Change language

A seasonal guide to Helsinki

It's a common misconception that summer is the only time worth visiting Helsinki, but expert travellers know that the Finish capital has no shortage of charm during the other seasons as well. Escape to the great outdoors and experience the awe-inspiring Northern Lights, sample the local delicacies as you wander the city's markets, partake in the traditional Midsummer Eve celebrations, or simply bask in the array of reds, yellows, and orange light known as "ruska" that blankets the autumn landscape. With each season offering a new range of experiences, there’s never a bad time to visit Helsinki.

Take in the charm of the city's snow covered landscape

Take in the charm of the city's snow covered landscape

Winter

Braving a Helsinki winter might not be the top of every traveller’s to-do list, but that’s only because expectations often revolve around sub-zero temperatures and early afternoon sunsets. Yet even at its coldest and darkest, Helsinki offers the intrepid visitor a taste of true Finland. Experience the awe-inspiring majesty of the Northern Lights above a starkly beautiful snow-covered landscape, try a little fishing or sledding on the ice or simply warm your bones with a glass of fortifying cloudberry wine.

Helsinki's family-friendly parks come alive in the spring

Helsinki's family-friendly parks come alive in the spring

Spring

As the shortest season in Finland, you’ll have to be quick to catch a Helsinki spring. From the end of March to the beginning of May, Helsinki shrugs off its white winter coat and the locals celebrate the return of more temperate weather with food festivals and second-hand markets. Spring is also when the family-friendly parks come into their own, and the increase in temperature make that classically Finnish combination of a sauna and an open-air swim a little less daunting.

Finland's midnight sun gives visitors extra hours to explore every corner of the city

Finland's midnight sun gives visitors extra hours to explore every corner of the city

Summer

With around 120 days of winter, it’s no surprise that Helsinki natives squeeze every last drop of enjoyment out of their summers. That’s not all down to the long winters though – there’s so much stuff happening in summer you’ll need to grab every opportunity to make the most out of your visit! With festivals of music, food as well as the traditional Midsummer Eve celebrations, you’ll never be stuck for something to do. If you head north, you’ll get the chance to experience Finland’s hauntingly beautiful midnight sun too.

The city is blanketed in a wonderous array of reds, yellows, and oranges in the autumn

The city is blanketed in a wonderous array of reds, yellows, and oranges in the autumn

Fall

Autumn blankets the landscapes around Helsinki in a wondrous array of reds, yellows and oranges that the locals call ‘ruska’. Of course, you don’t have to be Finnish to appreciate the beauty, and venturing out into the colourful woods means you’ll be able to pick wild mushrooms and berries for a true taste of the land. Luckily, those fantastic seasonal ingredients find their way back to the capital's restaurants - the perfect place to head when darkness falls and things get chilly.