Norse mythology claims that the Northern Lights are the flashes of light emanating from the armor of valkyrie warriors. Asians associate the dancing colors of the lights with fertility, and many Japanese believe a child conceived under the aurora will be lucky. Native Samis feel the lights have a special quality to help solve disagreements. While the Northern Lights are a scientific phenomenon caused by particles from the sun and space colliding with gases in the earth’s atmosphere, they have captured the imagination of visitors for generations. Innovation Norway — a governmental entity that promotes Norwegian industry and Norway as a tourist destination — is inviting Americans to experience the Northern Lights through new travel packages and an online marketing campaign.
The Northern Lights generally occur within a 1,550 mile radius of the magnetic north pole. The coasts of the Norwegian counties of Nordland, Troms and Finnmark lay where occurrence is greatest, making northern Norway a prime destination for viewing the colorful bands of light in the night sky, particularly in the months of February and March.
A number of partner tour operators, both Norwegian and domestic, are offering Northern Lights travel itineraries.
— Hurtigruten’s Discover the Northern Lights package includes a Norwegian
Coastal Voyage aboard a Hurtigruten cruise ship. Packages start at $1,205
— Borton Overseas’ Arctic Adventure package includes accommodations at the
Snow Hotel and a King Crab Safari. Packages start at $2,986 per person.
— Nordique Tours by Picasso Travel’s In Search of the Northern Lights
package includes evening activities that keep you outdoors for when the
Aurora Borealis light up. Packages start at $1,249 per person.
In addition to the travel packages, Innovation Norway introduces a microsite — http://www.visitnorway.com/us/mynorthernlights/ — on which Americans can “paint the sky” using their computer mouse to create an Aurora Borealis. Participants can share their personal light show via Twitter, Facebook or email. The site also offers tips for how and where to see the Northern Lights in Norway and other activities to enjoy on a vacation there.
“People from all over the world are drawn to the Northern Lights — its mystical appeal is undeniable,” commented Kristin Dahle, region director, Americas for Innovation Norway. “We believe Norway is the best place on the planet to witness the spectacle of the Aurora Borealis and to enjoy other wonders of nature. We hope our campaign and travel packages inspire the curious to indulge in this once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
To learn more about the Northern Lights by creating your own light show on your computer, or to book these travel packages, please visit www.visitnorway.com/us/mynorthernlights.
Facts about the Northern Lights
— In 1621, French astronomer Pierre Gassendi first called the phenomenon
“Aurora Borealis” after the Roman goddess of dawn (Aurora) and the Greek
name for the north wind (Boreas).
— Cree (Native Americans) called the Northern Lights the “Dance of the
— For centuries, there have been reports that people can “hear” the Aurora
Borealis — but there is no scientific proof. One theory is that the sound
is created in the observer’s head because of a leakage in the electrical
impulses from the nerves in the eye into the part of the brain that
processes sound. Some early explorers tested this theory and found that
the sound went away if their eyes were covered.
— Aurora forecasts for Norway can be found at