Header Notice

Winter is here! Check out the winter wonderlands at these 5 amazing winter destinations in Montana

Where Is The Cheapest Place To See The Northern Lights


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Oralie Eakin



Imagine standing under a starry night sky, surrounded by a dazzling display of vibrant colors dancing across the horizon. This mesmerizing phenomenon, known as the Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis, is a bucket-list experience for many travelers. The ethereal beauty of the Northern Lights has captivated explorers and mystics for centuries, creating an allure that beckons people from all over the world.


However, embarking on a Northern Lights adventure is often perceived as an expensive endeavor. The cost of flights, accommodation, and tours can quickly add up, deterring budget-conscious travelers from pursuing this dream. But fear not! There are ways to witness this breathtaking spectacle without breaking the bank.


In this article, we will delve into the cheapest place to see the Northern Lights and how budget travelers can make their dream a reality. We will discuss factors to consider when choosing a destination, the best time to visit for those on a tight budget, and provide helpful tips to ensure an affordable Northern Lights trip. Let’s dive in and discover the secrets to experiencing this natural wonder without depleting your bank account.


The charm of the Northern Lights

The Northern Lights are a captivating celestial show that occurs when charged particles from the sun collide with gases in the Earth’s atmosphere. This collision creates a magnificent display of colorful lights dancing across the sky, ranging from vibrant greens and blues to delicate pinks and purples. The unpredictability and ever-changing nature of the Northern Lights only add to their allure, making each viewing experience unique and awe-inspiring.


For centuries, the Northern Lights have fascinated and inspired people from all walks of life. Ancient civilizations believed they were messages from the gods or the spirits of their ancestors. Today, they continue to captivate both seasoned travelers and curious adventurers, creating a mystical and otherworldly atmosphere wherever they appear.


Witnessing the Northern Lights is a spiritual and transformative experience. The sheer beauty and grandeur of the lights against a dark, star-filled sky evoke a sense of wonder and awe. It’s impossible to put into words the feeling of standing beneath this cosmic spectacle, mesmerized by the breathtaking display of colors swirling above you. It’s a humbling reminder of the vastness and beauty of the universe we inhabit.


Moreover, the Northern Lights offer a sense of connection to nature and the Earth itself. Standing in the midst of this natural phenomenon reminds us of the fragility and interconnectedness of our planet. It’s a powerful reminder to take care of our environment and appreciate the wonders it has to offer.


But it’s not just the lights themselves that make the experience unforgettable. The journey leading up to witnessing the Northern Lights is an adventure in itself. From trekking through pristine snow-covered landscapes to cozying up in a traditional log cabin, the entire experience is filled with excitement and anticipation. Whether you choose to chase the lights by dog sled, snowmobile, or simply bundle up and venture out on foot, the journey to find the Northern Lights is as magical as the lights themselves.


Now that we’ve explored the enchanting charm of the Northern Lights, let’s dive into the practical side of planning a budget-friendly trip to see this awe-inspiring phenomenon.


Factors to consider when choosing a destination

When planning a trip to see the Northern Lights on a budget, choosing the right destination is crucial. Here are some key factors to consider:

  1. Geographic Location: The Northern Lights are generally visible in regions close to the Earth’s magnetic poles, such as the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions. Countries like Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Canada are popular Northern Lights destinations. Consider the accessibility and cost of reaching these locations when making your decision.
  2. Weather Conditions: Clear skies are essential for optimal Northern Lights viewing. Research the weather patterns and cloud cover of your chosen destination during the desired time of your visit. Areas with a higher probability of clear nights will increase your chances of witnessing the lights.
  3. Light Pollution: Light pollution from cities can significantly reduce visibility of the Northern Lights. Choose a destination away from major cities or find remote areas within the country where light pollution is minimal. This will enhance your chances of capturing the full beauty of the lights.
  4. Travel Costs: Consider the overall cost of travel, including flights, accommodation, and transportation in your chosen destination. Look for affordable flight options, budget-friendly accommodations, and public transportation options to keep your expenses in check.
  5. Availability of Budget-Friendly Activities: Some destinations offer a wide range of affordable or free activities that allow you to explore the surroundings while waiting for the Northern Lights to appear. Research options like hiking, ice fishing, snowshoeing, or visiting local cultural sites to make the most of your trip without breaking the bank.

