When is the Best Time to Visit Swedish Lapland?
Published on: November 13th, 2018
Last modified: July 28th, 2023
Swedish Lapland is a mystical land; reindeers take cover under snow laden trees, the magical Northern Lights light up the night sky and the native Sami people welcome foreigners with their rich folklore.
The best time to visit Swedish Lapland depends on what it is you want to do while you’re there.
To see the Northern Lights or wander through a magical winter wonderland, visit from November to February. If you’re after hiking through rolling hills and experiencing the midnight sun, then June to August is the best time to go.
Climate and seasons in Swedish Lapland
December to February see the most snowfall in Swedish Lapland, making it an ideal time to visit for skiing, snowshoeing, sledding or snowmobiling. Be sure to pack your warmest winter gear, as temperatures in this region can reach up to -16°C. On occasion, the wind chill can even drop the temperature to as low as -30°C. December and January have the shortest daylight hours of the entire year, with days starting to get longer towards the end of February.
Snow slowly begins to melt in March, as the days become increasingly longer and the weather becomes bright and sunny. Melting snow sometimes leaves thinning ice on the ground, so it’s a good idea to travel with a guide if you go hiking during this time. April and May are both excellent for outdoor pursuits, particularly hiking and cycling, as the snow completely melts to make way for blooming flowers and verdant forest.
Although Swedish Lapland is typically thought of as a winter destination, the region also has plenty to offer during the summer months. Temperatures are mild even in the far north of Sweden during summer, so outdoor excursions become much more enjoyable between June and August. Both the Treehotel and Icehotel are now open year-round, so you can spend your summer days relaxing in the treetops or getting acquainted with local Sami culture.
The shoulder months of September and October are difficult to predict; the weather could be mild and sunny, or it could be pouring with rain. If the weather is pleasant, September is a great month for boating and hiking excursions. In October and November, snow begins to fall, so it’s wise to be prepared. Temperatures can reach below freezing during these months but the air is fresh and crisp, so the cold is bearable.
Best time to...
See the Northern Lights
From November to February, Swedish Lapland is blanketed in crisp, white snow. Night skies are clear and Swedish Lapland has one of the lowest rainfalls in Scandinavia, so this region is perfect for aurora spotting. The isolated town of Abisko, close to the Norwegian border, is a great base for any Northern Lights excursion. This region has many clear nights, so your chances of spotting the magical light show are unrivalled. Nearly every lodge in Swedish Lapland puts the Northern Lights at the forefront of their excursions, so you can learn how to photograph them at Logger’s Lodge or view them on a snowmobile from the Icehotel.
Go hiking in verdant forests
During Swedish summers, temperatures are mild but not overly warm, creating the perfect environment for outdoor activities. In Swedish Lapland, the snow melts to reveal rolling hills of green, so hiking in particular is a popular pursuit during this time. Canoeing, cycling and kayaking are all equally pleasant ways to explore the Scandinavian woodland. While you’re hiking, be sure to keep an eye out for Lapland’s elusive wildlife - critically endangered arctic foxes, moose and brown bears can all be spotted.
Explore a winter wonderland
In winter, Swedish Lapland transforms into a bonafide winter wonderland. Wrapping up in your warmest clothing to share stories with locals over traditional Swedish fika (coffee and pastries), herding reindeer or chasing the Northern Lights are all incredible ways to pass the time here. Snowmobiling, dog-sledding and ice fishing are other worthy ways to fill winter in Swedish Lapland.
Experience the midnight sun
In June and July, you’ll be able to experience the surreal sensation of the midnight sun, when daylight still prevails long after 10pm. In the height of summer, it is not unusual to see local Sami people chatting outdoors around traditional Swedish barbecues long into the night. Extended daylight hours during summer also mean travellers can spend hours ambling through rolling forests or canoeing over glistening lakes.