The best time of winter to travel to Lapland depends on your personal preferences. Below you will find a description of the different periods.
The daylight hours are fixed, our area guarantees snow from mid-December until almost May, but details about the weather are unpredictable on the long term. So there are no guarantees, it is about “having a greater chance for … ‘. To see the northern light in the first place there sky has to be clear and it must be dark. Furthermore, you have to be lucky. At our altitude, the probability of the northern lights are 50/50 if it is a clear sky. That can go from weak to very strong.
Mid-December to mid-January
The real Lapland. Only 3 to 4 hours of daylight, endless twilight and long nights with large probability that you will see the northern lights. We’re sledging every day a certain time at twilight and dark, which is a special experience. Beautiful colors as the sun is just above the horizon. Chance of snow is big, but also big chance for clear sky. But the sun doesn’t give any heat and clear days remarkably are often the coldest. It looks like a fairytale, often with thick snow on the trees. Not so much snow on the ground yet, between 25 and 40 cm so that the trails can be very bumpy and sledding sometimes is really kicking. When it snows it can be around zero, but once the clouds dissappear temperatures drop dramatically. The ideal time for those looking for a ‘kick and WOW’ experience, and not afraid to drain off.
Mid-January to mid-February
Days are a bit longer. At the end of the day trips, we are mushing in twilight. It’s getting completely dark when we arrive at the overnight places. Pretty good chance of snowfall, but also high probability of clear skies where it can be extremely cold. The sun gives little warmth. There is lots of snow on the trees and 35 to 60 cm of snow on the ground, so the trails became flatter and the sledding is easier. On average, this is the coldest time of year. It is often between -10 and -30 degrees during the day, with peaks sometimes of -40 overnight. There is a great opportunity to see the northern lights. This is the ideal time for the average adventurer.
Mid-February to mid-March
Longer days, we only sled in broad daylight. Big opportunity to have sunny days and the sun starts to give heat. Smaller chance of snow on the trees, that is often blown off, or melted by the sun. A lot of snow on the ground though, some winters up to a meter thick. Mushing is fairly ‘easy’ because of the flat, well-packed trails. The greatest cold is gone, during the day it is between -5 to around zero, or slightly above zero in March. But it keeps freezing at night and it can easily be -20. Good chance of northern lights, but it is only dark enough later in evening and early morning. This is the ideal time for people who want it somewhat less extreme.
Mid-March to mid-April
Early spring feeling, with long sunny days and small chance of snowfall. No more snow on the trees, but still a lot of snow on the ground. Sledding is relatively “easy” by the hard-packed trails. During daytime it can be nicely “warm” with temperatures around zero or up to +5 degrees. At night it freezes light to moderate. Due to the high chance of clear weather the probability of northern lights is basically high, but you will increase your chances of seeing it when you get up several times a night to check. This is the ideal time for people who want it more comfortable.