FAQ: My journey to see the Northern Lights, temperatures and clothing
Travelling to see the Northern Lights in Norway? Here's a guide to temperatures to expect and clothes to bring on your voyage.
7 things to bring on your Northern Lights Voyage
In very cold weather, it’s a good idea to wear two pairs of gloves – one thick pair of mitts (mitts don’t separate the fingers so they keep your hands warmer) and a thin pair of gloves underneath that allow you the use of your fingers when you need to do something fiddly but still ward off the icy cold for a short time. If you’re prone to cold extremities, you can buy carbon hand and foot warmers from most good outdoor shops. Shake these up to activate them, pop them into your glove or boot, and they stay warm for around eight hours. If you’re going to stay outdoors for an extended period, pack a spare pair of gloves – if you lose one in cold temperatures, your fingers will soon freeze.
You’ll need proper winter boots if you’re going to be outside for extended periods. If you’re buying new boots for your trip, make sure you request a size larger than you normally wear, to comfortably accommodate extra pairs of socks. Hiking style winter boots are suitable for simple excursions such as watching the Northern Lights and town-based activities, but they’re not advisable for more adventurous snow-based activities as snow can easily get inside them. Make sure your footwear has good grip for walking on snow and ice.
These should be made of wool, never cotton. Pack an extra pair or two in your rucksack if you’re going out snowmobiling or dog sledging – if your feet become damp or wet you should change into dry socks; wet feet soon become frostbitten feet.
4. Hats and headwear
Bring a wool or fleece hat which covers the ears, as well as a balaclava, buff or face mask to cover your mouth, nose and cheeks. Noses and cheeks are especially prone to frostbite, and should be kept covered whenever possible – skin can freeze in minutes in very cold weather.
You may need sunglasses or tinted goggles as the sun on the snow can be dazzling. Contact lens wearers may find the cold and dryness makes lens-wearing uncomfortable and should pack glasses as an alternative.
If you intend to use any sauna facilities, you may want to pack a swimsuit – unless you’re brave enough to go ‘au naturel’. There may also be occasions when you’ll have the opportunity to soak in an outdoor hot tub watching the Northern Lights overhead.
The northern air is very dry so you’ll need to pack plenty of lip salve. Some people have problems with water-based moisturisers. Specialist products are available – ask your local chemist.
See the Northern Lights with Hurtigruten
Get unique insight and knowledge about the Arctic sky and the greatest lightshow on Earth, the Aurora Borealis, on the popular Astronomy Voyage along the mesmerising Norwegian Coast.
This limited voyage is accompanied by special lecturers - experts on astronomy and expeditions to see the Northern Lights.
- Duration: 12 days
- Route: Bergen - Kirkenes - Bergen
- Sailing period: January 2019 - December 2020