere, no two performances are alike.

Where to see the Northern Lights

For your best chance of viewing the Aurora Borealis travel to the north of Norway, crossing the Arctic Circle into regions like Alta and Tromsø. The Northern Lights belt hits this area all along the coast. There’s no guarantee that you will glimpse the phenomena, but there is no place on Earth that offers you better odds.

When to visit Norway

The best time to witness the Northern Lights is from late autumn, through the winter period and right up to early spring (September 21-March 21). Deep winter –December and January – will afford you more time in the evenings, but there is more chance of snow around this time. In February and March the daylight hours are extended but the nights are still long enough for good spotting opportunities.

How to capture the Northern Lights

Whether you are a keen photographer, or just want to snap a picture to remember the experience, there are ways to get a great image if you’re patient. The best kind of cameras for this task come equipped with a wide lens. Deactivate your flash, and switch off your camera’s autofocus. You’ll need to stabilise your camera as much as possible to allow your lens to successfully capture light. Tripods are perfect, and there are little portable ones for small cameras that are great if you don’t fancy bringing expensive equipment on your holiday.

If you fancy an adventure deep into the magical North Pole, then let our qualified advisors guide you through what cruises we offer in Norway. Enjoy dedicated excursions and tours, on-board meals and forget the hassle of booking flights and hotels separately.

Discover a range of Northern Lights and Norway cruises with Saga.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.