When to travel to Finland: weather and seasons
Weather in Finland
Finland is one of the world’s most northern and geographically remote countries and is subject to a severe climate, marked by cold winters and warm summers. Located in the zone where tropical and polar air masses meet, Finland’s weather tends to change quickly, especially in the winter months and is characterised by irregular rains. In Finland the weather can vary greatly during one day, first sunshine, then rain. Rapid changes in the weather are a characteristic feature from one day to the next.
Finland’s climate is influenced chiefly by the Gulf Stream, a warm ocean current that flows off Norway’s west coast, and its many lakes and the gulfs of Bothnia and Finland help give the country a relatively mild climate for its latitude. Potentially subarctic, the climate remains comparatively mild thanks to the moderating influence of the North Atlantic Current, Baltic Sea, and more than 60,000 lakes.
Short but warm summers and mystical snow covered winters
Nevertheless, despite the moderating effect of the ocean, at times the Asian continental climate also extends to Finland, resulting in severe cold in winter and extreme heat in summer. Heat waves, with a maximum daily temperature exceeding 25°C, occur on an average of 10 to 15 days per summer inland in southern and central Finland, and 5 to 10 days in northern Finland and on the coast. Marked seasonality is the principal feature of the Baltic region. With short but warm summers and mystical snow covered winters, Finland’s unique climate attracts many tourists each year.
In summer, even after a chilly night, the temperature in the morning rises to between 10 and 15°C, and the weather warms quickly towards the afternoon. From the Midsummer festival (around June 24) to mid-August afternoon temperatures are typically between 20 and 23 degrees, and in Lapland, too, they are often about 20°C. Sometimes in summer tropically warm humid air reaches Finland from the southeast or south, raising the daytime temperature to close on 30°C or more. Continental high pressure from Siberia can also move westwards in summer, bringing very dry, hot weather with it.
If there is high pressure, the weather is generally sunny and dry, although fair weather cumulus clouds may develop into thunderstorms in the afternoon. The hottest weather in the summer generally comes from the southeast, bringing thunderstorms and heavy rain showers.
When there is a strong ridge of high pressure, the longest spells of dry weather last 2-3 weeks.
The Four Seasons
Autumn and spring are short and the weather in those seasons has its own beautiful features reflected by the natural surroundings.
In Finland summer weather fades into autumn as August comes to an end, and the changeover to winter weather takes place fairly quickly in November and December. In southern Finland, especially on the coast, summer temperatures linger until mid-September. During Autumn the temperature usually remains below 10°C. At the end of October the temperature is about six degrees lower than at the beginning of the month. In Lapland the weather is already wintry in November.
Winter weather in the southwestern archipelago, when the sea is ice-free, lasts about three months (December-February) and in northern Lapland more than six months, from mid-October to the end of April.
In the central part of the country winter weather usually prevails from November to the beginning of April, and in the interior of southern Finland from December to the end of March.
Springtime is characterized by light winds, clear weather and sunshine during the daytime. In spring the temperature varies greatly between night and day as the sun brings warmth during the daylight hours. At the beginning of March the daytime temperature is typically around zero in southern and central parts of the country, but at the end of April it is already above 10 degrees.
In northern Finland, on the other hand, the daytime temperature rises from -5°C at the beginning of March to +5°C at the end of April. Sometimes the south of Finland experiences a cold spell in May, when snow falls and the temperature is only just above zero. The lowest temperature recorded at any weather station in Finland this century is -51°C.
When to go if you like it hot – and when if you like it cold!
Keep in mind that Finnish weather is the warmest in July, with temperatures between 15°C in the north and 25°C in the south, and the coldest in February, with temperatures of -30°C in the north and -15 in the south. February is also the driest month in Finland, while August weather is the wettest time of year. In general Finland has an extreme swing between summer and winter, with bitterly cold winters when temperatures drop to -20°C (-4°F) in many areas, particularly in northern Lapland.
Temperature differences between regions are greatest in January, when the difference between southern and northern Finland is about 12°C; in June and July, this figure is only about 5°C.
In Finland, days when the highest temperature is above 25°C are recorded as hot days. Temperatures as high as 30°C (86°F) are possible in the south and east of the country. During warm weather, gnats and mosquitos can be a hazard, particularly in the north.
Summers in Helsinki are rather mild, with an average temperature of 18°C in July; winters are pretty long and cold, January temperatures averaging -6°C.
Climate in Finland
Fahrenheit and centigrade, inches and millimetres, average values.
|Average Monthly Precipitation (Inches)||4.3||4.4||2.7||2.5||1.5||0.8||0.2||0.2||1.0||3.1||4.5||4.3||2.5|
|Average Monthly Precipitation (mm)||110.0||111.0||69.0||64.0||39.0||21.0||5.0||6.0||26.0||80.0||114.0||108.0||62.75|
Relative Humidity (%)
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Useful facts, dates and links to help you plan your tour of Finland