Norway / Tromsø

Discovering the Northern Lights in Tromsø in December

The magic of the Arctic winter takes hold of the Norwegian city of Tromsø in December. With its snowy landscapes bathed in the soft, bluish light of the Northern Lights, Tromsø offers one of the most memorable Northern Lights viewing experiences. Follow the guide to maximize your chances of witnessing this enchanting spectacle! ☃️

Voir les aurores boréales de Tromsø en Décembre, le guide complet
Seeing the Northern Lights in Tromsø in December: The Complete Guide

Why Tromsø is a Wise Choice in December Despite the Challenges

Nestled well beyond the Arctic Circle in Norway, about 300 km north of its imaginary line, Tromsø proves to be a haven for Northern Lights hunters, even in the heart of winter. While the shortened days and lengthened nights of December don’t guarantee clear skies, each opportunity for celestial clarity is an invitation to witness the majestic choreography of the Northern Lights.

Let’s be realistic: the rate of clear skies in Tromsø is not as high as one might ideally hope for, with about a 15% chance of a cloudless view. However, when the sky clears, it reveals an unparalleled natural spectacle, enhanced by often more intense solar activity during these cold months. 🌟

“Despite the statistics, our perseverance was rewarded: the celestial veils of the Northern Lights unfolded before us on a precious starry night. It was a vivid display of colors boldly playing out above our heads”

Testimonial from a traveler.

Tromsø is not just a stage for the northern lights. The city is a gateway to a myriad of enriching winter activities that embody the spirit of the Arctic: dog sledding, fishing, and cultural encounters with the Sami people provide a complete immersion in a season full of promises.

For resilient and optimistic travelers, ready to embrace the virgin cold of December and wait under the night sky, Tromsø appears not as a guarantee but as a promise of potential magic, framed by a deep and authentic cultural experience. ✨

Prepare for Your Northern Lights Trip

Un moment unique, à vivre en Norvège
A Unique Moment to Experience in Norway

Before setting out to witness the Northern Lights in Tromsø, it is essential to prepare yourself well.

In winter, temperatures regularly drop below -15°C at night. Bring warm and waterproof clothing, such as a down jacket, thermal underwear, a hat, gloves, and insulated shoes.

⚠️ Weather conditions in the Arctic can be unpredictable. Be prepared for snow and icy roads. Check the forecasts and road conditions before driving.

Book Your Accommodations in Advance

For your accommodation, Tromsø offers many comfortable hotels, hostels, and lodges. Book several months in advance to get the best rates. Discover our selection of the city’s best hotels.

Once you’re there, you can easily get around on foot, by bus, or by taxi, as public transportation is reliable.

“We highly recommend booking an excursion with a local guide to maximize your chances of seeing the Northern Lights during your trip to Tromsø in December!”

Now that you’re ready to face the Arctic cold, it’s time to optimize your chances of witnessing the fabulous Northern Lights!

The Best Chance to See the Northern Lights in December: Guided Tours

While Tromsø offers excellent conditions for viewing the Northern Lights in December, it can be challenging to know where to go and how to maximize your chances of spotting them.

That’s why we strongly recommend reserving your spot on a guided tour specializing in Northern Lights hunting. With expert guides who know the best observation spots and techniques for spotting auroral activity, you’ll maximize your chances of success!

Many agencies offer small group excursions departing from Tromsø. One of the most comprehensive experiences is offered by Polar Adventures:

  • 🌌 This minibus tour takes you away from the city’s light pollution in pursuit of the fabulous Northern Lights in the Arctic night sky.
  • 🔥 You warm up around a campfire while enjoying a hot drink and roasted marshmallows. The atmosphere is friendly for sharing your experiences.
  • 📸 The guide provides advice on setting up your camera and capturing the Northern Lights. You also leave with a group photo in front of the Northern Lights as a souvenir!
  • 🎁 Moreover, if you don’t see Northern Lights on your first excursion, you get a 30% discount on a second outing to try your luck again.

So don’t hesitate any longer and book your spot now for these guided tours that guarantee the best chances of seeing the Northern Lights in Tromsø in December!

Renting a car and going on your own Northern Lights hunt

Louer une voiture est un bon moyen de voir les aurores boréales en décembre
Renting a car is a good way to see the Northern Lights in December

Although risky, the option of renting a car in Tromsø to observe the Northern Lights on your own offers maximum freedom and flexibility. ❄️

This way, you can explore the various observation sites at your own pace and stay as long as you’d like to admire the spectacle of the dancing lights in the sky. 🌌

However, driving in the dark on icy and snowy roads can be perilous. 🚙 ⚠️ Moreover, identifying the best spots and predicting moments of intense auroral activity can be challenging without the assistance of seasoned guides.

⚖️ In the end, the cost of car rental and equipment like a tripod may end up being as expensive as an organized excursion.

In short, the car option provides more adventure and risks but less comfort and safety than a guided tour to see the Northern Lights in Tromsø in December. 🎇 It’s up to you to choose according to your priorities!

