What’s your favorite season? The unending days of summer, autumn’s colorful explosion, or one of winter’s many phases? Learn more about Finnish Lapland’s many awesome seasons!
Everybody knows the traditional four seasons: winter, spring, summer, fall. But not everywhere has four seasons. Some places have less, and some—like Finnish Lapland—have a few more. Because it’s unfair to compare the crisp, dark days of early winter with the warm, blinding snowy days of late winter. So we’ve put together our list of the 8 seasons of Lapland, and wouldn’t you know it? They’re all our favorite season!
1. Solstice – 1st Day of the Year
The sun rises for a few minutes on the Arctic Circle on December 22, marking the most important turning point of the year in a calendar older than humanity. The next day, a fellow named Santa departs Finland on his journey around the world. Then the whole country erupts in fireworks in celebration of the “official” New Year’s Day only a week later. A great vantage point for this celebration are the bridges in Rovaniemi, as both shores launch fireworks over the dark river before the city lights up the sky to ring in the coming of the new year.
Is a visit to Santa on winter bucket list?
2. Winter Frost
The days are short in southern Lapland but still non-existent in in the north, the passage of time instead marked by the moon and the glow of Polar Night at midday. Snow comes heaviest this time of year, a barrage of white fluff that quickly blankets the land, turning innocuous pines into fantastic snow creatures. Temperatures plunge to their most extreme, making even a trip to the local supermarket an Arctic adventure. Have you ever had your eyelashes freeze together?
The late winter season can be described in two simple words: winter wonderland. This is fairy tale winter, the bright sun overhead illuminating the heavy snowfall that covers Lapland head to toe. The days are about half and half bright sun and sparkling stars. This is the best time to get in all your winter adventures: reindeer rides through thick forests, skiing down pristine slopes, ice-fishing in the northernmost village in Finland.
4. Icebergs Ahoy!
All that sunlight and warmth finally penetrates the heavy snow during late spring, cracking the ice and sending it crashing down the rivers. Across Lapland, the rivers writhe and awaken, bursting from their winter slumber like the giants they are. There are no more ice roads, no snowmobile excursions across serene frozen surfaces. This is the first glimpse of summer to come, and a great time to enjoy the first ice cream cone of the season.
5. Last Night (Rise of the Midnight Sun)
Sometime in mid-May, the sun dips below the horizon for the last time in months. From this moment on, there will be only 24 hours of light. Summer is no longer coming; it’s here. For Lapland, the summer season means festivals and ear plugs, kayaks and paddles, mountain bikes, hiking ancient stony fells … under the Midnight Sun, everyone has more energy, more time, more life.
Ah, the blessed return of nightfall to the north. This season salutes the end of summer with cooler days and stars in the skies. This is the season for hiking in a national park, picking berries and mushrooms in the bogs, of seeing the faint glimmer of the Northern Lights reflected in the border rivers between Finland and Sweden.
A season that needs no nickname, no darling epithet. This is Ruska, when summer is well and truly finished. The trees begin blushing in vibrant shades of red, orange and yellow—they know they’ll soon be naked and in full view. Get your camera and head outside–the trees are everywhere. Don’t forget to look up. This is also the best time of year to catch stunning auroras sweeping across the sky.
8. Winter’s First Kiss
The first snow of late autumn carries with it the promise of frosty days and chilly nights. The days grow shorter, the weather starker. Snowflakes often fall without warning. The longer nights mean more Northern Lights, especially in northernmost Finland, where they’re all but guaranteed. Christmas carols begin wriggling in people’s ears, and there can be no doubt that winter, in all her glory, is on her way.