March is technically the first month of spring in Finland, but in reality, the conditions are more wintery than anything else. In the south, days of comparatively warmer weather melt some of the snow, which turns to slush but then freezes again when the cold returns. The average temperatures across the country are 27°F (-3°C) in March, although the north is generally colder than the south.
The weather might be frozen and wintery in March, but with the spring equinox (March 21st), the days get increasingly longer throughout the month. That means you can fit more into your days, especially if outdoor activities are a priority.
Crowds & Costs
While a steady stream of tourists visits northern Finland (Lapland) throughout the winter to enjoy snow-related activities, March isn't as busy as December. You're more likely to find cheaper accommodation in March, with the exception of that in popular ski towns. Many Finns from the south of Finland travel north in February and March for skiing vacations, so do book transport and accommodation in advance if you'll be visiting popular ski destinations, such as Rovaniemi or Levi. If Easter falls in March, northern resort towns will be even busier with domestic travelers.
Where to Go
While the Aurora borealis (Northern Lights) can potentially be seen throughout the country between August and April, March is one of the best months to see them. They are often especially visible around the spring equinox. Head north to small towns in Lapland to experience the dancing lights without the light pollution of large cities. Saariselkä, in northeastern Lapland, is a small resort town that's a great base for seeing them.
Some travelers like to combine parts of northern Finland and Norway into one itinerary. This is an especially good idea if you want to go snow-shoe hiking or ride a dog sled along Arctic trails. The Käsivarren and Tarvantovaara Wilderness Areas, in far northwestern Finland, are attractive winter destinations, and not far from the Norwegian city of Tromsø.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
What to Do
A major drawcard of visiting Finland in March is to see the Northern Lights. Many people like to join tours that chase the lights around the countryside, but if you're just making a short trip to Helsinki, it's potentially possible to see them from anywhere in the country between August and April.
Another of Finland's major winter attractions is snow sports. Sporty, adventurous travelers will have so many options, but you don't have to be super athletic to enjoy the outdoors in snowy conditions. Family-friendly options, and those more suitable for travelers with limited mobility, are also abundant. Downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, snowshoe hiking, ice skating, snowmobiling, reindeer sleigh rides, dog-sledding, ice swimming...Embrace the lingering winter in March, and then warm up with Finnish glögi (mulled wine) and a sauna session.
Events in March
Aurora borealis. You can see the flickering colorful lights of the Northern Lights throughout Finland in March (and potentially any time between August and April).
Easter, nationwide. Good Friday and Easter Monday are public holidays in Finland. If Easter falls in March, popular tourist areas will likely be busier, with domestic travelers getting away for a long weekend. You may see children dressed up as witches over the holy weekend.
Reindeer Racing Championships, Inari. This fun event takes place on frozen Lake Inari in far northern Lapland. The reindeer are trained in traditional ways. The festival is sometimes held in April.
Traveling to Finland in March? Check out these great itineraries
Multi-Day Dogsledding Adventure from Tromsø - 7 Days. Drive your own husky-pulled sled, enjoy traditional meals around a campfire, fall asleep each night in traditional Sami tents, or stay up to look for the Northern Lights.
Lapland Winter Activities - 5-Day. Spend five days on snowshoes and skis, making your way across a winter wonderland that spans both Finland and Norway.
Lapland Highlights - 5 Days. Snuggle a husky, pose for a selfie with a reindeer, snowshoe through the wilderness, participate in epic snowball fights, and go hunting for the elusive, magical Northern Lights.