How cold can it be in Lapland?
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When we think of Lapland, the image of dark, wintry landscapes and forests covered in a blanket of snow comes to mind along with quintessential Lapland activities such as husky and reindeer sleigh rides a meeting with Santa. Whilst this does ring true, the common question of how cold it can actually get still remains. Let’s start off with the fact you’ll need more than just a few thermal layers!
Situated in the northernmost part of Finland, Lapland has a subarctic to continental climate, experiencing an intense, short summer with mild temperatures and a long, cold winter which characterises the majority of the year. Daylight hours massively affect Lapland’s climate due to its extreme differences in daylight hours in winter and summer.
Yes, although Finland is cold with temperatures below freezing the norm during winter, the Gulf Stream actually makes it warmer than other countries that are the same latitude such as Alaska. This still doesn’t mean you don’t have to wrap up warm having said this. You can read more on what to wear here.
Winter lasts for 7 months of the year from October through to April with temperatures remaining below freezing and snow lingering for around 175 to 225 days per year. Days are short in winter, with daylight hours from around 10am to 2pm but temperatures plummet further due to the ‘polar night’. This is when the sun does not rise above the horizon, allowing a dim blue tinted sky known as ‘kaamos’ to settle over much of the northernmost corner of Finland. The polar night usually lasts around 51 days from November through to December and even January.
Temperatures in winter range from -30°C to 0°C but the coldest temperatures recorded have been as low as -45°C to -50°C, occurring after the winter solstice at the end of January.
Weather conditions in Lapland can change drastically in a short space of time, especially in Winter.
Spring lasts from 45 to about 65 days in the year beginning in early May. The average daily temperature ranges from 0°C to 10°C and once the average daily temperature exceeds 5°C, the thermal growing season begins which is usually late May in Lapland. With the snow still lingering in spring, ski enthusiasts can take advantage of the quiet slopes in Lapland’s resorts as well as cross country skiing and snowshoeing.
Summer is short in Lapland, starting in June and ending in August. North of the Arctic Circle, regions experience ‘polar days’ or ‘midnight sun’ in which the sun does not set at all. Not only are the notions of night and day forgotten, but temperatures increase to around 10°C to 15°C with highs of 21°C on its hottest days.
Temperatures drop considerably with the the last week of August seeing average temperatures below 10°C with the first snowfall in September and November experiences blizzards and high winds.