28 Dec 10 reasons to visit Rovaniemi
If you dream of the North Pole and actually meeting Santa, then this destination is for you.
The capital of Finnish Lapland, this small town that sits on the Arctic Circle is just like a dream. It’s a romantic getaway for long walks, warm nights by the fire and an out-of-this-world Christmas experience. You will think you’re in a movie and you will never forget this trip: it’s definitely one for your bucket list.
Besides having an endless supply of instagrammable moments, here are 10 reasons why I think Rovaniemi is the coolest place I’ve ever been (literally).
1 The activities
The ski and snow activities will keep you busy all day; hiking, fishing, ice breaker boat through the ice, canoe on the wild rapids.
Then after a long day in the snow, there’s nothing better than to end the night with a couples’ activity to keep you warm. The experience is made by locals living in the outskirts of Finland, where you visit their cabins by the ice pond and sit in the sauna that’s more than 100 years old. Then you go out and jump into the frozen water. This SPA activity has many health benefits and it’s especially good for your heart, metabolism and skin.
And what’s sweeter than finishing up with a homemade dinner made by the local hosts and with a spicy Glögi tea infusion made of apple and grape juice.
2 The romantic vibe at night
The sky seems bigger from up here on top of the world. If the views and the snow are not enough to get you closer to your loved one during the day, the night will surely bring you together. From the star gazing, to the candle lit dinners, to laying on a fur in front of the cozy chimney fire, the ambiance is enough to stir up your warmest emotions.
3 The hotels
I personally stayed at the “Artic treehouse” hotel, and I definitely recommend it. The geometric architecture was so unexpected in the traditional setting of wooden cabins and old houses, and the panoramic windows offered a complete immersion into the calm wilderness at night.
You should definitely also check out “Santa’s igloo” hotel, even if you won’t stay there.
4 The nature
Away from the hustle and bustle of the city, the wilderness is a spectacular destination. Nature trails, forests, natural crystal mines and caves- all amazing sights for your eyes.
The peace and quiet of the majestic nature will comfort your senses and soothe your mind.
5 The exotic animals
If you find yourself in front of a bear, what do you do? You take pictures of course.
Polar bears and brown bears (in the zoo), reindeer, moose, huskies and many more wild animals live in the phenomenal nature.
6 The food
If you check a list of the best restaurants in Rovaniemi, you will notice that they have every kind of menu to cater for all tourists. But what you should be doing is sampling the local Scandinavian culture that is almost completely based on salmon.
Salmon soup, grilled salmon, smoked salmon, salmon sashimi, salmon tartare, and also…wait for it… deer. Who would have guessed that Bambi would be so delicious!
7 The Northern Lights
The Aurora Borealis has long fascinated our imagination. Even to this day, this natural occurring phenomenon moves people to travel far to witness nature’s most spectacular light show.
So basically, the aurora borealis refers to a display of light in the northern sky (as opposed to the aurora australis in the southern sky). They are mainly green and pink, and they happen when electrically charged particles from the sun enter the earth’s atmosphere and collide with oxygen and nitrogen.
In order to plan ahead, you can check the official Aurora forecast, and of course the local tourist guides. I definitely recommend Lorenzo, the guy who took us on the tour where we found the magic spectacle.
8 The Arctic Circle
The Arctic Circle is a circle of latitude that runs 66°33′45.9″ north of the Equator. It marks the southernmost latitude where the sun can stay continuously below or above the horizon for 24 hours.
In this specific place, when the sun shines for 24 straight hours it is known as the Midnight Sun in summer, and when the opposite happens where the sun doesn’t shine for 24 hours, it is known as the Polar Night (“Kaamos”) in winter.
In Rovaniemi, the Arctic Circle runs through Santa Claus Village, where it is clearly marked and you can even get a certificate confirming that you witnessed this natural phenomenon.
9 The Husky tour
Lapland is Finland’s northernmost region, and here the winter wonderland is even more authentic when you experience a sled ride pulled by huskies.
From the fun animals to the surreal ride, the experience included a visit to an authentic hunter’s cabin and a much appreciated hot cup tea.
To make it more memorable? Don’t forget to chat with your guide and soak up a bit of the local Lappian culture.
10 Santa Claus village
Rovaniemi is the official home of Father Christmas.
You know how when we were kids, we read stories and we watched movies about Santa’s workshop, where the elves made the toys that Santa distributes around the world on Christmas Eve?
IT ACTUALLY EXISTS.
It’s called Santa Claus village and it’s even more wonderful than it sounds.
Here, nestled in the snow, the whole village including Santa’s house, his workshop, and even the touristic restaurant is made of snow walls.
The village is made-up of many Walk in the workplace of Santa Clause. Full of magic and giant pines each one of the houses will surprise you inside. From meeting Santa, to an ice castle, an ice restaurant, a mini zoo with domesticated Nordic animals, clothing boutiques, among other things.
And, every day of the year, you can visit the Santa Claus post office where you can post your Christmas cards! The merry post office elves will help you to choose an authentic card that will arrive to your address at Christmas. Why not send to all your friends a surprise from the North Pole?
With splendid views, a ton of activities and so many memorable moments, I’m sure that Rovaniemi will melt your heart just as it did mine.