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Have you ever heard the legends about a specific gift-giving, a cheery old man from the North Pole who wears a red cap and a snow-white beard? So stop searching since this is where he resides!
The ‘North Pole’ described in the mythical story of Santa Claus is Rovaniemi, which is also the unofficial capital of the Finnish Lapland. Rovaniemi, which is in Finland and situated near the Arctic Circle, is a well-known winter vacation spot.
The town provides a list of places where visitors can have an authentic Christmas experience, including Snow World, Santa Park, and Rovaniemi, the well-known home of Santa Claus. The Aurora Borealis, often known as the Northern Lights, is another well-known incentive to travel there. It can appear just outside of town, is easily accessible, and the city offers a number of convenient methods for tourists to observe it.
The town itself has a reindeer theme because Alvar Aalto rebuilt it after the Second World War when it was on the verge of being destroyed, giving the streets and homes the shape of a reindeer’s head and antlers!
The Arktikum museum gives visitors the chance to learn about the numerous origin tales and the history that surround the town in addition to providing winter-themed fun and games and a traditional Lapland Christmas.
Nearest Airport: Rovaniemi
How to reach: Rovaniemi has a local airport
Famous for: Incredible snow landscapes, Origin of Santa Claus, Santa Village
Best time to visit: Oct to Mar
WHAT TO SEE
Santa Claus Village, Santa Park
Science Centre Pilke, Korundi House of Culture
Arctic Adventure Park, Lampivaara Amethyst Mine
Arctic Snow Hotel, Ranua Wildlife Park
Santa Village Finland: The Santa Claus Village is a wholly Santa-themed location where visitors can meet Santa at any time of the year. Additionally, there is a Santa post office with amiable postal elves who see to it that letters are properly stamped and delivered to their intended recipients. In addition to this, there are several restaurants and gift shops with Christmas-themed decor, as well as a permanent installation called Santa’s House of Snowmobiles. In addition to having a large number of visitors from adjacent towns, it is also conveniently located for trains. For instance, it takes less than a day to get from Santa Village to Helsinki.
Santa Park: Like the Santa Village, Santa Park is much more conveniently situated in the town and is packed with kid-friendly attractions. They can learn how to make cookies at Mrs. Gingerbread’s bakery in addition to visiting the Elf school, Ice Princess Gallery, and Angry Birds play area.
Arktikum: The Regional Museum of Lapland, the conference center, and the Arctic Science Center are all located in the Arktikum, which is regarded as a masterpiece of architecture. The Arktikum frequently hosts a number of exhibitions that create major tourist attractions, making it a great addition to the trip for anyone who isn’t just coming to have fun but also to grasp the culture and history of the place.
Snow World: This place calls itself the ‘merriest place in the Arctic Circle’ and rightly so. Custom-themed for a fun time with the family, the entire place is ice-themed with an Ice restaurant, an Igloo Hotel, and an Ice Bar. The are several activities here as well which include skating, snow sculpting, and the most popular activity being the Bag jump.
Science Centre Pilke: Said to be made entirely of wood most of which was sourced from forests in Finland, the Science Centre Pilke is yet another architectural gem that not only talks about the local flora and fauna but also is the home of the Metsahallitus, Finland’s National Agency responsible for Parks, Hiking Areas, Wildernesses and Heritage sites.
Korundi House of Culture: It houses both the Lapland Chamber Orchestra and the Rovaniemi Art Museum and is one of the few structures to have survived the Second World War. Both of these places play a significant role in the town’s culture and are frequently visited by people. The art museum is well-known for its collection of Modern and Northern Art, and the orchestra frequently gives performances.
Arctic Adventure Park: A popular tourist attraction, the Arctic Adventure Park is located on Ounasvaara Hill and offers ‘tree-top’ activities for adults and kids. They consist of adventures where the participants have to move from tree to tree via ropes, nets, beams, and bridges. It ensures safety by making sure they are placed higher than seven feet and there are also height charts to determine the eligibility of the participants.
Lampivaara Amethyst Mine: A national park located within driving distance from Rovaniemi, this is a national park that has been opened to tourists and citizens to explore its grounds. On top of the fell, there is an amethyst mine where people are allowed to search for gemstones. Several folk tales and myths are surrounding the park and amethysts as well.
Arctic Snow Hotel: A great place to stay during a long holiday, the Arctic Snow Hotel features everything including its restaurants and bars in a snow theme apart from offering recreational activities for its guests like hiking or ice fishing.
Ranua Wildlife Park: With over fifty species of animals, a separate park of domestic animals, and a petting zoo, the Ranua Wildlife Park is a great place to spend time with children. It is located about 80 km to the south of the city and can be reached via the bus service provided.
Best ways to see the Northern Lights near Rovaniemi:
The Aurora Borealis or the northern lights are a magical experience and a sight to behold after an entire day of exploring. The city hence offers several ways to enjoy them which include:
Northern Lights Flight: If you’re ready to go all-in, this is one of the best ways to experience the lights, it is an hour long and gets you as close to them as possible.
Aurora Ice Floating: This means you get to float on ice and see the lights right above you while doing so. A rescue suit is provided to keep the visitors warm in the water.
Glass Igloo Stay: There are arctic glass igloos within the Santa Village from which you can witness the lights as well, which is a great way to experience them while being a part of a bigger group of people.
Husky Tour or Reindeer Rides: A lot of combination tours consist of watching the lights while riding through the snow. It is usually preferred by tourists as well since it is a truly exhilarating way to experience the lights.
Snowmobile tour: There are snowmobiles that you can rent at the City Centre and ride through the forests to reach the viewing point of the lights. This is a great option for those who prefer to drive themselves than opt for a ride.
Snowshoeing: A lot of people prefer to take a nice walk in the snow to watch the lights, making it an altogether peaceful experience. Snowshoeing is an activity provided by the city where tourists can rent gear to go see the lights.
Viewing spots: For those who prefer an easier option, viewing spots are a great way to reach easily and get a solid view of the lights without making your way across the forest. There are spots available within the city as well in Santa village and the Museum.