By taking these factors into account, you can choose a destination that not only fits within your budget but also maximizes your chances of witnessing the mesmerizing Northern Lights. In the next section, we will reveal the cheapest place to see the Northern Lights, offering both affordability and a high likelihood of experiencing this natural wonder.


The cheapest place to see the Northern Lights

While there are numerous destinations where you can witness the Northern Lights, one place stands out as the cheapest option for budget travelers – Iceland. Iceland offers a unique blend of affordability and incredible natural beauty, making it a perfect choice for those seeking an unforgettable Northern Lights experience without breaking the bank.


One of the main advantages of choosing Iceland is its close proximity to the Arctic Circle, making it an ideal location to witness the Northern Lights. Additionally, Iceland has a range of budget-friendly accommodations, including hostels, guesthouses, and campsites, which are significantly cheaper than luxury hotels. Travelers can also take advantage of affordable car rentals or public transportation options to explore the country independently.


Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik, is a popular starting point for Northern Lights excursions. From here, travelers can book guided tours that take them to remote areas with minimal light pollution, increasing the chances of witnessing the lights in their full glory. These tours are available at various price points, catering to different budgets.


For an even more affordable option, consider venturing outside of Reykjavik and exploring other parts of Iceland. The eastern and northern regions of the country offer stunning landscapes and fewer crowds, allowing you to enjoy the Northern Lights in a more peaceful setting. These areas also have a range of affordable accommodations, including guesthouses and self-catering cottages.


Another cost-saving tip is to visit Iceland during the shoulder seasons of autumn and spring when prices tend to be lower compared to the peak summer months. Not only will you enjoy better affordability, but you will also enjoy fewer crowds, making the experience more intimate and immersive.


It’s important to note that while Iceland is the cheapest place to see the Northern Lights, factors such as weather conditions, cloud cover, and solar activity still play a significant role in visibility. It’s essential to monitor weather forecasts, be flexible with your travel dates, and have multiple opportunities to witness the lights during your trip.


Now that you know the cheapest place to see the Northern Lights, let’s explore the best time to visit to make the most of your budget-friendly adventure.


Best time to visit for budget travelers

Timing is crucial when planning a budget-friendly trip to see the Northern Lights. The right time to visit will not only maximize your chances of witnessing this natural spectacle but also offer better affordability. Here are some tips on the best time to visit for budget travelers:


Shoulder seasons: The shoulder seasons of autumn (September to October) and spring (March to April) are ideal for budget travelers. During these months, prices for flights, accommodations, and tours tend to be lower compared to the peak summer season. Additionally, there are fewer tourists, allowing you to enjoy the Northern Lights and other attractions without the crowds.


Midweek visits: Consider planning your trip for midweek rather than weekends. Flights and accommodations are often cheaper during weekdays, as they tend to be less busy compared to weekends. By opting for midweek visits, you can save on transportation and accommodation costs.


Longer stays: Instead of planning a short visit, consider staying in your chosen destination for a longer period. Northern Lights activity can fluctuate, and having more nights increases your chances of witnessing the lights. Additionally, extended stays often come with discounted rates for accommodations, making it more cost-effective in the long run.


Flexibility with travel dates: Remain flexible with your travel dates to take advantage of any special deals or promotions. Monitoring flight prices and setting price alerts can help you snag the best deals. Being open to adjusting your dates based on weather conditions and forecasted aurora activity will increase your chances of experiencing the Northern Lights while staying within your budget.


Self-guided tours: Consider planning a self-guided tour rather than booking expensive guided tours. With a bit of research and preparation, you can create your own itinerary, rent a car, and explore Northern Lights viewing spots independently. This allows you to have more control over your expenses and tailor your experience to your budget.


Remember, even though budget considerations are important, it’s crucial not to compromise on the overall experience. The Northern Lights are a natural wonder that requires dark skies and favorable weather conditions. Prioritize the quality of your experience and allocate enough time to chase the lights to increase your chances of witnessing this remarkable phenomenon.


