Get ready for Nordic Midwinter

So you are heading to Scandinavia in the depths of winter and wondering what to expect?

So you are heading to Scandinavia in the depths of winter; December and January – the best time for Northern Lights viewing as these are the darkest months. But what does that mean? How dark is it going to be?

A warning, yes, there is very little actual sunshine in these midwinter months. The sun may not even rise above the horizon in the location you are visiting but that doesn’t mean that it will be completely pitch black the whole time.

Lofoten in Winter

Winter dusk in Lofoten, credit: Ewen Bell

What you will find is that even when the sun doesn’t shine, you get a very long drawn out dawn & dusk – this is where the beautiful Arctic light comes into play. Those incredible pinks and blues that you see in the photos of this region; these are the long twilights of the Arctic.

Norway during Winter

Well lit Winter in Lofoten, credit: Ewen Bell

When you are living in the region or have grown up in the region, these dark months are matter of fact and part of the regular cycle of life. These months can be romanticized as the quiet, thoughtful months… but in reality, the locals have created their physical landscape to match these seasonal changes. Saunas are built with restorative warmth in mind. Houses are brightly lit, tremendously well heated and colourful. You will never be stumbling around unable to see outside buildings.

Likewise, infrastructure such as public buildings, roads and parks are well light and built with the darkness in mind. Locals thrive to make the physical environment beautiful in the darkness - copious amounts of public lighting, candles and open fires light up the Nordic region.

Be prepared that if you are travelling in the darkest months, you might not to see the sun during your holiday - it can be shock to the system indeed, but remember the locals know and experience the flip side each year as well – 24 hours of complete sunshine!

Greenland Travel

Simimiut in Greenland, credit: Visit Greenland, photo: Mads Pihl