Summers are temperate in northern Sweden, but winters are bitterly cold, with snow covering the landscape for months. In Malgova, in the province of Västerbotten, the lowest temperature ever recorded in Sweden was 53.0 °C. In winter temperatures as low as -40 degrees Celsius are common in “Norrland”. In contrast, temperatures in central Sweden and the southern half of the country are often significantly lower.
Estonia is a very small country located in Northern Europe with a population of just over a million. Although the climate is significantly warmer than some of the other countries on this list, the infrequent rainfall in the country can cause temperatures to drop at any time of the year. The country’s frigid winter temperatures are caused by monsoon winds, which make the region extremely cold, making the country eternally cold. February is the coldest month of the year, with an average temperature of -5.7°C. -43.5°C is the lowest temperature ever recorded.
Since Russia’s overall cold is mainly due to the environment in the predominantly Asian region of Siberia, it might be more accurate to consider Norway the coldest country in Europe. However, there is not much difference between the Scandinavian countries, with Sweden, Finland and Iceland all in the top ten in the world, with average temperatures barely above freezing. Norway differs from the top three in that it is predominantly a coastal nation, with most of its counties bordering the sea. In theory this should make it warmer, but because such a large part of Norway lies above the Arctic Circle, temperatures drop sharply in the winter months, with record lows of -51°C in the settlement of Karasjok around the turn of the century.
Finland, one of the northernmost countries in the world, has the lowest population density in the European Union, due to the terrible weather conditions that prevail, especially in winter. Finland is located in the boreal zone, which has cold winters and hot summers due to its geographic location. Winter lasts 100 days in most of Finland, but in Lapland, winter lasts 200 days, with constant snow cover from mid-October to early May. On very cold days, temperatures in Lapland can drop to -45°C, making Finland one of the coldest countries in the world. The northernmost area of Finland does not see the sun rise for a whopping 51 days in winter, while the sun does not set for almost 73 days in summer.
Unlike Greenland, Iceland is a fitting moniker for this Nordic island nation with a significant snow and ice cover. Surprisingly, Iceland doesn’t get as harsh a winter as some other countries at the same latitude. This is due to the country’s location along the North Atlantic Current, which makes parts of the region more temperate. The temperature in the highlands of Iceland averages around -10°C in winter, but in the north it can reach -30°C. In winter, Iceland is one of the best places to see the Northern Lights.
Because three quarters of Greenland is forever encased in an ice sheet, the island’s name is white rather than green. The capital, Nuuk, has a warmer average daytime temperature than the rest of the country, ranging from -8°C in February to 7°C in July. This is probably why, despite having one of the longest winters in the world, it is one of the most densely populated places in the region. In winter, however, certain parts of Greenland have temperatures as low as -50°C. -65°C is the coldest temperature ever recorded in the core of the island.
Mongolia is the only other country with an average temperature that is below zero all year round. Sandwiched between Russia and China, Mongolia is the 18th largest country in the world by area, but it has only a little over 3 million inhabitants to make up for its harsh climate, characterized by sweltering summers and very frigid winters. Siberian winds, which bring bitterly cold air from the north, are largely to blame for those bitterly cold winters. The cold air is usually trapped in Mongolia’s many river valleys and low basins, leading to long winters until spring arrives. But it’s not all terrible news. Mongolia is also known as the “Land of the Eternal Blue Sky” because it is sunny most of the time.
Despite its tiny size, Kyrgyzstan has a very varied climate, thanks to its mountainous geography. Summers in the Fergana Valley in the southwest of the country are extremely hot, with daytime temperatures of up to 40°C. During the winter months, however, temperatures drop significantly at night and across the country, with peaks and valleys often reaching lows below -30°C.
It’s no surprise that Canada is the coldest country in the world, with some of the world’s coldest cities and a large area that freezes for half the year. In certain northern parts of Canada, snow can last for an entire year, and temperatures far from beaches can dip below 40 degrees Celsius, with strong gusts of wind exacerbating the problem. Global warming is particularly severe in the Arctic, threatening the future of parts of northern Canada made up mostly of ice and permafrost. Temperatures in Canada have risen more than 2°C since the mid-20th century, according to estimates.
In reality, Canada and Russia are neck and neck for the dubious honor of being the world’s coldest country. Since they are also the world’s two largest countries by size, it is quite difficult to get an accurate average temperature reading for either one. The sprawling province of Siberia, which encompasses most of northern Asia, drags Russia’s average down. Though sparsely populated, Siberia covers more than 77 percent of Russia’s total land area and is home to some of the country’s most scenic areas. Even Novosibirsk, the largest Siberian city, has typical winter temperatures of roughly -20°C, and elsewhere it gets much, much colder.