Where to see the midnight sun in Norway

Also known as the polar day, the midnight sun is when the sun is visible above the horizon at midnight and daylight lasts for more than 24 hours.

Pic: jensseebach (CC)

The midnight sun is an eerie, atmospheric natural phenomenon that takes place high above the Arctic Circle (and below the Antarctic Circle) at the height of summer. Norway is one of the best places on Earth for viewing the midnight sun.

Although there’s no distinction between night and day, the brightness of the light varies, with the sun’s rays casting a soft glow and bronze colour over the dreamy landscapes. It’s kind of like a sunset that merges with a sunrise – and if you’ve never seen it before, we think that you will love it.

Where to see the midnight sun

Appropriately named the “land of the midnight sun”, Norway has no shortage of places to experience this golden light all summer long. Provided that no mountains or valleys obstruct your view, you can see the midnight sun from just about anywhere above the Arctic Circle.

The further north you go, the longer the polar day lasts, with 34 days of daylight in Bodø up to 124 days of daylight in Svalbard during the summer months.

Here are some of our favourite places to view the midnight sun in Norway.

Bodø

Located just north of the Arctic Circle and surrounded by both mountains and the sea, Bodø is an idyllic starting point for many midnight sun adventures.

Pic: Kefi (CC)

You can take an evening stroll on the rugged ridge of Mount Rønvikfjellet to catch a glimpse of the midnight sun hanging over the city centre, or explore the islands of the Salten district by boat.

Another favourite midnight sun viewpoint is Kjerringøy, Norway’s most intact trading post situated 30 kilometres north of Bodø.

Where to stay

Within walking distance of the city centre and the harbour, the Radisson Blu Hotel Bodø has rooms with city and sea views. Alternatively, check into Kjerringøy Bryggehotell for midnight sun views from your own private patio.

When is the midnight sun visible?

4 June to 8 July (34 days)

The Lofoten Islands

The Lofoten archipelago is known for its coastal beauty and dramatic landscapes. While the towering mountains block the midnight sun from many inland locations, the northwestern coast is dotted with more than enough viewpoints to make up for it, such as the fishing village of Eggum and Unstad Beach.

Pic: Kent Wang (CC)

This four-hour midnight sun excursion leaves from the town of Svolvaer on the Lofoten islands, and is a fun way to see the northern sun over the dramatic coastline.

If you want to head further afield, you can get amazing interrupted views of the midnight sun from the remote island of Røst, some 100km off the mainland, and home to nearly a million seabirds.

Where to stay

You can’t get much closer to the coast than Unstad Arctic Surf with great views of the midnight sun over the sea. Alternatively, book a traditional rorbu, converted fisherman’s cabin, at Svinøya Rorbuer, within walking distance of Svolvær.

When is the midnight sun visible?

28 May to 14 July (47 days)

Tromsø

Since Tromsø is northern Norway’s largest city, there’s plenty to see and do beneath the golden glow of the midnight sun. You can run in the annual midnight sun marathon, ride the Tromsø cable car to a height of 421 metres, or go cycling and fishing beneath the bright sky in the nearby Lyngenfjord.

Pic: Julia Velkova (CC)

To improve your Insta story, take this six-hour midnight sun tour with a professional photographer who’ll give you top tips on how to get the best pics – then relax around a campfire barbecue.  

Where to stay

Check into the waterfront Scandic Ishavshotel for views of the city and the harbour, or settle into the central  Enter Amalie Hotel, where free afternoon waffles are up for grabs. 

When is the midnight sun visible?

20 May to 22 July (63 days)

The North Cape

Locally known as Nordkapp, the North Cape is not only mainland Europe’s northernmost point, but also one of the most iconic places to view the midnight sun. Here, the sun stays above the horizon for an unbroken 1800 hours.

Pic: Oberlehner (CC)

For unobstructed views of this spectacle of nature, head onto the flat plateau of the cliff that towers above the sea some 307 metres high.

Where to stay

Book a cottage at Nordkapp Camping where reindeer regularly roam the grounds, or choose a room with a panoramic view of the fjord at The View.

When is the midnight sun visible?

14 May to 29 July (76 days)

Svalbard

Midway between mainland Norway and the North Pole, the Arctic islands of Svalbard boast views of the midnight sun for around four months each year. Spitsbergen is Svalbard’s largest, and only permanently populated, island where polar bears outnumber humans.

Pic: Smudge 9000 (CC)

Here, you can go on a guided glacier hike at midnight and explore the island’s old mining towns in the polar summer light.

Where to stay

Try Svalbard Hotell Polfareren for modern accommodation in Longyearbyen, the world’s northernmost settlement, or enjoy views of Adventfjorden and Hiorthfjellet from Funken Lodge.

When is the midnight sun visible?

20 April to 22 August (124 days)

See also:

The best time of the year to visit Norway
Where to see the midnight sun in Sweden
Crossing the Arctic Circle in Swedish Lapland

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