Summer Nights in Norway

June 9, 2012

norway midnight in summer

It’s kind of cruelly ironic that the daylight hours are so long in the Scandinavian summer while the weather leaves so much to be desired for this time of year. In just a few days the phenomenon of the Midnight Sun will officially begin in the Arctic Circle. And while we’re not quite that far north, we’re still feeling the effects of perpetual sunlight.

norway midnight in summer This is what it looks like around midnight at our house. We get up between 5.30 and 6am every day to keep up with the earlybird working hours here in Norway. If we stir around 4-4.30am, this is what it looks like outside again. It’s not quite the midnight sun but it’s taking some getting used to all the same.

norway midnight daylight We find we’re getting less sleep than usual. I try to use a sleep mask but if I get up in the early morning and see daylight, that’s it for me – I’m awake. Even with the blinds drawn we still have sun creeping in around them…might be time to invest in some blackout curtains! I think winter will be even more interesting, with the shorter daylight hours.

midnight Stavanger summer

Midnight in the Stavanger suburbs in summer.

Have you ever travelled to the Arctic Circle in summer to see the Midnight Sun? I would love to see your photos…

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  • James Shannon

    Get some blackout blinds … used to have some that was covered by a pitch black material on the outside, allowing *no* light in … just be sure to have a good alarm clock, as no light makes it easy to sleep too much!

    • inspiringtravellers

      We had some in Melbourne and they were great – I know what you mean about oversleeping though! Suspect we’ll have that problem when winter comes…

  • Memographer

    Can’t believe it is midnight set of pics :) Thanks for sharing!

    • inspiringtravellers

      Crazy isn’t it? Thanks for stopping by! =)

  • Christy @ Technosyncratic

    That’s so wild. I have a really hard time sleeping when there’s any light outside (no daytime naps for me!), so I’d really struggle in Norway during the summer. Especially if there was all that sun but no warmth to go with it. :(

    • inspiringtravellers

      I can only take daytime naps when I’m really exhausted too…

  • Shanna Schultz

    More sun means longer days for sightseeing when we come to visit Norway in August! I am sure that I would have a very hard time sleeping with that much daylight, too. Happy we got an inside cabin on the ship (though by August, it looks like the sun will maybe be setting at a more reasonable time?)

    • inspiringtravellers

      I think you’ll still have quite a bit of light in August – the real summer light doesn’t officially start here until Tuesday =)

  • Natalie

    I need to move. I have always said I need more hours in the day, this seems like a good alternative

    • inspiringtravellers

      Haha – I think we’d be loving it more if we were outside a lot in the evenings. For us it just means we stay up too late and get up too early =)

  • Laurel

    I think I would love this – especially since I’m not a morning person!

  • Brock – Backpack With Brock

    Wow! It’s hard to believe that it’s actually that bright at midnight!

  • Ali

    Definitely get blackout curtains. One of my good friends lives in Alaska, though not above the Arctic Circle, and she also sleeps less during the summer months because of how long the days are. She has blackout curtains, and they’re awesome.

    • inspiringtravellers

      Going to have to find a curtain store!

  • David

    I’ve not yet experienced the midnight sun but I have experienced the opposite, the polar nights. I went to Tromsø a few days before the winter solstice and it was just beautiful, a glorious haunting purple light. Definitely worth checking out this winter :)

    • inspiringtravellers

      I’d love to see both. We’re definitely planning to make it up north this winter to see the polar nights and, hopefully, the Aurora Borealis!

  • Cathy Sweeney

    Except for the sleeping issues, I’d like to experience the midnight sun. I liked being in northern Germany once when the sun didn’t go down until about 10:00 — I thought that was pretty cool.

    • inspiringtravellers

      I would too, Cathy – we’re not far enough north to see the true “Midnight Sun” here but I’ve seen pictures and it looks incredible!

  • Amanda

    That would be so weird.

    I went to Alaska 2 years ago around this time in June, and even though we didn’t go THAT far north, it was definitely still light outside at midnight. It was so strange to see a sunset at 11:30 p.m.!

