Where are the northern lights in April and May?

IMAG1481Did they go to the south? Do they ever appear in the sky? Why don’t we see them anymore?

Tromsø is the world’s northern lights capital. Glorious city far beyond the Arctic Circle gives everybody warm hospitality. It’s really nice to spend a relaxing day in the city after staying late in search for auroras.

But what happens now, in the end of April and beginning of May? Why is there no more lights in the sky? Why is the sky so bright?

These two questions are connected. Northern lights are quite pale phenomenon in the sky. Light pollution of the city makes observations much more difficult, so what to say about a period of the year when it’s never dark. In the end of April we can barely see the stars on the sky. This year bright planet Jupiter blinks towards us from the south. It’s getting brighter and brighter until the moment in mid May the Sun doesn’t set anymore.

Midnight Sun is caused by Earth’s tilt towards orbital plane. Our planet’s axis doesn’t stand vertically, but leans a bit (circa 22,5 degrees nowadays) towards the Sun. Because of that some areas don’t experience nights in the summer. Of course the Sun goes lower and higher during a day, but never reaches below the horizon. It’s summer and time of ecerlasting brightness. Most joyful during the year. Norwegians cherish these moments, because it lasts for a bit more than two months and then in short time dark nights return.

And in November the Sun leaves Tromsø for a while… And we have more time to admire auroras.

Prepare yourself for the Arctic Spring

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Warm sun and people wearing t-shirts. Ice cream on a bench in the city centre. It’s not summer yet, but everybody’s excited.

March equinox brought the Sun to the Earth’s northern hemisphere. In moderate climate it means spring has begun, but here in Tromsø it’s really tricky to decide what season we have. It’s warm in the Sun, but quite cold in shades, especially with some breeze from the sea. Days are getting warmer, but at night temperatures are getting below zero Celsius.

Even if you initially feel it’s warm after you get off a plane or walk out to the streets, you need to remember that weather may change very quickly. Your perfect walk around sunny city will change into wet, unpleasant experience. Wear something warm and if forecasts predict rain – something waterproof and windproof.

This is even more important outside of the city. Temperature in Tromsø may be very misleading. In the outskirts, in shady valleys temperature usually is lower. Shady areas can still be cold. When you hike, prepare yourself for cold and changing weather. Waterproof and windproof clothes are the best choice again. It’s better to wear more layers than one really thick.

Remember that when we get warmer, we start to sweat to cool ourselves down a bit. It is very effective in cold winds of the Arctic, when we really don’t need it. When you’re tired or hungry, you will also get cold much easier.

Camping in the area is a great thing, but you also need to prepare yourself properly. Winter tent, winter sleeping bag and winter sleeping mats are essentional parts of camping equipment even in April or May.

Spring here in Northern Norway is very short. And it does not mean that it is not snowing or it is not cold, especially if are used to warmer climate or you will go on a trip to the mountains. It is maybe too high temperature for down jacket, but having with you extra layer and also sweet snack or something warm to drink could be very helpful. Enjoy time spent in Tromsø observing how the nature wakes up to life.

Easter in Norway – enjoy them outdoors

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Staying in a hut, searching for Easter eggs and skiing in fresh nature. This is how Norwegians spend their Easter.

This what looks crazy for foreigners it may be the best time spent by people from Norway during the Easter. Whole days of skiing from hut to hut, sunbathing sitting on fresh snow, whole day snowshoe hikes on the mountains. Looks tiring, don’t you think?

All of excursions has their award. Stunning views, new experiences, full body workouts may only help your body to stay fit and healthy. Foreigners did not understand the “cottage-thing” before they went on a cabin itself. It is a place of refuge. During Easter shops are closed, so you don’t split your time on spending it in shopping malls. If you work a lot, then free time with family is extra precious.

Norwegian culture can inspire you to be closer to nature and more often unplug the TV and the internet. You can find yourself in the Norwegian Easter in spending time outdoor eating Kvikklunsj and oranges.

Tromsø Outdoor is waiting for each of you who would like to try some real Norwegian activities for the whole Easter, everyday, from 9 am until 5 pm.

Cycling around Tromsø

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Troms has varied nature with many opportunities for different cycling adventures. You can discover everything from quiet city roads, both sealed and gravel, where you ride in a forest and open areas between majestic mountains to narrow coastal roads round fjords and out on islands, which inspire idyllic island-hopping by cycle.

And what about season for cycling? In Tromsø Outdoor we have no seasons for cycling. We cycle whole the year. Of course winter cycling may be more demanding, both when you think about temperature and how to prepare for it and when you think about icy roads. For conditions like these we recommend to use bikes with spiked tires. The same rule is for cars. They are more sticky to the roads and may improve your safety. For skiing in snow we recommend to try fatbikes. They are quite heavy to ride, but it is so much fun to ride in fresh snow on ski trails.

When to travel to see northern lights in Tromsø

Northern lights season starts in September. Every moment with proper darkness it is a moment to see them.

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In December, January and February during Tromsø Outdoor evening activities it is dark enough to see the northern lights, and we enjoyed displays above our heads several times during the trip. That happens when we have good weather in Tromsø and there is certain level of magnetic activity when we are out. Nevertheless during this trip our main focus is on snow adventures and we do not chase the lights.

