What comes to mind when you hear the name Rovaniemi? Yes, a wonderful city surrounded by winter snow. Rovaniemi, nicknamed the hometown of the beloved Santa Claus, is more beautiful in winter than in summer for me.
Rovaniemi is located in Lapland, Finland. This city was actually completely destroyed during World War II. But after successful reforms, today it has become the capital of Lapland. Rovaniemi also has several important international centers. A valuable museum related to the Arctic region and the history of Lapland, Arktikum Science Center, Pilke Science Center are some of them.
Rovaniemi is 6.4 km close to the Arctic Circle. So winter is longer than summer. We can introduce midnight sun time as a unique phenomenon that we see in Rovaniemi. You can also see the beautiful northern lights. These are mentioned in detail below.
Popular things to do in Rovaniemi in the summer are fishing and mountain climbing. You can also explore nature and watch beautiful scenery. We invite you to have a successful travel experience by reading the description given here about the things that can be done in winter when the arctic area of Rovaniemi shines in white.
So let’s go to our description, Best 10 Things to Do in Rovaniemi.
01) A Tour to Famous Santa Clause Village
There is no one on earth who has not heard of Santa Claus. Adults and children alike must visit Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi (since 1985), the birthplace of Santa Claus, at least once in their lives. Meet Santa Claus, Old Saint Nick and enjoy the wonderful experience.
Santa Claus Village is located about 8 km northeast of Rovaniemi and 2 km from Rovaniemi Airport. If you wish you can go through Highway 4 in the direction of Ivalo or take the area bus route #8 named “Santa Express”.
In this village, you can see the official office of Santa Claus, the post office dedicated to Santa Claus himself. You can also send a postcard or a Christmas card to your loved one from Santa’s post office.
Santa can be found in his office any day of the year. It has a fixed time. When that time comes, the people wait in line until their turn. Not only Santa, you can meet and talk to Mrs. Claus and Santa’s elves. They are very friendly and fun. They will tell a lot of stories about how things are going on in the village and Christmas.
As a souvenir, you can get a certified photo of you stepping over the Arctic Circle here, along with a marker marking the latitude circle that runs 66°33’45.9″ north of the equator.
Santa Claus Park, which ranks as the second best tourist destination in Finland, is located near the Santa Claus Village.
02) Overnight Train travel – “Santa Claus Express”
The colorful double-decker train from Helsinki to Rovaniemi is affectionately known as the “Santa Claus Express” because Rovaniemi is the official home of Santa Claus. It takes eight to ten hours to complete the 885 km route, depending on the planned stops. The midnight departure is the most popular tour with locals and visitors alike.
Bathrooms in each sleeper train compartment are communal, but the cabins have their own sinks, clean sheets, electrical outlets and windows. Even if it’s dark when you board the train, the exhilaration of waking up to watch the sun rise over the snow-covered pines as you speed toward the Arctic Circle is truly exceptional. Wake up in the comfort of your own private bunk bed cabin in the next morning to the snowy beauty of Finnish Lapland.
Before boarding the train, put your toothbrush and evening essentials in your carry-on luggage for quick access. Your large luggage won’t be able to open completely in the cabin because they are stored under the beds.
03) Let’s go for a sled ride with reindeers
One of the best things you can do in Rovaniemi is to go on a reindeer sled ride. It is an unimaginably good experience to go on a trip with well-trained antelopes with beautiful horns.
The local people have a good relationship with these gentle and innocent creatures. And they run farms that maintain these animals. Not only that, you can also watch huskies pulling carts. If you like, you can observe the natural behavior of these animals and visit such a farm in an open environment.
Snowy forest is a type of forest with very beautiful and different scenery. You can see these snow forests and take photos while going on a comfortable sleds. But these deer are very shy and timid animals by nature, so don’t disturb or make loud noise.
Reindeer sleds, a local identity, transport people and goods across snow-covered regions. Packed securely on the back of a reindeer, these carts slide fast on the snow.
When walking through a snowy forest path silently listening to the hooves of reindeers, the silver bells tied around the necks of the reindeers are ringing with a nice pattern. Then the mind feels a strange magical feeling. The mind feels strange and mysterious. After a reindeer sled ride, don’t forget to sit around an open fire and enjoy a hot drink…
04) The Man-made Snow Village
An impressive resort complex made of approximately 44,000 tons of snow and 772,000 pounds of natural ice is located nearly two hours north of the city limits of Rovaniemi. Lapland Hotels designs and builds a brand new snow village almost every year, with hotel rooms, a chapel for weddings, and dozens of incredible ice and snow sculptures for day-pass holders and overnight guests to see.
Real mattresses and below-zero linens are used on the beds in hotel rooms and you have access to a warm room if it gets too cold. Visit the ice restaurant around lunchtime to have a sizable cup of classic reindeer soup with a slice of buttery bread.
05) Explore the Korundi House of Culture
The Korundi House of Culture is a facility that promotes regional culture and history, and it is situated in the heart of Rovaniemi. It is advisable to get tickets in advance for this. The Korundi Concert Hall and the Rovaniemi Art Museum stand out as the center’s features. This red brick icon serves as a welcoming setting for gatherings and events and serves as an excellent inspiration for recurring exhibits and original performances.
