The best time to take a cruise to Scandinavia is during the spring and summer in the months of May, June, and July when the midnight sun, the ease of travel to fjords at sea, and the wildlife give those who make the journey an experience that exceeds expectations. Additionally, during this time of year the precipitation is considerably lower than other times and the temperature is close to its peak. Norway, Iceland, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark each have intriguing destinations, historic cities, and natural attractions that enchant and awe those who take the trip.
Scandinavia Cruise Season
Scandinavia's cruise season is rather short due to weather conditions. Typically, the season runs from May through September, with the shoulder months late May, early June, and September offering the best value. During the summer, the days are long and bright, making it easy to take advantage of the various opportunities to relax by the water.
A Look at the Weather in Scandinavia
If you're planning a Scandinavian cruise, there's one thing you can always count on: temperate weather, which means the weather will be pretty mild no matter what month you visit, and the hottest part of summer is still comfortably chilly for those who are used to warmer climates.
Temperatures may vary by as much as 11 degrees between day and night during the summer months, so visitors should come prepared for both hot days and cool nights. During this period, the weather is pleasant, with an average temperature of 52 F (11 C) in May, 64 F (17.5 C) in July, and 54 F (12 C) in September.
Norway cruises visit far-off regions where fjords, glaciers, and ice flows create an out-of-this-world landscape that brings visitors face to face with polar bears, follow the routes of some of the early explorers, and take an adventure to a new level. The Svalbard archipelago used to be the home of whalers, miners, and fishermen; today it’s one of Norway’s main towns called Longyearbyen where the majority of the islands’ residents live. Also, this small community is a jumping-off point for many cruises into the arctic. Small expedition boats venture into the narrow waterways through ice flows to islands and areas not accessible during the dark winter months.
Best time to Cruise Norway’s Fjords
If you’re looking to see the Northern Lights, aim to travel between October and March. Norway is a winter wonderland during this time of year, with snow-blanketed forests and mountains and husky dogsled rides. There are usually a few hours of daylight each day, but otherwise, it’s dark. Temperatures can get down as low as -20℃ (-4℉). The Ice Hotel at Alta is a popular attraction to visit during the winter months. On the other hand, if you want to experience 24 hours of daylight and spend most of your time outdoors, June through August is the best time for a Norwegian fjords cruise. You’ll have long days to enjoy hikes in flower-filled meadows or scenic train rides through towering mountain ranges.
Scandinavia cruises on the Baltic Sea include Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, for its traditions, modern culture, nearby islands, and historic buildings. Also in Gamla Stan, Stockholm's Old Town, is the Nobel Museum. There's also the Royal Palace, Vasa Museum, and tourist shops with rare book merchants. Medieval sections of town are juxtaposed by modern design which is a fascinating sight. Trendy cafes, bakeries, and parks make up one-third of the city, giving it tons of options for visitors.
Gothenburg is known for its trending art, intrepid design, and world-class collection of restaurants and breweries. Malmö, the country’s third-largest city, is a friendly urban town where cobblestone streets, walkways along canals, and beaches welcome those looking for a relaxed day exploring the city.
Best Time to Go to Sweden
The Swedish summer, which lasts from late May until early September, is unique. The days are long and the temperatures are mild, making it a popular time for sightseeing cruises to Stockholm's 14 islands.
Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark is another must-see stop on Scandinavia cruises, giving visitors a glimpse into the city’s up-and-coming culture, it's storied past, contemporary art galleries, and gourmet restaurants.
The Faroe Islands are a chain of 18 islands that are steeped in Viking lore amid turf-roofed houses and a unique modern culture with its own art, music, and food. The capital of Tórshavn has historic museums and archaeological ruins that shed new light on the ancient roots of the archipelago.
Best Months to Visit Denmark
With long days and mild temperatures averaging between 59°F and 68°F, June through August are the best months for visiting Denmark. This is also the greatest season to go trekking in Denmark's lush terrain. As a result, the coast may be congested, as this is a popular time of year for both tourists and residents to enjoy the outdoors.
Finland’s Helsinki is a jumping-off point for Scandinavia cruises that journey to the North Pole. Helsinki has recently reinvented itself as a city specializing in design where a revamped waterfront, renovated museums, and a new wave of restaurants bring fresh air to the ancient city. The capital is the starting point for cruises that make their way to the North Pole and other arctic destinations.
Best Time of Year to Visit Finland
Winter temperatures rarely exceed 30°F (-1°C), but the chance to view the Northern Lights makes it an excellent time to visit Finland. The country's culture and wilderness are best explored in the late spring, especially May and June, when temperatures are mildest. Summer vacation in July implies increased pricing, occasional business closures, and early bookings. August and September get higher annual rainfall than the peak spring and summer months, but still have pleasant temperatures.
Iceland cruises take you to islands in the Arctic Circle, fjords where the lush, remote scenery will take your breath away, and to historic towns where mountains in the distance and beaches in the forefront show you the natural beauty of the country. Highlights include whale watching and spotting seabirds that outnumber the human population on some of the stops on cruises.
Iceland Cruises: When To Go
Iceland cruises are ideal in June, July, August, and September. June ushers in the long summer days of whale watching. The Northern Lights are frequently seen during the last clear nights of September.
Weather in Iceland (Reykjavik)
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Except for winter sports, Scandinavia is best explored in the summer. Sightseeing and accommodations are closed or open on a limited schedule in Scandinavia (especially in remote fjord towns). Business travelers skyrocket lodging costs. Winter may be gloomy. After dinner, the sun sets on your sightseeing. The festive markets and Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen provide a welcome respite from the cold.