Have you ever heard of the Northern Lights – the Aurora Borealis? This name, given by Italian astronomer Galileu Galilei in 1619, refers to Aurora – the Roman goddess of the dawn – and Boreas – the Greek god of the northern winds – and is a good reflection of the spectacle that occurs in the nocturnal sky of the Polar region. The phenomenon, caused by the impact of particles of the solar wind on the high atmosphere of our planet, and channeled by the Earth’s magnetic field, is a fantastic show of natural lights and colors.
And what about Tromso? Have you ever heard of it? Known as the Capital of the Northern Lights, this town in Norway is famous for the incidence of the Northern Lights and for the impressive beauty of its skies, due to the influence of the warm currents from the Gulf, which also prevent the temperature from reaching the usual -10⁰C of its surroundings.
Situated at 350km north of the Arctic Circle, Tromso is the largest city in the northern region of Norway, and one of the most modern in the country. The place is a real blend of cultural options – museums, an aquarium, and the northernmost botanical garden in the world – plus its highly preserved natural beauties. Although Norway is said to be one of the most expensive countries in Europe, Tromso offers its visitors a good commercial structure, good shops, bars and restaurants, and cheaper accommodation when compared to the country’s standards.
Although there is no hard and fast rule in the city’s calendar, the Northern Lights occur most often between the months of September and March, with moments of a strong incidence of the show of lights, as well as nights without anything to observe. However, one thing is sure: the midnight sun, a phenomenon that occurs between May 20th and July 20th, when the sun never goes down. Although the sunlight is less intense when night comes, near midnight it shines again as if it were morning. During this time of the year, one can practice normal daytime activities at any hour of the day or night.
How to reach Tromso
By plane, there are daily flights from Oslo, the Norwegian capital, to the Langnes airport – situated 5km away from the city center. The flight takes two hours. From the airport, there are several express bus lines to the central hotel area. You can also go by a combination of train – leaving from Oslo, Bergen, or Trondheim – to Fauske, where you will take a bus on a long trip via Narvik. If you rent a car in Oslo, you’ll have to travel over a 1600km highway to Tromso, on a 30 hour journey. Lastly you can go by sea, reaching the city on the famous ship Hurtigruten, on one of its two daily trips along the coast of Norway.