Do you want to experience the majestic Northern Lights, but don’t know when, where and how? Join us on a tour with just one objective – to find the Northern Lights!
When GLØD started running Northern Lights tours in the 2007/2008 season, we were the first operator in our region. We are proud to be regarded as one of the pioneers in this field.
Several of the guides from our first season are still part of our team. Consequently, we have acquired considerable expertise. The fact that our hit rate of finding the Northern Lights has increased can’t be attributed to luck. Last season, we succeeded in finding the Northern Lights on 90% of our tours.
Hunting the light
In many ways, you could say that chasing clear weather is far more important that chasing the actual Northern Lights. Clear sky is essential in order to see this phenomenon. Mountains, valleys and fjords all affect weather, wind and clouds. Consequently, being well acquainted with the local area plays an essential part in whether one finds good conditions or not, particularly if the weather is not the best. If the conditions in Alta are poor, we head elsewhere.
The great photo
The hunt also involves finding nice locations so you can take excellent photos. Local knowledge and the ability to see and compose subjects are also essential. Over the years, we have also developed our own techniques for photographing the Northern Lights. Our guides take wonderful landscape photos, but also take sharp and evocative photos of people with the Northern Lights behind. For many of our guests, getting a photo of themselves with the Northern Lights blazing across the sky in the background is the image they want to take home as a memento. As an added bonus, we give such a photo to our guests at no additional cost. Yes, that’s right, it’s free.
We believe in small groups so for this reason we generally have a maximum of eight guests per guide/vehicle. This enables us to provide more personalised attention to our guests and, at the same time, better working conditions for our guides.
Challenging weather and driving conditions place extra demands on drivers and vehicles. Our guides are experienced and confident driving on the snow and ice-covered roads. We use new VW Caravelle four-wheel drive vehicles on our tours. These are safe, comfortable and well equipped minibuses seating eight passengers in addition to the driver.
If your group is larger (e.g. family, friends or colleagues), we can accomplish this by using a larger bus and several guides.
Soup of the Night
After picking up our guests from their hotels, we head straight to GLØD headquarters for a briefing about the Northern Lights in general and, more specifically, how to find it on that evening.
During the briefing we serve a simple soup with bread/flatbread. This will provide additional energy since we will be out for several hours. The soup is included in the tour price, but don’t regard this as a full dinner.
Extra gear and warm clothing
It can get cold when we are out chasing the Northern Lights and even though our vehicles are equipped with Webasto heating, you may require extra clothing. We can provide insulated winter thermo suits and foot bags. The latter is a super trick we learned from the mushers, the people who drive sled dogs in Finnmark. You put the handy foot bags outside your own shoes.
We also take a couple of tripods that you may borrow if you don’t have your own one.
If you think our Northern Lights experiences sound exciting, you can select your tour in the right-hand menu and book online.
Read feedback from previous guests on TripAdvisor!
How do we find the Northern Lights?
Alta is an excellent place in which to see the Northern Lights. However, in order to improve our chances further, we leave the bright lights of Alta behind us and become Northern Lights hunters! Equipped with the latest Aurora and weather forecasts, and local knowledge, we travel by minibus until we reach an area with clear sky and good views. This may mean a drive of 200 km, either along the coast, fjords or in the inland of Finnmark
Photos of the Northern Lights
We help you to adjust the settings on your camera (not all cameras, but many) so you can take your own photos of the Northern Lights. In order to take the best possible photos, we recommend a camera with manual settings, preferably an SLR camera. Don’t forget your tripod! In addition, we have professional camera equipment to ensure great photos of tonight’s Northern Lights activity.
Northern Lights guaranty
We are unable to provide any Aurora guarantees. However, your chances are still very high.
During last season (2014/2015), we were successful in finding the Northern Lights on 90% of our tours!
To increase your chances of seeing the Northern Lights, it may be a good idea to book several departures.
Why are the chances of seeing the Northern Lights so high in Alta?
Alta is known as the “City of the Northern Lights” – and this is no coincidence. There are few places on earth where the chance of experiencing Aurora Borealis is as great as it is here. Kristian Birkeland knew this as early as 1899 when he built the world’s first Northern Lights observatory on Halddetoppen just out of Alta.
There are three main reasons why Alta is such a good place for viewing the Northern Lights:
- Northern Lights Oval
Firstly, given Alta’s geographic location, the Northern Lights Oval is virtually always directly above (zenith) or just north of the city.
- Stabile climate
Secondly, Alta has an extremely stable climate. In winter the days are normally cold and the sky cloudless – and clear skies are essential for spotting the Northern Lights. For instance, in 2009 Alta had just 410 mm of precipitation, something which few other places can claim. This provides many days with clear weather!
However, if it’s overcast in Alta, the chances of finding the Northern Lights still remain good. Alta is situated at the head of the Altafjord and from here you can drive in many directions – west towards the Langfjord, north towards Skillefjordnes, north-east towards Skaidi or south towards Kautokeino. As a general rule, the sky is clear in one of these places!
Check the Aurora forecast for tonight