Today was Day 3 of the trip & I was super excited and stoked today. We were heading for the Northern lights hunt from Tromso. We had a great start to the trip in Finland and how was the time to make it awesome.
Even though we have 2 days in Tromso – Today is all about Aurora Borealis. All about the Northern lights hunt from Tromso.
Flight from Helsinki to Tromso
We flew Norwegian Airlines from Helsinki to Tromso via Oslo. But even before we left, Helsinki had one last trick for us – A stunning airport sunrise. I doubt I have ever seen a better sunrise at an airport. Where did you witness your best sunrise/sunset? Let me know in the comments.
I am too lazy to type in the flight details. So you can get the details from the image.
Getting to the city centre from the Airport
There are 2 main options [I wasn’t aware of the second option when we travelled]
- Airport Shuttle Bus (The Flybussen) – Runs between the city center and the airport and stops at center, the University, and the University Hospital. Cost is 110 NOK (~10 €) for single and 160 NOK (~16,5 €) for return ticket.
Local Bus – The cheapest option. There are two lines operating on the airport-city center route
- Bus no. 40
- Bus no. 42
- Bus stop is located behind the parking lot, and you can buy a single ticket at the Point kiosk in the arrival hall for 35 NOK (~3,5 €) or from the bus driver for 60 NOK (~5 €).
Skansen Hotel Tromso
We were put up at Skansen Hotel Tromso, around 500 meters uphill walk from the city center bus stop. It was drizzling slightly and it was super chilly. Luckily though as soon as we entered the hotel, we were asked to help ourselves with some hot black coffee and cookies. The hotel has a very nice and cozy reception.
This was one of the nicest hotels in our entire trip, the rooms were cozy and warm and I just loved almost everything about the hotel. No complaints at all.
Late evening lunch + dinner
It was 4PM by the time we got settled in our room. The Aurora hunt was going to start to at 6PM, so it was time to grab a quick but hearty meal. I discovered this Pizzeria a few 100 meters from our hotel – Pepe’s Pizza.
We really enjoyed all our pizzas as well the Hot Irish Coffee and some Bailey’s mixed coffee. After a few drinks we were all truly warmed up and excited about what was to follow.
Northern Lights Hunt from Tromso
Our guide Andrei from Enjoy the Arctic picked us up from outside our hotel around 7:30PM. And thus began the exciting yet nervous ride trying to catch the elusive northern lights.
Some bad news first
We had 5 folks in our group plus another German girl Jana was joining us for the trip. She had been hunting the Northern lights for 4 days now, but so far no luck. Today, was her last day before she returned to the Germany and she didn’t have very high hopes for tonight as well. The disappointment on the faces of some of my group mates was pretty evident.
Me being the eternal optimist though, I told her that I’ll be her lucky charm today and we all would definitely see the Northern lights. Did I really over estimate my luck? I guess we will find out soon..
The hunt begins – First 2 hours
The guide use some weather apps and also information received from other guides. We drove straight for almost 2 hours along the stunning coastal road. If this would have been daylight, I would have probably clicked a 100 pictures easy.
We got down at a place next to a small waterfall and as per the forecast we could see some Northern lights at this spot in next 15-20 mins or so. We got the cameras set up, clicked some waterfall photos in pitch dark and waited for the sky to clear. However, Gods weren’t ready yet. It started raining and we had to rush back to the van. Chances of spotting an Aurora here looked bleak now.
The hunt continues – Next 2 hours
The time was passing by and we were roaming from one direction to another based on the app predictions and inputs from other guides. After driving for another hour, Andrei suddenly went down a snow covered road and stopped the Van.
He showed us a slight streak in the sky and said that these were the Northern lights. I initially thought he was kidding. But he quickly asked all of us to line up, so that he could click our photos and boy o boy – Even though the lights weren’t visible with the naked eyes I could see them in the camera. We all were elated and quickly got 2-3 photos each clicked lest the lights disappear.
The hunt comes to a really long stop
We thought that this would be it and we would be going home soon enough. But wrong again, it was already 12AM in the night but Andrei still wanted to give it another shot. So we drove pretty close to the Finnish border and parked the van just next to a lake.
We waited for 5 mins, and then it started – The dance of fire and ice. Not just a streak of Northern lights but a proper full blown dance that lasted a good 30 mins.
Here are some more gems from Jana’s collection:
I was gobsmacked & spell-bounded by what I say. It was truly ONCE IN A LIFETIME EXPERIENCE!! No more talking checkout the pics decide for yourself.
After clicking ample photos and videos. We sat by the lake. Andrei had brought some fresh hotdogs along with mayonnaise, mustard sauce and tomato ketchup. We warmed the tortilla/roti kind of bread and wrapped it around the freshly roasted hot dogs and went crazy. I alone ate 7 hot dogs that day no kidding. And all this while watching the Northern lights flicker in the sky. BEST NIGHT EVER.
The choice of Guide/Tour Agency
I can’t stress this enough – Your guide/tour agency will make or break your Aurora Borealis experience. Sometimes, you can see these Northern lights straight out of your hotel in Tromso and you don’t even need to go on a hunt.
But when you do, you need to pick a guide/agency that will go the extra mile as these hunts aren’t cheap and you won’t be going on many of them purely due to financial reasons. Our hunt costed us 1100 NOK/person (9000 INR).
So you need a guide who will be willing to go the extra mile to ensure that you have the best chance to experience Aurora Borealis. For this single reason, I would whole heartedly recommend Andrei and his tour company Enjoy the Arctic. I am sharing his details for your convenience.
- Website – www.enjoythearctic.no
- Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Contact No – 0047 97835778
- Facebook: Enjoy the Arctic
- Instagram: enjoy_the_arctic
- New projects – aguidesjournal.com and enjoy-transylvania.ro
Northern Lights Time Lapse.
It was captured by our friend Jana. All credits to her.
Northern Lights Hunt Video
Ride back home
Me and Jana became good friends and even today continue to be in touch. In return for being her lucky charm I asked her to teach me how to click Northern lights in my camera and also share some of the amazing photos she clicked that night. It was 2AM I think when we came back to the hostel. We went to the bed and just crashed.
We had planned for the Fjords tour tomorrow, but a man plans and God laughs.