Are you planning a winter trip to Europe and wondering “when does it snow in Finland?”.
In certain parts of the country, you can expect icy weather from November (or even earlier!).
It usually snows throughout the country in December, January and February, although the amount and consistency varies depending on where you are.
Generally, the further north you go, the more likely you are to see heavy snow – but it can happen anywhere in the country.
Let’s take a look at snow in Finland!
Does it snow in Finland?
Yes, it snows in Finland during its (very!) long winter season.
The Nordic country stretches right to the top of Northern Europe – into the Arctic – and is home to a fair few mountains, so it’s no surprise that snow’s very frequent here!
You’ll find snow in Finland from late autumn to early spring in many regions. It hangs around most in the north, but Southern Finland, including Helsinki, also receives its fair share.
The type and amount of snow can vary, ranging from light flurries to heavy snowstorms.
So, basically, if you’re heading to Finland in winter, expect snow!
When does it snow in Finland?
It can snow in most parts of Finland from November to March or even April. Let’s dive in and look at it, month by month.
Does it snow in Finland in November?
November is when winter starts to make its presence felt in Finland.
Cold winds usher in frosty mornings, and the likelihood of seeing snow starts to increase.
Your chance of seeing snow is highest in Lapland, and lowest in the south west of the country (by the sea).
Does it snow in Finland in December?
December truly kicks off the snow season in Finland.
Whether you’re in the south or venturing into Lapland, you’ll probably encounter some snow – although it’s never guaranteed!
Does it snow in Finland in January?
Come January, snowfall is consistent across Finland.
The entire country, from Helsinki to the Arctic Circle, regularly sees the white stuff!
Does it snow in Finland in February?
There’s still lots of snow around in February, but its frequency begins to wane.
Snow remains on the ground, but it actually snows less.
Does it snow in Finland in March?
Snowfall’s less common in South Finland in March, but it continues to dominate the landscape in the north.
Where does it snow in Finland?
It can snow anywhere in Finland in the winter months – but here’s what to expect in the main areas.
Lapland, in the far north, stretches within the Arctic Circle and is synonymous with deep, powdery snow.
The region is often the first in Finland to welcome winter, and the snow cover stays longer than in other parts.
Several ski resorts, such as Levi and Ylläs, take full advantage of this!
Besides skiing and snowboarding, you can explore the wilderness by dog sledging or snowmobiling.
You’ll often be able to see the Northern Lights dancing across the night sky.
It’s a magical place, complete with Santa Claus’s official residence in Rovaniemi!
North Ostrobothnia and Kainuu
You can count on snow blanketing North Ostrobothnia and Kainuu from late November well into April.
Located in the northwest, these regions encompass the city of Oulu – usually a tech hub, but dotted with ice hockey and skating rinks – and plenty of skiing on the outskirts!
In Kainuu, you’ll find Vuokatti, where you can enjoy downhill and cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
Both North Ostrobothnia and Kainuu are excellent places for ice fishing, a quintessential Finnish pastime.
For something a bit lower-key, opt for a nature trail walk in one of the many national parks, such as Hiidenportti National Park. You could even go snowshoeing!
Northern Lights are also often visible here – without the usual Lapland crowds!
Northern Savonia and Northern Karelia (Central/ Eastern Finland)
Snow often appears in Northern Savonia and Northern Karelia around late November and can stick around until April, thanks to its continental climate.
Kuopio, the urban heart of Northern Savonia, converts its harbour into an ice-skating rink and nearby Puijo Tower slopes are ideal for skiing and snowboarding!
Similarly, in Joensuu, located in Northern Karelia, winter sports facilities are never far away.
Koli National Park is a highlight here, ideal for snowshoeing and skiing.
From around December to March, Finnish Lakeland, including the cities Lahti and Tampere, is frequently snow-covered!
Lahti, known as the winter sports capital of Finland, is home to the Messilä Ski Resort – it’s a large frozen lake perfect for ice skating or ice fishing.
Tampere, on the other hand, has the popular Sappee Ski Resort within driving distance and various rinks for skating.
Both cities have an array of outdoor activities to offer. If you’re in Lahti, consider a day at Päijänne National Park, where trails are open for snowshoeing or head to Tampere’s Pyynikki Park!
Snowfall in Southwest Finland, including Turku and the Åland Islands, generally starts in December and lasts until February.
However, it doesn’t always settle due to its coastal location – often, the snow mixes with rain and becomes more slushy!
But snow certainly does happen – and when it does, Turku Castle and other landmarks look phenomenal.
One of the most popular activities in this region? Winter swimming!
Do as the locals do and dunk in the frigid water, before warming up in a hot sauna.
South East Finland
Snow’s possible in South East Finland anytime from November until March.
The snow isn’t overwhelmingly deep here, but it’s more than enough for a range of winter activities!
In Lappeenranta, take to the ice skating rinks or try your hand at winter fishing. The ponds and rinks bustle with activity as everyone—locals and tourists alike—gets their ice skates on.
For something a little quieter, how about snowshoeing in one of the regional parks? Saimaa Geopark, for example, has a host of winter trails and even guided tours.
Does it snow in Helsinki?
Yes, it snows in Helsinki!
From late November to March, you can expect temperatures to range between -3°C (27°F) and -6°C (21°F). It’s cold, but often a dry cold that feels more manageable than you’d expect.
On snowy days, the city adopts a quiet, subdued atmosphere.
Streets glisten under lamps, and snowflakes blanket the stalls and cobblestones of the Market Square near the harbour.
