Rovaniemi: visiting Santa Claus

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Have you always wanted to know where Santa Claus lives? Then head to Rovaniemi in the north of Finland! Here you can meet and get to know Santa and his helpers in person in the Christmas village, no matter what time of year it is, because Rovaniemi is always in the Christmas spirit. But there is also a lot to discover in Rovaniemi besides the Christmas elves – if you are curious, you can read here what exactly you can experience in the Lappish capital.

Why travel to Rovaniemi?

Rovaniemi: Holidays
The modern city of Rovaniemi invites you to enjoy a varied holiday.

Rovaniemi is the capital of the Finnish part of Lapland and has a lot to offer – above all, it is known as the hometown of Santa, who resides in the local Santa Claus Village. Although Santa is clearly the main attraction, Rovaniemi has a lot more to offer, such as a number of exciting museums and of course the fascinating nature of Lapland, which invites you to go on a variety of discovery tours.

The history and development of the town is also exciting – it was almost completely destroyed in the Second World War. It was then rebuilt – according to plans by the famous architect Alvar Aalto – and has developed into a modern and cosmopolitan city in the heart of Lapland.

Where is Rovaniemi?

Rovaniemi is located in the north of Finland, in the Lappi region – the Finnish part of Lapland. The region’s capital is centrally located at the confluence of the Ounasjoki and Kemijoki rivers, a few kilometres south of the Arctic Circle. The nearest large city is Oulu, which is around 220 kilometres away by car. The well-known winter sports area of Ruka is around 200 kilometres away, and the capital Helsinki in the south of the country is a good 700 kilometres away as the crow flies.

Weather in Rovaniemi

The weather in Rovaniemi is what you would expect from a place in the Arctic Circle: long, cold winters and bright summers with many hours of sunshine. Accordingly, the capital of Lapland is perfect for a winter holiday, as ice and snow are guaranteed. It is particularly cold between December and February, with temperatures dropping to an average of -9° Celsius in January – temperatures can reach as low as -30° Celsius. During the months of the polar night, you are also likely to see auroras dancing across the sky. In the summer months the opposite natural spectacle takes place, thanks to the midnight sun it is pleasantly mild, in July the average temperature is 20° Celsius.

Rovaniemi: Weather
Winter weather in Rovaniemi guarantees ice, snow and the Northern Lights.

Sights and activities in Rovaniemi

Rovaniemi Christmas Village

Rovaniemi: christmas village
Father Christmas’s office in Rovaniemi Christmas Village.

If you’re ever in Rovaniemi, a visit to Santa Claus is a must on your to-do list. No matter when you arrive, you can always meet Santa in the Christmas Village, even outside the Advent and Christmas season. And it’s not just Santa who sits in his office and waits for guests from all over the world to listen to their wishes and take photos with them – you can also meet his wife Mrs Santa Claus.

The Christmas village is located eight kilometres from the city centre – right on the Arctic Circle – and is open every day. In addition to Santa’s office and a post office, there are many other attractions for young and old, such as restaurants, souvenir shops and animal parks – reindeer and sled dogs are the secret stars of the village.

Tours near Rovaniemi: Northern Lights, snowmobiles and more.

Rovaniemi: tours
Dog sledding tours are very popular in Rovaniemi.

If you want to experience more magical moments, you should definitely visit the region around Rovaniemi. Lapland’s nature has its very own fascination, which is best experienced with your own eyes.

In Rovaniemi, there are many different ways to explore the surroundings. Tours through snow-covered forests and across frozen lakes on a reindeer sled, dog sled or snowmobile are particularly popular.

If you want to see the spectacular Northern Lights, you can either do this on your own or take part in a guided tour of the area. Winter sports fans can make a detour to the beautiful Ounasvaara ski resort. One thing’s for sure – it certainly won’t be boring in Rovaniemi!

Museums in Rovaniemi: Science centres and open-air museums

If you want to learn more about Rovaniemi, Lapland and the Arctic, you can visit one of the city’s exciting museums. The Arktikum is a large Arctic science centre in the heart of the city that introduces visitors to the local nature and culture through various exhibitions. The Arktikum consists of the Arctic Centre of the University of Lapland, where many research results are presented, and the Regional Museum of Lapland, which presents the entire history and culture of the Lapland region.

Right next to the Arktikum is the Pilke Science Centre, which focuses on the forests of Lapland. In various, partly interactive exhibitions, you can learn a lot about the structure and inhabitants of a forest, but the centre also focuses on the importance of the forest for the Finnish population. The Korundi House of Culture is an art museum that presents works by local artists in constantly changing exhibitions.

Outside the city centre, you can visit one of the two popular open-air museums. In Lapland’s Forestry Museum you can learn about life in the forests of Finnish Lapland in the past in an original way. The Rovaniemi Museum of Local History also presents life in the past and invites you to take a tour of a historic farm.

Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi: webcam

If you’re curious about the Christmas village in Rovaniemi, you can find out what it looks like and what’s going on in the livestream here.

Accommodation in Rovaniemi

Hotels in Rovaniemi

If you want to spend your holiday in Rovaniemi in a hotel, you can choose from a wide range of options. As there is accommodation for every budget, everyone should find the right hotel for them, whether hostel, B&B or chic lodge. Highlights in Rovaniemi include the boutique hotel Arctic Light Hotel, which is centrally located in the city centre and guarantees luxury, or the Nova Skyland Hotel, which is located in the Christmas village on the Arctic Circle and where you can also stay in your own little cottage.

Holiday homes in Rovaniemi

Holiday homes are particularly suitable for families or other larger groups. These not only offer independence, space and their own cooking facilities, but also give you the feeling of having your own four walls around you on holiday. What’s more, many holiday homes are located in the middle of Lapland’s nature or by the water and are often furnished in an authentically Finnish yet modern style.

Rovaniemi: Accommodation
Many holiday homes in Rovaniemi are located in the middle of nature.

Camping in Rovaniemi

Especially in summer, a holiday on a campsite in Rovaniemi can also be a good idea. Camping is very popular in the Nordic countries as it is a close-to-nature and often inexpensive way to spend a holiday. It is an uncomplicated way to find accommodation, especially for travellers on a road trip. In addition, campsites now often offer a wide range of accommodation and services; the campsites near Rovaniemi, which are located right on the water, offer a sauna, for example.

Travelling to Rovaniemi

By flight to Rovaniemi

Rovaniemi has its own airport, which is located about ten kilometres north-east of the city centre and is crossed by the Arctic Circle. The airport is served by flights from Helsinki all year round, but in the winter and spring months there are also direct connections to other European airports. Alternatively, you can also continue your journey from Helsinki by train; there are daily and regular train connections between the capital and Rovaniemi.

Travelling to Rovaniemi by car

Anyone planning a road trip through Finland should also make a stop in Rovaniemi. If you are travelling by car, you should take a ferry to Finland. Alternatively, you can travel to Helsinki by plane and then start your trip from there in a hire car. It is around 830 kilometres from Helsinki to Rovaniemi, but there are several towns and natural sites worth seeing along the way.

Travveling to Rovaniemi
Rovaniemi should not be missed on a road trip through Finland.
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