Considering how far north Finland is, the country has a milder climate than one might expect. In general, Finland has an extreme swing between summer and winter, with bitterly cold winters when temperatures drop to -4ºF (-20ºC) in many areas, particularly in northern Lapland. Summer, by contrast, can be surprisingly warm with temperatures rising to 68ºF (20ºC) or more. Temperatures as high as 86ºF (30ºC) are possible in the south and east of the country.
The capital, Helsinki, remains temperate, varying between an average of 63ºF (17ºC) in July to 23ºF (-5ºC) in February. February is the coldest month in Finland and July is the warmest. Snow usually covers the ground in southern Finland from December to April, and northern Finland is covered in snow from October to April.
In the far north, the sun does not set for about 73 days during summer, while in winter the sun remains below the horizon for a 51-day stretch: a feature of life in Finland that expats often struggle to come to terms with. The winter night sky, especially in the northern areas of Finland, is often lit up with the magical dancing light of the aurora borealis.