lofoten northern lights, lofoten, hamnoy, landscape

Lofoten Northern Lights: 7 Places For A Beautiful Experience

Lofoten has dramatic mountain peaks, open seas, and untouched islands. Leknes, its largest town is within the Arctic Circle. The best time to view the Lofoten Northern Lights is in winter when the sky lights up with hues of green, pink, and violet.

If Lofoten Northern Lights is what you are looking for, you have landed on the right page. In this post, we explore the best places to see the Northern Lights. And, whether Lofoten is worth visiting.

  1. Where is Lofoten?
  2. Can you see Northern Lights in Lofoten Islands?
  3. What is the main language of Norway?
  4. Where is the best place to see the Northern Lights in Norway?
  5. Is Lofoten worth visiting?

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Where is Lofoten?

Lofoten is a group of islands on the north archipelago of Nordland, Norway. This town has picture-perfect postcard scenery, rugged coasts, and mountainous peaks. The climate can be compared to Seattle and Quebec. 

Leknes, its largest and most populated town is within the Arctic Circle. As Leknes does not depend on fisheries, you will not find the traditional wooden architecture as in other fishing villages in Norway.

Lofoten Northern Lights, Lofoten, Mountains, Ocean, Houses
Photo by Stijn Kleerebezem on Unsplash

The Leknes Havn or the Leknes Harbour is a popular stop for cruise ships such as Costa Cruises, Pacific & Orient Cruises, Cruise Europe, and Viking Cruises. The prettiest coastal spot in Lofoten is Haukland Beach which is minutes away from Leknes.

Origins of Name

The actual name for this island is Vestvågøya. Lofoten is from the Old Norse Lófót which means “lynx’s foot”. This is because the shape of the island was similar to the foot of a lynx.


These islands have been continuously occupied since 1120 when King Øystein built a church and lodgings for fishermen near Kabelvåg. Lofoten is the center of fishing, specifically, the Norwegian Arctic Cod or Skrei.

These migratory fish come from the Barents Sea to Northern Norway’s coast to spawn. The largest species of cod, the Atlantic Cod is found in the Norwegian Sea. It is also found in Lofoten, Senja, and Vestrålen from January to April every year.

The citizens of Lofoten are connected to their Viking heritage. Vikings were known for their courage and conquest. And, they were skilled tradesmen and farmers. It is a known fact that Lofoten was home to several Viking chieftains such as Olaf Trygganson who was the King of Norway from 995 to 1000 BC.

Do you know that it was the Vikings who founded Dublin and Normandy?

Visa Requirements

The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration is responsible for managing the visa process for anyone who wishes to visit or live in Norway. Check the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration website to determine if you need a visa to enter Norway.

Schengen Visa

The Schengen Area is a passport-free zone where 26 European nations abolished their international borders. This encouraged free movement, trade, and harmonized common rules for controlling borders and fighting criminal elements.

Norway is part of the Schengen Area. However, it is not part of the European Union. Check out the list of countries that require the Schengen Visa to enter Norway. Citizens who need a visa would need to apply for the Uniform Schengen Visa.

With the Uniform Schengen Visa, tourists can transit and travel to Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, and Denmark. Tourists can stay for a maximum of 90 days every six months starting on the date of entry.

The Schengen Visa Fees are non-refundable and must be paid by every applicant.

European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS)

This electronic system is similar to the United States Electronic Travel System Authorization (ESTA) by the Department of Homeland Security. By 2022, citizens from 59 countries that now allow visa-free entry would be required to complete ETIAS before entering Europe. 

Click Who Needs ETIAS to see if your country requires an ETIAS to enter Norway and to know the difference between ETIAS and Schengen Visa.

Image Credit: ETIAS.com.

Can you see Northern Lights in Lofoten Islands?

Yes, you can view the Northern Lights on Lofoten Islands. The best time to view the Lofoten Northern Lights is during winter. The best visual experience is when the flicker of lights reflects on the sea.

Lofoten Northern Lights, Northern Lights, Nightsky
Photo by Johny Goerend on Unsplash

Lofoten Northern Lights are the Top 5 Destinations To See The Polar Lights. And, the Insider’s 10 Stunning Photos of The Northern Lights that feel like you are camping under the stars. 

Lofoten Northern Lights are on Lonely Planet’s How And Where To See The Northern Lights in 2021, National Geographic, and The Mirror

When should I go to the Lofoten Islands?

