Visit the cosmopolitan Capital of Lapland, the festive city with so much to offer!
Rovaniemi is the place everybody identifies as the home of Santa with the twinkling lights of Santa Claus Village but there is so much more to this vibrant city. Nestled between the hills of Ounasvaara and Korkalovaara, Rovaniemi is the administrative capital and commercial centre of the region of Lapland.
The centre of Rovaniemi has an abundance of shops, café bars and restaurants and for those with some free time in their schedule its worth taking a wander around.
Santa Claus Village is a festive illuminated enclave which draws guests from across the globe to visit Santa, send mail to loved ones from the official Santa Claus Post Office and to enjoy the magical, sparkling lights that decorate every inch of the village. A special string of bright blue lights stretching across the village mark the exact position of the Arctic Circle.
If you're staying for a few days, then it’s definitely worth arranging an excursion to Ranua Wildlife Park which is just under an hour's drive out of the city. However, you don't have to travel far outside of the town to enjoy some of the best activities that Lapland has to offer. Due to Rovaniemi's size and significance with regards to all things festive, there are numerous activities and excursions on offer such as Santa Claus Village, SantaPark, the Arktikum Museum and Science centre and much more! The Arktikum is especially interesting because it offers a unique insight into the nature and the culture of the North, from prehistoric times to a guess at the future. All visits to meet Santa take place outside the city in locations such as Santa Park, Santa Claus Village or Joulukka – Santa Claus’ Secret Forest.
Rovaniemi has such a lot to offer its visitors. Its commercialised and bustling city centre and festive areas become extremely busy during the festive season however you don’t need to look far outside the city to find a more tranquil and unspoilt landscape.
Fun Fact: Santa Claus Village was created in 1950 when Eleanor Roosevelt visited Rovaniemi to see how the US initiative Marshall Plan was helping with the rebuilding of Rovaniemi which had been destroyed during WWII. She wanted to visit the Arctic Circle, so city officials rushed to build a festive cabin 8km north of the city centre. The cabin marked the birthplace of Santa Claus Village and still stands today beside Santa Claus Post Office!