Finland at a Glance: Best Time to Visit
Recommended time to visit: Christmas is by far the most popular time to visit Finland, with many families travelling to Lapland, home of Santa Claus. The warmer, brighter summer months of May - July are a good time to visit Helsinki.
Less popular time to visit: There is no really bad time to visit Finland, it depends why you are travelling to the county. Winter from November - February is the coldest period, with long dark nights. But this is when the country gets most of its snowfall! If you want to avoid the crowds then avoid Lapland during December, as this is when it is at it's busiest.
Best time for Northern Lights: October - March is Northern Lights season in Finland, with the best chance to spot them generally being in March, when skies tend to be clearer.
Best time for skiing: Snow normally arrives in October, lasting until May. This is the best time for skiing in Rovaniemi and Levi.
Climate | Helsinki
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Climate | Rovaniemi
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Daylight in Finland
Due to its location in northern Europe with the Arctic Circle crossing the north of the country, parts of Finland experience both extremes when it comes to daylight. The northern quarter of the country (Lapland) has at least one day every year when the sun never sets (usually mid-June) and one day when the sun doesn’t even appear (usually mid-December).
Helsinki in the south has the least extreme daylight hours but still sees a lot more light than most European capitals in the summer and a lot less in the winter. The earliest you are likely to see the sun rise in Helsinki is about 4am in the middle of June, on top of this you can enjoy up to 19 hours of daylight with the sun not setting until just before 11pm. The winter is a very different story, with the latest the sun rises being about 9:30am in late December. The sun sticks around generally for just shy of 6 hours before setting around 3:15pm. After January the daylight increases slowly until June and then beings to decrease.
In Rovaniemi (the capital of Lapland) the story is a bit more intense. In June and most of July you’ll be unlikely to see much darkness. From mid-July the sun rises at about 2am and doesn’t set until about 00:45am. Towards the end of December the sun doesn’t tend to rise until 11:45am and barely sticks around for an hour, setting at 12:32 in the afternoon. As with Helsinki the daylight increases moderately from January to June and then decreases again in the second half of the year.
Here are some of the tours we recommend for visiting Finland, offering the chance to experience the Northern Lights, go reindeer sledding and much more.
Aurora & Glass Igloo Explorer
Christmas in Finland
For further information to help plan your visit to Finland and Lapland, check out our handy Travel Guide resources:Best Places to Visit - top sites to see in Finland and Lapland
Tourist Visas - know before you go with visa procurement and regulations
Top Travel Tips - useful information on money, food and shopping
Lapland Packing List - essential items and our recommendations
Tour Bolt Ons - northern lights, reindeer safaris and more