During January and February, there is almost always snow in northern and eastern Finland. Even if there’s little snow in Helsinki, there’s often up to a metre or more on the skiing slopes of Lapland. The snow season in northern Finland begins in November and lasts at least until May. In the inland regions of southern and central Finland, the first snow falls at the beginning of December and melts during late March and April.
winter in figures
– 30°C – 0°C
Around 120 days
December – March
doze off under the northern lights
In Finland, nature’s most spectacular light show, the Aurora Borealis, can be viewed in a range of purpose-built spaces from glass igloos to luxury suites.
The Northern Lights are visible on roughly 200 nights a year – or every other clear night – in Finnish Lapland. The more traditional ways to go Aurora spotting are snowshoeing, cross-country skiing or snowmobile and sled dog touring. If gazing at the dark sky in crispy winter air is not your thing, you can simply add comfort.
on the hunt for the northern lights
The Northern Lights dancing up above is such a powerful and unique natural phenomenon it changes lives down on Earth. Being one of the best places to spot the Aurorae, Finland has even received immigration because of them. Below are some tips for becoming a Northern Lights Hunter yourself.
skiing under the sun – or the moon
During the long days of March and April in Lapland, you can ski or sleigh for 12 to 16 hours under a brilliant sun. The best skiing season in Lapland starts in February and lasts until May. If you’re looking for something more exotic, try skiing under magical moonlight during the darkest ‘kaamos’ days of December and January.
You can go downhill or cross-country skiing, go on a dogsled or skimobile safari, or even indulge in some ice-skating or ice-fishing. The Finnish winter lasts half the year, so Finns have thought of plenty of activities to fill the time.
dress right for the weather
Yes, it gets cold in Finland in the winter. But that’s no reason to stay indoors – just gear up right and make the most of the fresh white season.
Dress warmly and enjoy it. Even if the thermometer reads minus 20 centigrade, it doesn’t feel as cold as you might think. The dry continental climate here doesn’t feel as cold as the damp cold of central Europe. Finns are also used to this kind of weather, so everything runs smoothly and punctually.
take an icy dip
Believe it or not, swimming in a hole in the ice really does you the world of good.
The secret of plunging into icy water is in the feeling that surges through your body once you are back on dry land; your circulation kicks in and your body starts to warm up. While climbing into the water does require a certain amount of courage, the initial shock and momentary loss of feeling in your legs soon pass – and it is all worth it!
christmas time and santa claus
White landscapes enshrouded in darkness, only lit by the stars in the sky and ice lanterns on driveways set the mood for a soothingly cosy festive season…
Everyone knows Santa Claus comes from Finland, but there’s lot more to a traditional Finnish Christmas. During the festive season, Finns like to take things slow and enjoy the company of loved ones.
in snowy helsinki
As the snow falls, the idyllic summer towns are replaced with something completely different, but equally alive with opportunities for a great time.
Once you get the hang of it, ice-skating is definitely one of the most thrilling ways to enjoy the cold. You can go for some of natural calm on the icy sea or skate in the middle of the city at the ice-skating rinks.