Midnight Sun in Lofoten Islands, Norway | Guide to Lofoten

MIDNIGHT SUN IN LOFOTEN

Like in winter, when Lofoten experiences the polar night, and the sun does not rise above the horizon, a different natural phenomenon occurs in summer. For about six weeks, the sun never sets below the horizon and remains visible throughout the entire night. Plan your trip between the end of May and mid-July to experience the beauty of the Midnight Sun in Lofoten!

In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about the Midnight Sun in Lofoten, including where the best places to watch it are, what kind of activities you can do under the midnight sun, and some helpful tips on sleeping when it’s bright outside at night.

Midnight sun on Reinebringen, Lofoten
Midnight sun at Reinebringen

Table of Contents

Are you planning to explore the Lofoten Islands by a car?

What is the Midnight Sun?

The Midnight Sun is a natural phenomenon that occurs during the summer months in regions north of the Arctic Circle or south of the Antarctic Circle. During this time, the Sun remains visible not only at midnight but throughout the night. 

This phenomenon results from the tilt of the Earth’s axis and its orbit around the Sun, causing the polar regions to receive continuous daylight for an extended period, ranging from a day to several months, depending on the latitude. 

Midnight sun on Nordkapp
Midnight Sun at North Cape

Polar Day vs Midnight Sun vs White Nights

The terms “Polar Day” and “Midnight Sun” are related but not entirely interchangeable. They both describe phenomena occurring in the polar regions during the summer months, but they refer to slightly different aspects of these phenomena:

Polar Day

☀️ “Polar Day” refers to the period when the Sun stays above the horizon for 24 hours a day.

☀️ It encompasses the entire duration of continuous daylight in the polar regions, which can last for several weeks or months, depending on the latitude.

Midnight Sun

☀️“Midnight Sun” refers to the phenomenon where the Sun is still visible at midnight.

☀️ It is a part of Polar Day but focuses on the unique experience of seeing the Sun in the sky when it is usually dark (i.e., around midnight).

White Nights

☀️ “White Nights” describe the phenomenon experienced in high-latitude regions within and slightly south of the Arctic Circle (and similarly in the southern hemisphere) around the summer solstice.

☀️ During White Nights, the Sun does set briefly, and twilight lasts almost the entire night. This results in very bright nights, but not in full daylight.

How long does the midnight sun last in Norway?

In Norway, the duration of the Midnight Sun varies depending on how far north you are. The phenomenon typically occurs from May until late July. The further north you go, the longer the period of the Midnight Sun. 

 

☀️At the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard, the Sun does not set for about four months, from approximately April 20 to August 23.

 

☀️At the North Cape (Nordkapp), one of Norway’s northernmost points at 71 degrees, the Midnight Sun lasts approximately from May 14 to July 29.

☀️In Tromsø, the largest city in Northern Norway located at 69 degrees, the Sun stays above the horizon from around May 20 to July 22.

Midnight at Uttakleiv Beach, Lofoten

What dates are the midnight sun in Lofoten?

While the exact dates can vary slightly from year to year due to the Earth’s elliptical orbit and axial tilt, you can experience the beauty of the midnight sun from late May to mid-July each year.

In Lofoten, you can expect the Midnight Sun to start around May 25 to 28th and last until approximately July 14 to 17th. These dates are consistent annually, offering about 6 to 7 weeks when the Sun does not set below the horizon and remains visible throughout the night.

Hiking to Ryten in the Lofoten Islands in the summer
Midnight hike to Ryten, Lofoten

10 Best Day Hikes in the Lofoten Island

Best Places to See the Midnight Sun in Lofoten

The best places to have the midnight sun experience are the sandy beaches on the northern coast, such as Kvalvika Beach, Skagsanden, and Uttakleiv, or mountain tops with a clear view of the north horizon, like Mannen or Flakstadtinden.

🏖️ Unstad Beach
🏖️ Gimsøy Beaches
🏖️ Uttakleiv Beach
🏖️ Skagsanden Beach
🏖️ Kvalvika Beach
🏖️ Bunes Beach
⛰️ Mannen
⛰️ Ryten/Røren
⛰️ Flakstadtinden
⛰️ Delpen
⛰️ Hoven
⛰️ Håen (Værøy)

🏞️ Eggum

Midnight Sun in Lofoten: MAP

Airports in Lofoten: Which one should you choose?

The best midnight sun activities in Lofoten

Hiking under the Midnight Sun

In our opinion, the best way to enjoy the Midnight Sun in Lofoten is by going on a midnight hike. 

