Best Time to Visit Finland
The ground is covered with snow for over half the year in Lapland. It all bodes well if you’re dreaming of a white Christmas. Finnish Lapland blanketed in snow (deep, crisp and even) is not only the quintessential winter wonderland, but it’s also full of adventure potential – from husky sledding to aurora hunting. Summer, meanwhile, is equally outdoorsy, with everything from hiking and canoeing to bear watching on your Finland holiday.
When to visit Finland… at a glance
- Short days and freezing temperatures
- Snow-covered wilderness, cosy cabins and winter activities
- Northern lights watching and the polar night
- Long days and mild weather, with midnight sun mid-Jun
- Bears emerge from hibernation
- Prime time for hiking, houseboat holidays and wildlife watching
When is the best time to see the northern lights?
The aurora can be visible on a clear winter’s night any time between September and March – and sometimes outside this period. The equinox months of September and March often have some of the best northern lights activity. The appearance of the aurora is always unpredictable, so it’s worth looking as soon as it gets dark, providing you have clear skies above.
In the northernmost corner of the country the polar night banishes the sun for just over 50 days during mid-winter when an eerie blue glow bathes the landscape.
Although the lowest temperature ever recorded in Finnish Lapland was –51.5ºC, daily temperatures during winter are usually much closer to 0ºC – or creep even higher on clear, sunny days. Warm clothing and plenty of layers is essential if travelling at this time of year. If you’re taking part in winter activities, such as husky sledding or snowmobiling, you will be provided with warm, all-in-one polar suits, thick mitts and boots. In July, temperatures in Finland average 13-17ºC.
According to the Finnish Meteorological Society, the average date of first snow cover over the last 30 or so years has been early October. Snow cover is deepest around mid-March, reaching up to 90cm in eastern and northern Finland, while large lakes and coastal areas of the Gulf have usually frozen over by late November or early December.
- 1 May: Vappu celebrations to welcome summer
Finland in winter
During winter, Finnish Lapland glistens with endless miles of pristine, snow-covered wilderness. Fir trees bow solemnly under the weight of the white stuff. Snug under thick, snowy blankets, traditional log cabins (with open fires and saunas) provide cosy retreats in this frozen landscape. Getting about is easier than you might think. Our winter holidays at Muotka Lodge (just one of our offerings in Finnish Lapland) include snowshoeing, a picnic ski tour, aurora snowmobile safari, husky sledding and a visit to meet the Sami and their reindeer. If you prefer something less rustic, some properties offer contemporary suites or glass igloos (where you can lay in bed gazing up at the northern lights)
Finland in summer
The summer months bring long days (and the midnight sun above the Arctic Circle), allowing more time to explore Finland’s wild forests and lakes. Hike forest trails and take to the water in a canoe or experience the thrill of quad biking through the wilderness. In eastern Finland, brown bears can be observed from special hides in the taiga forests of Kuhmo, together with other elusive species like the wolverine and lynx. Summer is also an excellent time to relax on a houseboat holiday, gently cruising through the lakes and waterways of central Finland.