Someone recently asked me for my top tip for planning a trip to Norway, and without hesitation I told them to find great accommodation and go from there.
There are so many unique accommodation options in Norway, and staying in the right place can totally make your trip. I mean, this isn’t a country of big fancy cities where you’ll want to stay in some luxury hotel chain. Norway’s strength is its natural beauty and rich culture, and one of the easiest ways to ensure you experience both is to carefully choose a wonderful place to stay.
And I think this is especially true for a northern lights trip. Of course if you just want to see the northern lights you could easily book a hotel in Tromsø and take a northern lights tour out of the city to chase the lights. And I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful time.
But imagine instead watching the northern lights from the warmth of your own private glass igloo?
Or forget warmth, you could spend the night in a real igloo made of snow and ice!
Or maybe you’d prefer an authentic Norwegian cabin experience?
Here are some of my top recommendations for unique northern lights hotels in Norway:
I’ve also shared more northern lights tips here, as well as how to photograph (and film) northern lights here, and the best places to see the northern lights here. And if you want more help check out my northern lights ebook which covers everything you’ll need to know for your northern lights trip.
North Experience Basecamp
Tromsø is an excellent starting point for any northern lights trip. The city itself is beautiful with many things to do, and there are lots of fun winter tours and activities offered out of Tromsø. You can find my full guide to winter in Tromsø here.
But I also always suggest that people get out of the city and stay somewhere special, and the glass igloos at North Experience Basecamp are perfect! They are just under a 90 minute drive outside of Tromsø, by Lyngenfjord, which I personally think is one of the most beautiful fjords in Norway.
The drive is really easy even in the winter as it’s on one of the main highways in the area, so you should be totally fine renting a car and driving here yourself. Read more about driving in Norway here.
The glass igloos here are perfect for watching the northern lights from the warmth of your bed. Plus they have an outdoor jacuzzi and a beautiful barrel sauna on the property as well.
Sommarøy Arctic Hotel
About an hour’s drive from Tromsø, the island of Sommarøy is one of my favorite nature getaways here. The views are stunning, and the water is so turquoise you’d almost think you were in the tropics. You can easily visit on a day trip from Tromsø, but if you want to see the northern lights this is the perfect place to spend a couple of nights, as the skies are nice and dark for aurora viewing.
I stayed at the Sommarøy Arctic Hotel when my friend Samantha visited, and they even allow dogs! We stayed in one of their standard (dog friendly) rooms, but if you aren’t traveling with a dog there are lots of other great options as well. The three-bedroom houses right on the water look incredible.
The hotel has a sauna complete with a walkway right into the sea so you can take some icy dips, and there is also a jacuzzi to rent. The restaurant is also fantastic, with beautiful views out over the water. The northern lights came out right after we finished eating dinner and we simply walked out onto the hotel’s back terrace and took photos right there. Check current rates and availability here
Arctic Dome in Kokelv
The Arctic Dome in Kokelv is perfect for northern lights viewing – I actually had a lot of trouble going to sleep here because the lights kept appearing above my bed. It’s almost the same as staying in a glass igloo hotel, but with a bit more privacy.
The dome sits at the top of a hill so you’ll get a full, unobstructed view of the sky, and a stay here also comes with a Sami style turf house with a fully equipped kitchen, shower, and sauna.
Kokelv is about a two hour drive from Alta so you’ll definitely need a car for this one, but I promise it’s well worth it. Plus the drive is beautiful.
Arctic Dome in Alta
If you want to stay in an igloo without renting a car, the Arctic Dome at Glød Explorer is perfect because you can fly into Alta and they’ll pick you up at the airport. This is also probably the most luxurious Arctic Dome I’ve stayed in. There’s an attached bathroom so you don’t need to go outside to use the toilet, and they will wake you up with a coffee delivery and even come inside to make a fire in the wood burning oven for you each morning.
Holmen Husky in Alta
Alta is one of the best places in Norway to chase the northern lights, and at Holmen Husky you can stay with huskies!
You can visit with the huskies or go husky sledding here, and the mini lavvu accommodation is super cosy. They even come with their own little wood burning stove! This also happens to be one of the most budget friendly options on this list.
Ice Hotel in Alta
If you really want a once in a lifetime experience, what about staying in an igloo hotel made of snow and ice?
Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel is constructed entirely of snow and ice (rebuilt at the start of each winter season) and features beautiful ice sculptures. And don’t worry, they provide super warm sleeping bags and reindeer skins to keep you warm inside the igloo at night.