Since the Midnight Sun season corresponds with the busiest tourist season in Lofoten, finding parking spots close to trailheads during the day can sometimes be challenging. 

(However, sometimes it’s difficult to find parking spots at the trailheads, even at midnight, as there are usually a lot of campervans occupying every imaginable space and blocking the parking for the hiking trails.)

 

Moreover, some famous mountain tops, like Reinebringen, can get too crowded for our liking, so we often prefer to start our hikes late in the evening. 

Late night hike to Håheia on Værøy Island

Kayaking under the Midnight Sun

If you do a quick Google search for “midnight sun kayaking in Lofoten,” you will find quite a few companies offering kayaking under the Midnight Sun. However, as established in the previous paragraphs, you need a clear view of the northern horizon to see the Midnight Sun. 

You will experience daylight during midnight even on the southern coast of Lofoten in places like Svolvær or Henningsvær, but if you want to paddle into the non-existent sunset, you need to head to the northern coast. 

Currently, there is only one kayaking company offering authentic Midnight Sun kayaking, and that’s Northern Explorer, located in Eggum, about an hour’s drive from Svolvær.

Midnight Sun Kayaking with Northern Explorer
Midnight Sun Kayaking with Northern Explorer

Surfing under the Midnight Sun

Unstad and Skagsanden are two beautiful beaches with clear views to the north, great waves, and surf rentals located at the beaches. 

The peak season for surfing in Lofoten stretches from autumn to spring, with the most powerful swells from the Norwegian Sea heading towards the Lofoten coast from September to April. However, you can still catch decent waves during the summer season. 

Unstad Beach is generally better for advanced surfers, while Skagsanden Beach, with its sandy bottom and no rocks, is ideal for beginner and intermediate surfers. If the sea is too calm for surfing at Skagsanden, you can rent Stand-up Paddleboards at Lofoten Beach Camp and enjoy paddleboarding on the open sea.

Horseback Riding Under the Midnight Sun

Lofoten might not be the first destination that comes to mind when you think of horseback riding on a sandy beach. Yet, the northern coast of Gimsøy Island is the perfect spot for watching the Midnight Sun (or the Northern Lights), and Hov Gård (Hov Horse Farm) offers horseback riding all year round on their super cute Icelandic horses.

Are you Planning to Hike Ryten and/or Kvalvika

Are there any midnight sun festivals in Lofoten?

While Lofoten is renowned for its Midnight Sun experience, there are currently no specific festivals or events directly celebrating the Midnight Sun or Midsummer, for that matter. 

The region is more known for its natural beauty and outdoor activities that one can enjoy under the Midnight Sun, such as hiking or kayaking.

There used to be a small, family-size Midnight Sun festival on the island of Værøy, but it is not organized anymore.

Midsummer is a celebration of the upcoming summer, and Midsummer Eve is always a Friday between 19 and 25 June. However, Midsummer a big thing in Sweden, and it is rarely celebrated in Norway. There might be an informal bonfire on Skagsanden Beach, but most likely, there won’t be any midsummer celebrations in Lofoten.

However, while not technically a Midnight Sun or summer celebration, since it takes place at the end of July, you can enjoy some good vibes and a party atmosphere during the Trevarefest music festival in Henningsvær, organized by the guys from Trevarefabrikken.

 
Trevarefest Henningsvær
Trevarefest in Henningsvær

Do you want to camp responsibly when visiting Lofoten?

How do people sleep during the polar day?

If it’s your first time visiting the polar regions in the Northern Hemisphere during the summer, when sunlight is endless and darkness is nowhere to be found, you might struggle to fall asleep.

Our sleep-wake cycle is best regulated when we are exposed to daylight early in the morning and surrounded by darkness in the evening, which doesn’t happen in Lofoten during the summer. Well, it doesn’t happen in the winter either, as there is a roughly 5-week-long period of polar night when the Sun does not rise above the horizon.

While the long summer days can make you feel full of energy and optimism, leading to less sleep than usual brings the exact opposite. During winter, you may feel tired, cold, constantly hungry, and ready to go to bed as early as 3 pm.

Fredvang at night

Why do people sleep less during the Arctic summer?

Melatonin is a hormone that helps control your sleep. When it gets dark, your body makes more melatonin, which makes you sleepy. During the day, sunlight tells your brain to make less melatonin, making you more awake. But in places where it’s light all day, like during the Midnight Sun in the northern hemisphere, your brain doesn’t make as much melatonin, making it hard to sleep.

