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Catching a glimpse of the magical northern lights is a dream for many travelers. But finding an affordable destination to view the aurora borealis can be tricky.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Iceland, Norway, Finland, and parts of Canada offer cheap options for seeing the northern lights with minimal hassle and expenses.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know to experience the northern lights on a budget.

We’ll cover when and where you can see them, budget accommodation options, and tips for saving money on flights and tours.

When to See the Northern Lights

Seeing the mesmerizing Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis, is a bucket list experience for many travelers. However, planning a trip to witness this incredible natural phenomenon requires careful consideration of the timing.

Here are some key factors to keep in mind when deciding when to see the Northern Lights:

Best Months

The best months to see the Northern Lights are typically during the winter season, from September to April. This is because the nights are longer in these months, providing more darkness for the lights to be visible.

Additionally, the weather conditions during these months tend to be clearer, increasing the chances of seeing the lights.

However, it’s important to note that the Northern Lights are a natural phenomenon and can be unpredictable, so even during the best months, there is no guarantee of a sighting.

Ideal Conditions and Activity

For optimal viewing of the Northern Lights, it is important to have clear skies and minimal light pollution. Light pollution from cities and other sources can hinder visibility, so choosing a location away from urban areas is recommended.

Additionally, it is best to be in a place where there is minimal cloud cover, as clouds can obstruct the view of the lights.

It is also worth noting that the Northern Lights are most active around the magnetic pole, so heading north to countries like Norway, Sweden, Finland, or Iceland will increase your chances of witnessing this incredible natural spectacle.

Forecasting Sites to Check

Before embarking on a Northern Lights adventure, it is advisable to check forecasting sites to determine the likelihood of a sighting. There are several websites that provide real-time data and forecasts for the Northern Lights activity.

Budget-Friendly Destinations

If you’re looking to witness the mesmerizing beauty of the Northern Lights without breaking the bank, there are several budget-friendly destinations that offer breathtaking views of this natural phenomenon.

Here are some of the best options:


Iceland is one of the most popular destinations for seeing the Northern Lights on a budget. With its rugged landscapes and remote locations, this Nordic island nation offers a unique and awe-inspiring experience.

The best time to visit Iceland for the Northern Lights is during the winter months from September to April. You can explore the iconic Golden Circle, soak in the geothermal hot springs, and chase the lights in the countryside.

Many budget-friendly accommodations and tour packages are available, making Iceland an accessible option for travelers on a tight budget.

Northern Norway

Another affordable destination to witness the Northern Lights is Northern Norway. This region is located within the Arctic Circle and is known for its stunning landscapes and pristine wilderness.

Tromsø, the largest city in Northern Norway, is often referred to as the “Gateway to the Arctic” and offers excellent opportunities for viewing the Northern Lights.

You can also explore the picturesque Lofoten Islands, go dog sledding, or take a scenic fjord cruise. With a range of budget-friendly accommodations and transportation options, Northern Norway is a great choice for budget-conscious travelers.

Finnish Lapland

Finnish Lapland is another affordable destination that offers a chance to witness the Northern Lights. This remote region in northern Finland is known for its snowy landscapes, reindeer herding, and unique culture.

Rovaniemi, the capital of Lapland, is a popular starting point for Northern Lights tours. You can also visit Santa Claus Village, go snowshoeing, or try ice fishing.

Finnish Lapland offers a variety of budget-friendly accommodations, including cozy cabins and guesthouses, making it an ideal choice for those on a budget.

Northern Canada

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly Northern Lights experience closer to home, consider visiting Northern Canada. Places like Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut offer stunning views of the Aurora Borealis.

The remote wilderness and dark skies of these regions provide optimal conditions for viewing the lights. You can also enjoy activities like snowshoeing, ice fishing, and dog sledding.

While accommodations may be more limited in these remote areas, there are still budget-friendly options available, such as cabins and lodges.

Finding Cheap Accommodation

When traveling to see the Northern Lights, finding affordable accommodation is key to keeping your trip budget-friendly.

