The most effective occasions to go to Finland: from the northern lights to the midnight solar

Luring out of doors lovers, design buffs, and curious souls wishing to crack the secrets and techniques behind its UN-bestowed accolade of the world’s happiest nation, Finland is a vacation spot whose vacationer sights are practically as numerous as its local weather. 

This tract of Scandinavia hosts the midnight solar in summer season and the polar evening in winter. Lapland, house of the indigenous Sámi folks, is roofed in snow for as much as eight months a yr, making it a snowsports vacation spot par excellence. It’s additionally top-of-the-line locations on the planet to watch the eerily lovely phenomena of the aurora borealis, also referred to as the northern lights. 

However within the southwest of the nation, the Åland Archipelago has the excellence of being the sunniest spot in Northern Europe and so is a well-liked vacation spot for seashore holidays. Between these two areas are cosmopolitan cities, quaint villages, and pristine pure landscapes that shine at completely different occasions of the yr. This month-by-month information to local weather and occasions will help you select the perfect time on your go to to Finland. 

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Head to Lapland in excessive season (December to April) for winter sports activities and icy adventuring

That is excessive season in Lapland, with the principle attracts being household visits to Santa Claus’ Village in Rovaniemi, sensational snow sports activities, reindeer racing, in a single day stays in whimsical snow resorts, and the extraordinary phenomenon of the northern lights. Resorts and resorts are crowded and costly round Christmas, in the course of the four-day Easter break, and all through the ski season, which kicks off in mid-February.

Between December and January the phenomenon of the polar evening signifies that the solar by no means rises contained in the Arctic Circle. In northern Lapland, the closest the solar will get to rising is round noon, when the horizon glows with wealthy colors for a couple of hours, bathing the panorama in an ethereal magnificence.

The most effective months for snowboarding and different journey sports activities are from February to April, when the solar has re-emerged after its two-month winter hibernation and the snowy expanses of countryside glisten and gleam.

Within the south and middle of the nation, the winter days are quick, with solely six hours of sunshine per day in December. Cross-country snowboarding is in style from February, when the times begin to get longer. Ski resorts are filled with Finns in March and April, significantly throughout Easter and on weekends – guide prematurely and anticipate high-season costs.

Ice and sleet make street circumstances treacherous right now of the yr – be very cautious if you happen to’re driving.

Your probabilities of viewing the northern lights in Lapland are excessive throughout March and April. Down south, sightings are significantly much less frequent. 

Might to August is the right time to get outside in Finland © Gonzalo Azumendi / Getty Photographs

Profit from white nights from Might to mid-August

The summer season season kicks off on Might Day (Might 1) and the midnight solar asserts itself from the tip of Might to the tip of July, lowering night-time darkness to 5 – 6 hours at most. In Lapland’s far north, the solar doesn’t set in any respect from mid-Might to late July. Daytime temperatures vary between 15–25°C (59–77°F) within the south and 10–15°C (50–59°F) in Lapland; the warmest circumstances are on the southwestern archipelago.

Finns take advantage of these heat days and white nights, having fun with out of doors actions together with climbing, biking, canoeing, and swimming in the course of the day and winding down over drinks and lengthy dinners into the wee small hours. There are music festivals to attend, scenic boat cruises to get pleasure from, and loads of lakes through which to plunge after spending time in a steamy sauna.

July is the busiest month on the coast and round lakes, as that is when Finns are inclined to get pleasure from their annual holidays. Anticipate crowds and excessive lodge costs if you happen to resolve to affix them.

Summer time showers are comparatively frequent within the inside throughout July and August, however circumstances on the coast are drier, with clear skies and plentiful sunshine. 

Take pleasure in forest hikes and aurora recognizing from mid-August to November

Summer time days dwindle and autumn arrives alongside the ruska-aika (russeting), when Finnish forests are ablaze with coloured leaves signalling the change of season. This can be a marvellous time to go climbing or biking – the colors flip in Lapland in September earlier than placing on a present within the south a couple of weeks later.

The primary snow falls within the north in late September and winter storms are widespread in November. Exterior cities, many vacationer sights and resorts shut from October till the beginning of summer season.

In Lapland, the northern lights make common appearances all through October and November.

A green light sweeps across the sky above a snow-covered forest in Finnish Lapland
The northern lights are finest seen in Lapland the place the sky has much less air pollution © Sara Winter / Shutterstock

When can I see the northern lights?

The extraordinary pure phenomenon often known as the aurora borealis, or northern lights, is finest witnessed in Lapland, significantly north of the Arctic Circle. Right here, the skies are clear of sunshine air pollution and is darkish and cloudless for months on finish, maximizing the possibility of seeing these auroral shows in all of their swirling technicolor majesty. The spring and autumn months are the optimum viewing occasions, particularly October, November, March, and early April. For extra info, see the Finnish Meteorological Institute’s website.

It is actually chilly in January, excellent for arctic adventuring

It’s chilly in January. Actually chilly. So these vacationers who head this fashion are often on a mission to expertise an arctic journey. In Lapland, you may in a single day in a fairytale-like ice lodge hewn from the ice, embark on an action-packed snowmobile safari, or glide throughout moonlit landscapes on a sled pulled by huskies or reindeers. Go within the second half of the month, when the solar begins to reappear, however be sure to costume for temperatures as little as -35°C (-31°F).

February is the beginning of the ski season

The solar slowly begins to exert itself and as daylight improve so too do the variety of cross-country skiers exploring the snow-covered countryside within the south of the nation earlier than heading north in March and April. The ski resorts throughout the nation are busy from the center of February and their lodging costs keep excessive from this level till the tip of the Easter vacation.

