Between mid-May and the end of July, you can take the cable car to the top of the mountain for stunning views all over Tromso and the midnight sun. There is even a cafe up there!
A short-break to Tromso in Northern Norway to see the northern lights is just the most romantic thing I have ever done.
Never mind you are wrapped up in layers of thermal wear, the light show in the skies are just a thousand times more romantic than a sunset will ever be.
On the Hurtigruten cruise you also get to go to the North Cape, which is really cool to say that you have been. There is amazing food onboard, a really relaxed and non-cruise like feeling, and the hot tub on the top deck is an absolute winner - even in minus five degrees!
All in all it's just a really cool and romantic getaway.
The best way to avoid disappointment is to combine hunting for the Northern Lights with something else that's fun and different. Tromsø, Norway, is a great place to do just that. I went dog sledding which was so much fun I nearly forgot why I was there in the first place. With seven Huskies dragging you into the quiet wilderness on a sledge, the Northern Lights is an added bonus if it shows up, but even without it you would not go home feeling left out. My best night however was the cheaper option of renting cross country skis from the Intersport shop in town and heading for the free, open 24hrs, floodlit slopes on the island, just a short walk from the town centre! The calming feeling of sliding along on the skis, taking in the fresh air, makes the northern lights even more spectacular. Best of all, you wont have to 'share the experience'with anyone else, which often is the case on organised tours. And the downhills provide an added thrill!
The city itself is known in Norway for being one of the most hospitable – with a buzzing nightlife.
Tromsø also benefits from twice weekly direct flights from Gatwick with budget, but decent, airline norwegian.no. If you book early enough you can get returns for under £100. Stay in the Clarion Hotel Bryggen to get access to their rooftop heated jacuzzi!
There are loads of good (and cheap) ideas on what to do in Tromso and other tips here: www.iglobetrotter.com/norway/northern-lights/northern-lights-activities.
Ski-rental: Intersport Sportshuset, Storgata 87, phone +47 77661100
Husky-rides: Tromsø Villmarkssenter, www.villmarkssenter.no
Google map: tinyurl.com/yl8w4vp
Inset is a tiny hamlet in northern Norway, well inside the Arctic Circle, and when I say tiny, the central area has four buildings, and three of them belong to Regina and Bjorn who own and run the Husky Farm.
Go in December and as you touch down in Bardufoss, 60km or so from Inset, you will notice as you leave the plane that you are walking not on tarmac but on a solid sheet of gritted ice. The first thing you feel is the cold, as suddenly the reason so many brightly coloured Puffa jackets peppered the plane becomes clear. Ask a local what the temperature is, "15 C" they will reply - to have to say "minus" every time would just be a waste of breath.
When you turn off the two track road that leads all the way back to Oslo, you leave street lights and civilization behind you, and enter the astonishing black of the arctic night. One hour later and you pull into the Husky Farm, a warming glow permeating through the little windows in the wooden buildings whose roofs are covered with grass; a chorus is there to greet you as the 70 or so husky dogs howl to mark your arrival.
Bjorn and Regina have an amazing log cabin which you can rent by the week. It is entirely made of wood and has a wood burning stove which must be permanently lit as the flue travels through the bedroom and kitchen making sure the heat is distributed around the whole building. It is a picture of comforting isolation, nestled in a valley with hills becoming mountains on either side, snow drifts come up to the windows. There is no sound other than the dogs and the wind, and no light bleeds into the sky, so undisturbed views of the aurora borealis are possible. Indeed on the second night of our visit I opened the front door and saw beams of light coming from behind the mountains and flooding the sky with dancing hues of blue and green. The lights performed for me for 20 minutes and then disappeared, quite suddenly and quite mysteriously.
The few hours of twilight that the sun offers at these latitudes must be used to the full. If you book for the Husky Farm Holiday you will get to experience leading your own team of dogs as you sledge over the frozen lakes into the abyss of the arctic landscape. The sky is one hundred colours at the same time, the light is ethereal, and the seclusion is absolute. You come to trust and rely on your dogs as only they hold the key to unlocking some of the secrets of the scenery and beauty of this most remote of locations.
If you are looking for glorious isolation, and some private time with nature, look no further.
Inset, Bardu, Norway
I would recommend Tromso in north Norway. Book a tour with local guide Kjetil Skogli. He's not the cheapest but is worth every penny. He takes you out in a small group (6/8 maximum) in a minibus anywhere where the weather will be clear – other companies have a fixed base somewhere near Tromso, so if it's cloudy there but clear 30 miles away then tough!
One hint to photograph the aurora: take a tripod, a fast wide lens and a camera that will let you use long exposures (10 to 30 seconds) with a remote cable to avoid camera shake.
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