Visiting Scandinavia in Winter

Posted by Maja Mandžikašvili  |  November 12, 2018

Scandinavia is a historical region in Northern Europe with a common ethnocultural North Germanic heritage, related and sometimes hardly understandable and pronounceable languages, and amazing nature cherished by its citizens.

If you’ve ever dreamed of a real winter fairy tale, polar adventures, or a break from everyday city stress, noise, and traffic jams, a winter vacation in Scandinavia is a must-do. Each country will open the most secret corners for you and help you relax your body and soul, recharging your batteries with the pure energy of the North. This experience is best enjoyed during a visit to Scandinavia in winter.


Navigating Scandinavia’s Climate

Scandinavian countries have different climatic features. If you want to know how cold Scandinavia is in winter before planning your itinerary, it’s best to research the specific region you’re traveling to.

For example, the weather on the west coast of Denmark forms a maritime climate, making it not too cold and sunny. The average winter temperature in December, January, and February is practically the same here, with the thermometer consistently showing 0 °C. The same climate is typical for the south of Sweden.

In the regions of the Scandinavian Mountains in Sweden and Norway, the climate is close to alpine, with low temperatures, especially in winter. While December justifies its reputation as the first month of winter, January is considered the coldest month in Sweden and Norway. The coldest month in Finland is February. The average Scandinavian winter temperatures vary between 0 and -15 °C, depending on the region.

Those who have already traveled to Scandinavia in winter say that most of this region becomes like a snow-covered paradise on earth. The duration of the day in Scandinavia depends on the region and its proximity to the polar circle. On average, daylight hours in Scandinavia in winter last about 4-5 hours.

Undoubtedly, a winter tour to Scandinavia is a real pleasure; however, you have to be well-equipped with warm clothing. So, if you are going to Sweden, Norway, Finland, or Denmark for your winter vacation, don’t forget to pack some warm sweaters.


Winter Activities in Scandinavia

Winter tourism in Scandinavia is incredibly diverse, offering the opportunity to engage in a variety of activities, from making ice sculptures and skiing to dog sledding and swimming in icy cold water, limited only by your imagination and physical preparedness.

You might prefer spending your evenings sitting in a cozy chair and enjoying the winter landscape outside the window of a ski resort hotel, but you should definitely include a few Scandinavian winter destinations on your list that will make you leave your warm location.

One of them is the small town of Wuollerime in Sweden. Every year in February, one of the most beautiful winter festivals in Scandinavia takes place – the Festival of 1000 Ice Lanterns. The Sami, the indigenous inhabitants of these places, have believed from ancient times that ice combined with fire brings good luck.

Swedish Lapland offers snowmobiles, walks through the Lapland winter forest, visiting an ice hotel in Kiruna, and alpine skiing in the best ski resort of Åre. Lapland is 100% winter from December to April, with unspoiled nature and a mild, dry climate. Children will be happy to visit the village of Santa Claus.


Trysil is one of the largest ski centers in Norway, geographically close enough to Sweden. Trysil is also famous for stable weather, making it especially pleasant to travel here in winter, in December-January. Visiting Scandinavia in winter and not skiing there would be a big loss for you. Some tracks in Trysil are specially designed for night riding, equipped with additional lighting devices for safety. Skating at night can give tourists unforgettable impressions, as Norwegian landscapes are especially attractive at this time.

You might want to take a dog sled tour along a snow-covered plain with incredible speed. By putting your face to the wind, you will understand what life was like in earlier times when dog sledding was a much more common way of moving. Ice fishing is extremely popular in Scandinavia in winter, especially in the north, where there are many lakes. Winter fishing predisposes you to relax and warm up in the sauna or by the fire in the evening after a busy day.


During your visit to Scandinavia in winter, don’t forget to install the app Norway Lights and feel free to go on a “hunt” for the northern lights. Christmas in Scandinavia, especially in Norway and Denmark, is a real feast of light, with a variety of entertainment and traditional fun throughout the winter. White snow and Christmas decorations add a touch of magic to the holiday. A fire in the fireplace, the sonorous voices of children playing in the snow, and, of course, countless gifts and Christmas markets. In Norway, Christmas is called “Jul” (‘Yul’), and the traditions of this holiday date back to the pre-Christian era. Although we know little about it, we know that at that time, it was customary to sacrifice animals and drink beer. In other words, some of the rituals were quite similar to modern ones.

It does not matter what kind of activity you will prefer while traveling to Scandinavia in winter; you will always remember it.