If the weather is good (we have the clear sky) and there is an activity in the ionosphere you can see the lights in the city as well.
You need to be patient, dress warm and it is good if you take a walk to the Prestvannet – lake in the central part of the island or to Bukta – beach on the south, as those places are a bit darker so you can see the lights better. At Tromsø Outdoor you can rent equipment needed for your private northern light trip warm clothes, tripods, thermoses, reindeer hides, headlamps and more.
The biggest chance to see the lights is from 9pm till 1am but they can appear any time from 5pm till 4 am, providing it is dark enough to see them at the time of the year you are here and there is clear sky – if you can see the stars it is possible to see the auroras as well.
You can follow the earth’s magnetic field activity and sky view life camera at night and the weather forecast.

Northern lights are visible from September until mid April.

How to dress well? Tromso Outdoor guideline to stay warm.

1257Preparing your trip to Tromsø you have keep in mind that weather can change here rapidly. Tromsø area consists of lots of places with different weather conditions, the city may appear as a warm place, but in the valleys 10 km from island temperature may be 15 degrees lower. If you want to save yourself from catching a cold you have to wear appropriate for the weather winter or autumn/spring clothes and waterproof shoes.

We highly recommend to prepare yourself with thermal underwear and good woolen or ski socks. This should be base for all of people who come in to Tromsø. Other clothes, it would be nice, if they will be waterproof or water resistant and windproof especially. But what about people who don’t need clothes like this in their countries?
Cold-weather clothing is typically included in dog sledding, snowmobile driving and reindeer sleigh activities you may join in while visiting Tromsø. Some Northern Light excursions also offer a thermal suit and winter boots included, but not all of them. Always check your booking confirmations.
If you do not have clothes proper for Tromsø Arctic conditions you can rent them at Tromsø Outdoor, we provide everything from hats, mittens to water resistant panths and down jackets.

Spring bird watching in Tromsø

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Weather in April in Troms may be different than this one which you see in front of your eyes thinking about the Spring. Both we can have heavy snowfalls, rainy days or very sunny and warm. But birds feel the Spring in fact and they are coming back here from South.

Ptarmigians change their feathers in to Spring outfit. Still you can see them totally white, while they are hiding in forests. But some of them already have some darker spots and lines of dark feathers.

On the shoreline you may see more cormorants, herons and oystercatchers. They are not very hard to see. Black cormorants usually are sitting near the bridge to Tromsdalen, on Tromsdalen side. Oyster catchers with their beautiful long legs and red beak are possible to see near beaches of southern part of the island.

It is nice of course to have some lenses to observe them, but in fact this is something not necessary. They may appear so close. You may scare them, but if you will be quiet and quite far away you can easily see them while they are feeding themselves in water.

Animals around Tromsø

losieWild nature around Tromsøya can be hidden from our sight, but there are also some rules which may grown possibility to see some of them.

First, you have to be patient. Second, focused on strange things. Yes, that is how exactly it goes. They appear accidentaly when you stop expecting them. Each every brown point which looks bit like a stone could be reindeer on the mountain. You may see them after a few minutes of observing, shape of reindeer and hornes would appaear from a stone. You have to focused your sight. It is quite easy to see them from a car during the day or during snowshoe hikes on the mountains. If you have a car you may take a ride to see them in Tisnes. They usually appear there.

In the very early morning or at almost dark evening you could be lucky to see a moose. They are very big, maybe bigger than you expected. This is their moment to go for feeding so they walk slowly on the meadows or in the forests. You can see them from a car driving and first, maybe you can see moving tree, and the shape of moose would appear in a moment. Their very long legs looks a bit like branches. Their fur is very dark so they can easily hide rom our sight.

There are 14 of them living on the island named Håkøya. And they sometimes appear near farms.

Of course nice lenses could be helpful to observe beauty of these animals, but sometimes they appear very near. Good luck 🙂

 

 

 

Ski touring on your own

Tromso Outdoor, Ski Touring Rentals-1310464April is mid season for ski touring in the area. There is still plenty of snow in the mountains from Kvaløya on the west to Lyngen Alps and other areas in the mainland. Mountains all around welcome you with great skiing conditions and long days. In the last years Tromsø area is getting more and more popular with season lasting even until the end of may. These areas present various difficulty and safety level. Especially after snowfall avalanche risk may rise significantly.

We recommend you to check the website varsom.no, it is written in English and Norwegian and it shows avalanche risk. Prepare yourself also for rapidly changing weather, check forecast and precipitation on yr.no.  Our main rule tells: safety first.

Mountains near Tromsø we recommend you to go for ski touring are:

Very good maps you can find on norgeskart.no.

You can rent ski touring equipment and avalanche safety gear at our rental center at Sjøgata 14 in Tromsø and ask us about latest news about area.

April cross country skiing in Troms

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADepending on snow conditions, you still may have a possibility to cross country ski. We have plenty of snow here at the moment and we hope it will stay here for some time.

Tromsø covered in snow is so beautiful. We have a rich ski trails network on the island with the main Lysløype lit up until midnight. Trails on the top of Tromsøya are good for sunbathing in warm April sun, while on the other side of the straits, in Tromsdalen, you can ski hidden from strong Arctic winds. For more advanced skiers Kvaløya is a great choice and the ones looking for mountain adventure can try to ski all over the trail from Snarbyeidet to Tromsdalen.

If you want to learn basics of cross country skiing, our afternoon cross country skiing trip for beginners is a great choice.