Kirkenes also has an igloo hotel made of snow and ice that you can overnight in. Plus they also offer cosy little cabins with huge windows facing north, so you have the option to visit the ice hotel during the day but sleep in a warm cabin instead.
Plus they have a team of huskies and reindeer on site, and they organize king crab fishing excursions, husky sledding, and northern lights chasing tours. I stayed here on a solo trip and seriously had the best time – there’s so much to do and the staff are incredibly friendly, so I never felt weird about being there on my own.
Norwegian Wild on Senja
The island of Senja is about a two and a half hour drive from Tromsø and it makes for the perfect escape into nature. The landscape here is incredible, and it’s an ideal place to chase the northern lights. In fact I’d say Senja is one of the easiest places to chase the northern lights independently if you don’t want to join a tour.
I recommend staying at Norwegian Wild, which offers a nice range of accommodation options from basic wooden cabins to their magnificent lighthouse and their Arctic Dome. Plus the owner Hege is one of the nicest people I’ve met.
Aurora Borealis Observatory on Senja
Another popular accommodation option in Senja is the Aurora Borealis Observatory, which is not only a great luxury stay, but also the ideal place to watch for the northern lights. I feel like I’m always seeing incredible aurora photos on Facebook and Instagram that were taken here.
Dyrøy Holiday on Dyrøy
If you want to meet the kindest people in Norway, go to Dyrøy Holiday. Seriously, the owners are so nice and helpful, and they also organize a tour with the sweetest farmer’s wife. Just thinking about it makes me miss them all!
Not only do they have an outdoor hot tub on site where you can sit under the northern lights, but they also organize lots of winter activities during the day so that you can make the most of your stay in Northern Norway. Plus the island is surrounded by beautiful mountains. If you want a quiet escape into Norway’s most beautiful nature, this is where you should stay.
They also offer a cheaper apartment at the same location on Airbnb here.
Arctic Dome in Narvik
The Arctic Dome in Narvik stands alone on the side of the mountain above Narvik, so you’ll have your northern lights views all to yourself.
Plus, if you rent a car for your stay here you can drive across the border to Abisko, which is famous for having the most clear skies for optimal northern lights viewing (you can also take the train from Narvik to Abisko or Kiruna).
Svinøya Rorbuer in Lofoten
While you’ll have the highest chances of seeing the northern lights in the far north of Norway, if you want to see them against the most stunning landscape in Norway, head to Lofoten.
Whenever people ask me where to go in Norway if they only visit one place, I recommend Lofoten. It’s simply the most beautiful place in the entire country.
My favorite place to stay here is the traditional fisherman cabins at Svinøya Rorbuer. They also organize northern lights tours, so you can optimize your chances of catching the aurora.
Lofoten Links Lodges in Lofoten
If you want a more luxurious escape where you can watch the northern lights from the comfort of your home, head to the Lofoten Links Lodges on the island of Gimsøy. I stayed here alone, but the cabins are really big so I think it would be fun to come here with your family or a group of friends.
Gimsøy is the best place in Lofoten to watch for the northern lights as there is a clear view north and very dark skies, and the lodges have huge floor to ceiling windows facing north for optimal aurora viewing. Plus they organize horseback riding along the beach!
Nusfjord Arctic Resort in Lofoten
Lofoten has so many incredible places to stay, but the very top of the list has to be Nusfjord Arctic Resort.
Nusfjord is one of the cutest villages in the Lofoten Islands (read about my visit to Nusfjord here). The Nusfjord Arctic Resort has beautifully designed cabins right on the water, and an outdoor spa built with a wooden bath, sauna and natural outdoor shower. I actually was about to book a night here in December but decided to wait to visit until the spa opens up again after the pandemic. Check current rates and availability here
Steigen Lodge Sjøhytter
I haven’t stayed here, but I came across Steigen Lodge while planning a trip last year and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since. These cabins are right on the water with stunning mountain views, which you can enjoy through their enormous floor to ceiling windows.
In fact I think I’ve actually just convinced myself to book a stay here this winter – anyone want to join me?
Northern Lights Guide!
I’ve also written an in depth ebook covering all aspects of planning your northern lights trip, including the best places in the Nordics to see the northern lights, the best time to see the northern lights, the best tour options, how to chase the northern lights, how to photograph and film the northern lights, what to pack for your trip, and other exciting arctic activities to try on your trip up North.
You can purchase the ebook here.