When is the best time to visit Scandinavia? Just like most places, it depends on what you wish to experience!

The vast majority of travelers touch down in the region during the summer months and for good reason. The sun shines for an almost alarming number of hours, the waters are glistening, and all sightseeing attractions are open. Although it’s the peak time for visitors, you won’t find it “crowded” as you might in other parts of Europe. There are plenty of wide-open spaces and activities to keep you occupied and the weather is perfect for kayaking, biking, and hiking. There’s a natural buzz and there is nothing like sitting in a green, happy park eating a local hot dog to make you pinch yourself and realize you’re living the Scandinavian dream. Visiting around Midsummer gives you access to vibrant local celebrations, including bonfire nights in Norway, or if you time it right, join one of the crayfish parties that pop up throughout Sweden in August. 

However, since the summer is peak tourist time, the prices also peak at this time of year. Local school children are typically off for holidays around June 20 until August 20 and the weeks pre-and post-school holidays fall under the “shoulder season” timeframe. You will find the energy a bit more subdued in May/early June and September but the weather is still generally favorable and crowds at attractions are minimal. 

If you’re seeking a glimpse of the Northern Lights, you should visit when the nights are at their darkest and longest. October to March provide the best opportunities to see the Aurora Borealis light up the sky but while you may get lucky and see them on your first evening away from city lights, it is recommended to give yourself multiple nights to increase your chances. And there’s no shortage of unique accommodations that supplement the viewing experience, including ice hotels and rooms perched in trees. Most properties with excellent Northern Lights views will have announcement systems to rouse those who wish to step outside to see the show whether at midnight or 2 a.m.

During the winter months, you can also try your hand at winter sports, go dog sledding or take part in sauna culture. If you’re visiting in November or December, head out to a traditional Christmas market. The Tivoli Christmas market in Copenhagen shimmers as its wooden roller coasters are decked out in decorative baubles. Roast pork sandwiches and steaming cups of gløgg will keep you full and warm. 

As you may or may not know, Finland is the home of Santa Claus and Helsinki’s market features a merry-go-round, Finnish crafts and gifts, and eco-friendly foods designed to feature plant-based solutions and minimize waste. If your time and budget allow, you may also swing up past the Arctic Circle to meet the jolly soul himself at Santa’s Village in Rovaniemi.

No matter what time you choose to visit Scandinavia, we are happy to design the perfect itinerary to tick all of the boxes that are important to you.

Hero image courtesy of Sven-Erik Knoff – Visit Norway
Midsummer Bonfire image courtesy of
C. Yuki /Foap – VisitNorway.com

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