A Hurtigruten ship under the Northern Lights

The Northern Lights

Magic and science. Hypnotic and exhilarating. A photographer’s dream. The Northern Lights in Norway are all these and more. Explore the many wonders of nature’s greatest lightshow.

"Amazing cruise earlier this year with several shows of the lights two of which were quite spectacular. The whole trip was incredible and would recommend Hurtigruten in a heartbeat."

-Jill Ellery, September 2023

The best time to see the Northern Lights? Now!

The Solar Maximum occurs halfway through the sun’s cycle. It’s a time of intense solar activity – and dramatically more auroral displays.

Scientists predict the Solar Maximum in 2024-25 will result in the most frequent and impressive Northern Lights in more than a decade. The next Solar Maximum after 2024-25 won’t be for another 11 years until 2036.


The best way to see the Northern Lights

A Hurtigruten voyage along Norway’s coast is one of the best ways to see a life-defining display of the aurora borealis. Here are six reasons why.

MS Richard With sailing in Norway under the Northern Lights

1. The Auroral Oval

Our ships sail the Norwegian coast, above the Arctic Circle at 66°N, and directly beneath the Auroral Oval, an area of consistently active displays.


2. Multiple sightings

Traveling to different parts of the Norwegian coast on the ship increases your chances of seeing the aurora not just once but multiple times.

Northern Lights above a hot tub on deck on a Hurtigruten cruise in Norway

3. Mobile observatory

The advantage of being at sea is that we can quickly sail clear of cloud cover that might be blocking your view of a Northern Lights display.

A tourist and crew member photographing the Northern Lights from the deck of a Hurtigruten ship

4. Aurora announcements

Our ship’s bridge officers are always scanning the skies and horizon, and are usually the first to spot the aurora, making an announcement to our guests on board.

The Northern Lights seen from the deck of a Hurtigruten ship in Norway

5. The best views

Being at sea avoids the air pollution and the ambient light on land, both of which can dull the colors and vibrancy of a Northern Lights spectacle.

Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) over the North Cape, Norway

6. A free voyage

If you sail with us during the Northern Lights season for more than 11 days and don’t see the aurora appear at least once, we promise you a free voyage to try again.

MS Richard With sailing in Norway in winter under the Northern Lights

Our Northern Lights Promise

Relax in the knowledge that our unmatchable Northern Lights Promise means you’ll get another chance to see the aurora if they don’t make an appearance on your voyage of 11 days or more.

Voices of the Lights

We talked to people who live and breathe the Northern Lights about the dreams and desires that drive them. These are their stories.


The Chief Aurora Chaser: Tom Kerss

Astronomer Tom Kerss tells us why he can’t get enough of the Northern Lights in Norway.

JM in Planetarium

Sage of the Northern Lights: Dr John Mason

Physicist and astronomer Dr John Mason has the answers to all of our questions about the Northern Lights, “truly nature's greatest light show”.

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Chasing the aurora as a solo traveler

For KrisTina Kramer, few things in life give her as much of a thrill as sailing with us along the Norwegian coast, chasing the Northern Lights.

What causes the Northern Lights?

We asked scientists and astronomers to explain the Northern Lights in a way we could understand. In return, they told us all about solar activity and magnetic fields, and explained the different types of auroras, and why they come in different colors.

They also said that a deeper understanding of the science only adds to the magic of the experience of seeing the Northern Lights.

A group of passengers looking at the Northern Lights from the deck of a Hurtigruten ship

Legends of the Lights

Long before we understood the science behind the aurora, the Northern Lights were wrapped up in myths and legends that still fuel our imaginations today.

The Lights appear in folklore across the world, as omens both revered and feared. These strange green, red, and purple lights dancing across the night skies have inspired some of the most captivating stories on Earth. Once you’ve seen them, it’s easy to understand why.

How do I photograph the Northern Lights?

When you see the Northern Lights, it’s only natural to want to capture the spectacle. But photographing their elusive beauty isn’t as simple as point-and-shoot.

To help you, we asked photography experts for their tried and trusted tips on everything from how to photograph the Northern Lights from a ship to shooting the aurora with a smartphone.


Ask about the aurora

Everything you’ve ever wanted to ask about the Northern Lights, from how often they appear to whether they affect wildlife.