Talking about the weather is a typical way of making small talk across many cultures. It’s a dependable icebreaker, not too serious, just a good subject for light hearted chit-chat.

However, when we talk about the weather in Luleå, we’re dead serious. Maybe that is because we have a lot to discuss with our distinctive climate. The fact is that our weather is so unconventional, by global standards, that we cannot really say that we have only four seasons here. The period between winter and spring, which we call spring winter (vårvinter in Swedish), means that we have at least five seasons here in Luleå, each with their own unique charm.

The city of sunshine

Another defining characteristic of Luleå is the many hours of sunlight with which  the city is blessed every year. Each and every year, Luleå is one of the sunniest cities in all of Scandinavia. From March to early October, the sun is always present here on the coast of the Gulf of Bothnia and this makes Luleå a popular, well-visited summer city, despite somewhat cold temperatures.

When does the snow arrive?

The snow usually settles on the ground at some point in November. It then remains until April, sometimes even into May after particularly snow-rich winters. The sea freezes over somewhat earlier but the ice track and our ice roads are usually not prepared until late December, early January.

Dress right for winter

If you are planning on staying outside for long in the winter cold it is important that you think about correct attire . When we say “correct”, we are talking about using the right type of clothing for your body, in the right order, with the right number of layers. For shorter outdoor sessions a warm winter jacket, gloves, a hat and snow-safe shoes are often enough. Look below to see an instruction video on how to dress correctly for Arctic winter.

Natural air conditioning in the city

In 1648, Erik Eriksson Njure was tasked with planning the layout of the city of Luleå following the move from Gammelstad. He was strongly influenced by the Southern European cities that were laid out in grid formation and that’s why fresh breezes often blow through Luleå from the South to the North Harbour – the grid creates a cross draft through the city which means that winds can sometimes be pretty strong in the city. It is always a good idea to pack a windbreaker jacket when travelling to Luleå.