Hi there! If you’re new to Sweden, are considering to study in Sweden or are simply planning an exchange to Sweden, I’m sure that you would like to make the most of your time here. I hope this post will help you with that!
My name is Aslı, I’m 26 years old and I’m currently in my second – and sadly, last – semester as an exchange student here in Uppsala. Obviously, before I came to Sweden, I did a little bit of research on what is a must-do here. Seeing the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) was one of those and it was on top of my bucket list. I found the Facebook group “Uppsala Northern Lights Watch”, in which people communicate when and where to see the Northern Lights here. Some of the most popular spots are up at the Uppsala Castle or at Gamla Uppsala. But really any spot outside of the city, with a little bit higher ground and less light pollution is perfect as well. In November 2021, I saw the Aurora Borealis from the Uppsala Castle and got a first glimpse of the beauty and majesty of nature. However, that wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to see more, and I had read a lot about places to see them in northern Scandinavia, but I wanted something different. I’ve been following the Aurora Borealis Observatory on social media for a long time now, and I’ve been fascinated by its location and the experiences previous visitors shared. That’s why this spot on the island of Senja in northern Norway was at the top of my list and I chose that as my next destination. Plus, it was a lifelong dream come true!
I went to Senja in December 2021. If you would also like to go there, this is one possible route to choose from: You go to Arlanda Airport by train and take the plane to Oslo. From Oslo, you take the plane to Bardufoss. I went to the Observatory in Silsand. There will always be a bus waiting for all the passengers at the airport and it will then drive from Bardufoss airport to Finnsnes. The crew will pick you up from Finnsnes and drive you to the Observatory in Silsand. They will also take you back to Finnsnes at the end of your stay. During that time, it was up to -20 degrees, so make sure to wear thermo clothes and bring a thick jacket with you.
One evening, the owner asked to take over the live stream of his daily Aurora sessions. I was unprepared but thrilled to do so. You can also see how beautifully the Aurora changes:
Seeing the Aurora changing colors and dancing above made me feel like I was in a different universe. It was pure magic, the snow and forest surrounding me and the sounds of the Arctic wind… this is a memory I will never forget. I even thought that I could hear something while I was taking in the magic dance of the Aurora. It was only later that I found out that some people claimed to hear the Aurora and that there is no scientific evidence for it yet. I found a nice book by Pål Brekke called The Story About the Northern Lights which is about the history and different perceptions of the Aurora Borealis. I can warmly recommend it to everyone.
Here is a Reel that I created of our trip. Enjoy the beauty of Norway!
Of course, wanting to explore the Northern Lights doesn’t necessarily mean that you must go to northern Norway. There are nice places in Sweden as well. Kiruna and Abisko, for example, are very popular spots as well!
I hope you enjoyed reading through my recap and feel inspired to go on your own little Northern Lights adventure!