February in Scandinavia: Weather, What to Pack, and What to See

Photographer on the rocks, Senja, Norway
Getty Images/Roberto Moiola/Sysaworld

If you are planning a trip to Denmark, Norway, or Sweden in February, you are in luck. This is a great time of year to visit these Scandinavian countries because winter sports are in full swing and you still have a chance to see the spectacular aurora borealis, also known as the northern lights.

February is still considered the off-season for tourism, so travelers can save quite a bit. Not only are the prices cheaper but the crowds are thinner.

If you enjoy winter sports but are on a tight budget, Scandinavian in February can be a good deal. February is a great time of year for skiing, snowboarding, or sledding.

If you are traveling with a special someone, then visiting Scandinavia on Valentine's Day around February 14 is the perfect opportunity to spend a romantic night in an ice hotel, which is only in operation for about four months of the year. With subzero temperatures in the guest rooms, you will not need an excuse to snuggle up in one of the expedition-tested sleeping bags provided to guests.

Scandinavia Weather in February

Depending on how far north you are in the Nordic and Scandinavian countries, a February day averages from 18 to 34 F (-7 C to 1 C) with an average of 22 F (-5 C). Constant freezing is also not unusual in the northern parts of the countries. February has some of the lowest temperatures and can be windy.

In February, daylight hours slowly increase as Scandinavia emerges from its long, dark winter.

The southern part of the region, for example, Denmark, can get seven to eight hours of daylight; meanwhile northern parts of Sweden may only get four to six hours. In certain areas of the Arctic Circle, there is no sun at all in the winter, which is a phenomenon called polar nights. This is the perfect time to view the northern lights and other amazing natural phenomena, like the "midnight sun," also known as the polar day.

Average February High Temperatures in Scandinavia

  • Stockholm: 27 F / -3 C
  • Oslo: 30 F / -2 C
  • Bergen: 39 F / 4 C
  • Copenhagen: 34 F / 1 C
  • Helsinki: 28 F / -2 C

What to Pack

Be prepared for one of the coldest months of the year. If you are you headed to the Arctic Circle, bring sturdy boots for walking on snow and ice, a down-filled waterproof outfit, hat, gloves, and a scarf. If you will be visiting the cities, bring a down jacket and maybe a wool overcoat. For winter sports activities, bring insulated skiing gear.

No matter the country you plan on visiting as your final destination, an insulated coat, gloves, hat, and scarf are the bare minimum for travelers in February. It is a good idea to pack long underwear, which can be worn under clothing every day. It is better to have a heavy suitcase full of warm clothes than to freeze during your vacation or business trip. 

February Events in Scandinavia

Winter sports fans are in for a treat, especially if they're visiting the region's famous ski resorts. In addition to skiing, there's ice fishing, bobsledding, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling. 

February 6 is Sami National Day, a celebration of an accord of the indigenous people of Norway, Sweden, and Finland.

 

Denmark

In Denmark in February, you can check out the Winter Jazz Festival, called Vinterjazz, with jazz greats from around the world, or Copenhagen Fashion Week, the largest fashion event in the Nordic region.

Norway

If you're in Norway, you can visit Polarjazz, the Polar Jazz Festival in February, billed as the northernmost jazz festival in the world, "Cool place, hot music." You can go to the Rjukan Ice Climbing Festival to watch competitions and learn more about this sport. Or, head over to the  Røros Winter Fair, which dates back to 1854, a Norwegian market with festivities, numerous stalls, hot coffee around a bonfire, folk music, and storytelling.

Sweden 

Visitors to Sweden can make plans to visit the Stockholm Furniture Fair, where designers come together and showcase their latest creations about to hit the mass market.

Music fans can check out Where's the Music Festival and Conference in Norrköping, Sweden, featuring 100 new acts from Sweden and abroad.

Finland

The Finland Ice Marathon is one of Finland's oldest ice skating events on natural ice in the harbor of Kuopio. Another event, the Finlandia Ski Race, also known as the Finlandia-hiihto, is a long-distance cross-country skiing competition, held annually since 1974 near Lahti, Finland.

February Travel Tips

  • Scandinavia is generally very safe and poses few risks to travelers, health-related or otherwise, to travelers. In winter, exercise caution, as slippery pavement and traffic accidents from elk crossing the roads common.
  • The Midnight Sun is always best north of the Arctic Circle, while the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) is best seen on the Arctic Circle in very clear and dark winter nights. They have been seen in southern Scandinavia sometimes, but it is very important that you are in a dark and clear night, away from the city.
  • In addition to being a great time for winter sports, February is also less busy and travel and accommodations will be more affordable.