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Coldest World Capitals

Name the world's coldest national capitals by mean temperature according to Wikipedia.
Only federal capitals are used (i.e. not Nuuk)
When you guess the capital, the country will also appear
Quiz by mtthw
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Last updated: September 15, 2022
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First submittedOctober 10, 2013
Times taken106,973
Average score73.7%
Rating4.97
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°C
Capital
Country
-0.4
Ulaanbaatar
Mongolia
3.5
Astana
Kazakhstan
4.7
Reykjavik
Iceland
5.8
Moscow
Russia
5.9
Helsinki
Finland
5.9
Tallinn
Estonia
6.1
Riga
Latvia
6.6
Ottawa
Canada
6.7
Minsk
Belarus
6.7
Vilnius
Lithuania
°C
Capital
Country
6.8
Oslo
Norway
7.6
Stockholm
Sweden
8.4
Kyiv
Ukraine
8.5
Warsaw
Poland
8.8
Bern
Switzerland
8.8
La Paz
Bolivia
9.1
Copenhagen
Denmark
9.3
Berlin
Germany
9.3
Luxembourg
Luxembourg
101 Recent Comments
+4
Level 66
Nov 6, 2013
Great quiz... Is there a hottest capitals quiz?
+10
Level 82
Dec 10, 2013
Here you go.

Though I decided to go with average annual high, rather than average temperature, which can have a significant effect on the rankings. I could have also gone with record highs, but then freak weather phenomena can have an effect, and the time that recordings have been taken each place becomes a factor, and it distorts the rankings even further.

