Northern Lights in Tromso and Beyond
Mark, our Scandinavia Tailor Made Travel Specialist, heads to Malangen Resort near the ‘Arctic city’ of Tromso in northern Norway and discovers just how spectacular the northern lights can be.
For those wishing to be close to the beauty of Northern Norway, Tromso, commonly referred to as the ‘Paris of the North’ due to its contemporary culture of high fashion and fine dining, is an excellent choice.
Malangen Resort is approximately a 75-minute-drive from Tromso and can be reached by a complimentary twice-daily shuttle to and from the town of Tromso or from the airport. This scenic drive hugs the coastal road adjacent to Malangen Fjord, and is a stunning route to experience. We arrived in the late evening and could just make out the snowy peaks of the mountains that run along the coastline.
The resort is split into hotel accommodation within the main building, and a separate stretch of apartments and cabins outside. These apartments and cabins offer the ultimate in privacy and come equipped with a convenient kitchenette which was perfect for making a hot cup of tea after time spent in the cold and arid winter air.
Every room here faces south, offering an awe-inspiring view of the sun and the pink and purple hues of the winter horizon. In the morning, I spotted a duo of porpoises hunting herring and mackerel from our balcony and later that day, one of the guides told me that he had a pair of otters breeding under his house, indicating that our surrounds were a haven for local wildlife.
An Aurora Lavvu at Camp Nikka
Around a kilometre from the resort is the hotel’s own Aurora Lavvu, a traditional Sami tent, which was called Camp Nikka – the perfect spot for awaiting the aurora. The camp is nestled in the hills behind the Malangen Resort and next to a lake that freezes over in the winter – providing a snowy backdrop beneath a mountainous horizon. Camp Nikka could be reached by the hotel’s own transport or by foot, so long as there were enough members in the group, and we were provided with warm outerwear and boots to keep the cold at bay, so walking was a wonderful experience!
On the night of our visit, the aurora was hanging weakly in the northern sky as we arrived. The moonlight was very strong, and I wondered if this would be all we’d see tonight as I’d heard that it’s hard to see the northern lights when the moon is full. I was completely unprepared for the spectacle that followed. Suddenly the sky burst into pinks, whites, purples and greens and completely engulfed the darkness with light. It was like watching Close Encounters of the Third Kind but in 3D, Widescreen, Blu-ray and Jumbotron glory combined!
Everyone at Camp Nikka was jumping up and down in excitement – even Erik, one of the Malangen Resort owners, had never seen a display like that before. Awesome is not too strong a word and it was easy to see why some ancient people felt humbled and respectful of these heavenly maelstroms.
At about 1:30am we walked back to the resort after the lights had settled. We had the option of a wake-up call if they re-emerged, but we felt that this was greedy and went to bed with a memory that would stay with us for a lifetime!
Discover Malangen Resort
In addition to the possibility of seeing the aurora, it is also possible to snowmobile or husky sled on guided tours during the day. Malangen is also perfect for just relaxing and enjoying the peace and tranquillity of being near water.