Polar night in Kolari, Lapland
Photo by: Markus Kiili | Lapland Material Bank
Sunrise over Lapland waters
Photo by: Pohjois-Lapin Matkailu
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Length of Day in Lapland Year-Round

The length of days in Lapland varies from months of sunlight in the summer, followed by colorful autumn days, and long stretches of dark night, broken by magical blue moments and the pastels of Polar Night.

Lapland is famous for the Polar Night in the heart of winter, when the hidden sun paints the landscapes with pastels. And for the Midnight Sun, which gives filmmakers continuous daylight for three months. But what about every other time of year? We’ve put together this easy-to-read chart so you can find out exactly how long the day, or night, lasts in Lapland any time of year. 

length of daylight in lapland chart

The most important thing to understand and remember about the length of days in the Arctic is that the more north you go, the more extreme your daylight (and nights) get. Since Lapland sits relatively near the North Pole and is more than 500 km (310 miles) long from north to south, lengths of day greatly vary. More northern latitudes see days growing longer in spring and shorter in autumn faster than less northern latitudes. To help keep it straight, here’s a handy guide of Lapland municipalities by latitude:

DARKEST DAYS

The northernmost region of Finland sits largely above the Arctic Circle, giving it nights that seemingly last forever. At the northern border, Polar Night continues unbroken for two months. As day approaches, the combination of low light and heavy snow cover produce the famous “blue moment,” washing the landscape in shades of blue, starting from an intense dark indigo that slowly brightens to a soft light blue. During the short “day,” the sky becomes a lighter shade of purple and pink, and the hiding sun produces intense skylines against the horizon.

The equinox happens in late September, when there are 12 hours of day and 12 hours of night pretty much everywhere in Lapland. From then, the north begins to get more night than day, and the farther north you go, the faster this happens. Here’s some handy info to help you determine how much light (or night) you’ll have for your next Arctic production.

Arctic Circle

By definition, Arctic Circle locations like Rovaniemi get one 24 hour period of Polar Night, though it’s common not to see the sun for a week on either side due to geological or architectural reasons.

Day
Equinox (Sep 20)
November 1
Christmas
Valentine’s Day
(Equinox) March 20
Length of day (hours)
12
7.5
3
11.5
12

Ivalo

Ivalo sits about 280 km north of the Arctic Circle, and so it has true polar night that lasts a few weeks.

Day
Equinox (Sep 20)
November 1
Christmas
Valentine’s Day
(Equinox) March 20
Length of day (hours)
12
7
0
7.5
12

Utsjoki

The northernmost municipality in Finland is Utsjoki, and the northern border sits 400 km north of Rovaniemi. Polar night begins in late November and lasts until late January.

Day
Equinox (Sep 20)
November 1
Christmas
Valentine’s Day
(Equinox) March 20
Length of day (hours)
12
6.5
0
7
12
Blue moment in the Arctic
Photo by: Levin Matkailu
Sun rising over a dark snowy forest hill in the Arctic
Photo by: Jani Kärppä
Northern Lights and silhouettes
Photo by: Santa's Hotels
Pastel colors of Polar Night in Lapland
Photo by: Lapland
Northern Lights over the distant city of Rovaniemi in northern Finland
Photo by: Visit Rovaniemi

Warm and Wild 

Spring days stretch out longer and longer until May, when night is virtually non-existent throughout Lapland. Instead of night, the sky simply darkens, and the sun doesn’t dip too far under the horizon. In Utsjoki the sky doesn’t darken at all, and the sun just circles the skies continuously.

Utsjoki

Day
Equinox (March 20)
May 1
July 1
Sept 1
Equinox (Sept 20)
Length of day (hours)
12
18.75
24
15.5
12

Ivalo

Day
Equinox (March 20)
May 1
July 1
Sept 1
Equinox (Sept 20)
Length of day (hours)
12
18.25
24
15.25
12

Arctic Circle

Technically, there’s only one day per year on the Arctic Circle when the sun doesn’t set. But in practice, the nightless night season lasts for a month, from the beginning of June to the beginning of July. The nights are though bright already in the end of May, and stay relatively bright untill the beginning of August.

Day
Equinox (March 20)
May 1
July 1
Sept 1
Equinox (Sept 20)
Length of day (hours)
12
17.5
24
15
12
Rainbow reflecting in an Arctic Lake in summer
Photo by: Markus Kiili
Reindeer under the Midnight Sun
Photo by: Pohjois-Lapin Matkailu
rowboats by a summer lake in Lapland
Photo by: Terhi Tuovinen | Lapland Material Bank
Sunset over Lapland waters
Photo by: Pohjois-Lapin Matkailu
Beautiful summer day in Lapland
Photo by: Harri Tarvainen | Lapland Material Bank
Hikers walking through the Arctic on a summer day
Photo by: Visit Rovaniemi | Lapland Material Bank
cyclist in underpass in Rovaniemi
Photo by: Simo Vilhunen | Lapland Material Bank

If you want to see for yourself the quantity and quality of daylight in Lapland, check out this video from Rovaniemi-based production service providers Flatlight Creative House: