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What you need to know about the midnight sun in Norway

Frazer Norwell
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What you need to know about the midnight sun in Norway
Here's what you need to know about the midnight sun in Norway. Pictured is the North Cape during the Midnight Sun. Photo by Nicola Gambetti on Unsplash

Summer is loved for its long days and warm temperatures. Across large parts of Norway, the sun doesn’t set at all in a phenomenon called the midnight sun.


The midnight sun is a phenomenon that occurs during the summer in places close to the Antarctic Circle and the Arctic Circle.

As the earth rotates on a tilted axis, it means that parts of land north of the Arctic Circle or south of the Antarctic Circle are angled towards the sun. This means the sun never sets over the horizon, resulting in 24 hours of sunlight.

Large parts of northern Norway are above the Arctic Circle, meaning large parts of the region experience the midnight sun.

Those living and visiting the Arctic Circle for several weeks experience the phenomenon of the sun never setting. The flip side of this is that during the winter, they experience a spell where the sun doesn’t rise.

However, while those below the Arctic Circle in Norway don’t experience the midnight sun they still experience incredibly long days. In the summer, Oslo gets around 19 hours of daylight.

Essentially the further north you are from the Arctic Circle, the longer the midnight sun will last. Svalbard, an archipelago roughly halfway between the

North Pole and mainland Norway, has the longest period of constant daylight. There, the sun doesn’t set between April 20th and August 22nd.

Meanwhile, just north of the Arctic Circle, the midnight sun runs between mid-June to the beginning of July.

Bodø experiences a slightly longer spell, with the midnight sun lasting between June 4th and July 8th there. The Lofoten Islands, like Bodø, another popular tourist destination during the midnight sun, get even more midnight sun. The islands don’t get to see the clear night sky between May 28th and July 14th.


Tromsø, meanwhile, gets around two months of midnight sun between May 20th and July 22nd. Then at the northernmost tip of Norway is the North Cape, which has the midnight sun between May 14th and July 29th.

What do people do with the midnight sun?

One of the most popular activities in Norway during the midnight sun is hiking. Luckily, the midnight sun occurs in the parts of Norway with some of the most breathtaking hikes and stunning scenery. For that reason, the Lofoten Islands are a particularly popular destination during this period.

Fishing is popular as fishers believe the fish bite closer to midnight, and there are plenty of music and cultural festivals.

Other popular activities include kayaking tours and night swimming. Midnight is one of the best times to experience the midnight sun, as the sun will hover low in the sky and cast a yellow glow onto everything. The lighting then is similar to what photographers and filmmakers call the “golden hour”, whereby the lighting gives everything a more magical hue.


How do people manage to sleep during the midnight sun?

For the most part, locals adapt, although it can be hard as the light makes people more energetic, and the body clock can find it hard; there is no natural end to the day. Some can even have physical effects similar to jetlag, including headaches, mental fog, and digestive issues.

Many also have blackout blinds and curtains or use sleep masks to create darkness. Meanwhile, hotels should have light-blocking fixtures installed for guests.


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