Now that you’re equipped with the knowledge of the best time to visit for budget travelers, let’s explore some valuable tips for making your Northern Lights trip more affordable.


Tips for making your Northern Lights trip affordable

Embarking on a Northern Lights trip doesn’t have to break the bank. There are several ways to make your journey more affordable while still experiencing the magic of the lights. Here are some valuable tips to help you plan a budget-friendly Northern Lights adventure:


Travel during the shoulder seasons: As mentioned earlier, visiting during the shoulder seasons of autumn and spring not only offers better affordability but also provides a higher chance of witnessing the Northern Lights. Take advantage of lower prices for flights, accommodations, and tours during these off-peak times.


Book flights and accommodations in advance: Planning ahead and booking flights and accommodations well in advance can help you secure better deals and discounted rates. Keep an eye out for sales, promotions, and early bird offers to save even more on your travel expenses.


Consider alternative accommodations: Instead of staying at expensive hotels, consider budget-friendly options such as guesthouses, hostels, or even camping. These options not only save you money but also provide unique experiences and opportunities to connect with fellow travelers.


Cook your own meals: Dining out can quickly become expensive, especially in popular tourist destinations. Consider booking accommodations with kitchen facilities to prepare your own meals. Visit local grocery stores to stock up on affordable food items and embrace the chance to experience local cuisine without the inflated prices of restaurants.


Research free or low-cost activities: Seek out free or low-cost activities in your chosen destination. Many Northern Lights destinations offer opportunities for hiking, exploring nature reserves, visiting cultural sites, or enjoying local festivals, often at little to no cost. Take advantage of these experiences to immerse yourself in the local culture without breaking your budget.


Rent a car and self-guide: Instead of relying on expensive guided tours, consider renting a car and exploring Northern Lights viewing spots on your own. This gives you the freedom to adjust your schedule, chase better weather conditions, and discover hidden gems along the way. Just be sure to familiarize yourself with local driving regulations and safety guidelines.


Utilize apps and forecasting websites: Stay updated on aurora activity and weather conditions by using Northern Lights forecasting websites and smartphone apps. These resources provide real-time information and predictions, helping you plan your Northern Lights outings more efficiently and increasing your chances of witnessing the lights.


Share costs with fellow travelers: If you’re traveling with a group or meeting other travelers at your destination, consider sharing costs for accommodations and transportation. Splitting expenses can significantly reduce individual costs and allow you to allocate your budget to other aspects of your Northern Lights adventure.


By incorporating these tips into your Northern Lights trip planning, you can ensure affordability without compromising on the incredible experience of witnessing this natural phenomenon. Now that you’re well-equipped to plan an affordable trip, it’s time to start preparing for your Northern Lights adventure.



Experiencing the Northern Lights is a dream for many, and with careful planning, it can be a reality even for budget travelers. By choosing the right destination, considering the best time to visit, and implementing cost-saving strategies, you can witness the enchanting display of colors dancing across the night sky without breaking the bank.


Iceland emerges as one of the cheapest places to see the Northern Lights, offering a perfect balance of affordability and natural beauty. With its proximity to the Arctic Circle and a range of budget-friendly accommodations, Iceland provides an excellent starting point for your Northern Lights adventure.


Timing your visit during the shoulder seasons, taking advantage of midweek travel, and allowing for flexibility in your travel plans can help lower costs. Additionally, opting for self-guided tours, exploring alternative accommodations, and embracing local experiences can further enhance affordability without compromising on the magic of the experience.


Remember to plan ahead, monitor weather conditions and aurora activity, and stay open to adjusting your plans as needed. The Northern Lights are a natural phenomenon, and witnessing their breathtaking beauty requires a bit of luck and preparation.


So, start planning and making your dream of seeing the Northern Lights a reality. Let the vibrant colors of the aurora captivate your soul as you embark on an unforgettable journey filled with budget-friendly adventures and magical experiences.


With a little bit of creativity, flexibility, and determination, you can create memories that will last a lifetime. So pack your bags, keep an eye on the night sky, and get ready to be amazed by the astonishing beauty of the Northern Lights.