Norway – the land of the midnight sun
Norway is well known as «The Land of the Midnight Sun”, but there are actually other countries as well where you can see this natural phenomenon. Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Greenland, Russia, Canada and Alaska, USA are some of these other countries.
What makes Norway the preferred destination for those who want to experience the magical all-nigh-sunlight, is that Norway is very accessible, by car, plane, or bike.
In Norway you can experience the magic of the Midnight Sun in a few cities, and these are all situated in the north of Norway (Bodø, Tromsø and Nordkapp – The North Cape) and of course at Spitsbergen (Longyearbyen).
During summertime in Norway you can, in fact, experience the daylight most of the night in every city, even when the Midnight Sun is not to be seen, but this is not really the Midnight Sun, since the darkness of night does not come immediately when the sun sets, there will always be a twilight. And on the brightest days, there is a very short time between sunrise and sunset, so it gives the illusion of Midnight Sun.
Even in the cities where there is a Midnight Sun, it may sometimes not be visible in the day or the night, because of cloudy weather or fog.
What is the Midnight Sun?
The Midnight Sun is a natural phenomenon in which the sun is above the horizon at midnight. A sliver of the sun is always visible over the horizon all through the night. The Midnight Suns is always shining, for days, weeks, and even months.
This phenomenon starts at the North Pole when the sun rises at the spring equinox in the month of March. From that day the sun will rise a little bit more over the horizon every day until summer equinox when it starts to descend again. This is controlled by the earth’s movement.
We have a few places to recommend for the best view of the Midnight Sun. First up is Nordkapp – The North Cape. With nothing but the ocean between you and the North Pole, the cliff by the sea at The North Cape is a perfect spot to admire the Midnight Sun all night long.
You may see the island of Spitsbergen between you and the Arctic, but other than that, there is only the sun sparkling on the waves of the sea. You might want to bring a blanket and a thermos with something warm to drink, as the night can be cold even if the sun is up.
At The North Cape, you can see the midnight sun from the 14th of May to the 29th of July.
The midnight sun in Bodø
Be sure to wear shoes (link til ecco gore tex) that are solid and comfortable when you go hiking. The weather can be chilly even in summer, and the ground may be mucky and wet.
The midnight sun in Lofoten
Lofoten is a very popular summer destination with its sandy beaches and tall mountains. It is also a great place to admire the midnight sun from 25th of May to 18th of July. If you want a special place to see it, you can visit the small fishing village Eggum, part of the National Scenic Routes of Norway (link til blog).
Seek out the resting area with an amphitheater designed by Norwegian World Known Architects Snøhetta. There is an amazing view across the ocean and to the Midnight Sun.
Most, if not all of the islands of Lofoten are perfect for exploring nature, and there are lots of viewpoints where you can enjoy both the days and nights with the Midnight Sun in summer and the Northern Lights in winter.
The midnight sun in Tromsø
In Tromsø, you can also get a great look at the Midnight Sun. The sun refrains from setting for about two months each year: 20 May to 22 July. Named “The Gateway to the Arctic”, Tromsø is the largest city of Northern Norway.
One perfect way to view the magical Midnight Sun, is to go by the cable car that will take you 421 meters above the ground, to the mount “Storsteinen”. In the summer, this cable car is open past midnight, to accommodate those who want to experience the Midnight Sun.
The midnight sun at Nupen in Harstad
Would you like to visit the most romantic place in Norway? At Nupen in Harstad, you can take your loved one to see the Midnight Sun in perfect surroundings from the 22nd of May to the 21st of July.
You can enjoy the view of the sun from the road or from your favorite spot in the mountains, as it hovers above the ocean just to rise slowly again for a new day. Why not bring a picnic basket and make an even more romantic outing of it?
The midnight sun at Spitsbergen, Longyearbyer
Our last viewpoint and the furthest north of all is at the island of Spitsbergen, Longyearbyen. The Midnight Sun is easy to spot from this main settlement on the Svalbard Islands, but beware of the wilderness that surrounds it.
There might be a Polar Bear around the corner, so never go alone, be sure to have an armed guard or guide with you when you explore this gem of the Arctic. There are no polar bears in the mainland of Norway, but at Spitsbergen, it is a real threat. This is the place where the Midnight Sun is seen the longest, a total of four months.
There is no sunset from approximately 19 April to 23 August. If you visit in the winter, you can experience the opposite, with pitch-black days and nights, and a huge festival to celebrate when the sun returns in the spring. The summer at Spitsbergen can get quite chilly, so remember to pack your knitwear and some great down jackets for men and women.
TIP: Something to remember if you are coming to Norway to experience the Midnight Sun, is to be sure to pack an eye mask to be sure to get some sleep in the nights that are light as day. It can mess with your sleep routine, even if hotels and other accommodations will use blackout curtains, it will be smart to have a mask to give you the illusion of a darker night.
If you want to read more about The Midnight Sun, you can visit https://nordnorge.com/en/tema/midnight-sun-in-northern-norway/