You can visit Lofoten Islands all year round. Other than the Lofoten Northern Lights, these islands have a lot to offer. For example, during the summer months, you can experience the midnight sun. 

The winter begins in November and lasts until March. During this time, the average lows are about -5°C. These months are rather quiet as the weather is unpredictable. The popular activities are experiencing Polar Nights and the Northern Lights. Check out the things to do in Lofoten during winter.

Spring begins in April and lasts until mid-May. The crowds began to pick up as the days become longer and warmer. The things to do in Lofoten during spring.  

Summer begins in June and lasts until August. During these months, temperatures rise to 15°C. These months are the busiest as local and international tourists flock to Norway. You can expect hotels and tourist attractions to be at full capacity. 

However, Lofoten’s things to do during summer include hiking, dog sledding, kayaking, and sea safari. Check out the full list of things to do during summer.

The Autumn months begin in September and October. As the summer crowds leave, the weather becomes much more unpredictable. However, don’t let the weather deter you as the Northern Lights start becoming visible during these months, though faintly. Check out the things to do in Lofoten in autumn

How do I get to the Lofoten Islands?

There are several options to get to Lofoten Islands. The convenient way is by air. However, you can the ferry, bus, or by car. Lonely Planet shows the options you can consider on how to get there.

What is the main language of Norway?

Norwegian is the official language and the most spoken language in Norway. This language is from the North Germanic language group. The Norwegian language traces its roots to the Old Norse language which was used from 1150 to 1350.

In terms of written Norwegian, the two official forms which are recognized are Bokmål and Nynorsk. Bokmål is used by 80-95% of the population while Nynorsk is used by 10-15% of Norway’s population. 

The other official language is the Sámi language who is used by the Sámi people. The Sámi are an indigenous tribe of Finno-Ugric that occupies the northern regions of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and the Kola Peninsula.

The other languages spoken are Kven, Romani, and Rodi spoken by the Indigenous Norwegian Travellers. The Global English Proficiency Index 2020 ranks Norway 5th in Europe in terms of its proficiency. This isn’t surprising as Norwegian and the English language share some similarities. For example, ski, berserk, and fjord have Norwegian origins. 

Is Norwegian easy to learn?

Yes! Norwegian is one of the 9 Easiest Languages To Learn For English Speakers. Norwegian and the English language share the same Germanic roots and vocabulary. For example, vinter and sommer, we will let you figure out those translations.

Before you start to learn Norwegian, check out the 12 Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them.

How do you say hello in Norwegian?

Hei! That’s it! The pronunciation is similar to “hi” or “hey” in English. If you are looking for a formal greeting, then it’s god morgen for “good morning”, god dag for “good day”, and god kveld for “good evening”.

How do you say basic words in Norwegian?

The best way to learn a new language is by hearing and imitating the language. Check out some basic Norwegian Phrases with audio and try practicing your Norwegian now.

If that doesn’t work, Tripsavvy has some Useful Words and Phrases in Norwegian. Omniglot has their version of Useful Norwegian Phrases as well. Your Dictionary has 50 Norwegian Words to Learn while the Norwegian Phrasebook is available on WikiTravel’s webpage.

Intrepid Guide teaches you 70+ Essential Phrases for Travel while Culture Trip has 7 Beautiful Norwegian Words We Need in English. With so many resources available, why not learn Norwegian?

Where is the best place to see the Northern Lights in Norway?

The best places to view the Northern Lights is shown in the map below.

Now, let’s check out these places individually. First, we start at Tromsø and end at Bodø.


Tromso, Northern Lights, Mountains
Photo by Lightscape on Unsplash

Other than Lofoten Northern Lights, Tromsø is one of the best places to see the Northern Lights. Tromsø is a municipality in Northern Norway. This municipality is the 12th most populous and the 21st largest by area.

When Can You See the Northern Lights in Tromsø?

Another name for Tromsø is the Gateway to the Arctic. This city has the highest probability of seeing the Northern Lights due to its location within the Aurora Oval. The best time to see the lights is from September to April. 

Still not sure? Check out the 10 Reasons To Visit Tromsø in Winter and How People Stay Happy in a Town Where the Sun Doesn’t Rise


Senja, snow capped mountains
Image Credit: Visit Norway

Our second city, other than Lofoten Northern Lights is Senja. Senja is the second largest island in Norway. It is known for its wild west mountain regions that face the Atlantic Ocean. And, its quieter lush green eastern side.

