Lapland plunges into the harsh winter months in November. It is a cold region in the north of Norway, Finland, and Sweden. Between November and April a thick and beautiful layer of snow and ice covers the land. When is the best time to visit Lapland in winter ? Discover the different periods between November and April to enjoy the outdoor activities: snowmobiling, dog sledding, sleeping in an ice hotel or chasing the Northern Lights.
- 1 Visiting Lapland in winter: dry cold and freezing temperatures
- 2 Winter in Lapland, month after month
- 3 Experiment Lapland in winter: C-Ludik’s advice !
Visiting Lapland in winter: dry cold and freezing temperatures
These postcard winter sceneries, icy landscapes of immaculate white bathed in a fairy-tale atmosphere, irresistibly attract the most adventurous travelers. During the winter, the weather conditions are the most extreme. The average temperature during the day can go down to 5°F (-15°C) and during episodes of extreme cold even drop to -40°F (-40°C). For my part, the coldest I have experienced in Lapland was -13°F (-25°C,) which is already quite low. If you make a hole in the ice of a frozen lake, it is not surprising to see the surface of the water instantly refreeze! On the other hand, it is a dry cold with very low humidity in the air.
Winter in Lapland, month after month
The best time to enjoy Lapland for a snow gateway is anytime between the beginning of November and the end of April. After April, it all depends on what you want to see and what activities you are looking for. Here is a compilation, month by month, to get inspired for a Nordic gateway.
November: winter sets in with the first snowfalls
The weather gets colder, and the first snowfalls blanket the landscape with a persistent white coat. It feels great to be in nature, in the middle of nowhere (or almost), with peaceful and snowy landscapes ! The days shorten quickly until the end of the month when they give way to the “Kaamos”, the polar night, which will last two months until mid-January.
December: the polar night and the Christmas holidays
The polar night settles in. Fortunately, houses and snowy gardens are decorated with festive lights to fight off, in a way, the winter darkness that can be tiresome. Contrary to what we think, the polar night is not a dark night but rather extremely short days, as if we go directly from dawn to dusk—the sun just peaks above the horizon for a few hours every day. The atmosphere is unreal and totally different. Christmas markets pop up everywhere. It is the opportunity to discover the local crafts and to meet the locals. And what better place to have the best festive fun than celebrating Christmas in Santa’s country ? And to take full advantage of the winter atmosphere, this is your chance to spend a totally frosty night in an ice hotel…
January / February: the coldest months of the year
January and February are the coldest months of the year! Temperatures can drop below -22˚F (-30°C) for several days in some areas. Cloud cover is usually quite heavy. We are in the heart of winter with heavy, deep snow. February brings a beautiful crystal clear light to the sky that makes each day unique and dreamlike. During the day, the blue and pink glows and the gradations of color in the sky are magnificent.
End of February / March: the most pleasant time of winter
The days get considerably longer, and the temperature rises slightly. The day length is twice as long as in January, with 8 hours of daylight. Temperatures are around 14˚F (-10˚C,) so they are bearable. The mid-February/March period is, in my opinion, an excellent time to see the heart of winter and discover the beautiful landscapes of Lapland. There is a load of outdoor activities available: snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, dog sledding, or ice fishing. But beware, it’s also high season at the ski resorts. The months of February and March have optimum aurora conditions because the sun is back. The solar activity is more intense around the equinox; hence you have more chances to see dramatic shows of dancing lights. But it is a natural phenomenon and never shows up on demand; nothing is guaranteed !
Experiment Lapland in winter: C-Ludik’s advice !
If you want to go to Lapland in winter, mid-February and March are definitely my favorite months. You will be in the heart of winter with snow, cold, and Northern Lights. The sky displays extraordinary crystal clear lights and plenty of outdoor activities are available. In short, everything that makes for, in my opinion, the charm of Lapland in winter !