While walking outside, you’ll see locals going about their day wearing layers of high-tech cold-weather gear—they’ve mastered the art of staying warm!
If the cold starts to wear you down, there are plenty of indoor activities to enjoy.
Helsinki has a robust coffee culture, and there’s nothing like a Finnish coffee house to offer you respite from the chill.
Local favourites like Karl Fazer Café serve up an array of hot beverages and pastries that are perfect for a snowy day.
For a deeper understanding of Finnish culture without braving the outdoors, consider visiting one of Helsinki’s many museums.
Another excellent indoor activity is a visit to Löyly, an urban sauna that epitomizes the Finnish sauna experience.
It’s a cosy, warm retreat from the wintery conditions outside. You can even brave a dip in the icy Baltic Sea if you’re feeling adventurous!
While Helsinki is usually bitterly cold in the winter, this has been changing in recent years due to climate change and snow becoming more unpredictable year-on-year.
With a variety of winter events and nearby ski options like Talma Ski, Helsinki’s a frosty but fun winter city break.
Why does it snow in Finland?
Why does Finland see so much snow? The country’s geography is a major clue.
Stretching from the southern Baltic region all the way into the Arctic, it’s at prime snow latitude.
Plus, there’s no shortage of mountains, especially in the north, to attract and keep the snowfall.
It also has a continental climate. Far removed from any large body of water, much of the country doesn’t have a moderating influence to temper its weather.
This results in colder air that allows for frequent and consistent snowfall. However, Finland isn’t the snowiest country in Scandinavia. Norway usually racks up more inches per year.
Why? Compared to Norway, which has a rugged coastline and high mountains that trap moisture, Finland is relatively flat in many areas. This topography doesn’t “catch” the snowfall in the same way that Norway’s more dramatic landscapes do.
Another factor is the North Atlantic Drift, a warm ocean current that has a significant impact on Norway’s weather. This current brings more moisture to Norway, resulting in heavier snowfall, especially in its mountainous regions.
Plus, while parts of Finland do extend into the Arctic Circle, Norway has regions that are even farther north. The colder temperatures there make for more consistent snowfall and better snow retention.
It’s much snowier in Finland than Denmark, the Southernmost Scandinavian country, however!
What is the snowiest place in Finland?
Looking for the snowiest place in Finland?
Levi is one of the country’s premier winter destinations.
Located in the heart of Lapland, Levi consistently receives the most snowfall in Finland, thanks to its prime location within the Arctic Circle.
Being situated so far north, it’s not only more exposed to cold air masses but also enjoys a longer winter season.
This ensures that the snow remains pristine and plentiful, making Levi a top choice for those seeking an authentic snowy experience in Finland.
Levi’s a popular place for a wide range of winter activities and sports, from skiing and snowboarding to snowshoeing and ice fishing.
Skiing in Finland
Finland offers a fantastic array of ski resorts – it’s a dream destination for winter sportspeople!
Whether you’re a seasoned skier or a beginner, there’s something for everyone here.
Levi is undoubtedly one of Finland’s most popular ski resorts and for a good reason.
In the heart of Lapland, Levi boasts pristine slopes and an abundance of winter activities.
Skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts will find a variety of well-maintained runs catering to all skill levels.
The resort’s location within the Arctic Circle ensures a lengthy winter season with plenty of fresh snow.
When you’re finished with the slopes, experience the thrill of snowmobiling, go husky sledging or even witness the mesmerizing Northern Lights dancing across the night sky.
Ruka is another top-tier destination for skiing in Finland.
Located in the Kuusamo region, the slopes at Ruka cater to skiers and snowboarders of all levels.
One unique aspect of Ruka is its suitability for night skiing.
The well-lit slopes are ideal for skiing under the stars!
Ylläs, situated in Lapland, is known for its pristine wilderness and outstanding skiing.
What sets Ylläs apart is its vast ski area, which includes both Ylläsjärvi and Äkäslompolo villages.
There’s a huge range of slopes, cross-country skiing trails, snowmobile safaris and ice fishing in frozen lakes. Ylläs truly embraces the spirit of Finnish winter!
Saariselkä in Lapland is serene and peaceful.
This charming resort boasts a range of activities, including downhill skiing and snowboarding.
Saariselkä’s unique draw is its Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort, where you can stay in glass igloos and witness the enchanting Northern Lights from the comfort of your own cosy accommodation.
Perfect after a busy day on the slopes!
Tips for visiting Finland in the snow
Here are some key tips to bear in mind when visiting Finland in the snow:
- Dress in Layers: Finland’s winter can be exceptionally cold, so layering your clothing is essential. Thermal undergarments, a warm jacket, waterproof boots, and insulated gloves are a must.
- Aurora Hunting: If seeing the Northern Lights is on your bucket list, plan your trip between September and April, and head to a location with minimal light pollution, like Lapland. Check the Northern Lights forecast on websites like the Finnish Meteorological Institute.
- Plan Ahead: Research and book accommodations and activities in advance, especially during peak winter months, to ensure availability.
- Travel Insurance: Don’t forget to purchase comprehensive travel insurance that covers winter sports and potential weather-related disruptions.
So, does it snow in Finland?
Yes, it does snow in Finland throughout the year!
Head to Lapland for more guaranteed snow, but you’ll find freezing temperatures in the south from late November to March too.
There are few countries as compelling in the winter as Finland, so if it’s snow that you’re after, definitely consider visiting.