There’s no wrong time to visit Finland, but there are definitely some times that are better than others. Here are a few things to keep in mind when deciding when to visit the land of a thousand lakes and million mosquitos.

The short guide to visiting Finland is this:

The best time to visit Finland depends on what you’re after, but generally speaking the best times are either the summer months (June–August) or the winter months (September–May).

Bear in mind that Finland is a long country, so the conditions will change radically between Helsinki and Rovaniemi (the Arctic Circle).

What seasons do Finns prefer?

According to research, Finland is the happiest country in the world. And well it should, because otherwise no one would choose to live here.

Finns have found a way to survive through all the four seasons – and even found ways to enjoy them. When you’re planning your trip to Finland, it’s worthwhile to examine what seasons Finns themselves prefer.

Summer: Between June and August, Finns do just about everything that people in other countries do all year round: see friends, enjoy nature, go outside, go to the sauna and swim in the lakes.

Fall: Between September and November, Finns cozy up in their homes and wait for Christmas. The bravest may take a trip somewhere to enjoy the fall foliage.

Winter: From December to March, Finns enter a sort of hibernation. When they wake up, it’s dark. When they go to work, it’s dark. When they get off work, it’s dark. Christmas comes and goes.

Spring: From April to June, the days get longer and the temperatures start to rise. You can finally do all the outdoor sports you waited for all year. There are no mosquitos and the warmth of the sun feels divine after the cold dark winter.

Many Finns will tell you that they enjoy all the seasons, but they’re probably lying. Summer is the best, spring is possibly even better, and the nice winter days are really nice.

But realistically, fall, winter and spring mostly suck.

What’s unique about Finland?

If you’re reading this, you probably have your own notions about Finland. The Northern lights, Santa, sauna, snow, dog sleighs, beautiful Finnish people (no, that’s Sweden, sorry)…

What’s truly unique about Finland is more along these lines:

People you meet will be either very rude (when sober) or extremely interested in you (when drunk). Reindeer will not be interested in you (whether sober or drunk).

What’s the best that Finland has to offer?

If all the stars align, you’ll have a magical time in Finland.

In the winter, you may get to experience the Northern lights blazing in the clear night sky – while the trees around you crack from the cold. You’ve just had hot cocoa and the sauna is getting ready.

Or in the summer, it’s midnight but it’s still light as day. Maybe you’ve been hiking and you’ve rented a cabin near Lake Saimaa. You’ve just had ice brewed coffee and the sauna is getting ready.

What’s the worst time to visit Finland?

Or it could be that you land in June/September/November/February/April/August and it’s wet and miserable. The food’s not great, everything’s expensive and going to the sauna is giving you a headache.

Not to mention the mosquitoes. When we Finns dream about summer, we always forget the mosquitoes. There’s enough of them to drive you crazy and have you itching in places that civilized people do not scratch.

What the travel brochures are not telling you

It can be really quiet. Like eerily quiet. Like I’m-about-to-be-stabbed-with-a-dirty-needle-quiet. Some people like that, some don’t.

The forests can feel scary. Finns are mostly okay with going to the woods for a stroll or a little hike and you should too. It’s mostly safe to step into the woods here – you won’t get jumped for your Airpods.

It can be dark, damp and miserable – at any time of the year. Except in the summer it’s too bright, damp and miserable. You have been warned.

But yeah, Finland is a magical place that welcomes you with natural wonders whenever you decide to visit. You also won’t be killed, mugged or spoken to.