Best Time to Visit - 13 min read

Best Time to Visit Finland (Northern Lights & Igloo Hotels!)

Ashley Brown

Ashley Brown, Updated October 2, 2022

Disclosure: Town & Tourist may receive a commission for purchases made through links in this article, at no additional cost to you.

Finland is nicknamed “The Land of the Midnight Sun”. In the summer months, the sun does not set in the northern areas at all. Despite this nickname, the winter is the complete opposite. In the Finnish winter, the sun does not appear for months. But you get to see the bright moon, the shining stars and, if you are lucky, the stunning northern lights.

The best months to visit Finland are September, October, February, and March. This is to maximize your chances of viewing the northern lights, which is a must. In these months, numerous tours offer to see the northern lights. The temperatures in Finland are pretty icy. However, September is the warmest, with temperatures averaging 45°F (7°C).

Although Finland is popular for its northern lights, that is not all it offers. Finland can offer countless activities, from skiing and hiking to getaways and strolls in old towns. In this article, we will show you all the numerous activities and the best times to visit for each.

Worst Time to Visit Finland

November and December are the worst times to visit Finland. These months are when the winter kicks in. The cities of Finland are dark and covered in slush and ice.

Although they are not the coldest months, Finnish cities experience the least amount of daylight hours in them. During these months in Helsinki, they get only 30 minutes of sunlight hours.

As it is not cold enough yet, there isn’t usually snow. As well as that, most of the time, rain will cover the cities.

Moreover, if there is no rain, it will be cloudy, which makes these cities very difficult to navigate. Besides the good chance of slipping, the cities feel really gloomy.

As a result, Slush organizers, an international-start up event, were prompted to put a sign in Helsinki Airport. The sign read, “Nobody in their right mind would come to Helsinki in November. Except you, you badass. Welcome”.

Cheapest Time to Visit Finland

Visit Finland from late October until late December for the cheapest options. But with that being said, it is best to visit during late October as there are more activities. During these months, one-star vacation rentals can go as cheap as $20 a night. 

The lowest that a solo traveler can typically spend in Finland is $40. But that would be difficult, as you will need to book in advance and cook your own food.

For a family vacation, $85 should be the lowest budget for food and expenses enough for 4 people. You will be able to book a vacation rental for as cheap as $32 a night as well.

Therefore, it is possible to travel to Finland on a budget. It may be difficult, but it is possible to manage your costs and what you spend. Making sure to book in advance can help with costs as well.

Related Read: Best Time to Visit Sweden

Best Time to Visit Finland (Monthly Breakdown)

January: Best Time to Explore the Arctic in Lapland, Finland

The average daily high temperature in Upper Finland in January is around 18°F (-8°C). While the average daily low is around 6°F (-14°C). But sometimes temperatures will fall below 0°F (-18°C).

January is one of the coldest and darkest months. There will not be many activities in the cities of Finland. So we recommend heading north instead.

  • See the Aurora Borealis (The Northern Lights)
  • Ride a Reindeer Sledge
  • Enjoy Skiing
  • Ride a Snowmobile
  • Spend the Night at an Ice Hotel

February: Best Time for Winter Sports in Finland 

The average daily high temperature in Upper Finland in February is around 18°F (-8°C). While the average daily low is around 8°F (-13°C). But sometimes temperatures will fall below 0°F (-18°C).

February is the coldest and darkest month. There will not be many activities in the cities of Finland. So we recommend heading north instead.

But it is worth noting that in February, many tourists head north for winter sports. Therefore, prices increase this month.

  • Try Nordic Skating
  • Ride a Snowmobile
  • Play Ice Hockey
  • Ride a dog Sled
  • Try Cross-Country Skiing

Related Read: The Best Time to Visit Iceland

March: Best Time to See the Northern Lights in Finland

The average daily high temperature in Upper Finland in March is around 28°F (-2°C). While the average daily low is around 15°F (-9°C). And rarely fall below 0°F (-18°C).

In March, the daylight hours will begin to increase. Also, it will be warmer but not warm enough for the snow to melt completely. In addition to that, experts agree that March 21st is the best time to view the northern lights.

But it is worth noting that in March, many tourists head north for winter sports. Therefore, prices increase this month.

  • View the Northern Lights
  • Ride a Snow Bike
  • Go Snowshoeing
  • Try Ice Karting

April: Reindeer Racing Championships in Inari

The average daily high temperature in Upper Finland in April is around 39°F (4°C). While the average daily low is around 26°F (4°C). And rarely fall below 20°F (-7°C).