+10
Level 76
Aug 15, 2014
What about the central Asian nations (Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan)? They'd be in the same league as Astana in Kazakhstan, surely?
+13
Level 92
Aug 22, 2014
I don't think so, if memory serves, Astana is something like 600+ miles north of Bishkek, the closest capital (Kyrgyzstan).
+13
Level 82
Sep 12, 2014
^yeah... Kazakhstan is pretty huge, and Astana is pretty far north in it. Consider that among the countries immediately to the south of the middle -stans, India has among the hottest capital cities in the world.
+2
Level 36
Jan 18, 2015
I watched something on tv that showed the country next to Afghanistan and this pass they have to go over where it's colder than anywhere...solid ice. Cannot remember which of those countries it was-- just than it was bordering and Muslim. It would have to be colder than some on the list....maybe it was Kazakhstan.... I need an old-fashioned Atlas, but with new info....my laptop is so small I get tired of online atlases. :(
+8
Level 82
Jan 18, 2015
Was the capital city located in that pass? Probably not.
+4
Level 87
Dec 14, 2016
That's Tajikistan, which capital is in the lowlands (as Kal suggested). While the average temperature for the country will probably be rather nippy, it will be balmy in Dushanbe.
+3
Level 61
Dec 14, 2016
A little research shows that Dushanbe gets a bit cold but not that cold in winter, with an average January temperature of 37.5 degrees Fahrenheit. It can often reach over 100 degrees in summer, so the average is relatively high.
+3
Level 41
Dec 15, 2020
Tashkent and Bishkek get blazing hot in the summer, which balance out their cool winters.
+2
Level 66
Oct 24, 2014
I thought Helsinki was guessed... seems that it wasn't.
+11
Level 45
Jan 18, 2015
I was sure Kathmandu will be here...
+2
Level 36
Jan 18, 2015
Me too!
+14
Level ∞
Oct 18, 2016
Kathmandu is actually very warm. The average high is 25.6 Celcius and the mean temperature is a balmy 18.9. It's only 4,600 feet above sea level and its latitude is similar to Miami.
+9
Level 83
May 6, 2020
1380m is still quite high for a capital city. But not combined with latitude.
+6
Level 47
Jan 18, 2015
Holy crud! Mongolia has the coldest capital. Whoa!
+1
Level 66
Aug 23, 2022
I think it's the Gobi.
+1
Level 36
Jan 18, 2015
This was great! I ran out of northern countries and could not figure out Bern but not Vienna, etc. Kiev but not Budapest, Sofia, etc... Prague but not Slovakia. Then I remembered mountains, micro-nations. Loved it!
+1
Level 73
Dec 14, 2016
bloody baltic states ! i still forgot them
+4
Level 70
Dec 14, 2016
Guess what I did ?............. got half way and then tried Kazakhstan and when it did not work tried Countries instead of Capitals till time ran out ............ what a dingbat!
+6
Level 75
Dec 14, 2016
We all do it now and then, so you're not alone in your dinginess.
+4
Level 40
Dec 14, 2016
can someone please explain to me how bolivia (la paz) is so cold? It is right by the equator and in between countries like argentina, brazil, uruguay, peru, etc. which are all very warm year round
+17
Level 62
Dec 14, 2016
Highest capital in the world. Nearly 12,000 feet above sea level
+1
Level 21
Sep 29, 2018
I think its in the mountains high up. Not sure tho just a guess.
+4
Level 76
Jan 25, 2019
Only the northern part of Argentina is always warm; the center is temperate on average, while the south is cold.
+2
Level 59
May 11, 2020
Andes, my friend, Andes. And the cold Peruvian current. Peru and Bolivia are the most influenced by it. While there's warm Brazilian current on the other coast. This is why Buenos Aires and Montevideo are warmer than Lima, which is FAR FAR north than Argentina and Uruguay capitals.
+1
Level 69
Dec 14, 2016
Oh man, tried Wellington and DC to rule out Oceania and North America and then guessed Ulaanbataar and after that completely focused on Europe. So I missed Ottawa, Astana and la Paz. Eejit. Good quiz, thanks.
+1
Level 16
Apr 1, 2017
15/20! super tough quiz
+1
Level 36
Jul 29, 2017
Is Ulaanbataar colder than Reykjavik
+21
Level 47
Nov 29, 2017
According to the quiz, you should have your answer already.
+4
Level 47
Jul 27, 2020
Yeah, Rejkyavik at least has Atlantic Ocean, while Ulan Bator is surrounded by Siberia and Gobi desert, one of he coldest places on Earth.
+3
Level 57
Sep 15, 2017
Tried Sucre, haven't thought of trying La Paz...
+2
Level 21
Feb 5, 2018
very nice quiz
+2
Level 64
Mar 26, 2018
poor mongols
+3
Level 86
May 12, 2022
That's not a phrase one hears often.
+1
Level 21
Sep 29, 2018
Is La Paz cold because its up in the mountains? Is it up in the mountains?
+7
Level 59
Aug 11, 2019
Yes and yes
+3
Level 47
Jul 27, 2020
It is the highest capital and the highest airport in the world.
+3
Level 21
Sep 29, 2018
Please can you do a biggest countries by overseas territories!!!????
+1
Level 64
Jun 28, 2022
Oh, that'd be cool!
+1
Level 75
Nov 4, 2018
Got 16/20, but, somehow missed Ulaanbator and Astana
+2
Level 43
Nov 4, 2018
Actually Amsterdam is colder than Berlin and Luxembourg with 9.2 degrees annually.
+3
Level 72
Jan 29, 2019
Only 59% got Bern, even though it's in the picture. Mmmh maybe we've known just with the Matterhorn.
+2
Level 68
Jan 29, 2019
I knew Lithuania would be there, so kept trying Vilvius, Vilius, just couldn't quite get there!
+1
Level 75
Jan 29, 2019
Think of Sean Connery saying it in Hunt for Red October. He enunciates it quite distinctly.
+1
Level 86
Jan 24, 2022
It's been years since I saw the movie, but I would assume Connery pronounces it "Vilniush".
+2
Level 66
Jan 29, 2019
Did not bother to try Luxembourg after Brussels and Amsterdam were no good. Is it elevation or ocean exposure (Gulf Stream?) that cause this anomaly?
+1
Level 43
Jan 29, 2019
wow Bolivia?? I didnt thought South American countries would be such cold, can I know why?
+6
Level 66
Feb 3, 2019
Andes?
+2
Level 50
Dec 11, 2020
Bolivia because of of the elevation. they have the highest capital and airport
+1
Level 25
Jan 29, 2019
Okay so, KAZAKHSTAN?

MONGOLIA?

BOLIVIA?

LUXEMBOURG?

