Rovaniemi in Finland is a dream come true for most who visit it. Words cannot quite describe the place, it has to be experienced to be believed. Apart from being one of the best places in the world to see Northern lights, it symbolises the essence of Nordic folklore of this region and is home to the Santa Claus.
The top item in the bucket list of visitors is witnessing the extraordinary phenomenon of Aurora, or the Northern Lights. Rovaniemi has no shortage of different tours that take you Aurora-hunting. You can opt for a large group or private tour, go chasing the Northern Lights on dog sleds or by snowmobiles. Your best chance to see them is to go on a clear night outside the city where light pollution is at its minimum.
Santa Claus village
Rovaniemi is the official hometown of Santa Claus, or Joulupukki, as he’s called in Finnish. This festive village is not just for children, but adults love the spirit of this place too. There are lots of activities to do in this village- you can visit Santa’s house, go to the official post office to send a postcard, shop for souvenirs, enjoy a sleigh-pull ride, and get photographed crossing the Arctic Circle.
Santa Claus express
If you’re traveling from Helsinki to Rovaniemi, you can take the sleek double-decker train known as the “Santa Claus Express”. The train covers the 885-kilometer journey in around 10 hours, which you can enjoy lounging around in your private two-bunk cabin. The cabins are equipped with a sink, power outlets, fresh linen, and a window. Visitors prefer the nighttime departure more, as they get to wake up to the spellbinding sunrise over the snow-covered pine trees of the arctic.
During the winter months, you have the opportunity to stay in one of Rovaniemi’s Ice hotels. The hotels are sculpted from ice and snow. Even the beds are made out of snow, but there are plenty of insulating layers in between. The hotel provides a well-insulated sleeping bag and thermal gear so that you feel comfortable and warm. You can enjoy this fantastic experience in any of the famous Ice Hotels, like the Apukka Resort Ice Cabin, the Kätkävaara Aurora Apartments and Igloos, or the popular Arctic Snowhotel. You can stay here and at other experiential hotels in Laplands in this specially curated Luxury laplands tour.
Don your snowshoes, hire an expert, and get off the beaten track to explore the Arctic wilderness. The untamed and pristine wilderness of Rovaniemi provides an experience unlike any other, as it brings you closer to nature. During the summer months, you can venture deep into the local forests and learn more about the Finnish life. The seasoned guides advise you on the best places to increase your chances of seeing arctic animals, and they’re trained to handle any unexpected events.
A trip to Rovaniemi is incomplete without snowmobiling. Numerous snowmobiling tours include other activities as well. You can go exploring the Northern Lights on a snowmobile, or you can explore the Finnish wilderness in a snowmobile. You could also visit a reindeer farm or go ice fishing. Most of the snowmobiles hold two people, so you should book a more extended tour where both passengers have enough time to drive.
These adorable and cuddly dogs are fierce runners and can navigate the Finnish terrain expertly. It is no wonder that husky sledding is so prevalent in Rovaniemi. One of the most popular Husky Sledding tours here is BearHill Husky Tours, a family-run husky kennel. They care about the welfare of the dogs a lot and offer a wide range of sledding tours. Apart from sledding, you also get a chance to meet these pups and interact with them.
The Arktikum Science Museum and Cultural center lets you experience the nature, culture, and history of the North up close. The impressive building houses several exhibitions that tell the story of the Lappish people and the history of Lapland. Some exhibits focus on how life has evolved in the region and the various challenges that it faces, like climate change and globalization. The museum also offers a stunning and interactive display of flora and fauna found in this region. The museum has a café, gift shop, conference center, and library.
Korundi House of culture
Another popular destination, apart from Arktikum Museum, to get yourself acquainted with local culture and history is Korundi House of Culture. It is home to two institutions- the Rovaniemi Art Museum and Chamber Orchestra of Lapland. The art museum is housed in a converted old postbus depot, one of the very few buildings that survived the bombings of World War 2. The museum is an interesting amalgamation of classical works, modern art, local history, and architecture. The Chamber Orchestra is in a 340-seat concert hall that hosts various events throughout the year.
The Regional Theatre of Lapland, also called Rovaniemi Theatre, offers a wide range of performances, centered around local themes. Around 230 theatrical performances happen throughout the year, and they include drama, comedy, classics, new works, and children’s plays and musicals. The theatre also provides services and venues for other events, workshops for children as well as adults, and training for working communities. In true Lappish spirit, the theatre is by the people, for the people, and about the people.
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