Chasing the northern lights

Chasing northern lights or aurora borealis (yes, the dancing lights in the sky)

Where to go? When to go? How much does it cost? How long does it take to arrive there? What should I take with me?

Okay guys, first of all you need to know that I’m a budget traveller and what you will see here is a cheap way to do things, if you want to stay in fancy places or you don’t know what to do with your money, you can contact me and I will give you my bank details. :-)

Where to go?

I am going to northern Norway, to a city called Tromsø, however, in Europe you can go to Iceland, Northern parts of Finland or Sweden, above the polar circle please.

When to go?

To see the aurora we need to have dark nights, so, we should go between September and March.

How much does it cost?

Wow! this is a good question, really!

There are a number of ways to go, I will describe how much it is costing me this trip that I’m doing now in the 21st of February.

*Citylink pass to Ireland midlands to Dublin airport – 15 Euro “return ticket”
*RyanAir all inclusive flight to London Gatwick – 18 Euro
*RyanAir all inclusive from London Gatwick to Oslo Rygge – 19 Euro
*Bus from Rygge to Oslo City center – 35 Euro “return ticket”
*NSB train from Oslo to Bodø – 22 Euro
*Wideroe flight from Bodø to Tromsø – 65 Euro
*Car rental ~120 Euro per person for 4 days (we are going in three)
*Accommodation ~50Euro/night in a b&b a little bit far from the city (which is good, no light pollution there)

*Norwegian flight from Tromsø to Oslo – 59 Euro
*RyanAir all inclusive flight from Oslo Rygge to Dublin – 18 Euro

So, if my calculator is right the total is 571 Euro, I’ve been buying the tickets and the bits and pieces since December, which means that I did not need to spend everything in just one shot. Believe me, this price is very good, try to search for travel agencies prices in the Internet… you will see prices 3 times or more expensive than this one. Other thing, doing this way that I’m doing we are going to cross the polar circle by TRAIN, how cool is that?

How long does it take to arrive there?

Yes, this is the tricky part. I will be leaving the beautiful Irish midlands at 2:15 in the morning, will arrive in Oslo at 4pm and in the final destination only 9pm of the next day! However, from tomorrow going up north by train it will be possible (if the weather permits) to see some lights from the first train stop in Trondheim.

What should I take with me?

My suggestion? Just a backpack! That’s it!
RyanAir usually doesn’t check the weight or size of a “normal” backpack and you can’t forget to put in your backpack:

*All the printed document of your trip such as flights, trains, buses, accommodation, maps, etc. Information! Don’t forget to check-in online and print your Ryan Air boarding passes!
*Clothes, not to many pieces (you will have to carry it), don’t forget to bring thermal socks, trousers and shirts.
*Camera and tripod, if you can bring extra sd cards and batteries. The camera should be able to take pictures with prolonged exposure. (like 15 seconds with capturing an image)
*Food, bring some cereal bars and instant soups, it will help you not to spend to much there (Norway is an expensive country)

That’s it really, I hope that this information was useful for you. By the way, you don’t need to go north by train+plane, you can take a direct plane from Oslo as I did in 2010 with my Wife, however, I think that the adventure by taking a 17 hours train is something really worth doing once (or twice) in a lifetime.

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” (Psalm 19:1-4)

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