The weather in Finland and when to visit

What’s the weather like in Finland? Well, the short answer is… varied.

You can see the northern lights during Finland's winter
Northern lights / Santeri Viinamäki

Finland is some 700 miles long, its top half stretching well into the Arctic Circle, while the Gulf of Finland in the south is much more temperate.

Finland’s seasons vary dramatically too, so you can get pretty much any type of weather here, with temperatures in the far north in winter going as low as -30ºC, while the summer in the south can see highs of around 30ºC.

So when is a good time to visit Finland? Read out guide below and find out.

When to go to Finland: a quick guide

When is the best time to visit Finland? Well, that depends on what you’re looking for.

  • For long, sunny warm days, and plenty of outdoor events and festivals, the best time to come to Finland is June to August.
  • For mounds of snow and winter sports, December to March is the best time to visit.
  • For beautiful autumn leaf colour and cosy evenings, September and October are the best months to visit.
  • June and July are the best months for seeing the midnight sun in Finland.
  • In Finnish Lapland, the best time to see the northern lights is between late September and March.

Visiting Finland in winter

Winter is a great time to visit Finland for deep snow and lots of winter sports. In northern Finland, snow can fall between November and April, with a thick blanket usually covering the ground for the whole of January and February.

Finnish Lapland is a great place to visit in winter
Lapland in winter / adege

Further south, the snow season lasts from December to March. So, wrap up warm and pick your choice of winter activities and tours, from skiing and snowmobiling to dog-sledging and ice-fishing.

Winter, of course, comes with short days and long nights. In the far north, the sun sets at the beginning of December and doesn’t rise again until mid-January.

And whilst six weeks of night may sound daunting, it’s not always actually that dark. On clear nights with a bright moon, the reflection of the light on the crisp white snow can make it seem as bright as day (well, a winter day in Helsinki, anyway).

But when it is dark, a major perk is that you get great views of the northern lights. In the north, they can be seen roughly every other night from August to April, when the skies are clear. In southern Finland, they appear on 10–20 nights a year, but you’d really have to be lucky – like, very lucky – to see them in Helsinki.

And winter is a great time to visit the Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort, better known as the Igloo hotel, in Lapland (open late August to April). With glass igloos, snow igloos and rustic log cabins, you can keep cosy in the cold winter temperatures and watch the northern lights from the comfort of your own bed.

Is December a good time to visit Finland?

Finland is the archetypal Christmas destination, with plenty of glistening snow, reindeer, twinkly lights and sleigh rides.

Finland at Christmas

Rovaniemi in Lapland is particularly popular in winter, with loads of Christmassy activities to do, such as this visit to Santa’s village with a reindeer sleigh ride, or this trip to see polar bears at an Arctic wildlife park.

Obviously, Christmas is peak season for winter visits to Finland, so it’s the most expensive and busiest time of the year, especially in Lapland. Go earlier in December or even in January and you’ll still get the same snowy atmosphere but it will be cheaper with fewer crowds.

Visiting Finland in summer

Summer in Finland runs from June to August, with temperatures ranging between 15ºC and 30ºC. Finns make the most of this mild weather by taking to the great outdoors.

Finland in summer
Finland in summer / kostiolavi

Many head to their lakeside cottages to swim, barbecue, fish and sail. The temperature in the country’s many lakes can reach 18–20C in summer, so it’s the time to head to the jetty and leap into the water.

In the cities, temperatures are warm and evenings long, so cafés and restaurants set out their tables and chairs on the terraces and pavements and everyone moves outside.

Summer is also festival season, with plenty of outdoor concerts and events taking place. And, it’s also the season of long days and short, or even non-existent, nights, when you can experience the eerie phenomenon of the midnight sun.

In Finnish Lapland, the sun rises at the end of May and doesn’t set until the end of July, making a single day last for a whole two months. Further south, there’s just a few hours of twilight either side of June 22nd.

Spring and autumn weather in Finland

The weather in autumn and spring is harder to predict. Depending on whereabouts in the country you are, you could have rain, snow, sun or wind – and­ often all four in the same day.

Finland in autumn
Finland in autumn / Heather Sunderland

Autumn is a good time to see the beautiful golden, red brown leaf colours and to do some hiking, while spring tends to be a short season, with crocuses often growing in the snow.

The days get longer in spring and temperatures begin to rise, though you can still get snow and rain. Pack a jacket or two!

Is September a good time to visit Finland?

September can be lovely, with misty mornings, beautiful tree colours and some sunshine. Bear in mind that the days are getting shorter, though, and the temperatures are starting to drop at night.

What about October and May?

October is the time when Finns go foraging in the woods for berries and mushrooms. With darker evenings and colder days it’s also a good month to cosy up in front of a roaring fire and indulge in that most Finnish of activities – the sauna.

In May the days are getting longer and the temperatures beginning to climb, with an average daily temperature of around 10ºC. There’s also low rainfall in May and fewer visitors.

What’s the weather like in different parts of Finland?

Helsinki

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg temp (C)-7-7-33101517151050-4
Rainy days9888810111111111312

Turku

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg temp (C)-5-5-23101517161061-3
Rainy days118876791010111212

Tampere

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg temp (C)-8-8-42914161494-2-6
Rainy days1078778101110111110

Rovaniemi

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg temp (C)-12-11-6-1612151270-6-10
Rainy days10887789109101110

Festivals in Finland

Finland has plenty of festivals of all types from music, art, film and folklore to traditional celebrations. Midsummer is one of the main events with parties, bonfires and midnight swims to make the most of the long hours of daylight.  

Check out our events listings for more on what’s going on where and when in Finland.

See also:

Unusual places to stay in Helsinki

The best time to visit Helsinki

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