In the north, April is the busiest month as many Finns will visit Lapland over the 4 day Easter holiday. Although, by the end of April, ski resorts start closing as the ice thins and gets more dangerous.

In the south flowers begin to bloom and the sun begins to shine. With that being said, it is still a weak reappearance. Therefore, we recommend visiting in May instead.

  • Spectate the Reindeer Racing Championships in Inari
  • Enjoy the Easter Holiday in Lapland
  • Visit April Jazz Festival in Espoo
  • See the Flowers Bloom in Helsinki

May: Vappu

The average daily high temperature in Southern Finland in May is around 58°F (15°C). On the other hand, the average daily low is around 44°F (6°C).

May is the best month to explore the south in Finland. As the weather warms up, nature blossoms and white wood covers the country. Hiking can be an option, but we do not recommend staying there overnight. This is because it can still get quite chilly.

May is also the worst month to head north as the snow melts but the land is still wet. Therefore, we recommend staying south until the summer.

  • Attend Vappu on the 1st of May
  • Head to Nuuksio National Park and Repovesi National Park
  • Go on a Day Hike
  • Attend a Fair and Eat a Funnel Cake
  • Have a Picnic Outside

Related Read: Best Time To Visit Norway

June: Midsummer Festival

The average daily high temperature in Southern Finland in June is around 66°F (19°C). While the average daily low is around 52°F (11°C).

Midsummer Festival takes place from June 20 until June 26. Therefore, it is best to rent a summer cottage before Midsummer, as Finns do not head there before it.

In a summer cottage, you will enjoy a time of solitude in nature. This is because a patch of forest blocks even the nearest cottage view. Cottages include a sauna and barbecue as well.

  • Drive Around the Archipelago Trail
  • Spend the Weekend in a Summer Cottage
  • Midnight Sun Film Festival in Sodankylä
  • Go Hiking in the Southern Cities
  • Jutajaiset in Lapland

July: Savonlinna Opera Festival

The average daily high temperature in Southern Finland in July is around 71°F (22°C). While the average daily low is around 58°F (15°C).

July is the warmest month in Finland. This is also when Finns take their annual summer holiday. Therefore, Helsinki and other major cities are empty ghost towns. So, we do not recommend heading there in July.

Instead, head to Lakeland or explore the Turku archipelago. You can also visit small towns and sit in their summer cafes, which are only open during holiday season.

  • Savonlinna Opera Festival
  • Kaustinen Folk Music Festival
  • Ruisrock
  • Ilosaari Rock Heavy Metal Festival

August: Helsinki Festival

The average daily high temperature in Southern Finland in August is around 69°F (21°C). While the average daily low is around 56°F (14°C).

Early August is a good time to head to a summer cottage or take part in summer activities. These activities include swimming, fishing, hiking, boating, and biking. You will enjoy them crowd-free in addition to cheaper prices.

Late August is the best time to visit Helsinki. The Finnish capital is lively and warm at this time of the year.

And for 2-3 weeks, attending the Helsinki Festival is a must. At this festival, various events are organized around the city.

  • Head to a Summer Cottage
  • Enjoy Summer Activities Crowd-free
  • Classical Music
  • Contemporary Music and Dance
  • Night of Arts

Related Read: Best Time to Visit Denmark

September: Best Month for Hiking in Lapland

The average daily high temperature in Northern Finland in September is around 51°F (11°C). While the average daily low is around 40°F (4°C).

September is when fall begins in the north, and the scenery in Lapland is at its best. This makes it the best time to go for a hike in Lapland and enjoy the beautiful yellow and orange trees.

Furthermore, you can enjoy your hike bug-free as it gets colder. Head to Lapland’s numerous wilderness parks for a crowd-free hike.

  • Käsivarsi Wilderness Area
  • Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park
  • Urho Kekkonen National Park
  • See the Northern Lights
  • Watch Birds Migrating

October: Best Month to Watch Northern Lights on a Budget in Finland

The average daily high temperature in Northern Finland in October is around 38°F (3°C). While the average daily low is around 30°F (-1°C).

Accommodation prices in Lapland are really cheap in October as the ski season does not kick in. This makes the perfect opportunity to view the northern lights on a budget.

But if you want to enjoy the fall and its stunning scenery, head to the eastern cities. This is because winter does not arrive until November.