end my life plz

+2
Level 72
May 31, 2019
I don’t bloody believe this , I got all but Reykjavik
+1
Level 76
Oct 29, 2019
I did not expect Ulaanbaatar and Nur-Sultan to be the top two
+1
Level 33
Oct 31, 2019
there is Way to many A's for me to remember
+2
Level 70
Nov 28, 2019
Surprising Amsterdam isnt here, since it is on the same latitude as berlin and more northern than luxembourg. I know it is closer to the sea, but still weird to see. (I live about 120km inland from amsterdam and indeed it is a couple degrees colder here usually, but part of that is also big city vs countryside. Buildings trap the heat, from all the people and cars)
+1
Level 83
May 6, 2020
Of course the sea makes a big difference. It's also north of Warsaw, Kiev, Nur-Sultan and Ottawa.
+1
Level 71
May 7, 2020
I can remember it being bitterly cold in Holland during the winters of '85 and '86. I have the photos of the Loosdrechtse Plassen frozen solid in February. And I had no ice skates! But I suppose it will have been even colder further East.
+1
Level 83
May 6, 2020
What changed since last edition? Prague is out it seems.
+1
Level 76
May 6, 2020
La Paz?? That can't be right.
+3
Level 83
May 7, 2020
It clearly is right. Highest capital city in the world, nearly 12,000 feet. You ever slept outside at that altitude?
+1
Level 79
Jul 18, 2020
The ideal average annual temperature for a country is around 14°C.
+3
Level 82
Jul 18, 2020
Incorrect. It's about 25 C. 14 is the ideal average annual temperature for a meat locker or maybe a morgue.
+3
Level 79
Dec 15, 2020
Given seasonal changes, where in the summer the average high may be 30°C (16 above annual average), and in the winter the average low may be −2°C (16 below), it is quite reasonable that the ideal average annual temperature be around 14°C (and this is coming from a Malaysian).

For comparison, the average annual temperature of London is 11.2°C, Berlin 13°C, New York 12.1°C, Rome 15.7°C, Madrid 13.7°C, Bangkok 28.1°C.

+2
Level 79
Dec 15, 2020
In contrast, the two locations you mentioned has an optimum temperature of around 2°C 😏
+2
Level 82
Dec 15, 2020
Perfect year-round Honolulu > Chilly, dreary, often frozen Berlin. I stand by my figures.
+3
Level 79
Dec 15, 2020
Okay, so we differ. I'd rather live in a temperate region that snows in the winter and has mild summers (but that's just me) 😊
+2
Level 56
Dec 17, 2020
In that case 14 is clearly much too high!
+1
Level 82
Dec 18, 2022
I don't see which where I mentioned any other locations... another case of some old comment of mine gone inexplicably missing?

but... here's some points to contrast:

Phuket, perfect island paradise, has an annual mean of approximately 27 degrees, making it ever so slightly warmer than the ideal of 25. The hottest month is March, with a mean of 28.5. The coldest is January, with a mean of 27. Can we just take a moment to appreciate how freaking amazing that is? the difference between hottest and coldest months is a mere 1.5 degrees... No sweltering summers or frigid winters like in the temperate (read: usually too hot or too cold, rarely just right) Washington DC suburbs where I grew up, no freak blizzards in late March or heat waves at Christmas, no getting snowed in for a week in January, no old people dying when it gets too hot in August because they live in Germany and don't have AC.

+1
Level 82
Dec 18, 2022
No requirement to check the weather every single day just to see if you need to put on a scarf, or a jacket, or an overcoat... or if it's going to be too warm for a sweater or long sleeves... nope... just... perfect, amazing, pleasant weather every single day. Bring a couple t-shirts and a couple pairs of shorts and you are literally good for the entire year. Are you a nightowl like me that wants to go out for a cruise in your convertible or on your motorbike at 4 am? No worries... it's still t-shirt weather in the middle of the night, just like it was that afternoon. Perfect. No pain in your joints and itchy dried out skin in the winter months even when you are indoors. And no days so hot that turning on the AC won't cure it.

(I should have noted that the ideal is 25, AND, importantly, the less variance from that mean the better)

Compare this to... chilly, dreary, depressing, oft-frozen Berlin.. if we trust Jack's figures with an annual mean of 13.

+1
Level 82
Dec 18, 2022
This is way, waaay too cold. Not only do you have days in August when the low is 13, which is absurd, nobody should have to wear an overcoat in the middle of the summer... it also rarely gets above 23, EVER, which is STILL too freaking cold! The hottest month in Berlin is July with an average temp of 18; the coldest is January where the AVERAGE temp is -1. The freaking AVERAGE... Ugh. Never, ever, ever do I want to be somewhere where it has to be a warmer than average day to be ABOVE freezing. That is just extremely masochistic. Nope. Nope. Nope.

Further... there are freak temperature spikes, too. The hottest temp ever recorded in Berlin was 37.9, which, while still far preferable to -1, is still unpleasant and too hot. But this is actually hotter than Phuket has ever been. The lowest temp recorded in Berlin was -26... which is something that I've never experienced in my life and hope never to. That's like... Antarctica numbers. wtf. Nobody should live there apart from penguins

+1
Level 82
Dec 18, 2022
Madrid (13.7 mean, according to Jack) is much much closer to being habitable than Berlin... I would even consider living there. It's nice in the summer time and also much sunnier than Germany. But it's still *too cold* in its annual average.

