A Couple of Days in Rovaniemi, Home of Father Xmas

Rovaniemi is probably not on most people’s travel radar. I hadn’t even heard of the place before I cycled by on my way to the North Cape. I decided to stay in Rovaniemi for a day or two anyway, and take a look around.

It kind of surprised me. A lot.

Santa Claus Village Rovaniemi Finland: Arctic Circle
Arctic Circle

Located in northern Finland, 10 hours drive north of Helsinki, Rovaniemi is the administrative and commercial center of the Finnish province of Lapland and has a population that slightly exceeds 60,000. The city was nearly completely destroyed by the Germans at the end of World War II and had to be rebuilt from scratch. Reconstruction didn’t exactly result in an architecturally beautiful city. Rather the contrary: Rovaniemi is made up of concrete buildings, apartment blocks and other dull structures. It’s not a city to visit for its impressive architecture. The city is, however, blessed with a truly magnificent location and a superb museum, two things that have recently caused a huge boom in tourism.

Santa Claus Village Rovaniemi Finland: Midnight Sun over Rovaniemi's Houses
Midnight Sun over Rovaniemi’s Houses

Three Major Rovaniemi Attractions

Santa Claus Village Rovaniemi Finland

Cut in half by the mighty Kemijoki River and flanked by the Ounasvaara and Korkalovaara Hills, Santa Claus Village Rovaniemi Finland is located exactly ten kilometers (six miles) south of the Arctic Circle. Additionally, this is considered to be the official residence of Santa Claus. The Santa Claus Village  is located right at the Arctic Circle, just north of the city. This large tourist attraction features stores, restaurants, reindeer rides, a visit to the old fellow himself, the ‘official Santa Claus post office’ and so on.

Rovaniemi Attractions: Santa Claus Village Rovaniemi Finland:
Santa Claus Village Rovaniemi Finland

Arktikum Museum Rovaniemi

A second major highlight is the great Arktikum Museum. This comprehensive museum has information on all inhabitants of these northern latitudes, from the native Sami people to reindeer and bears, as well as displays on the geology and history of the region.

Santa Claus Village Rovaniemi Finland: Information Board in the Arktikum Museum, Rovaniemi
Information Board in the Arktikum Museum

Northern Lights

In summer, Rovaniemi and surroundings are a wonderful place for outdoor activities,  such as hiking, canoeing and fishing. During the winter season, this is where the Northern Lights illuminate the night skies and dog sledding and snowmobiling are popular activities.

[easy2map id=355]

About Bram

Website: http://www.travel-experience-live.com

Bram is a Belgian guy who's currently living in the USA. For over four years now, he has been wandering the globe, with jobs here and there in between. So far, his travels have taken him to four continents and twenty-two countries. Bram likes to try different styles of travelling: from backpacker and adventurer to tourist and local, he has been all those stereotypes and probably will be many more in the future. You can follow his adventures on his travel blog, on Twitter and on Facebook.

Other posts by the Author

Leave a Reply