    • inspiringtravellers

      It’s crazy…the sun sets here anytime between 11.30pm and midnight – last night it dipped a bit earlier…so you experienced the same thing as we have where we are.

  • Emily in Chile

    I remember how hard it was to go to sleep in Northern England as a kid with a 9pm bedtime when it was still practically full daylight outside, so you have my sympathy!

    • inspiringtravellers

      The UK experiences similar light to here, I believe, since we’re just across the water. Today was a beautiful day so I can’t complain too much! =)

  • Ayngelina

    I was in Churchill Manitoba last July and I really had to force myself to go to bed because 11:30pm felt like 7pm. Winter has got to be tough though.

    • inspiringtravellers

      I wonder how we’ll adjust – my friend told me that people buy these lamps with timers to go on in the morning so your body feels like it is waking up to daylight. Will be interesting to see if we need one!

  • Vanessa

    Visiting Norway is definitely on my bucket list!

    • inspiringtravellers

      It’s a beautiful country – hope you get to visit soon! =)

  • Stephanie – The Travel Chica

    That would be so difficult to adjust to. When I was in El Calafate, Argentina in the summer, I had trouble getting to bed at a decent time because the sun set so late. I couldn’t imagine it being even later!

    • inspiringtravellers

      Ah yes, it would be the same in Patagonia as well. I’m sure it is one of those things we’ll be used to after a couple of summers but at the moment it’s just bizarre!

  • Kyle

    I always sleep with a mask anyways, so maybe for me it would be same as normal…but I do think that just the sun being out at night can fuck with your head when you’re trying to go to bed so who knows!

    • inspiringtravellers

      Glad to know I’m not the only one who sleeps with a mask! I always feel very Audrey Hepburn when I wake up in the morning =)

  • robin

    Yes, it’s bound to be a journey for you – the body shock of seasonal change to daylight hours up there. What a fascinating move! It will be interesting to see what you think of the winter.

    • inspiringtravellers

      Well, I definitely prefer cold to heat and don’t mind the odd bit of snow. But I’ve never lived anywhere that it will be daylight for maybe only six or seven hours a day. I’m sure to have a twin to this post! =)

  • Oneika the Traveller

    I had the same experience last week in Norway, and have also been to Sweden and Iceland during the summer. It’s lovely to have so much sunlight but definitely disconcerting- I never feel tired enough to go to bed and it just feels “wrong” to go to sleep when it’s still bright out!

    • inspiringtravellers

      I know! I say this on my who knows how many consecutive days of less than 5 or 6 hours sleep.

  • Toni

    I’ve always wanted to be a morning person – maybe I need to move!!

  • Sandra

    I know how you feel. It’s light at 3.30am even here in Stockholm! Just enjoy it and store it up for winter!

    • inspiringtravellers

      It’s a good tip! =) How wonderful that you live in Stockholm – one of my closest girlfriends is from there and I’ve always wanted to visit. Hopefully soon!

  • Lisa

    That would be bizarre, to wake up at 3 and 4 and have daylight. I think I’d try blackout curtains.

    • inspiringtravellers

      They’re on my list, Lisa =)

  • A Montrealer Abroad

    I’m not even anywhere close to Scandinavia and I already feel the effects of the Midnight sun! Here in Ireland where I am it’s sunny from 4:30AM to 11PM, which is really weird!

    • inspiringtravellers

      Hope you’re getting some sunny weather there? It was pretty overcast when we visited

  • Sophie

    I love the long summer nights here, and being outdoors all the time. This time of year, it’s difficult to leave the country to go on holiday even.

    • inspiringtravellers

      I suspect that after my first dose of Norway winter I’m going to agree with you, Sophie! I’m thinking I would appreciate this more if we could clear our calendars and head off on some of the hikes we’ve been talking about. Would be nice to not have to worry about that early start!

