What is Midnight Sun or Polar Day?
The midnight sun is a natural phenomenon that occurs in the local summer months in places north of the Arctic Circle or south of the Antarctic Circle, when the sun remains visible at the local midnight. Around the summer solstice (approximately 21 June in the north and 22 December in the south) the sun is visible for the full 24 hours, given fair weather. The number of days per year with potential midnight sun increases the farther towards either pole one goes. Although approximately defined by the polar circles, in practice the midnight sun can be seen as much as 90 km outside the polar circle, as described below, and the exact latitudes of the farthest reaches of midnight sun depend on topography and vary slightly year-to-year.
Norwegian Midnight Sun
The phenomenon is caused by the tilt in the Earth´s axis – an imaginary line through the planet between the north and south poles around which it rotates. As the Earth orbits the Sun, the tilt makes the North Pole face towards the Sun in summer (keeping it in sunlight even as the Earth spins) and away from it in winter (keeping it dark). Hence the continuous sunlight during the summer.
The sun never takes a break in northern Norway – a land where the light never fails to inspire. The country has always been known as ‘the Land of the Midnight Sun,’ but even this cannot convey the enduring beauty to be found here in ‘the Land of Light and Darkness.’
76 days of midnight sun between May and July greets travellers to Northern Norway. The further north you go, the more nights of midnight sun you get.
Some locations in the north are known for their Midnight Sun view:
- Mount Rønvikfjellet in Bodø overlooks the Midnight Sun, Landegode island and the Lofoten islands.
- Eggum on the northern side of Lofoten offers free ocean view
- The Cable Car in Narvik is 656 metres/2152 ft above the fjord
- From Nupen near Harstad you see the sun towards the peaks of Grytøya Island
- At Tungenesset on the Island of Senja the sun illuminates the rock formation of Okshornan
- The Cable Car in Tromsø with the sun above the the peak of Ringvassøya Island
- Mount Komsafjellet in Alta with a fjord view
- Mount Salen in Hammerfest
- On the flats of the Plateau of Finnmarksvidda you see the sun everywhere
- The North Cape, with a free view towards the north
- Longyearbyen; don’t leave the town without a gun, but the sun is high above the horizon everywhere
24 hours of daylight gives the flora and fauna along the coast an energy boost. This is likely to rub off on visitors as well, so why not use the extra energy to experience some of the many midnight sun activities available throughout Northern Norway?
Approximate dates when you can see the midnight sun
|The Arctic Circle||12 June – 1 July|
|Bodø||4 June – 8 July|
|Svolvær||28 May – 14 July|
|Harstad||25 May – 18 July|
|Bardufoss||23 May – 19 July|
|Andenes||22 May – 21 July|
|Tromsø||20 May – 22 July|
|Bossekopp||19 May – 24 July|
|Vardø||17 May – 26 July|
|Hammerfest||16 May – 27 July|
|Berlevåg||15 May – 28 July|
|The North Cape||14 May – 29 July|
|Longyearbyen (Svalbard)||20 April – 22 August|