What happens during dark days in Scandinavia? From late fall to winter, very little to no daylight at all falls on many cities in Scandinavia, particularly north of the arctic circle.

How does this affect activities availability and operating hours? While I intend to be there mostly so that I can watch the Northern Lights, it would be good to know what else would be available should there be clouds or low aurora activity.

Are ski hills still operating and snow-shoeing or similar activities still available for rental equipment and using lifts or equivalent? What about other activities?

Are restaurants and drinking establishments likely to remain open normal hours during that time of the year?

  • 2
    I live in Canada, not Scandinavia, but we have similar issues with daylight length. Outdoor activities get curtailed if weather gets too cold (which is -30 or -35 C where I live) but life goes on. Restaurants and retail establishments would only close if the weather were dangerous, which is no more common for us in winter than in summer. Oct 19, 2018 at 22:43

1 Answer 1


TL;DR: Winter is normal in Scandinavia, so life goes on normally.

Many ski slopes and even some cross-country ski tracks are artificially lit, so they can be used in the dark. So are other winter sports activities like ice skating rinks. Many summer sports (tennis, swimming, etc) can also be played in heated & lit facilities all year around.

Restaurants and drinking establishments open normally.

The only major exception is around Christmas, when pretty much everything shuts down.

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