Land of the Midnight Sun
With stark differences between seasons, Finns are used to contrasts. Dark Arctic winters have their counterpart in one of the most iconic of Finnish natural phenomena, the Midnight Sun.
Many wonder how Finns survive with no sunlight in the winter, and nature replies with 24 hours of it in the summer. The intense contrast in light conditions has a profound effect on all walks of life in Finland.
For understandable reasons, public spaces come to life in the summer. After the harsh winter, endless daylight never arrives a day too early. Summer in Finland is a time spent outside the house enjoying the short but sweet season, and all worries are postponed until nights get dark again.
70 Days without Sunset
Two thirds of all people living in areas graced by the Midnight Sun reside in Finland. In the northernmost parts of Finnish Lapland, the sun stays above the horizon for over 70 consecutive days.
Below the Arctic Circle, the sun pops below the horizon for a few hours at night. This is not to say it gets dark – white nights are a fact throughout the country, and even Helsinki on the southern coast has virtual daylight around the clock.
Top Ten Ways to Make Use of the Midnight Sun
Anything you can do during the day, you’ll be able to do at night – with a special edge, mind you.
- Stay at a cottage. A nocturnal swim and sauna is a definite must under the Midnight Sun. Lakes and sea waters warm up from June onwards.
- Party! Getting out of a dark nightclub at 3 a.m. can be a bit confusing, as it feels more like 3 p.m. You wouldn’t be the first to swap sleep for an afterparty on the beach – in full sunlight, of course.
- Go to a festival. A traditional midsummer party in Seurasaari island in Helsinki, a rock festival in the heart of Lakeland or the Midnight Sun Film Festival in Lapland all share the magic of 24-hour sunlight.
- Go boating. Whether in sailboat or a canoe, gliding on still night-time waters is an incredible experience.
- Go golfing. No worries about crowded courses at 4 a.m!
- Go fishing. They’re at their hungriest at night.
- Go open-air dancing. A decades old tradition, today revived by urban youth. Classic Finnish tango and other retro music are in the centre of these shindigs.
- Go hiking and camping. Keep going as long as your legs can take it. Make sure you set the tent away from direct morning sunlight, or you’ll roast.
- Go wildlife watching. This is where the white night comes especially handy: nocturnal animals, such as owls, wake up to prey but do not have their usual shelter of darkness.
- Go cycling. Scores of beautiful urban, country and coastal routes are there for the exploring, around the clock. The silence and stillness complete the unforgettable pedalling experience.