All four seasons are clearly present in the annual cycle of Rovaniemi. However, many locals would say the year consists of up to eight seasons, each with their own distinct characteristics.
The only constant is change
Cold winters, warm summers, colourful autumns and light-filled springs that bring about the rebirth of nature are the foremost nominators in the northern annual cycle. In Rovaniemi, the four main seasons are completed by seasons of transition in between them, which means the weather is ever-changing – find out more below.
This period takes place in January-February and is also known as the heart of winter. With only a few hours of daylight, a rather mysterious air of silence and peacefulness shrouds the natural surroundings. A great way of experiencing the fresh and crisp midwinter is through winter activities.
Typical temperature: -25°C to -15°C
The amount of daylight starts increasing dramatically towards the end of February and the snowy landscapes bathe in the bright springtime sun until the snow starts melting away at the end of April. For many locals, this is the favourite time of year and it shows: fells, forests and frozen waters are filled with people doing outdoor activities like skiing, ice fishing, snowmobiling, and just generally walking about, enjoying themselves.
Typical temperature: -15°C to 5°C
Spring - when the ice breaks and nature is reborn
Solidly frozen for months, the ice on the rivers Ounasjoki and Kemijoki – at the confluence of which Rovaniemi is situated – starts to melt, break and glide downstream in floes in April-May. This time marks the annual rebirth in nature: flowers and plants show signs of life again after being buried under snow for months, reindeer start calving, and days get increasingly longer; summer is round the corner.
Typical temperature: 5°C to 15°C
Summer and the Midnight Sun
In Rovaniemi, the Midnight Sun shines from early June until early July, but nights are white from late May until early August. Warm spells, where temperatures reach 25 degrees, usually happen between mid-June and mid-August. With 24 hours of daylight, there’s plenty of time for summer activities and festive events.
Typical temperature: 15°C to 25°C
Harvest season and the first Auroras
August in Rovaniemi is defined by harvesting nature’s crops, namely berries and mushrooms. Locals flock to forests in search of cloudberries, bilberries, lingonberries, boletuses and russula. For visitors, guidance on what and where to pick is available. Nights start getting darker in mid-August, and the Northern Lights season begins.
Typical temperature: 10°C to 20°C
Autumn leaf colour
In September, the first whiffs of the coming winter can be sensed in the air. In nature, a colourful display known as Autumn Leaf Colour takes place as leaves turn various shades of earthy tones. This time is perfect for outdoor activities in Rovaniemi, especially hiking and trekking.
Typical temperature: 5°C to 15°C
First snowfall - winter is coming
Night-time temperatures drop below zero in October, sometimes even in late September, and frost turns mornings glistening white. People eagerly wait for first snow to fall, and when it does, kids rush outside to build their first snowmen. The first cross-country skiing tracks are opened with the help of stored snow from the previous winter. First snow melts away fairly quickly, only to return permanently within weeks, usually in late November.
Typical temperature: -5°C to 5°C
By December, the darkness of the Polar Night has descended upon Rovaniemi, but the snow and Christmas lights brighten the surroundings with their merry glow. The town is buzzing with visitors from around the world who have come to meet Rovaniemi’s most famous citizen, Santa Claus.
The shortest day of the year is December 21st or 22nd (varies annually), and thanks to being located right on the Arctic Circle, on this day, the sun doesn’t rise at all in Rovaniemi. After the Christmas season, focus turns to the New Year and the increasing amount of light.
Typical temperature: -15°C to -5°C