Summers in Madrid are actually perfectly fine... in July and August the average temperature is 24.5 degrees... just a tad below perfect. But then... the rest of the year? By October the average temperature is down to 15, and it stays that way until May. 15 is way too freaking cold! That's the setting my crazy Arab coworkers in Dammam used to set the thermostat at. Sitting in the office trying to do my work my fingers would get so frozen and stiff and numb after an hour or so I could no longer even type.. I'd have to go outside to where it was 50 degrees and thaw out for a few minutes before going back in. And then the average low temp in January is just 1 degree. No freaking way.

The ideal average temperature is 25C. Full stop.

+1
Level 82
Dec 18, 2022
if you need colder than that sometimes then take a vacation to a ski resort 1 week out of the year... but... no way on Earth I'd want to live some place like that.
+1
Level 66
Dec 20, 2022
Stop sugar-coating it Kal... tell us how you really feel. :-) j/k I'm with you; I like it at 25C.
+1
Level 69
Sep 23, 2020
I typed Amsterdam, I typed Brussels- I thought Benelux is too warm and didn't bother to type Luxembourg- the only one I missed. :(
+3
Level 52
Oct 20, 2020
Nice quiz. I missed only La Paz, because I tried Sucre for Bolivia. I wonder what is temperature of Sucre.
+1
Level 72
Oct 23, 2020
Yeah, same.
+1
Level 54
Dec 15, 2020
Forgot that Canada's capital was not Toronto ._.
+1
Level 30
Dec 15, 2020
I'll argue Nuuk should be on the list too
+3
Level 75
Dec 15, 2020
Go on then
+3
Level 42
Dec 23, 2021
Not a national capital.
+1
Level 69
Dec 15, 2020
Pretty surprised by Berlin! It does get cold there, but it also gets really really hot in the summer (I've seen it at 39°C), so I thought it would somehow balance out - but then again, you could probably say the same thing for Moscow or Warsaw (the only time I went to Warsaw was in June 2019, and I've never been so hot in my life - lovely city, though). Friggin' continental climate!
+1
Level 64
Jun 28, 2022
same thing for Ottawa. Throughout the year it can swing between +40 in the summer and -40 in the winter. Not super common temperatures, but not insanely rare either.
+1
Level 82
Dec 19, 2022
The hottest temperature ever recorded in Berlin was 37.9 C in July 2015.
+2
Level 66
Dec 15, 2020
Wow, these really are mean temperatures.
+1
Level 44
Dec 17, 2020
Great quiz! Subscribed
+1
Level 56
Dec 17, 2020
Really surprised by Luxemburg. I used to live near there and it's well known for being roasting in the summer. Must be pretty frigid this time of year.
+1
Level 69
Dec 20, 2020
I've been there only once, in November, and I wasn't surprised! I guess it's one more example of that friggen' continental climate!
+1
Level 56
Jan 20, 2021
I typed "Astana" and "Sucre" because almost every other quiz accepts them for Nur-Sultan and La Paz respectively... feels bad man
+1
Level 37
Jan 26, 2021
really suprised with la paz,,
+4
Level 54
Apr 1, 2021
They say don't invade Russia in the winter, but the Mongols did, and they steamrolled them. Looking at this chart, you can see why.
+3
Level 36
Apr 1, 2021
i tried Amsterdam and Brussels... why the hell would i attempt Luxembourg?? Guess they showed me lol
+2
Level 56
Aug 9, 2021
I am surprised Pyongyang, NK didn't make the list.
+1
Level 36
Jan 27, 2022
I missed Minsk
+1
Level 80
Mar 10, 2022
Canadian here and missed Ottawa. Oops.
+1
Level 56
Jun 28, 2022
What does "federal capitals" mean? Not all of these countries are federations. Denmark is definitely not a federation.
+1
Level 64
Jun 28, 2022
Some countries have more than one capital, like the Netherlands or South Africa. The federal capital is just the one where the heads of government meet, and is usually the one most often recognized as "the" capital. It has nothing to do with whether or not the country itself is unitary or a federation.
+1
Level 64
Jun 28, 2022
I knew one of them had to be up in the mountains somewhere! I tried Tbilisi, I tried Kathmandu, I tried Lima (not actually sure if it's anywhere near the mountains, but I knew the Andes are tall) - and of course, I missed the one I knew somewhere in the back of my mind was the capital with the highest elevation.
+2
Level 60
Dec 18, 2022
Astana was only recently renamed.
+1
Level 56
Dec 20, 2022
i would have never guessed la paz ;-;
+1
Level 61
Feb 19, 2023
18/19 La Paz - Bolivia, there must be some mistake, surely.
+1
Level 55
Mar 1, 2024
Damn Bolivia, you did not cross my mind at all.