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Rovaniemi is in northern Finland, amongst the Arctic Circle. Lots of magical things happen here, especially given that this is where Santa Claus resides. The beloved Yuletide figure is celebrated in many ways, making this a fantastic destination in Lapland. Every day of the year there is something Christmas related to do, along with an interesting list of other activities. There’s no doubt this will be a trip of a lifetime, with one of the world’s most magical Christmas towns making you feel merry and bright. These are the best things to do in Rovaniemi, the official hometown of Santa Claus!
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While not actually an ice block structure, which is probably good giving that might be kind of chilly, Santa’s Igloos are small dwellings with glass windows that extend onto the roof. Being perfectly located under the dark night sky, you’ll have a higher chance of spotting the Aurora Borealis. Rooms are snuggly and high end and the on-site restaurant is an elegant experience. Listen out for the Aurora alarm!
Sirmakko Reindeer Farm offers many traditional Finnish experiences. Wellness days at a sauna is just part of the culture. Here, you can soak in a thermal tub, relax in the sauna with a snug robe and slippers, and even take things up a notch. Hosts will guide those willing, to an ice plunge pool. Rolling in the powdery snow before returning to the sauna is also thought to have some health benefits.
Late August to early April is the window in which visitors are most likely to gaze upon nature’s most spectacular color show. At the Arktikum Museum, which deserves a visit all on its own thanks to culture, science and nature displays, also features the Arctic Garden. Nestled along the river shores, the scenic park is one of the most convenient spots to look for the lights, and it’s just a short walk from downtown.
Elf school is an interwoven activity at Santa Park, which also houses some of our other listed activities. The elves are particularly entertaining and will warm hearts while demonstrating common elf values and tips. In the end, kids will receive an official diploma, which holds some serious bragging rights back home. In the park, guests can bake gingerbread cookies and ride the magic train, too.
The Arctic Circle’s point of latitude and longitude runs right through Rovaniemi, meaning there are many official places to cross. In Santa Claus Village, the experience is commemorated with a celebration and certificate. At Santa Park, guests can uniquely cross underground. Something peculiar happens when crossing over the north, and legend has it that stress and worries mysteriously melt away. Because of this, many venture beyond to the Arctic Circle Hiking Area, where cascading waterfalls and accessible trails await.
Bearhill Husky Tours is one of the well-rated guides for a dog sledding adventure. Folks will get to whizz through a sparkling snowy forest onboard a small two-person sled pulled by the cutest team. Yes, you will get the opportunity to steer the sled! Tours can vary, from being a whole day to a little bit shorter if you have young ones. Enjoy warm beverages and pup meet and greets afterward. Not into dog sledding? (But who wouldn’t be?) Snowmobiling is a popular excursion as well.
Sirmakko Reindeer Farm is the same place that offers the sauna experience, and it’s also one of the many locations to house a real reindeer farm. A full day could be spent feeding and taking selfies with Santa’s furry friends, but the flight team stays at the workshop. However, even though these aren’t the ones that take the air, they’ll still whisk visitors on an unforgettable sleigh ride through the snow. Guests will learn some key things about reindeer farming, like lassoing, and herding.
This ice-fishing excursion takes you into the serene north Arctic, and the scenery could be enough on its own. Guides will show you how to drill a hole in the ice, then you’ll get to drop a line, and wait for a catch. After the day is over, all that fish will get roasted over an open fire and you’ll of course get to chow down!
Floating in Finland consists of putting on a waterproof suit, either in the summer or winter! Then you’ll be guided into a body of water, to literally just float, and sometimes look at the northern lights. Floating can be great for the senses and relaxation, so this is a truly unique way to enjoy the night sky or search for an Aurora.
Operated by elves, of course, this is an actual post office from which Santa receives all his letters from hopeful children all over the world. So visitors can send mail from here too, which will get a one of a kind Arctic postmark. Talk about a cool place to send a postcard from. Christmas cards or other packages can be left here to be sent around the holidays. The post office has lots of memorabilia to see, and some pretty neat souvenirs.
Santa Claus might not disclose the exact location of the mystical North Pole, but he does trek a short distance every day, to Santa Claus Village. Children and adults alike can visit him every day—as long as he’s not delivering presents (he officially departs on December 23rd). Santa Claus Village came to life amongst rebuild efforts after World War II and has now grown into a mesmerizing resort brimming with twinkling shops and cafes. An incredible time to be here would be when Ole Saint Nick himself kicks off the Christmas season in November.