The Rovaniemi Art Museum is one of the few structures to have survived the horrific World War II bombing of Rovaniemi. It is housed in a former bus depot. The emphasis of the permanent and changing collections is on modern Finnish art created after the 1940s. Artists born in the North are given particular consideration and a local artist of the month is chosen.
Korundi Concert Hall is an important concert hall with 340 seats. Drama, musical and singing performances are held here and international attention is drawn to them. Various concerts are organized throughout the year and are attended by a large number of local as well as foreign visitors.
06) Let’s go skiing
As the “Gateway to the Arctic”, Rovaniemi stands out as a fantastic starting point for all the snow sports and other activities this extraordinary region of the world has to offer. Cross-country skiing is one of the most preferred winter activities in Finnish Lapland. In fact, one in five Finns has mastered active skiing. It should be noted that Lapland is made for this sport in terms of dry, continuous snow and basically flat or gently sloping scenery.
The region’s vast forest parks and back roads are linked by a vast network of government-maintained ski trails. Visitors can rent skis from many resorts and hotels, as well as from nearby sporting goods stores and tour operators. If you’ve never skied before, it’s a good idea to take a lesson from a qualified ski instructor before hitting the trails yourself.
Off-piste skiing, also known as backcountry skiing, is a fantastic way to discover secluded sections of Lapland buried in deep snow. Anyone can undertake skiing, climbing, and trekking with ease. Backcountry skiing, as opposed to alpine and cross-country skiing, enables you to embark on an adventure journey across routes, steep terrain, forests, and lakes. (Ex: taiga woodland)
I believe that a guide is typically necessary when skiing. He will become familiar with the area and select a place that best fits the team’s needs and skill level. They’ll provide you safety advice and show you the fundamentals of skiing on recently fallen snow. Your advisor will help you stay warm and give you access to drinks and a traditional Finnish BBQ. Skiing is a fantastic adventure that will allow you to take in stunning scenery and discover more about arctic environment and Lapland in general.
07) Relax with a sauna
Finland has long been known for its sauna culture. The Finnish sauna has a long history that reaches back to 1112. In Finland now, there are thought to be about two million saunas. There is a sauna in every house, apartment complex, and hotel, with a ratio of one sauna to every 2.75 persons.
The Finnish sauna has a specific procedure. A sauna entails gently rubbing your skin with silver-birch twigs while the room is heated to 230 degrees Fahrenheit. After that, you can cool yourself by jumping into a nearby snowbank or icy water.
Make sure you are informed with the regulations before to entering a sauna as there are frequently tight guidelines about wearing and how to handle the heat.
08) Explore the Northern Lights
In Finnish Lapland, the northern lights are seen all year round, but your chances of seeing them are greatest between September and March. Numerous adventure businesses in Rovaniemi provide specialized aurora borealis tours into the nearby Arctic Circle wilderness on skis, snowshoes, or snowmobiles at night.
Waiting for a clear, night sky and avoiding ambient artificial light are the keys to enjoying the best sight of nature’s light show. Move to an elevation spot with unhindered lines of sight as well, such a mountainside or a lake’s edge.
Investigate the Northern Lights.
Like the My Aurora app, there are numerous other apps. By monitoring the sun, wind, and weather systems in your particular area, they can forecast your chances of seeing the Northern Lights and provide you with the optimal viewing window each day.
09) Drive Along The Arctic Ocean Highway
The Arctic Ocean Highway was the first road in the world to go all the way to the Arctic Ocean, linking Rovaniemi to the port of Liinakhamari on Lapland’s northern shore. The frigid terrain and wide open spaces that can only be seen above the Arctic Circle may be seen from this two-lane, snow-covered highway in the winter.
10) Explore the Ranua Wildlife Park
The Ranua Park, about an easy drive from Rovaniemi, is home to more than 200 animals, including more than 50 different types of arctic wildlife. The only polar bears in Finland, Manse and Venus, who coexist contentedly in a large environment, are among their most well-liked residents. Reindeer, including wild forest reindeer, white-tailed Siberian musk, and roe kinds of deer, are also found in the area.
Brown bears and moose are among the other major creatures, and lynx, otter, mink, wild boar, grey wolf, and the tiny stoat are among the smaller mammals. With eight different owl species, four different geese species, golden and white-tailed sea eagles, buzzards, ducks, and ravens, the park also boasts a sizable bird population.
With the help of a free audio tour that can be downloaded, anyone can explore the site independently. For a fee, they can also join a naturalist-led guided tour. Camp at the park or go on a behind-the-scenes wildlife safari for those who truly want to get into the experience.
Address: Rovaniementie 29, 97700 Ranua, Finland
11) Midnight Sun in Rovaniemi
The Midnight Sun is a natural occurrence that only occurs on and above the Arctic Circle. Due to the Earth’s slightly tilted axis and sunlight refraction, the Midnight Sun period in Rovaniemi lasts for a month, from June 6 to July 7. On the summer solstice, which falls on June 21 or 22, the sun is seen over the horizon in Rovaniemi, which is located in the Arctic Circle.
There are many of outdoor activities in Rovaniemi throughout the mid night Sun, as well as local hangouts like summer terraces and excellent viewing locations that are all within a 10-minute stroll of the city center. It takes around 45 minutes to get to the summit of Ounasvaara fell, but the effort is well worth it for the stunning views of Rovaniemi bathed in the Midnight Sun.
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