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Locations for photographing northern lights around Tromsø

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Around the city of Tromsø in Northern Norway there are plenty of locations to photograph the northern lights. The more you will get away from civilization the less the light pollution is.

This article is about where to photograph the aurora borealis around Tromsø (please find an interactive map at the end of this blog post). Also you will find a short information about the location and what you can expect from the landscape in accompany with a photo of this area.

Depending on the spot the kilometers of driving can be between 100 and 200. Depending on the location you can combine several locations with each other. In this case you can get different northern lights motives.
Even though the sky above Tromsø is cloudy a few kilometers away the sky can be starry. Checking the norwegian weather website http://www.yr.no is worth it (data will be updated around 5 o’clock in the evening).

Locations close to the coast are mostly distinct warmer than the temperatures of the upcountry. On night we experienced at the coast temperatures of +6 degree celsius. Only a few kilometers to the upcountry we had -7 degree celsius . The coldest was Reinholtan with -14 degree celsius.

Please find some background informations concerning the camera settings for photographing the northern lights. In case you just want so see some pictures please click here or enjoy our video:

Tromso – In search of lights from Thomas Guthmann on Vimeo

Some tips for the red pins on the interactive map:

Sommarøy – The Hill:

karte-norwegen-tromso-aurora-fotografieren-orte-sommaroy-hillAt the end of the peninsula of Sommarøy (Hillesøya) you will find a small hill. From this hill you have a wonderful view across the ocean with some little islands. The aurora comes in a wide curve from the inland over the bay and the ocean. You can watch the aurora from the top of the hill or you can walk down to the coast. In both cases you will see the northern lights mirroring in the ocean.

Sommarøy – The Bridge:

karte-norwegen-tromso-aurora-fotografieren-orte-sommaroy-bridgeStraight in front of the bridge of Sommarøy there is a huge parking ground. You have the possibility to walk to a tiny hill or down to the coast with a small bay. Also at this location the aurora comes in a wide curve from the inland over the bay and the ocean. But more interesting I think is to photograph the northern lights with the illuminated bridge of Sommarøy.

Sandvika 1 & 2:

karte-norwegen-tromso-aurora-fotografieren-orte-sandvikaThis spot is close to the street only a little bit higher than sea level. It’s a nice view over the ocean but be aware of some telephone mast and lines.

Industrial Spot:

karte-norwegen-tromso-aurora-fotografieren-orte-industrial-spotThis location to photograph the northern lights is at the end of Tverrbotn. A flat conveyor ends here directly at the ocean. The aurora will come over the mountains. You can photograph the moving aurora with or without the industrial buildings in the foreground with the fjord or the mountains.


karte-norwegen-tromso-aurora-fotografieren-orte-reinholtanThis location for photographing northern lights is south east of Ersfjordbotn. You will probably pass it on your way to Sommarøy. The aurora move across or slightly behind the mountains and you have the possibility to place trees in the foregroud. If you are willing to move around make a short hike on top of one of the hills. The view is great. But be aware of hidden streams and lakes under the snow.

Coast close to Tromvik:

karte-norwegen-tromso-aurora-fotografieren-orte-coast-tromvikA place at sea level with some grass and rocks. The northern lights move in a wide curve over the ocean. Sometimes it looks like the aurora rises right behind the island Vengsøya.

Bay Vágbotn 1 & 2:

karte-norwegen-tromso-aurora-fotografieren-orte-bay-vagbotnAt the far end of the small by this location is enframed by steep hills. The aurora will move above this hills or you will see the northern lights at the other end of the bay (open to the ocean).


karte-norwegen-tromso-aurora-fotografieren-orte-LyfjordThis little city is my personal highlight. Maybe I’m a bit biased because here we observed the most intense and strongest northern lights … But I like the variety of this place. You have small hills and a flat ground with lots of grass and small bushes. Turn 180 degree and you will see the ocean. Within minutes you can reach the coast or you will stand at the bottom of the hills.


karte-norwegen-tromso-aurora-fotografieren-orte-SkjelholletThis location is enframed by mountains with a high number of streams and lakes. Please be careful. I would recommend snow shoes. You can overlook the whole valley and far a way at the horizon you will see the ocean. Mostly the northern lights will follow the course of the valley to the ocean.

Tromsø – Parking Place:

karte-norwegen-tromso-aurora-fotografieren-orte-parking-placeDieser Parkplatz liegt etwas oberhalb der Küste. Man kann von dieser Position aus die Aurora über der Stadt fotografieren oder man geht runter bis ans Meer – wo sich auch eine Grillhütte befindet – und nutzt diesen Ort, um die Aurora über der Stadt inkl. Wasserspiegelung zu fotografieren. Ich persönlich finde den Platz weniger geeignet für Aurorafotografie, da die Aurora schon recht stark sein muss um gegen die Stadtbeleuchtung anzukommen bzw. sind die Straßenlampen orange/rot, so dass der ganze Hintergrund in entsprechendes Licht getaucht ist.


karte-norwegen-tromso-aurora-fotografieren-orte-GammvatnetA valley enframed by hills. Lots of trees and streams.


Interactive Map: 

The pins indicate locations where we photographed northern lights. The stars show locations which are suitable for photographing the aurora but we haven’t seen any aurora.

Do you know a great location to photograph northern lights around Tromsø. Please, feel free to write a comment.

Good luck for chasing northern lights.

Verfolgen Thomas:

Die Natur hat mich schon immer interessiert. Unabhängig vom Alter verbrachte ich gerne Zeit draußen. Dies hat sich bis heute noch gesteigert denn ich übernachte gerne im Zelt in der Wildnis und versuche die Schönheit der Natur mit der Kamera einzufangen.

8 Responses

  1. Sam
    | Antworten

    Thank you for taking the time to share these photo locations. I am looking forward to visiting next year.

    • Thomas
      | Antworten

      Dear Sam,

      you are welcome. Keep the locations in mind but also check on a regular basis the weather forecast.



  2. Mauro
    | Antworten

    Dear Thomas,
    Thanks a lot for your suggestions. I will be in Tromso in few days and I will visit some of the spots.
    Happy new year!

    • Thomas
      | Antworten

      Dear Mauro!

      Enjoy your stay in Tromso and good luck with the northern lights. Don’t forget to check for actual cloud coverage.
      Happy new year. :-)


  3. francesco
    | Antworten

    I dont see blu or red pins, but stars and pin :) can you tell me wich ones are the one where you were able to take pictures?

    thanks :)

    • Thomas
      | Antworten

      Thank you Francesco for your comment. Since I created the map Google changed something so that there are no longer colours.
      The locations where we were able to take pictures are the pins (not the stars).

      Kind regards


  4. Oliver
    | Antworten

    The location in tverrbotn does not exist anymore. They have built an industrial area and removed the cool old gear.

  5. Kerstin Rudek
    | Antworten

    Danke für die ausführlichen Beschreibungen und Tips! Ich fange gerade an, mich für Nachtfotografie, speziell Aurora borealis, zu interessiere. Erste Gelegenheit war in der letzten Nacht, ich konnte ein paar schöne Aufnahmen im Wendland an der Elbtalaue machen. Da kommen die Hinweise zu Kameraeinstellungen gerade richtig.

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