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When will you next get to see the Northern Lights in Norway?

Did you miss the Northern Lights in Norway the other day? Here's how to know when you'll have the best chance of seeing future displays.

dog sledding under the Northern Lights.
There are a number of ways of figuring out when you'll next be able to see the Northern Lights in Norway. Pictured are dogs sledding underneath the Northern Lights. Photo by Thomas Lipke on Unsplash

The Northern Lights are on many people’s bucket lists for obvious reasons. The natural phenomenon was on show across large parts of Norway last weekend — from Finnmark in the north and as far south as Oslo, where the lights are a rare sight.

Unfortunately, many missed out on the show and instead woke up to friends’ posts and pictures after the lights had been and gone. Some of the pictures may have even left you as green with envy as the lights themselves. 

If you live in northern Norway, it’s mostly about being patient, and the lights will eventually appear. The further north you are, the better your chances of seeing the lights, as they only appear around the Earth’s magnetic poles.

Factors such as solar activity and the weather forecast will also impact your chances to see the Northern Lights. If the sky is overcast, you will likely be left disappointed, for obvious reasons.

In places like Oslo, the lights appear rarely but it is not unheard of. Twice already this Northern Lights season (late September until late March), the lights have been visible as far south as Oslo and, in some cases, even further south.

Predicting when the Northern Lights will be visible is complex, but there are a few ways you can improve your chances.

Keep an eye on websites such as the University of Alaska’s Aurora Forecast, which naturally doesn’t focus on Norway but can still give you a good idea. The Space Weather Prediction Center and SpaceWeather Live are another two reliable websites.

To make the most of the information these sites provide, you’ll need to learn a little bit about the Northern Lights themselves. However, you will by no means need to become an expert in solar activity. Instead, you will just need to be familiar with something called the “KP Index”.

The northern parts of the Earth are divided into KP zones. The zones range from one to nine. For example, Tromsø, in the north, is in KP1 and Oslo in the southeast is in KP5. The stronger the geomagnetic activity, the higher the KP number, and the further south the lights can be seen. So, if, say, a KP2 is predicted, then only northern Norway is likely to see the Northern Lights. Here’s a handy KP map that you can use to work out which KP zone your area is in.

If you’d rather not have to think too much about when and where to see the Northern Lights and instead have someone tell you when they are likely to be visible, it may be worth joining a Facebook group, such as Nordlysgruppa for Midt og Sør-Norge.

You can also download an app. My Aurora Forecast is popular, and there are free versions for both iPhone and Android. You can either choose what location you want to track or tell it to automatically change its settings based on where you are. The app will send you notifications when there’s a high chance of seeing the Northern Lights, but it also gives you a long-term forecast of the KP index. It also gives you percentages for how likely you are to see the Northern Lights in your area, now and in the next 30 minutes.

To have the best chance of seeing the Northern Lights, the sky will need to be clear, and you will preferably need to be away from areas with light pollution. You can check with the weather with the YR app from the Norwegian Meteorological Institute.

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OSLO

Best things to do in Oslo in summer 2022 

Whether it's new attractions, the best nature spots, or budget-friendly travel hacks, these are some of the best things that tourists and locals can do in the Norwegian capital of Oslo this summer.

Best things to do in Oslo in summer 2022 

Oslo has something for everyone, and, arguably, summer is the best time to experience the city. 

We’ve put together a list of the best activities, attractions and things to do this year, regardless of whether you are a local, just visiting, outdoorsy or prefer the walls of a museum. 

The list includes plenty of budget-friendly hacks, meaning they won’t break the bank either. 

New national museum opens  

In June, the doors to Norway’s new national museum will open to the public for the first time. Norway’s new national museum will be the combination of four other museums, including the old National Gallery. 

The museum, which hosts some of Norway’s most iconic artworks, including Edvard Munch’s “The Scream”, will become the largest museum in the Nordics when it opens. 

The museum is located in Aker Brygge, west Oslo, just a small trot from the palace and town hall. The museum will open on June 11th. You can read more about the museum here

Island hopping 

Staying in Aker Brygge for our next pick, a popular activity among the locals in the summer is to go island hopping in the island fjord. 

Once on the islands, there are plenty of opportunities for walking, swimming and picnics. This won’t break the bank either, as you can use the public transport Ruter app to the islands. While on the ferry, you’ll have a pretty good view too. So for around 70 kroner (two 1 hour singles), you can have an afternoon spent in the sun amongst the residents of Oslo rather than being crammed onto a tour boat. 

READ MORE: How tourists in Oslo can save money and live like a local

Go on a hammock trip 

Given Norway’s abundance of nature, its only fair camping would pop up. But there’s no need for all the faff of messing about with tents. 

Oslo’s residents agree, and hammocks are more common in the capital. There are plenty of great spots for a hammock trip in the capital. 

Most of them you can take public transport too, and even more, you can combine with other activities such as swimming, hiking and biking. 

READ MORE: Five great places to go on a hammock trip in Oslo this summer

Palace reopens

The Royal Palace will open its door to the public from June 25th. The castle will be open until mid-August. The castle is open for guided tours only. The tours will travel through iconic rooms such as the Council Chamber, where King meets the government, and the Great Dining Room. 

This summer marks the first time the palace will have been open to the public for two years, after closing due to the pandemic.

Tours this year will focus on the White Lounge, which has been freshly restored. Tickets start from 175 kroner. You can click here for more information

Take a dip

From central locations, a stone’s throw from the city centre to secluded lakes, or in the river that runs through the city’s centre, there are plenty of locations to take a dip in Oslo. 

Summers in Norway can be pretty warm, and with the long days going for a swim makes perfect sense. 

The overwhelming majority of spots are open to the public, and there are even a few small sandy beaches, such as Katten badenstrand. 

READ MORE: The six best places to swim outdoors in Oslo this summer 

Picnic and engagnsgrill in the park

There are plenty of fantastic parks in Oslo, and a lot of them are major attractions too. 

Vigeland Park is one of the Norwegian capital’s most famous attractions. Home to over 200 sculptures by Gustav Vigeland, designer of the Nobel Peace Prize medal and the famous Angry Boy statue, Vigelandsparken is an essential destination.

However, it isn’t the only park where you can take a stroll while admiring some sculptures. 

Ekeberg Sculpture Park, close to downtown Oslo, is another park with international-renowned works, such as Venus Milo aux Tiroirs by Salvadore Dali. 

Add to that the fact that you can have a disposable grill, engangsgrill, or picnic in the park, too, and that’s an added bonus. 

READ MORE: What are the rules and culture of park life in Norway?

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