We’re now approaching Midsummer which means the days are long and the Nordic people are preparing to celebrate on the 23rd June. On clear nights the Midnight Sun shines over fjords, mountains and seas and provides viewers with an awe-inspiring and ethereal experience.
Since the 19th century, travellers from the UK and elsewhere have documented their reactions to the Midnight Sun and the impact that the light and landscapes have had on them. Here are some of our favourite accounts:
“Midnight, – without darkness, without stars! Midnight, – and the unwearied sun stood, yet visible in the heavens, like a victorious king throned on a dais of royal purple bordered with gold… The surrounding hills glowed with a warm, deep violet tint, flecked here and there with touches of bright red, as though fairies were lighting tiny bonfires on their summits.”
Marie Corelli from Thelma, A Norwegian Princess, 1894
“At eleven o’clock the colour of the clouds began to change to a golden tint, warning us that the midnight hour was approaching, and the sunset close at hand; soon they became an intense red, while the sun was hidden from our viewl and then they again changed their colour, gradually becoming brighter, as if new life had been infused into them; when they were tinged with the hues of the rising sun the glow of the sunset was mingled with that of sunrise; the morning and the evening twilight were blended into one.”
Paul B. Du Chaillu from The Land of the Midnight Sun, 1899
When to see the Midnight Sun:
According to Innovation Norway, the dates below reflect when the Midnight Sun should appear in different locations of Norway (in fair weather).
|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|
How to experience the Midnight Sun
Experiencing the Midnight Sun is magical. We recommend that you stay awake and venture out to get a better view of this natural phenomenon. The light is completely different to anything you may have experienced before and quite often people are struck by the ethereal silence whilst the sun appears in the night sky.
Magnetic North Travel offers tailor made holidays to experience the Midnight Sun. You can choose from a range of activities, such as playing golf, hiking or fishing while the Midnight Sun illuminates your path.
Experience the Midnight Sun in the Lofoten Islands with our tailor made holiday:
We also like this video of the Midnight Sun near to Tromsø.
Midsummer celebrations in Norway
If you’re lucky enough to be in Norway around the 23rd June, you may very well witness some Midsummer celebrations also known as Sankthansaften. Pre-Christian in origin and coinciding with the Summer Solstice, the celebrations tend to focus on a bonfire which is lit to ward off evil spirits. Also mock marriages are arranged between adults and between children which is intended to symbolize new life. It is also believed that if girls place flowers under their pillows during this night, they will dream of their future husbands. It’s usually a great day of picnicking and general merriment.