Finland is a fantastic destination for various reasons.
First off, the natural beauty is off the charts. The country is dotted with lakes, forests and stunning landscapes... straight out of a fairy tale. If you're a nature lover then Finland is definitely the place for you.
Then there's the unique cultural experience. The Finns are known for their friendly and laid-back vibe, saunas are practically a way of life here and you'll find them everywhere. It's a great way to relax and mingle with the locals.
And let's not forget the magical Northern Lights. Finland, especially in Lapland, offers one of the best chances to witness this celestial light show. It's like a dance of colours across the Arctic sky and it's truly mesmerizing.
Plus the food scene is diverse and delicious with traditional dishes like Karelian pasties to a more modern Nordic cuisine.
Whether you love the outdoors, want to learn more about the Finnish culture or just want to soak in the tranquil atmosphere then Finland ticks all the boxes. It's a gem of a destination just waiting to be explored.
Climate in Finland
Finland experiences distinct seasons throughout the year.
In winter temperatures can drop significantly, often ranging from -15 to -30 degrees Celsius (5 to -22 degrees Fahrenheit) so it gets pretty chilly and snow covers the landscape, turning it into a winter wonderland. If you're a fan of winter sports or love the beauty of snow-covered landscapes then this is the time to visit.
Spring sees a gradual thaw with temperatures starting to rise. Daytime temperatures typically range from 0 to 10 degrees Celsius (32 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit). As the snow melts, nature comes alive with blossoming flowers and longer daylight hours.
Summer is a lovely time to be in Finland. Daytime temperatures hover around 15 to 25 degrees Celsius (59 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit). The days are long with the phenomenon of the midnight sun occurring in the northern parts of the country.
Autumn gets cooler, temperatures ranging from 0 to 10 degrees Celsius (32 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit) with the leaves transforming into a stunning display of colours.
So when is the best time to visit Finland? Let’s look at its tourist seasons in more detail and find out!
Peak Season in Finland – June to August
The peak season in Finland is during its summer months, from late June to August, and is when the weather is relatively mild and you can experience the famous "white nights" phenomenon, where the sun barely sets, an amazing experience.
Temperatures range from 15 to 25 degrees Celsius (59 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit) so a great time for exploring Finland's stunning lakes, forests and national parks. Cities like Helsinki come alive with various festivals, events and outdoor markets.
The peak season does means larger crowds and higher prices for accommodations and attractions so if you prefer a quieter experience and don't mind cooler temperatures then it might be worth looking at visiting during the shoulder seasons of spring (May to early June) or autumn (September to October). This way, you can still enjoy Finland's beauty with fewer tourists and possibly catch the enchanting Northern Lights in the winter months.
Some things you can do in Finland during the Peak Season
- Experience the magic of Finnish Midsummer celebrations which is a significant cultural event with bonfires and traditional dances.
- Finland is famously known as the "Land of a Thousand Lakes" so make the most of the warm weather to explore the lakes by kayaking, canoeing, or even enjoying a relaxing boat cruise.
- Visit Archipelago National Park which is stunning during the summer. Look at the flowers, go island hopping and enjoy the peace and quiet of this beautiful coastal region.
- Finland has many national parks with well-marked hiking trails so travel by foot amongst the breathtaking landscapes, dense forests and perhaps even spot some wildlife.
- Embrace the Finnish sauna culture. Many places, including lakeside cottages, resorts, and public facilities have a sauna.
- Finland has an extensive network of cycling routes, it is a cyclist's paradise. So rent a bike and explore the countryside or follow the urban cycling paths in cities like Helsinki.
- Check out the various cultural festivals and events taking place during the summer. From music festivals to art exhibitions, there's something for everyone.
- Finland is home to diverse wildlife so visit one of the many nature reserves for a chance to spot animals like reindeer, elk and even bears in their natural habitat.
- Spend time in Helsinki, the capital city, and take a ferry to Suomenlinna, a sea fortress with a rich history.
- Late summer is the perfect time for berry picking in Finland. The forests are filled with blueberries, lingonberries and cloudberries, a fun and tasty activity.
Low Season in Finland – November to March
In Finland, the low season falls during the winter months, from November to March, however if you are looking to visit Lapland during the winter then the period from December to February is considered its peak season. During these months the weather gets pretty cold with temperatures often dropping well below freezing and you can expect snow-covered landscapes, frozen lakes but also a magical winter wonderland vibe.
While it might be a bit cold for some the low season in Finland is a wonderful and unique place to be if you fancy trying some adventurous winter sports like skiing, snowboarding or even dog sledding. The northern lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis, are a spectacular natural display that you might catch during these months, especially in the northern parts of the country.
Keep in mind that some attractions may have reduced operating hours but the cosy atmosphere and the chance to truly escape into the wilderness of somewhere as authentic as Finland make the low season in Finland a unique and memorable adventure.
