Northern Lights Cruise Holidays

See Norway in a new light
It tops so many travellers’ wish lists: to experience the Northern Lights, the mysterious dancing arcs, ripples and rays of light that cast an eerie glow across the Arctic sky. Our Northern Lights cruises travel north along Norway’s dramatic coastline and cut deep into the fjords and to the fringes of the Arctic Circle in search of the aurora borealis.

Northern Lights Cruise Holiday Highlights

From the mountain scenery of Åndalsnes to the Arctic beauty of Tromsø to the dramatic landscapes and history of Stavanger, a Northern Lights cruise holiday that will shine on in your memory. We can’t guarantee a sighting of the Northern Lights, but expect a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Norway's scenery will knock your socks off; reindeer and huskies; cable cars and railways; Vikings (or their ghosts, at any rate); waffles, ice cream and cheese (not necessarily on the same plate), and quite possibly plenty of snow.

Reasons to see the Northern Lights on a Cruise Holiday

Experience the Northern Lights

It tops so many travellers’ wish lists: to experience the Northern Lights. These mysterious dancing arcs, ripples and rays of light that cast an eerie glow across the Arctic sky are caused by collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun entering the Earth’s atmosphere. The Sámi people, indigenous to Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia, believed the lights were magic, that the ‘fires’ in the sky were the souls of the dead. In Norse myth, the rainbow colours were reflections of the shields of Valkyrie warriors marching into battle.

Chasing the lights

Seeing the Northern Lights is on many people’s bucket list. But as a natural phenomenon, they can be elusive, and catching sight of the mesmeric light show in all its glory can be down to luck as much as time of year, location and weather. It’s best to be above a latitude of 60°N, and although solar activity occurs throughout the year, the light summer months render the northern lights invisible to the eye. So between September and April can be the best time to go on a Northern Lights holiday

Northern Lights Cruises Shore Experiences

The Northern Lights are one of the most incredible – and elusive – natural wonders on earth. They’re most likely to make an appearance in a remote place at a high latitude in the depths of winter, and Alta's In Search of the Northern Lights shore experience fits that description perfectly.

Northern Lights Cruise Ports

Åndalsnes, Norway

We like to make a grand entrance, so we love sailing into the pretty port of Åndalsnes. Looming all around are the mighty Romsdal Alps, which might be thick with snow or still basking in an autumn glow, depending on the time of your cruise. Venture beyond the charming shops and markets of Åndalsnes on the snaking Troll’s Road to Trollveggen (Troll Wall).

Alta, Norway

Home to another striking modern church (it’s actually called the Cathedral of the Northern Lights), Alta is also the site of the world’s first Northern Lights observatory, built in the late 1800s. This is one of the spots you’re most likely to catch a glimpse of the unpredictable polar lightshow, but there are plenty more experiences to be had.

Stavanger, Norway

More breathtaking natural beauty, crashing waterfalls and head-spinning vertical drops (this time 600m from the flat-topped Pulpit Rock or Preikestolen) can be found about Stavanger. Or find out about more Viking antics in Stavanger’s Museum of Archaeology, then explore the cobbled streets of the old town with its lovely white-painted wooden cottages.

Tromsø , Norway

You’re just 400km from the Arctic Circle in Tromsø, but there’s no need to get out your polar gear. Thanks to its position on the Gulf Stream, this lively city (said to have the greatest number of bars per capita in Norway) is relatively mild for its latitude. It has a centuries-old heart and some impressive modern architecture, including the beautifully austere, peaked Arctic Cathedral with its icy shards of concrete and glass.

Narvik, Norway

Second World War buffs will be interested in the interactive exhibits at Narvik’s new War Museum. Then venture out to view the incredible scenery – a cable car up Fagernesfjellet mountain, or the 43km-long Ofoten Railway line from Narvik to the Swedish border and beyond, which takes you through some truly wild and breathtaking landscapes.

Explore Northern Lights Cruise Shore Experiences

Take a look at some examples of our curated shore experiences.