  • View the Northern Lights in Lapland
  • Koli National Landscape
  • Koli Spas and Jacuzzis
  • Attend Halloween

November: Worst Month to Visit Finland

The average daily high temperature in Southern Finland in November is around 27°F (-3°C). While the average daily low is around 19°F (-7°C).

November in Finland is gloomy and dark. Major cities like Helsinki are not covered with snow, but rain. Combine that with the cold and you have slippery ice and very dark cities.

Instead, head to Lapland, where you can see some northern lights. Also, enjoy Christmas shopping on a budget before tourist season kicks off.

  • Christmas Shopping
  • View the Northern Lights
  • Go to Saunas
  • Enjoy Indoor Activities
  • Visit Different Museums

December: Best Time to Visit Rovaniemi

The average daily high temperature in Northern Finland in December is around 21°F (-6°C). While the average daily low is around 10°F (-12°C).

Christmas in Lapland is beautiful and lively. Rovaniemi in particular is packed with people, as they head from all over the world to meet Santa Claus.

The northern lights, in addition to the Christmas decorations and lights, make for a stunning scene. It is recommended to head there in early December as it can get quite crowded there.

  • Christmas Shopping
  • View the Northern Lights
  • Meet Santa Claus
  • Ride Reindeer, Huskies, and Snowmobiles
  • Enjoy Finnish Saunas

Best Time to See Northern Lights

December to March tend to be the best months to see the northern lights. Many tourist companies set up tours in this season, with the northern lights as the primary focus.

Not only that, this is the prime season for winter activities like winter sports and Christmas. You can also stay in a hotel made out of ice and snow for an authentic Finnish winter trip.

On the other hand, if you are not a fan of the extreme cold or are on a low budget, then October is the best month for you. In October, the winter season does not kick in, so prices are cheaper.

You also get to enjoy a somewhat warmer climate than in the winter season, with temperatures rarely falling below 23°F (-5°C).

Best Time to Visit Lapland

Lapland has a range of different activities that range from winter to summer and autumn activities. Therefore, this will depend on which activities you plan to participate in.

For winter activities, we recommend heading to Lapland in January or March. This is because February tends to be packed with tourists and prices are high.

Moreover, in January, you can enjoy Christmas shopping for cheaper prices and mass clearances after Christmas is over. While in March, you have the best opportunity to see the northern lights.

For summer activities like cottage renting, swimming, or fishing, we recommend heading to Lapland in early August. This is after the summer season of July, which makes prices a lot cheaper.

In addition to that, as it is getting somewhat colder, it is way less buggy than in July.

For autumn activities like hiking, we recommend heading in September. This is when fall begins in the north and when scenery is at its best. You will enjoy the numerous wildernesses in Lapland bug and crowd-free.

Best Time to Visit Helsinki

Late August is the best time to visit Helsinki. This is the time of the year when the Finnish capital is lively and warm. You can enjoy the Finnish culture and participate in the numerous festivals.

For 2-3 weeks, Finns cover the streets of Helsinki for the Helsinki Festival. At this festival, various events are organized in every corner of the city.

Examples of these events are classical music, contemporary music and dance, and world music events. You can also watch film screenings, visit a circus or attend numerous events for children.

You can also see art performances everywhere on the streets or in parks. You can also enter art museums free of charge for the Night of the Arts.

Another great time when you could visit Helsinki is May 1st for Vappu, which is the end of the winter festival.

In addition to that, you can visit Helsinki in October to enjoy the charming autumn scenery in eastern Finland. And you can get to know the Finnish sauna culture in October as well.

Best Time to Visit Finland for Snow

January and February are the best months to visit Finland for snow. Head to Lapland for peak snow cover. In northern Lapland snow cover can reach 20 – 30 inches of snow and 10 – 20 inches around the arctic circle.

But you should note that, during these months, Lapland is packed with tourists from Finland and all over the world. This makes the prices of accommodations and activities expensive.

For more budget friendly yet great months with a lot of snow, head to Lapland in March. You can still enjoy all the winter activities with less crowd and cheaper prices.

Best Time to Visit Finland for Igloo Hotels

January to March are the best months to visit the Finnish igloo hotels. Head to northern Lapland at the peak of winter to have an authentic arctic stay.  

You can also head to Lapland in December. But as it is Christmas season, prices will be very high. Moreover, cities and activities will be packed with tourists.

It is also worth to note that, March is more budget friendly than January and February since it is towards the end of tourist season.

Also, staying in an igloo hotel in March gives you the best chance of seeing the northern lights. 

Recommended for you

Travel smarter

Join the thousands of travel enthusiasts who are part of our T&T community.