Increase your chances of seeing the Northern Lights in December

Mettez toutes les chances de votre côté pour voir les aurores
Stack the odds in your favor to see the Northern Lights

The Northern Lights are caused by charged particles from the sun colliding with gases in the Earth’s upper atmosphere. This optical phenomenon manifests as curtains or arcs of green, pink, blue, or violet light in the night sky of polar regions.

In Tromsø, the best time to observe this enchanting spectacle is from November to March, with a peak of activity in December. The Northern Lights can appear at any time during the night when the sky is clear.

Check solar activity forecasts

🔭 To maximize your chances, check auroral activity forecasts and look for evenings predicted to be favorable. Websites like Aurora Forecast provide these predictions.

Download a Northern Lights alert app

You can also download the Northern Lights Notifier app to receive real-time alerts when there’s a high probability of Northern Lights in Tromsø.

Get away from the city center of Tromsø

📍 The best place to observe the Northern Lights is outside the city, away from light pollution. Tromsø has many favored observation sites.

Our favorite spots for seeing the Northern Lights in Tromsø in December

Les meilleurs spots pour voir les aurores boréales

Tromsø offers numerous fabulous observation sites to admire the Northern Lights in all their splendor. Here are some of our favorites:

1. Prestvannet Lake

This lake surrounded by mountains, located 15 minutes from the city center, is one of Tromsø’s best spots. Its breathtaking landscape reflects on the surface of the frozen lake when the Northern Lights illuminate the sky. Campfires are also set up to keep you warm.

2. Kvaløya Island

20 km from Tromsø through the underwater tunnel, this wild island offers stunning views of the Northern Lights and the fjord. Visit Ersfjordbotn or Sandviksletta Beach for postcard-worthy landscapes.

3. Storsteinen Mountain

Take the Tromsø cable car to reach the summit of Storsteinen. The reward? A 360° panorama of Tromsø and the surrounding fjords bathed in the light of the Northern Lights. And all while staying warm in a café.

See our complete guide to the best Northern Lights observation spots in Tromsø

To capture these magical moments, remember to bring your camera! Check out our photography tips below.

Activities in Tromsø during the brief Arctic days

Les magnifiques baleines du Nord de la Norvège
The magnificent whales of Northern Norway

While the main attraction in Tromsø in December remains the Northern Lights, there are many exciting activities available during the short winter days. Here are some must-tries:

Dog Sledding

Harnessing your own team of huskies for a sleigh ride through snowy forests is an unforgettable experience. Adrenaline and postcard-worthy landscapes guaranteed! Many companies offer excursions. Discover them in this article.

Meet the Whales

Encounter whales on a boat excursion. The waters around Tromsø are home to several whale species in December, such as humpback whales and orcas. You can also spot other marine animals like dolphins and seals. The best whale-watching excursions.


Snowmobiling is a popular activity in the region and offers a fun way to explore the snowy landscapes. Many companies offer snowmobiling excursions suitable for all experience levels. Take a snowmobile ride with Camp Tamok.

Taste Local Cuisine

Savor Nordic specialties like reindeer, salmon, Arctic cod, or blueberry hot chocolate. A delight!

Plenty to keep you busy during the day before witnessing the fabulous nocturnal spectacle of the Northern Lights!

Tips for Photographing the Northern Lights

Comment photographier les aurores boréales ?
How to photograph the Northern Lights?

Take the time to read our complete Northern Lights photography guide, but here are some essential tips to help you capture spectacular shots:

  • 📷 Use a DSLR camera, set in manual mode with a slow shutter speed (5 to 30 seconds depending on your conditions).
  • 🌌 Choose a high ISO sensitivity, between 800 and 6400 ISO, to capture more light.
  • 🎥 For videos, it’s recommended to use a tripod to stabilize your camera.
  • ⚙️ Activate the interval shooting mode at regular intervals to increase your chances of capturing the Northern Lights’ movements.
  • 🔦 Avoid using the flash, which would produce too much light and spoil your photos.
  • ❄️ Remember to bring spare batteries as they drain faster in the cold.

With these recommendations, you’re ready to capture the magic of the Northern Lights in Tromsø! You can read the complete article to learn how to photograph the Northern Lights 📸

Affiches pour vous remémorer Tromsø

In summary

Thanks to its excellent conditions for Northern Lights viewing in December and its Arctic activities, Tromsø offers the winter adventure of your dreams under the dancing lights of the polar sky.

By following our advice to prepare, choosing the right spots, and equipping yourself for photography, you can fully enjoy the fabulous spectacle of the Northern Lights in Tromsø.

Did this article inspire you and make you want to go? Don’t hesitate to book your trip for next December to experience this magical adventure!

FAQ – Seeing the Northern Lights in Tromsø in December

What time of year can you see the Northern Lights in Tromsø?

The best season is from November to March, with a peak of activity in December.

Should I book a guided tour to see the Northern Lights?

Yes, we highly recommend booking with a local guide to maximize your chances of observation and benefit from their expert advice.

What type of clothing and equipment should I bring?

Pack warm and waterproof clothing, a headlamp, a camera, batteries, and a tripod for photographing the Northern Lights.

Are the Northern Lights visible every night?

No, their appearance depends on solar activity and the weather. Check the forecasts to know which evenings are favorable.

Article mis à jours le 29 November 2023 par Pierre Bouyer

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