2012 is proving a popular year to try and get a sighting of the Northern Lights. We are entering a period of increasing solar activity, which in simple speak means that the chance of seeing the aurora borealis (Northern Lights) is better now than it has been for around ten years. One of the most popular places to go for Northern Lights spotters is the Norwegian city of Tromso.
Tromso (Tromsø to be precise; say Trum-sa and you’ll be fairly close to the Norwegian pronounciation) is well and truly inside the Arctic Circle. In fact the city lies at almost 70 degrees north and holds many claims to fame as a result of its geography. Tromso is home to the world’s most northerly university, cathedral, botanical garden, and even claims to have the brewery closest to the North Pole.
Visit Tromso in the summer months and the city and surrounding region offer great opportunities for hiking and touring among some of the world’s most spectacular scenery.
In the winter however, it is the aurora that draws visitors to Tromso. There is a lot of luck involved in getting a glimpse of the Northern Lights. While some folks may get several sightings in a short visit, others may be foiled by continuous cloud cover and see little of interest in the sky at a time of the year when the sun barely rises above the horizon.
The good news however is that even without the Northern Lights there are plenty of reasons to enjoy a visit to Tromso. Here are three things that visitors to this northern city can enjoy while waiting for the aurora to make an appearance:
Much more than just churning up snow in a buggy, these trips take you out to scenic valleys and allow you to try your hand at exciting activities such as ice-fishing. Hot food and drinks are provided and it’s just as well; the trips are designed to take you to the most remote places where you’ll be far from the nearest indoor shelter!
Husky Dog Sledding
The chance to play at being a master of the Arctic. Sit snuggly in your seat as the pack of huskies whisks you away on a one hour trip through the snow. The silence is broken only by the breathing of the dogs as they pull you along at the command of the musher. If you haven’t fallen in love with the huskies by then (you will have done), there’s the chance to visit the kennels after the trip when hot food and drink is served. The purchase of a cuddly toy dog is pretty much guaranteed.
Learn the art of walking through deep fresh snow without sinking by putting on a pair of snowshoes. The idea is simple: make your footwear cover a large enough surface area and your evenly distributed weight will have you ‘floating’ on the snow, rather than sinking through it. Try the traditional snowshoe (resembling a tennis racket) or go for the more modern metal version; either way you’re guaranteed a lot of fun.
And the best part of these outdoor pursuits? While you’re enjoying these you’ll be in the right place to enjoy the Northern Lights if the skies clear and the show begins!
Visit our site for more information on our winter holidays in Tromso, Norway.
For example itineraries to Tromso click here.
by Andy Jarosz