Rovaniemi - The Home of Santa Claus

Rovaniemi: the home of Santa Claus. That in itself should be enough to entice visitors to Finland to make that trip up to the northern most capital of Lapland. But if that doesn’t suffice, there is also a wide range of parks, museums, architecture and natural beauty to explore and enjoy.

One of the perks of travelling so far north on the globe is the weather. If visitors travel at the end of the year, they are bound to encounter a winter wonderland. Sure. There is no sun to see but it gives visitors a chance to enjoy the beautiful Christmas lights at any time of day, but as always, the most spectacular show is always put on by Mother Nature. The aurora borealis is what the far north of the globe is known for and visitors to Rovaniemi at this time of year will most likely to be treated to a display of eerie beauty as it is said that this far north, the number of auroral displays can be as high as 200 a year.

Rovaniemi from the sky;
Image credit: Matti K. Sinisalo, October 1999.

Sunset in Rovaniemi; I
Image credit: Heiner Lange, June 2006.

It is generally because of this unspoilt nature that tourists flock to this part of the world. It is quite spectacular to experience not just the sunless days with stunning light shows – both natural and man-made – but the summertime is also quite a fantastic time to experience Rovaniemi. Visitors can explore the city or play golf right into the night, only to not notice the time because the midnight sun is still warming their backs. Excursions can be made to the reindeer farm, Ranua Zoo and Sharman’s State, or adventure sports like rubber rafting, trekking, canoeing and mountain biking can be done.

Even in the winter, Rovaniemi is a place where its adventure sports can exhilarate any trip. Downhill and cross country skiing, ice fishing trips and snowmobile safaris are sure to excite any visitor to the quiet little city, but there is one thing that might have the possibility of outshining the impressive natural scenery and sporting activities in Rovaniemi: Santa Claus. This little city is very proud of its home grown celebrity who “commutes from Korvatunturi in Eastern Finish Lapland to Rovaniemi every day.”

Santa Claus Village should be the first point of call for young and old. It is more than just the normal souvenir shops that litter Christmas villages around the world; there is Santa’s Post Office, cafes and restaurants, information and guide services of the region and, of course, Santa is there all through out the year.

For those who want to take a break from Santa and his elves for a little while can venture into the new Christmas House in the Arctic Circle. Visitors can learn about the history of Christmas in its unique Christmas-theme exhibition covering centuries-old Finnish Christmas customs. It gives a more complete background and history on all the Christmas festivities that we now tend to take for granted.

For an even more succinct history of the region, visitors to Rovaniemi should visit the Arktikum. The science centre and museum leads visitors through Arctic areas and Finnish Lapland’s history. There are also Amethyst mines to visit, the Ranua Wildlife Park to experience, the Rovaniemi art gallery to view, the Rovaniemi Church to see and a whole litany of museums to learn from.  

Rovaniemi is a treasure trove of discoveries not only during Christmas, but also throughout the year with the beauty of its nature, the thrill of its adventure sports and the richness of its culture that is all there to discover in the great north of Scandinavia.