At the end of December, immediately following our week in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Dave and I were off to explore two of Europe’s northern most capitals: Helsinki and Tallinn.
From +20°C to -20°C in a matter of days; it was a shock to say the least.
The temperatures throughout our five day trip ranged from 0°C when we arrived to -20°C the day we explored Tallinn. Although there was quite the difference, it was all just varying degrees of cold.
Finland’s capital city is situated on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, an arm of the Baltic Sea. It has a humid continental climate and temperatures in winter are much higher than the northern location might suggest (source). Temperatures in January/February average -5°C, and the snow season is much shorter than in the north.
Our trip to Helsinki was definitely not average: temperatures reached -10°C and we were treated to snow each and every day.
80km south of Helsinki, across the Gulf of Finland lies Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. Just like Helsinki, Tallinn enjoys a humid continental climate. The winters are cold but mild for its northern latitude, thanks to its coastal location. During the winter months, temperatures tend to hover around the freezing mark and are characterized by low amounts of sunshine (source).
Again, our time in Tallinn was anything but average: Temperatures never rose above -15°C, but the days were very sunny (between December and March, sunshine hours usually range from 0.5 to 4.1 hours, so this was quite a treat).
When preparing to explore in sub-zero temperatures it’s easy to want to throw on everything you own, but I’ve found with a few key pieces and strategic layering you can ensure you’ll stay toasty warm even when the air around you is anything but.
Here’s how I packed for a week with just a carry-on: Continue reading “Packing Light: Helsinki & Tallinn in Winter”