Luckily, there are several options available that won’t break the bank. Here are three great options for finding cheap accommodation:


Hostels are a popular choice for budget travelers and backpackers. They offer dormitory-style rooms with shared facilities, making them a cost-effective option for those looking to save money on accommodation.

Airbnbs and Vacation Rentals

Airbnbs and vacation rentals can be an excellent choice for those who prefer a bit more privacy and comfort during their stay.

These options often provide more space than a hotel room and come equipped with kitchens, allowing you to prepare your meals and save on dining out.


If you enjoy the great outdoors, camping can be an adventurous and budget-friendly way to experience the Northern Lights.

Many destinations where the Northern Lights are visible have campsites nearby, allowing you to immerse yourself in nature while keeping costs down.

By considering these options for finding cheap accommodation, you can make your Northern Lights adventure both memorable and affordable.

Whether you choose to stay in a hostel, an Airbnb, or go camping, you’ll have the opportunity to witness one of nature’s most awe-inspiring phenomena without breaking the bank.

Scoring Affordable Flights

When planning a trip to see the Northern Lights on a budget, finding affordable flights is crucial. Here are some tips to help you score the best deals:

Search for Off-Season Fares

One way to save money on flights to see the Northern Lights is by traveling during the off-season.

The peak season for viewing the Northern Lights is typically from September to March, so consider planning your trip during the shoulder months, such as April or October.

Airlines often offer lower fares during these times as they are considered less popular for tourism. By being flexible with your travel dates, you can take advantage of these discounted fares and save some money.

Consider Alternative Airports

Another trick to finding cheaper flights is to consider alternative airports. Instead of booking a flight directly to the popular tourist destinations, such as Reykjavik in Iceland or Tromso in Norway, look for flights to nearby airports.

For example, instead of flying to Reykjavik, you can consider flying to Akureyri, which is a smaller airport in Iceland.

By choosing alternative airports, you may be able to find cheaper flights and still have access to the Northern Lights.

Use Budget Airlines

Using budget airlines can also be a great way to save money on flights. Many budget airlines offer affordable fares to popular Northern Lights destinations.

While these airlines may not provide the same level of luxury as full-service carriers, they can still get you to your destination at a fraction of the cost.

Just be sure to read the fine print and understand any additional fees or restrictions that may apply when flying with budget airlines.

By following these tips, you can increase your chances of finding affordable flights to see the Northern Lights.

Remember to compare prices from different airlines, be flexible with your travel dates, and consider alternative airports to get the best deals.

Safe travels and enjoy the mesmerizing beauty of the Northern Lights!

Booking Discount Northern Lights Tours

Witnessing the mesmerizing Northern Lights is a dream for many travelers. However, the cost of booking a Northern Lights tour can often be a deterrent. But fear not!

There are several ways to find affordable options and discounts when booking your Northern Lights adventure.

Look for Small Group Options

One way to save money on your Northern Lights tour is by opting for small group options. Many tour operators offer specialized tours with smaller groups, allowing for a more intimate and personalized experience.

Not only do these tours often come at a lower price, but they also provide a better chance of seeing the Northern Lights up close and capturing stunning photographs.

Inquire About Student Discounts

If you’re a student, don’t forget to inquire about student discounts when booking your Northern Lights tour.

Many tour operators offer special rates for students, making it more affordable for young travelers to witness this natural spectacle.

Keep your student ID handy and ask for any available discounts when making your reservation.

Rent a Car for Flexibility

Another cost-effective option for experiencing the Northern Lights is to rent a car. Renting a car gives you the flexibility to explore different locations and chase the Northern Lights at your own pace.

You can save money by camping or staying in budget accommodations along your route while enjoying the freedom to choose where and when to witness this breathtaking phenomenon.


The northern lights are a breathtaking natural wonder that you don’t have to break the bank to experience.

With smart planning for when and where you go, finding budget flights and lodging, and shopping around for deals on tours, you can fulfill your aurora chasing dreams on a modest budget.

Use the tips in this guide to start planning your affordable northern lights adventure.

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