Winter is knocking at the doors, and this is the time when we can experience one of the most beautiful seasons. Rovaniemi is the capital of Lapland which is the northernmost province of Finland.
Rovaniemi is also known as the hometown of Santa Claus. The city shines like a star in the winters, with the joy of Christmas. Even if you visit the place during the summer, you can experience hiking and fishing but, winters have their charm.
Here are 6 must-do things you should experience in Rovaniemi:
Santa Claus Village
In childhood, Christmas is all about Santa Claus and his presents. Every child dreams to meet Santa, and this place can make your dream come true. The village provides you the opportunity to meet St. Nick, or you can call him Santa Claus. Rovaniemi is the official hometown of Santa Claus.
You can enjoy Christmas at its best here; the environment, the surroundings, the decorations, and the trees are all decked up in a traditional way. You even have the facility of a direct mail route to Santa himself. You can also experience the traditional bakes from Mrs. Claus that are the gingerbread cookies, along with the stories of Lapland in her Christmas Cottage.
When you visit Santa Claus, you can click a picture with him, and you will also get the certificate of stepping into the Arctic Circle with the marking of a circle of latitude running to the 66°33’45.9″ north of the equator painted on the certificate. Also, manage to reach the village as soon as the visiting hours begin, or else it can take a long time.
Korundi House of Culture
While on a visit to the place, you should experience the culture and traditions of that region, and Korundi House of Culture is one of the best places to visit in Rovaniemi. You will get to know the history, culture, and local traditions at this place. You can visit the Rovaniemi Art Museum, Chamber Orchestra of Lapland, which are located on the edge of the downtown core of Rovaniemi city.
The Rovaniemi Art Museum is built in an old bus depot which is one of the few buildings which survived the horrible bombing in Rovaniemi during World War II. During that bombing, almost 90% of Rovaniemi was destroyed. The Art Museum has some permanent, and few rotating collections mainly focused on the contemporary finish art from the 1940s. They even feature the local artist of the month in the museum to motivate others.
Apart from that, it has the 340 seated Korundi Concert Hall, where many functions and events take place throughout the year, and also it is the home to the Lapland Chamber Orchestra. If you want to experience the shows and events, you should check the calendar and book the tickets for the shows in advance, for your convenience.
Santa Claus Express
As Rovaniemi is the hometown of Santa Claus, it provides every feel you see in your dreamland. They provide a double-decker train that runs from Helsinki to Rovaniemi, and that train is named the “Santa Claus Express”. The train covers the distance of approx. eight hundred and eighty-five kilometers and usually takes the time of about eight to ten hours, depending on the departures and climates.
The train has two departures in a day and most of the locals prefer traveling during the night, to snuggle down into your private bunk sleeping cabins and wake up the next morning with the view of Finnish Lapland and the snows.
Reindeer Sled Rides
When we talk about Santa Claus, how can we forget about the reindeers and the rides? For a long time, reindeers were known for transporting families and goods across Europe’s Arctic region. In Lapland, there is a roughly one-to-one ratio of residents as reindeers. You can experience reindeers roaming into the woods in snow but, they are owned by Semi herder specifically, and they are rounded up every year, also they have special identification marks on the reindeers.
The reindeers are well trained, and when you sit in the sleigh you feel like you are in a dreamland as they move; you can hear the bells ringing, and gives you the fairy tale vibe. You have various options for the ride, and also you can visit reindeers farms. Especially for Christmas, they have the Christmas House Safary, Husky Farm, and Raitola Reindeer Farm.
For convenience, you can book the sleigh ride in advance, and during the ride try to be calm and gentle as reindeers are shy, and it takes many years to train them to be around humans.
Ice Made Village
Rovaniemi has many unique things on the list, and one of those is the village made of Ice. It is situated just at two hours drive from Rovaniemi city. The village is made with 44 pounds of snow and approx. 772,000 pounds of natural ice. The view is breathtaking and the village is constructed every year with every facility like rooms for stay, wedding area, and the sculptures of ice for the enjoyment of the visitors and the guests.
The temperature of the hotel rooms is kept below zero and they consist of real mattresses. In case the situation is too frigid you have the option of warm-up rooms. It takes almost a whole year for the team of Finnish designers and builders to complete the village. They come up with different themes every year like in 2020 it was based on an illusion theme and before that, in 2019 it was based on the game of thrones which consisted of the throne rooms, figures of the dragons, and the weir wood tree.
When you are in Finland and do not experience the Northern Lights, the trip is incomplete. You can experience the very amazing northern lights around the year from the Finnish Lapland. The tours planners provide a separate trip for the northern lights and also the tours to the Arctic Circle via snowshoeing, skis, or snowmobile.
This is one of the best things you can experience in your lifetime and when you see the glimpse you forget all the freezing temperature and wait time, everything makes it worth it. The chances of experiencing northern lights are higher if you are traveling in the month between September to March.
Rovaniemi will mesmerize you and fulfill the dream of being in a dreamland, and meeting Santa Claus.
Edited by Anupama Roy