For tourists visiting the region, the unusual daylight patterns shouldn’t pose any major issues – after all, you’re on holiday, and it doesn’t matter much if you go to bed at 4 am and don’t at 1 pm, right? Your body will adapt, and your internal clock will return to normal once you’re back home, where it should be night.

How do people living in the Arctic cope with the Midnight Sun?

What helps us deal with the lack of sunlight during the winter and the excess of it in the summer is sticking to a daily rhythm regardless of the amount of light. 

This means that if it doesn’t get dark outside in the evening, you simply have to draw the curtains at a specific time and trick your body into thinking it’s dark. 

Having good blackout curtains or a sleeping mask is essential. Some people also like to use earplugs, since the birds’ internal clocks (especially seagulls) are disrupted, too, and they can be pretty noisy throughout the night.

Personally, I’m not too fond of the Midnight Sun period, and every year, I count the days until it gets dark at night again. That is one of the reasons I love September so much. It has beautiful autumn colors, Northern Lights, and a normal distribution of light and darkness.

Are you wondering where to stay in Lofoten?

FAQ ABOUT THE MIDNIGHT SUN

Is there a 24 hours sunlight in Norway?

Yes, there is 24-hour sunlight in Norway, but only in places located north of the Arctic Circle during the summer months. 

This phenomenon, known as the Midnight Sun, occurs when the Sun remains visible at midnight and throughout the day. It’s caused by the tilt of the Earth’s axis, allowing the polar regions to receive continuous daylight for an extended period. 

The duration of 24-hour sunlight vary with proximity to the North Pole. In the northernmost parts of Norway, like Svalbard, the sun doesn’t set for several months, typically from late April to late August.

Can I see the midnight sun in Oslo?

No, you cannot see the Midnight Sun in Oslo. Oslo, the capital of Norway, is located south of the Arctic Circle and does not experience Midnight Sun. During the summer, Oslo has long daylight hours with late sunsets and early sunrises, but the Sun does set for a few hours each night. 

For the authentic Midnight Sun experience, you must travel to locations north of the Arctic Circle in Norway.

Can I see the midnight sun in Bergen?

No, you cannot see the Midnight Sun in Bergen. 

Like Oslo, Bergen is also situated south of the Arctic Circle and does not experience the phenomenon of the Midnight Sun. Bergen has extended daylight hours during the summer but still experiences sunset and sunrise each day. 

To witness the Midnight Sun, one must travel to northern Norway to areas within the Arctic Circle.

Where Can I see the midnight sun in Norway?

You can observe the Midnight Sun in locations north of the Arctic Circle during the summer months. The North Cape (Nordkapp), Tromsø, the Lofoten Islands, and the Svalbard archipelago are popular places. 

What month is the midnight sun?

The Midnight Sun typically occurs in the Arctic Circle from late May to late July. 

The exact duration and timing depend on how far north you are. In areas like the North Cape, the Midnight Sun can be seen from approximately May 14 to July 29, while in the Lofoten Islands, it’s from late May to mid-July. 

The further north you go, the longer the period of the Midnight Sun.

Does Lofoten Islands have a night?

The Lofoten Islands experience the Midnight Sun during the summer, meaning there is no complete nighttime darkness. The Sun remains above the horizon 24 hours a day for several weeks.

However, outside this period, Lofoten does have a night. 

In contrast, during winter, the Lofoten Islands experience polar nights, when the Sun does not rise above the horizon for about five weeks from the beginning of December to the start of January. 

Which country is the land of the midnight sun?

Norway is often called the “Land of the Midnight Sun,” especially its northern regions within the Arctic Circle. This term is used because, during the summer months, parts of Norway experience continuous daylight, where the Sun remains visible even at midnight. 

However, this phenomenon is not unique to Norway and can also be observed in other Arctic Circle countries, including parts of Sweden, Finland, Russia, Canada, Alaska (USA), and Greenland (Denmark).

Is the midnight sun one of your must-sees for your trip to Lofoten? Or have you already seen the midnight sun in Norway or elsewhere? Was it one of the reasons you chose to visit Norway in the summer months?

Picture of Ivar & Radka

Ivar & Radka

Hi! We are Ivar & Radka, an international couple who runs the Guide to Lofoten. We met in Trondheim and lived together in western Norway, Narvik and Tromsø. At the moment we call western Lofoten our home. We hope our page will make it easier for you to explore the beautiful places that made us chose Norway for our home.

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