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Destination: an 11-year cycle at its peak; 2024 is the best year to witness the Northern Lights.

You may have caught wind of recent news if you're reading this in early October 2023. Perhaps you've seen reports that the Northern Lights were visible as far south as France. Yes, you read that correctly— the Northern Lights were seen in France. According to accounts, they were visible to the naked eye and certainly with a good camera and a slightly longer exposure.

The fact that the Northern Lights were observable so far south is neither a coincidence nor an exception. Every 11 years, the conditions for seeing the Northern Lights are exceptionally favorable. I'll spare you the scientific details, but in essence, the sun rotates in a way that a region on its surface with frequent solar flares becomes more directed towards Earth.

Northern Lights Norway

Because of the 11-year cycle being at its peak now; 2024 is the best year to witness the Northern Lights. Therefore, there’s no time to lose to plan your journey north to witness this incredibly impressive phenomenon. However, as you hopefully understand, there are no guarantees. While you're preparing to spend an entire night gazing at the sky, it might happen that on that very day, it's overcast, or there simply hasn't been enough solar activity. Unfortunately, your travel insurance doesn't cover this, and suing the Norse gods won't be of much use as they do not speak any English.

Nevertheless, as mentioned, your best chances are during the winter and early spring, as well as late autumn of 2024. Therefore, I thought it fitting to compile a list of fantastic locations for you that are not only worth a visit on their own but also ideal for Northern Lights viewing. Let's set off, in no particular order:

Trevarefabrikken is quite an institution in Arctic Norway. It's one of those places you immediately want to be a part of. You want to become a fixture there. You want to be friends with the bar staff. And perhaps, you might even fall in love. Well, it's a dangerous place because there's a chance you won't want to leave. In brief, what makes this place special is, firstly, its location—right by the sea, with mountains in the distance and a vast sky stretching above you (which is crucial when you come here to see the Northern Lights). Moreover, there's remarkably little light pollution because it's so remote. Additionally, it's a kind of cultural hub. If the misfortune befalls you that it's cloudy for three days and rain is beating against the windows, your trip to Northern Norway won't feel wasted. As I mentioned, you feel immediately at home here.

As an interior enthusiast, I'm particularly pleased with how the rooms are designed— a bit 'rough around the edges,' as it's sometimes described. Still, exceptionally tasteful and unpretentious. The communal spaces also feel warm and pleasant despite the industrial character of the building itself. When leaving, your suitcase will probably be a bit more heavy due to the weight of all the beautiful experiences and encounters you've had at Trevarefabrikken.

If you're looking for more privacy, I highly recommend the newly opened (September 2023) WonderInn Arctic. This tried-and-true concept of beautifully furnished and secluded small cabins, with fantastic beds and, more importantly, huge glass walls providing a magnificent view of the polar night from your bed, is worth considering. Here, you sleep with your curtains open so you don't miss a minute of what's happening in the sky. Or you observe the Northern Lights from your own hot tub. Nothing wrong with that either.

Moreover, WonderInn Arctic is incredibly isolated, giving you a pleasant sense of insignificance. The nearest airport is about an hour's drive away (EVE). The Arctic landscape and the expansive view make this WonderInn one of the most extraordinary memories. This is a dream location with limited capacity. I'm not joking when I say that if you plan to come to Norway next winter, it's advisable to book your overnight stay here now. Regular hotels might still have a bed available, but these exceptional places sell out. Better safe than sorry!

Aera - Panorama Glass Lodge is a place in the same class as WonderInn, but here, the feeling of luxury and privacy is just a bit more significant. You sleep under a large glass window, in a very spacious bed, and you really don't need to leave your room. Here, you bring your life with you. Your dinner is brought directly to the cabin, where the staff sets up a lovely table for you, just like in a restaurant. Enjoy your private dinner while waiting for the Northern Lights to appear outside your window. You truly don't have to think about anything, allowing all attention to be directed towards each other and the tremendous window, with the opportunity to witness one of the most spectacular natural phenomena that exist. I mean, this is where I’d easily spend a week winding down and forgetting there’s a world out there.

Lastly on my list is Varanger View. And now, we find ourselves at the very end of the world. I have recently fallen a bit in love with this area. Not just because of the unbelievable beauty of the landscape and the unique flora and fauna, but also due to a tremendous fondness for the Norwegians who live here. They are a different kind of people—down to earth, warm, and incredibly helpful. Varanger is a magical place. Numerous herds of reindeer roam around, seemingly unconcerned about people or cars. Anyway, I won't allow myself to be tempted again to write in lyrical terms about this part of Norway. For that, you can read what I previously wrote about Vardø.

Wherever you decide to go, I wish you a fantastic journey, and do let me know through Instagram how it went and where you've been. I'd love to hear from you.

**Getting there (or anywhere): it is most likely you'll arrive at an airport. In this remote part of the world public transport eats up a lot of your time. So it is most wise to reserve a car in advance. Since Norway has one of the best fast-charging networks in the world, I would advise you to rent an electric car. Better for the environment, cheaper to charge and it gets you everywhere. Check here for availability.


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