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.

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.


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


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.

April in Tromsø


The winter season is coming to an end. Days are getting longer and on April 10 astronomical twilight shrinks to around an our between midnight and 1 am. When lucky, you still can see northern lights until then. Later during this month there will be no dark sky anymore and on May 18 we will welcome the midnight sun season. It’s a month of very long sunsets, lasting for hours, wonderful time to take pictures all day long.

„Is there anything interesting to come here for?” – you might ask. Yes, there is. Plenty, in fact. Of course depending on the weather.

Continue reading April in Tromsø

Welcome to Tromsø Outdoor

Hei and hearty welcome 🙂

Even though we are from around the world there is something that connects us. We all are outdoor people and we all live in Tromsø, Norway. This blog may be a help for you to choose your Arctic activities, prepare your trip to the Northern Norway and may widen your knowledge about the area.

Enjoy our articles and welcome to Tromsø Outdoor.