Preserve a watch out for the northern lights in March 

Spring tends to reach with a whimper quite than a bang, staying chilly and sometimes snowy. Days are getting longer, although, so it’s a good time to get pleasure from snow sports activities. Temperatures begin to nudge above 0°C (32°F) within the north and Lapland’s well-known reindeer racing season culminates within the Poro (Reindeer) Cup, held on the ice in Inari, the capital of Sámi tradition. The spring equinox on March 21 is mostly agreed to be the optimum time for viewing the northern lights. Temperatures can differ vastly between evening and day – pack appropriately.
Key occasion: Poro Cup (late March or early April).

April means the return of weak sunshine

The snow disappears within the south and the sunshine makes a welcome, albeit weak, reappearance. There’s nonetheless loads of snow within the north, and Lapland’s ski resorts are sometimes packed to the gills over the four-day Easter vacation. On the Saturday or Sunday earlier than the Easter break, younger Finnish kids (particularly women) costume up as witches, carry willow twigs and go to homes of their neighborhoods, providing blessings in trade for candy treats.
Key occasion: Pääsiäinen (Easter).

Celebate spring and the midnight solar in Might

Certainly one of Finland’s main nationwide holidays, Vappu, is well known on Might 1. Marking the tip of winter, its inevitably boozy occasions are inclined to kick off on the evening earlier than, when bars and eating places throughout the nation are at their boisterous finest. In Southern Finland, spring wildflowers bloom in meadows, birds migrate north, and hikers hit nationwide park trails from late Might. Helsinki and different cities are at their vibrant finest. The midnight solar reigns over Lapland from mid-Might, with melting snow and 24hr daylight.
Key occasion: Vappu.

Four people are silhouetted in a wooden sauna room with a central stove in Helsinki, Finland
Find time for the sauna everytime you go to © Jonathan Stokes / Lonely Planet

June is get together time

Summer time brings festivals and cultural occasions aplenty, together with the most important of all of them, Juhannus (Midsummer). Celebrated on the Saturday between June 20 and 26, Finns welcome the midnight solar with lakeside bonfires, cooking, ingesting and loads of sauna motion. Cities are quiet within the days round Juhannus, and plenty of companies shut. Different occasions embody Jutajaiset, a three-day celebration of Lapland’s folklore, and the five-day Midnight Solar Movie Pageant within the northern metropolis of Sodankylä. Situations in Lapland are muddy, so not supreme for out of doors adventures, however within the south climbing, biking, and canoeing are in style actions from mid-June.
Key occasions: Juhannus, Jutajaiset, Midnight Solar Movie Pageant.

There are in style festivals in July

When summer season hits its stride the Finns hit the water. July is when most locals take their annual holidays, and lodging on the coast or close to lakes are totally booked months prematurely. It’s additionally costly. Temperatures vary from 17°C (62°F) to 26°C (79°F) and this balmy climate brings with it mosquitos and midges, particularly in Lapland – be sure to carry heavy-duty repellent. Standard cultural occasions embody the world-famous Savonlinna Opera and Pori Jazz festivals.
Key occasions: Savonlinna Opera Festival, Pori Jazz, Kaustinen People Music Pageant, Ruisrock.

Three male hikers prepare a meal in front of tent in Lapland, Finland
Situations for climbing and different out of doors actions are nonetheless good in August © Aleksi Koskinen / Getty Photographs

August means fewer folks

The summer season dwelling continues to be straightforward. College holidays end in the midst of the month and a blessed calm falls upon lakeside and coastal areas. Temperatures are benign and there are many alternatives for crowd-free climbing, biking, swimming, boating, and fishing. Though most companies keep open, the value of lodging drop. In Lapland the mosquito risk lessens however the midnight solar disappears, heralding the primary snowfalls on the fells.
Key occasion: Helsinki Festival.

Fall colours are spectacular in September

Few Finnish sights are as splendiferous because the ruska-aika, when the arrival of frost prompts foliage to show gold, orange, bronze, yellow and crimson. Colours final for a few weeks in Lapland after which reoccur additional south later within the month and into October, offering an exquisite backdrop when climbing or biking in nationwide parks. The autumn equinox happens on September 21 and from then the times change into shorter day-after-day till Christmas. Most coastal sights and sights shut or undertake decreased hours from the center of the month onwards.
Key occasion: Sibelius Festival (Lahti).

October is without doubt one of the finest occasions for the aurora borealis

The solar has disappeared in Lapland however compensation comes within the type of the northern lights. Your probabilities of seeing these in October are glorious, and lodging and flight prices are cheaper than within the winter months as a result of the ski season hasn’t but kicked off. The remainder of the nation is easing into its winter hibernation, and plenty of vacationer sights are closed.

November marks the beginning of snow sports activities

Winter storms, chilly arctic winds, and shortened daylight make November a considerably gloomy month, one which many vacationers could want to keep away from. The official ski season kicks off late in November, though some resorts in Lapland have snow-covered slopes earlier within the month.

December is for visiting Santa

By December, a lot of the Finnish countryside is roofed with snow and daylight are meagre or non-existent. The powdery-white panorama is picture-book fairly however too chilly to discover on foot – take to skis or snowboard as a substitute. Late within the month households descend on Lapland en masse, lured by the possibility to fulfill Santa Claus in his official village in Rovaniemi – goal to reach early within the month earlier than Finnish college holidays start in case you are eager to beat the crowds.

Elsewhere, Finns preserve themselves entertained by steaming in saunas, imbibing copious portions of glögg (scorching spiced mulled wine) and celebrating Itsenäisyyspäivä (Independence Day) on December 6 with processions, fireworks and live shows.
Key occasion: Itsenäisyyspäivä, Joulu (Christmas).

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