What is there to do in Senja in winter?

Some of the winter activities include snowboarding, spotting the Northern Lights, or going whale watching. Check out the 8 Awesome Things To Do on Senja to know more.



Image Credit: Global Hurtigruten

The third city in our Lofoten Northern Lights is Alta. Alta is one of the most northernmost towns in the world. Other than the Northern Lights, this town is known for its rock carvings. These carvings are listed under UNESCO World Heritage Sites as it is Norway’s only pre-historic site.

This site is known as the Rock Art of Alta and dates back to 5000 BC. The carvings give an insight into how the living communicated with spirits and the cosmology of prehistoric hunters and gatherers.

Is Alta Norway in the Arctic Circle?

Alta is in fact, above the Arctic Circle. It is 233 miles north of the circle. This town is the “City of Arctic Lights”. Check out the 9 Magical Things To Do in Alta and the Top Things To Do in Alta.


Svalbard, Yellow Northern Lights
Photo by Cezary Morga on Unsplash

Our fourth city other than Lofoten Northern Lights is Svalbard. This town was previously known as Spitsbergen is north of mainland Europe. Svalbard is unique in that it is the only place that experiences the midnight sun and polar nights. This means you can the auroras during at daytime on the long polar nights.

The three seasons in this town are polar summer, Northern Lights winter, and sunny winter.

Do you know that there are no daylight hours in Longyearbyen?

What is the best time to visit Svalbard?

Midsummer is the best time to visit. This is because, at this time, the sun never sets below the horizon. To view polar bears, July and August are the best times to visit. However, if you are going for winter sports, the best times would be April and May.

How long is Svalbard in darkness?

Polar Nights happen from October to February. During this time, the only source of light is the stars, the moon, and the Northern Lights. Check out what it’s like to spend 100 Days Without Sunlight and how it feels to Chase The First Sunlight After Months of Darkness.


Helgeland, Mountains, Sea, South of Arctic Circle, Hiking
Image Credit: Visit Norway

Our fifth city, other than Lofoten Northern Lights is Helgeland. Helgeland is located south of the Arctic Circle and is characterized by mountains and glaciers. This region has been populated since the Vikings and Middle Ages.

According to Thrillophilia, Helgeland is one of the 10 Best Places To See The Northern Lights In Norway in 2021 and Space Tourism’s Guide to the 17 Best Places To See the Northern Lights

Endless Possibilities

North Cape

North Cape, Midnight Sun, Norway
Photo by Nicola Gambetti on Unsplash

Our sixth city, other than Lofoten Northern Lights is North Cape. This cape is on the northernmost coast of Northern Norway. The plateau is a popular tourist attraction as it is suitable for viewing the midnight sun.

However, be aware that viewing the Northern Lights may not be guaranteed. The Northern Lights may appear like a diva, throwing her lights all over the night sky. And, other times, the weather may suddenly throw tantrums.

Check out The Adventure To The North Cape By Night to hunt for the aurora borealis. Check out All About Visiting North Cape in Norway and how to get there. 



Northern Lights, Bodo, City Skyline, Norway
Image Credit: International Society of City and Regional Planners (ISOCARP)

Our seventh and last city, other than Lofoten Northern Lights is Bodø. This municipality is located North of the Arctic Circle and is the 19th most populous municipality in Norway. The European Capital of Culture For 2024 includes Lofoten in its list.

Here, you don’t chase the Northern Lights, you catch them. After that, check out the 14 Best Things To Do In Bodo. On clear, dark nights between September to April, the Northern Lights can be viewed.

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Is Lofoten worth visiting?

Yes! Other than the Northern Lights, Lofoten is famous for its history of fishing the Arctic Cod, and for its many fjords.

  1. Lofoten is a Sustainable Destination. This seal of approval means that the local community works systematically to reduce the negative impact of over-tourism by preserving local culture and the environment. 
  2. Unstad is the home of Lofoten Masters which is the world’s most northern surf contest. Imagine surfing in one of the coldest regions where the waves are cold and the air even colder. 
  3. The Arctic Fjords such as Trollfjord and Kjeragbolten are in Lofoten. Check out 13 Photos That Would Make You Want To Visit Lofoten Islands and 10 Days in Norway


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