Embark on a Serene Journey: Hunting the Northern Lights in Harstad


Harstad, nestled beneath the Northern Lights oval, is a picturesque and affable city that offers an authentic Northern experience and hassle-free Northern Lights hunting, minus the tourist crowds.

Directly under the Northern Lights oval, in a sheltered location on a beautiful fjord, surrounded by snowy forests and mountains, you find Harstad. An attractive, colourful little city centre, some important historic attractions, a surprising gourmet scene and a busy cultural calendar all make it a sympathetic new acquaintance. Relatively few visitors come to Harstad in winter. However, for the independent tourist, the city gives a chance to experience local life in the north while looking for the Northern Lights in a hassle-free way.

Aunfjellet is a low ridge that protects Harstad from the ocean. It if found just a few minutes outside Harstad by car. One can easily walk around on small paths and roads if it’s very snowy, and around in the terrain. From the top, there is a cliff wall falling directly into the fjord. If positioned near the edge, you have a wide view all over the fjord area. A weak northern lights eruption, or the beginning of something big, will usually be seen on the northwestern sky.

The tourist board organises a guided snowshoe hike to Aunfjellet. If you’re snowshoeing, you’re constantly on the move and keep warm. Snowshoeing, unlike skiing, doesn’t require a special technique. You just walk, and anyone in reasonable shape can do it. From your side, the hillside rises gently. Once on the top, you see how the hill drops dramatically into the fjord beneath you. The view on a moonlit night is commanding; you see fjords, mountains and lights from settlements along the water. Then it’s time to light a fire and prepare a light meal while waiting. No guarantee can be given, but you are out under the open sky.

As you wander your way out of town, you leave the city lights behind you. After half an hours’ time, you are at Trondenes, with the 13th c. church. Here you can wander around in the dark, and with some luck, the lights turn up. This is a completely safe trip, as you are always close to houses and people. The church itself is hard to photograph, though. as it is floodlit to be visible from afar. The density of houses thins out as you approach the church, so there are plenty of other dark spots around.

Another easy trip goes up to the tv tower. From here, you see the city centre is down to the southeast. The north west, however, is all dark. Hence, you will see every Northern Lights looming in the northwest. The accessibility of the tower will, however, vary. Ask in the tourist information about the current snow situation. In early winter, it should be no problem, later the snow might be too deep.

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