Finland in October: Travel Tips for the Start of Winter


A thick blanket of snow engulfs the vibrant autumn foliage as Finland transitions into a long and cold winter starting in October. In the north, the first snow has arrived, instigating the ski season, while in the Finnish Laplands, the Northern Lights are beginning to glow in the night sky. October also marks the end of the tourist season in the country. So if you visit Finland in October, you will find flights to the country are much cheaper and accommodation bargains easier to find.

Finland Weather in October

Exploring Finland in October
Though October is the start of the winter months in Finland, there are still plenty of hiking and exploration possibilities.

As Finland transitions to winter starting in October, expect cold weather throughout. Helsinki is typically cloudy and sees substantial rain during this time of year. The cold climes influence the temperatures to drop to around 4℃ and peak to a high of 10℃. The southern region of Turku shares a similar trait with a high of 9℃ and a low of 2.8℃. The proximity of Helsinki and Turku to the Baltic Sea causes a thick fog to engulf both cities in October.

Finland’s northern areas are already in the grip of winter by October. Rovaniemi in Lapland sees an average daytime high of 3℃. The mercury can drop as low as -1℃ at night. Further north in the Arctic Circle, the temperatures remain below freezing all day.

For a seasonal overview, check out our guide on the best time to visit Finland.

Weather in Finland in October - Rainfall and Temperatures

Avg Daily (°C)-1-1281519211914820
Avg Nightly (°C)-9-10-6-149121163-2-7
Avg Daily (°F)
Avg Nightly (°F)15.81421.
Avg Rainfall (mm)604040304060709080708060

Why Visit Finland in October

Forest alongside lake in Finland in October
The forests along the lakes of Karelia are still resplendent with their autumn foliage.
Helsinki aerial panoramic view at sunset, Finland.
Helsinki is a hotspot for design and architecture fanatics.

There are several reasons to visit Finland in October. We have listed a few below:

  • The Northern Lights: October through March is the best time to see the Northern lights or aurora borealis. Venture into Lapland when long nights and clear skies create perfect conditions for viewing this magical spectacle. Furthermore, the lack of tourists during this time of year means accommodation and tours to Lapland are much cheaper.
  • Autumn in Karelia: The landscapes of Karelia province, in south-eastern Finland, have inspired artists and musicians for centuries, including the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius’s masterpiece—the Karelia Suite. In October, the forests along the coast of the White Sea are still resplendent with their autumn foliage. There are also plenty of hiking, fishing, and horse-trekking options.
  • Indoor Helsinki: If you travel to Helsinki in October, you can find plenty of indoor attractions to avoid the winter chills and occasional rains. For instance, you can visit the neoclassical Helsinki Cathedral, the dominant landmark, or get mesmerized by the ornate Eastern Orthodox-style Uspenskin Cathedral packed with sculptures and paintings. The city also boasts several world-class museums, including the Luonnontieteellinen Natural History Museum and the National Museum of Finland.
  • Annual Baltic Herring Market: In Helsinki, the annual Baltic Herring Market is held in the first week of October. This traditional event, which celebrates the end of the summer fishing season, has been held since 1743.

Where to Go and What to Do

Bear sighting in Finland in October
October is an excellent time to view Finland's wildlife before they hibernate for winter.

October is an excellent month to view Finland’s wildlife before hibernating for winter. The arrival of the cold weather makes these animals more mobile and easier to spot. Kajaani, in central Finland, is a pristine wilderness of conifer forests. In October, lake LaaJajarvi is prime habitat for ospreys and attracts many birdwatchers. The nature preserves near Kuhmo are home to large populations of wolves, bears, and forest reindeer.

Perched right on the edge of the Arctic wilderness in northern Finland, Basecamp Oulanka is an eco-retreat that offers outdoor adventures based on sustainable practices. In October, the boreal forests have their first winter coating of snow. You can set off from the resort’s traditional log cabins on snow-shoeing expeditions during the day and snuggle up beside a roaring fire with a bowl of reindeer stew in the evening.

October heralds the start of Finland’s winter sports season. Ski resorts like the Ruka Ski Center at Kuusamo are open and uncrowded, and you can snag good early-season deals. You can also travel to Rovaniemi, the capital of Lapland—and the traditional home of Father Christmas—to see the Northern Lights without braving through sub-zero temperatures that Finland experiences in the peak of winter.

If you visit Finland in October, you can take advantage of cheaper flights and accommodation to stretch your travel budget and see more of the country. October is the perfect month to visit the country, as you will still be able to experience the winter majesty of Scandinavia without the extremes of cold that the country undergoes later in the winter. Ski season is also just opening during this time, offering you the opportunity to enjoy the snowy slopes of Finland at cheaper prices and with not many visitors around.

Reach out to our local travel experts to plan a customized trip, or browse our trips to Finland in October for more information.

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  • Alla Kaleis
    Alla Kaleis
    Travel Expert in Finland & Estonia
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    Emma Vestrheim
    Travel Expert in Finland & Norway
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