  • Krista

    Oh, I’m the same way, Andrea. I HAVE to have darkness to sleep. One glimpse of light and I’m up for good. :-) When I was a girl in Canada we had very dark blinds for the windows and it helped tremendously. :-)

    • inspiringtravellers

      I need to get some. Hopefully IKEA sells them because it’s walking distance from the house…

  • Will Peach

    Yup, I’ve experienced this in Russia. All night light-a-thons. The stuff of legends. Give me the rain, darkness and suicidal winters of England any day.

    • inspiringtravellers

      Hahaha – at this point I’m completely with ya!

  • Annie – FootTracker

    I like to sleep with lights on, so I might just get use to Norway’s current weather state XDDD

    May be buy black curtains?

    • inspiringtravellers

      That’s interesting, Annie – I wish I could sleep with light!

  • New Life In Spain

    Hi there! This is my favourite thing about Norway, I love the long summer nights! On the other hand, the short days of winter can be tough. (And it is one of the reasons I moved to Spain…) I am from the southern part, but went to the north last summer (for the first time! Traveling in my own country was never first priority!) and I fell in love with the midnight sun. I recommend experiencing it!! There were long white sandy beaches (I couldn’t believe my eyes!), dolphins (!) seals and sun in the middle of the night. Quite spectacular and very surprising :) But yeah, maybe you need some black blinds to help you sleep better? I hear this is a usual “problem” for foreigners new to the whole long light summer nights.

    • inspiringtravellers

      This is why I love blogging – great comments like this one! =) You must tell me where you went that you saw all that marine life along with the Midnight Sun – I want to book a trip up north in summer now to see it! We already want to go up there to see the Aurora Borealis in winter but now I want to go in summer as well…

    • New Life In Spain

      Hi again! I recommend a trip in the summer as well! :) Lofoten is a must, very beautiful. White beaches, turqoise clear waters, green (!) mountains, and that’s where the dolphins were spotted, as well as seals. The lady at the camping site, said they saw dolphins there every day, and also different kinds of whales, really close to the shore. The Vesterålen islands are also very beautiful. Google ‘Bleikstranda’, it’s one of those beautiful white sandy beaches. There are whales, seals etc just there, seen them from the beach (I didn’t see whales unfortunately) or on a whale safari. I went to Tromsø, rented a car there and headed to V & L. Haven’t seen anything north of Tromsø. But I must say, what I saw of the islands were more spectacular than what I saw of the mainland. But of course, every person is different and I can only speak for myself!

    • inspiringtravellers

      This all sounds magical – thank you so much for the tips!! =)

  • jenjenk

    what an amazing place to view the summer lights! I still haven’t experienced it yet. i think it may just make me a little [more] nutty!

    • inspiringtravellers

      I’m used to my nuttiness – didn’t think that the light probably would amplify it, haha =)

  • Megan

    it took me months last year to adjust to all the light! by the time i adjusted, it was back to normal in norway haha! i was actually kind of excited to miss it this summer with my month long trip to se asia and then a month long in the US, but im kind of missing it right now! when it gets dark at 7pm in thailand i want to scream! gosh i may be turning norwegian more than i believe!!!

    • inspiringtravellers

      Oh no, haha 😉 I can see it being a bit disappointing to be at the beach and have it get dark so early. But we’re on the daily grind schedule and need to be tired by 11pm – just does not happen with all this light!

  • Barbara

    I LOVED the white nights of Iceland, so I would assume it would feel just as magical in Norway. Thing is, my Icelandic friends say that by December they pretty much sleep all the time, so it all evens out during the year. :)

    • inspiringtravellers

      I really wonder what it will be like to have darkness most of the day…at the moment we have our blackout curtains so we’re enjoying the late sun again =)

  • Mary @ Green Global Travel

    Interesting view of the midnight sun. We’re going to the arctic for the first time in October, too bad we’ll miss this phenomenon.

    • inspiringtravellers

      These shots don’t truly portray the midnight sun, which is technically only able to be viewed from within the Arctic Circle from what I understand. I wonder when the darkness starts…

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