Some things to do in Finland during the low season
- The low season, especially winter, is the best time to witness the Northern Lights so head to Lapland for an unforgettable display of the aurora borealis.
- Finland in Winter is the best time to get involved in winter sports like cross-country skiing, snowshoeing or even dog sledding. There is plenty of snow and the surroundings make these activities magical.
- Helsinki's museums are a treasure trove of culture and history so take advantage of the quieter period to explore places like the National Museum of Finland, Ateneum Art Museum and the Kiasma Contemporary Art Museum.
- Experience an authentic Finnish sauna during the low season and as it's a local tradition you can find saunas throughout the country.
- Rovaniemi and Santa Claus Village is the official hometown of Santa Claus. Explore the Santa Claus Village, meet Santa and send your Christmas cards with the official Arctic Circle postmark.
- Explore local markets such as Hakaniemi Market Hall in Helsinki or Tampere Market Hall. Try the food, pick up handmade crafts and spend time with the local people.
- Enjoy the tranquility of Finland by taking peaceful walks in national parks. Look out for reindeer and elk as they are more active during the low season.
- Take a husky safari through the snow-covered landscapes. It's not only an adventurous activity but also a chance to connect with these amazing dogs.
- Nuuksio National Park near Helsinki is a peaceful and beautiful place to be so explore the picturesque scenery, frozen lakes and forests while enjoying the quiet of the low season.
Shoulder season in Finland – April to June, September to October
In Finland the shoulder seasons are in spring (April to June) and autumn (September to October) with milder temperatures compared to the extremes of summer and winter.
In spring the weather is generally pleasant so a great time for getting involved in outdoor activities without the summer crowds whilst in autumn the weather is still quite comfortable and you might catch the Northern Lights towards the end of the season in certain parts of Finland.
Both shoulder seasons have a more relaxed atmosphere, which means you can explore Finland with fewer tourists and enjoy the unique charms each season brings.
Some things to do in Finland during the shoulder season
- Hunt for the Northern Lights and while the winter is famous for this, the shoulder seasons offer a chance to catch the auroras during the warmer weather and longer days.
- Places like Nuuksio National Park are stunning during spring and autumn. The landscapes are vibrant with colours, and you'll avoid the summer crowds.
- Stroll through the streets of Helsinki and explore the trendy design shops, galleries, and cafes. It's a design lover's paradise.
- Have a sauna by the lake by heading to a lakeside cottage, enjoy the warmth surrounded by the beauty of nature.
- Take a boat trip through the archipelago islands, the scenery is breathtaking.
- If you visit in autumn, join the locals in foraging for mushrooms and berries in the forests. It's a Finnish pastime, and you might even learn a thing or two.
- Experience a traditional Lohikeitto, the Finnish salmon soup, comforting and perfect for the cooler weather.
- Explore Turku which is Finland's oldest city as it comes alive during the shoulder seasons. Wander through its medieval streets, visit the castle, and enjoy the laid-back atmosphere.
- Grab a bike and explore the Finnish countryside. The landscapes are dotted with lakes, forests and lovely villages.
When is the best time to visit Finland to see the Northern Lights?
Finland is a great place to visit if you want to catch the Northern Lights. The best time to see the natural light show is during the winter months, from late September to March. The peak time is typically around December and January when the nights are the longest and you can see those dancing lights in the sky – it's pure magic! Keep in mind, though, that the exact timing can vary, so checking the aurora forecasts can help you plan your trip for the best chances of catching this breathtaking spectacle.
Is Finland expensive?
Finland is generally considered to be on the pricier side, especially when compared to some other European countries. The cost of living, accommodation and eating out can be relatively high. However, expenses can vary depending on how you choose to travel and what you want to do when you are there. Helsinki tends to be more expensive than the smaller towns so it's worth planning accordingly and look for ways to make your trip more cost-effective, for example shop in local markets for food and consider using public transportation. However in spite of the high prices Finland will give you a trip of a lifetime experience that's well worth the investment.
When is the cheapest time of year to go to Finland?
In general the cheapest time to visit is during the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn. In May and September the weather is milder, there are fewer people visiting and potentially lower prices on accommodations and flights. Keep your eye out for specific dates and plan ahead to grab the best deals. However, if you want a winter adventure then January and February are likely to be cheaper than November and December as the Christmas rush is over, though be prepared for the colder temperatures.
How many days do you need in Finland?
To truly appreciate the beauty of Finland its worth planning to go for at least 7 to 10 days. This means you’ll have time to explore the city life of Helsinki, immerse yourself in the landscapes of the Finnish Lakeland, and maybe travel into Lapland to try and catch the Northern Lights.
Of course, the time you spend in Finland will depends on what you want to do and on your budget but it’s worth allowing a decent amount of time to make sure you make the most of your time there.