Epic photos of Finnish winter darkness

3 minute read
Person in a lean-in shelter in Riisitunturi National Park, Finland.

Credits: Harri Tarvainen, @harritarvainen

Hello darkness, our old friend

As one of the world's northernmost countries, winter in Finland usually means embracing extended hours of darkness and crisp temperatures. The more North you wander, the rarer the sight of sunlight, and the higher your chances to experience what we call ‘kaamos’ (the polar night) in Finnish. This period wraps the wintry landscapes of Finland into soft darkness, usually reaching its peaks between November to mid-January.

However, don’t worry about a complete blackout: sunlight still reaches the upper layers of the atmosphere, and paired with the moon, stars and magical Northern lights, the country is dipped into a unique ambience. This is what makes Finland’s winter darkness so captivating.

To celebrate the magic of Finland’s darker period, we have collected some of the most epic photos of Finland in the dark, captured by our community online. So, come to the dark side and enjoy!

During his 8 kilometre hike through the glistening snow in Oulu, Matti Seppänen captured the magic of Finland’s darkest season (during daytime) perfectly. The cold surprised the photographer that day, however, winter hikes oftentimes offer the best chance to soak up this truly unique ambience.
Credits: Matti Seppänen, @polar.visions

Magical vibes all around the country

While you might think that the North of Finland gets all the darkness during winter, it actually creates a magical atmosphere all around the country. Go stargazing at the endless frozen sea in the Coast and Archipelago, discover a range of winter activities in the twilight magic in serene Lakeland, hunt the Northern Lights in the Arctic winters of Lapland, or just embrace the darkness and get active in vibrant Helsinki Region. Get ready to experience Finland in a different light!

Jarkko Forsberg beautifully captured the stunning side of Finland’s darkest months along the Finnish Coast and Archipelago in Inkoo. Bathed in a unique light, the frozen seaside offers a whimsical vibe, while the clear sky covered with stars adds an extra layer of magic.
Credits: Jarkko Forsberg, @jarkko_forsberg

A different kind of national park adventure

Finland’s 41 national parks are the perfect spot to experience Finland’s most mystic winter vibes amidst stunning natural landscapes – the best stargazing opportunities included. Many of the parks offer marked winter trails and some might even reveal special wintry phenomena, such as breathtaking ice falls or picturesque crown-snow. Discover the magical snowscape in the dark on a hike or opt for a a guided snowshoe tour. For the truly adventurous, strapping on skis or hopping on a fatbike saddle promises an unforgettable adventure through the wintry twilight.

When planning a national park visit during winter, always make sure to wear enough clothes, bring appropriate gear (good winter shoes and headlamp are a must), and always take time to familiarise yourself with your destination beforehand.

Harri Tarvainen snapped this magical picture in scenic Riisitunturi National Park in Lapland. The park is known for its photogenic white forests and snow-covered trees during wintertime, making it a go-to destination for many photographers – even in the dark.
Credits: Harri Tarvainen, @harritarvainen

Embrace the dark – and the cold

For many, embracing the winter’s darker side also means embracing the cold. Ice-swimming is proven to boost your health – and your happiness hormones. And pairing it with a relaxing session in a hot steamy Finnish sauna afterwards, you might find the perfect balance between cold and warm, leaving you feeling extra rejuvenated. Who knows, maybe ice-swimming will become one of your next favourite winter activities?

Bathed in the shimmering lights of Tampere, Finland’s sauna capital, Kristiina Vanha-Majamaa’s ice swimming session becomes truly magical. Ice swimming isn’t just a healthy habit – but also a great boost for your happiness hormones, lighting up the darker season of the year.
Credits: Kristiina Vanha-Majamaa, @Krisu_kisu

Best conditions to spot the Northern Lights

Finland’s winter darkness brings a unique advantage: the perfect setting for spotting the captivating Northern Lights dancing across the sky. To catch this unique show, find a dark and clear spot away from city lights. And with a bit of patience and luck, you might have an experience that leaves you awestruck.

You don’t always have to travel all the way up North to spot the Northern Lights. On the first night of 2024, Heli Anttiroiko captured the green Aurora dancing over Lohtaja in the Finnish Archipelago. Despite the chill in the air, she firmly believes that capturing the Northern Lights are always worth braving the winter cold.
Credits: Heli Anttiroiko, @heliuuu

Sustainable activities in the dark

You are seeking inspiration for extraordinary experiences under Finland's starry sky? Explore our curated selection for unique and sustainable activities in the dark and embrace the magical ambience during your next visit to Finland.  

Punaviinilasi hämärässä metsässä kynttilän valossa

Wine in the Dark Woods

2 hours

See also

Epic spring photos from Finland

Discover spring in Finland through the lens of our...