While spring officially starts in Finland in March, it's not until May that the weather becomes more consistently pleasant in most of the country. While snow may linger in some parts of the north, it has generally thawed throughout most of the country. The average temperature across Finland in May is 50°F (10°C), and the rainfall is low.
Arguably more significant than the temperatures is the number of daylight hours in May. In the north, you can expect that famous midnight sun from May, when the sun doesn't set but just dips in the sky at night until July. Southern places, including Helsinki, don't have such long days just yet, but the sun barely dips below the horizon before popping back up again.
Crowds & Costs
May is the shoulder season for tourism in Finland. Winter brings a steady stream of visitors for snow sports in the north, while summer draws visitors to the south. May is a nice time to visit if you want to avoid the higher prices of the midsummer period but experience the long days and fair weather.
Where to Go
May is a great time to visit the capital, Helsinki, as activities and events are held after the winter. Finnish Lakeland is also delightful at this time of year and easily accessible from Helsinki and other southern cities like Tampere and Joensuu. The countryside will be green and flowers in bloom. You're also likely to get a better price on a holiday home in May than in June or July.
To experience the midnight sun, head north to Lapland. The sun doesn't fully set in late May (or for 70 days between May and July). To learn more about the indigenous Sami people, head to Inari, one of the northernmost towns in Finland. The Sami Parliament and Cultural Centre Sajos are located here.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
What to Do
Heading to Lapland? Check out Arctic Sauna World in Muonio beside Lake Jerisjärvi, western Lapland. The four saunas here are themed according to the elements: air, fire, earth, and water. While winter swimming is also an attraction here, many visitors may be more comfortable taking a dip in Lake Jerisjärvi in May, when the water will be cold but not extreme.
Events in May
Vappu (Labour Day), nationwide. Like many international workers' days held on May 1, the Finnish Vappu holiday celebrates workers. It also coincides with Walpurgis Night on April 31 and May 1, commemorating 8th-century Saint Walpurga. These two festivals together are celebrated throughout Finland with special foods, picnics, bonfires, and street parties in some smaller towns.
Helsinki City Marathon. Usually held in mid-May (although sometimes shifted to the fall), the Helsinki City Marathon is a must for running enthusiasts or if you just like to watch big sporting events. Pretty Helsinki makes a great backdrop.
World Village Festival, Helsinki. This festival, held at the end of May, celebrates multiculturalism in Finland and abroad through music, circus, dance, theater, and more.
Traveling to Finland in May? Check out these great itineraries
Discover Finland's Golden Triangle: Helsinki, Tampere, Turku - 6 Days. Learn about the role these cities played in Finland's history and how, today, they are the economic and population center of the country.
Highlights of Estonia & Helsinki - 14 Days. See a different side of Europe with this unforgettable adventure to the northern Baltic region and the Nordic country of Finland.