GUIDE: How To See The Northern Lights On A Budget

The Northern Lights are one of the world’s most mesmerising natural phenomena and are visible between September and April in clear, cloudless weather conditions. The optimum months for Aurora viewing are between December and February, in the Arctic Circle between 66°N and 69°N. So, what better time to publish my guide on the best ways to experience the Northern Lights, with budget flights?


Option 1: Iceland

Tourism is flourishing in Iceland and the possibility of viewing the Northern Lights is a major attraction on the island. Reykjavik is the main gateway for air travel and the economic and cultural centre of the nation, but venture out of the city and you will be rewarded with a much higher chance of seeing the Aurora Borealis.

There is debate as to whether such rapid growth of tourism generated by the aviation industry in Iceland is sustainable.

Whilst Iceland is notorious for its absurdly high cost of living, inexpensive airfares are now the norm due to the fierce competition on UK-Iceland routes.

Flight connections to Iceland 

When flying to Reykjavik, there are a plethora of options flying from a range of UK airports, including Manchester, London, Bristol, Edinburgh, Belfast, East Midlands and more with airlines such as EasyJet, Wizz Air, WOW Air, Icelandair and British Airways.

WOW Air offers budget flights to Iceland from Dublin, Edinburgh, Gatwick and Stansted in the UK and Ireland.

You can also incorporate a visit to Iceland en route to North America, as both Icelandair and WOW Air allow customers to book a stopover in Iceland when connecting in Reykjavik.

For an even better chance of viewing the Northern Lights, you can take a domestic flight to Akureyri, located in the far north of Iceland, with Air Iceland. 

Option 2: Norway

In recent years, the far north of Norway has become synonymous with the Northern Lights and increasingly easy to access.

Tromso is known as the ‘Capital of the Arctic’

Tromsø is the main gateway for any Northern Light viewing trips, known as the ‘Capital of the Arctic’ with its spectacular backdrop of fjords and rural scenery. 

Flight connections to Tromsø

Earlier this year, Wizz Air launched a new connection between London Luton and Tromsø. The non-stop route operates twice-weekly, operating on Mondays and Fridays.

Wizz Air has initiated rapid expansion from its London Luton base in recent years. I sampled the airline’s service from London to Warsaw, in 2017.

Fares start from as low as just £24.99, leaving London Luton on 28th January 2019. Although there are other airlines that offer nonstop air routes between the UK and a Tromsø, namely Norwegian from London Gatwick, Wizz Air’s new route is by far the best option for those on a budget.

Option 3: Finland’s Far North

With the most lakes across all of Europe, Finland’s rural, sparsely populated Northern landscape offers an unbeatable backdrop for the Aurora.

Northern lights over the Pyhae Luosto National Park in northern Finnland.

Even though Finland’s Lapland region has become extremely popular for package holidays and charter trips recently – with many flights from the likes of TUI and Thomas Cook, the area remained hard to access for independent travellers. Now, however, this has changed.

Flight Connections to Rovaniemi

EasyJet has recently started a new scheduled route between London Gatwick and “Santa’s Home Town” in Rovaniemi, Lapland. The new service is expected to carry 13,000 passengers in its first season, with a twice-weekly schedule, operating on Wednesdays and Sundays. EasyJet launched its new route from London Gatwick to Rovaniemi, in October. Image: Anna.Aero

EasyJet launched its new route from London Gatwick to Rovaniemi, in October. Image: Anna.Aero

Of course, travellers can continue to connect via Finland’s primary aviation hub, Helsinki, with Finnair and Norwegian Air.


For budget travellers, the spectacle of the Northern Lights is becoming ever easier to experience, with low cost airlines entering the market. 2019 could be the year where you can experience the Aurora Borealis for yourself.