You have seen the photos scroll through your Instagram, videos fill your Facebook feed and voila, the Northern Lights have been moved to the top of your bucket list. This spectacle is something that truly has to be seen in person, but where do you even begin? We have gathered the best information to better prepare you to see the Northern Lights in Tromsø, one of the top rated destinations in the world to watch the Northern Lights dance in the sky.
Visit Tromsohas shared many reasons for why you should venture to Tromsø versus other designations to see the Northern Lights. The first being that Tromsø is in the middle of the ‘Aurora Oval’ which is an area that has the highest chance to see the Northern lights, regardless of the sun cycles.
Tromsø has a much milder coastal climate than other destinations the same latitude. This is due to the gulf stream which brings warmer air up to the Arctic. The average winter temperature in Tromsø is around -4°C, though if you have to travel inland it can get up to -25°C.
Tromsø’s average temperatures, precipitation & wind are:
September: 9.6°C / 88 mm / 2.3 m/s
October: 4.5 °C / 89 mm / 2.9 m/s
November: 0.1°C / 30.3 mm / 3.8 m/s
December: 0.5°C / 235.6 mm / 4.4 m/s
January: -1.5°C / 166.2 mm / 4.9 m/s
February: -2.9°C / 108 mm / 3.6 m/s
March: -1.6°C / 148 mm / 3.7 m/s
Under-layer: If there is anything you should not leave the house without, it is your wool, silk or synthetic base layer against your skin. Avoid cotton if possible since it does not dry out very fast, which will just make you colder. Merino wool is our favorite.
Base-layer: a ‘puffer jacket’ or something that is warm enough to keep the heat in. Usually fleece or wool is the best option to keep you very warm.
Outer-layers: On the outside should be a well-insulated, weatherproof jacket or trousers. While your clothes may not have to be completely waterproof, we recommend dressing to stay dry. Think ‘ski gear’
Gloves: It is a great idea to bring not one, but 2 pairs of clothes with you when you are traveling to the far North. The wind can be wet and it is hard to get your hands warm once they have gone ‘cold’. If you find yourself not used to the cold weather, we recommend carbon hand-foot warmers that you can buy at most outdoor shops. Shake them up to activate them and pop them in your gloves or boots.
Boots: There can be a lot of ice in town, which is why we would recommend weather proof boots with warm insulated wool socks to keep your feet warm and dry. You can also buy spikes for the bottom of your boots in town so you do not slip and fall in town.
Hats & Accessories: Make sure to keep your neck and head warm with a hat, earmuffs or a scarf. These are essential to being very comfortable, and an easy way to keep heat in your body. We also suggest a neck warmer to pull over your nose in wet, windy conditions. Oh yes, do not forget lip balm to keep your lips soft and crack free.
1. If you have a DSLR, or a camera that can be set to ‘manual’ mode you want to first have your camera on a tripod. Since it’s dark outside, there is not enough light to keep it steady without one.
2. Set your camera to a high ISO (between 800 and 3200),
3. Set your aperture between f/2.8 and f/5.6, and your shutter speed between 15-30 seconds. Shutter speeds past 15 seconds will result with a ‘slight star movement,’ which is something you have also seen in photos.
Luckily, your Pukka Travels guide will help you put your camera on the correct setting if all of this camera talk is gibberish to you, not to mention we have tripods you can borrow free of cost.