Seasons and Climate
Almost at the northernmost point in Europe, and right by the border of Russia, and Finnish Lapland, Kirkenes is a fascinating melting pot of these neighbor cultures, together with the ingredients from Norway and the indigenous Sami people.
Kirkenes and Sør-Varanger municipality is unique with its combination of tundra, mountains, dense pine forests and literally thousands of lakes.
The area is blessed with long, cold and stable winters, and short, but green and even lush summers.
Some key figures from Kirkenes municipality:
- Size 4000 km2 (400 km2 bigger than Mallorca)
- 10 000 people
- 10 000 reindeer
- Ca 100 brown bears
- 3500 lakes (lots of fish - salmon, char, trout, pike, perch, grayling etc)
- Average temperature throughout the year: 1,3°
- Wildlife: Hare, red fox, moose, bear, wolverine, lynx and rich bird life.
Winter: November - April
Snow usually comes in the end of October, and Kirkenes is white from November to April. The temperature is in average -5°. (from 2° to -30°).
Polar night: From 20.11 - 20.01 the sun does not come up. December is the darkest month, quite dark most of the day, some light before noon.
Otherwise there are degrees of light, waning until mid December, increasing after. That polar night period is dark is not correct, it has a fascinating spectre of polar lights even though the sun is not on the sky.
From end of January day becomes longer and longer, and by the end of February we have what is called a normal central European day, with sun going down in the afternoon.
Whilst January and February are normally cold months, March is a bit warmer, with quite a lot of sunlight and nice weather.
Remember to bring sunglasses, especially if you are going skiing/hiking/snowmobiling, to protect your eyes from the snow and reflection ffrom the snow!
In April, spring is around the corner, and you can go skiing and snowmobiling and ice fishing as the locals do, in quite nice temperatures. The seasons vary a lot from year to year, sometimes spring comes in early April, sometimes not until the end of April.
The Aurora Borealis can be seen until ca April 15th.
May is the first month of spring, and from the middle of the month the midnight sun is up, constantly until the end of July. May can be everything from an almost winter month, to a summer month, expect everything!
Summer: June, July, August
In June trees spring fully into green. Daytime temperature are around 10 - 15 °, and by the end of the month even 20°. July is the peak of summer, and bathing temperatures are not impossible. That`s the charm of the north, you can get everything from 30° to 5°.
In August dusk comes, and in the end of the month fall comes, and with it the Aurora Borealis. The Northern Lights are possible to see from ca August 20th.
September is a quite beautiful autumn month with stark colors. This is time for hunting, fishing, mushroom and berry picking. In October leaves fall and we start waiting for winter. In the autumn period at the Snowhotel, its perfect to go for a husky hike, husky wagon ride, King crab fishing by boat, Aurora hunting by bus and hiking and biking on your own.