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Come on, we’ve all thought about it as the end of the year holidays approach: organize a little weekend in a magical place that would make us fall back into childhood for a few moments. Europe has no shortage of places to make this dream come true (read our selection of the most beautiful Christmas markets), but there is one village that you will certainly not want to leave again: it is located near Rovaniemi , in Lapland, the homeland of Santa Claus!
Where is Rovaniemi located?
Yes, this is obviously the first question to ask yourself and it is important, because Rovaniemi will certainly be quite far from where you live. This city is therefore located in the north of Finland, a few kilometers from the Arctic Circle.
It is the capital of the well-known Lapland, where nearly 60.000 inhabitants live year round. Of course, when Christmas approaches, there are many more people there.
How do I get to Rovaniemi?
Now let’s talk about the ride. You saw on the map above that around Rovaniemi there were mostly wide open spaces and very few roads.
Wherever you arrive from abroad, a stopover in Helsinki will probably be compulsory. But good news: the capital of Finland is served by many airlines (Lufthansa, KLM), including some low-cost (SmartWings, Vueling, EasyJet) and of course the regional AirBaltic, Finnair or Scandinavian Airlines.
Then, from Helsinki, a national flight, thanks to Finnair for example, will bring you to Lapland, in just over two hours (or in 8 hours by train, it’s up to you).
Where to find the Santa Claus Village?
Once at Rovaniemi Airport in Lapland, Santa Claus Village is just 5 minutes away, towards the city. It is literally located on the Arctic Circle: you will also see the line that separates the Arctic from the rest of the world. Small clarification: this village is open all year round, but of course, going there in December always has a special character.
What can you find at the Santa Claus Village?
At the Santa Claus Village, you will already find… Father Christmas and his office . It is there all year round (we never tried to see it on the night of December 24, however). You can also visit Santa’s post office , where letters from children around the world arrive. Take a few minutes to write your vows too!
Did you know? Santa Claus Post is not just an attraction, it is a real post office from where you can send your letters and parcels with a very special stamp. And every year, 500,000 letters written by children around the world also arrive there.
Don’t want to come home empty-handed? Don’t worry, there is no shortage of shops, all of which have a Christmas theme of course. Take a look, for example, at the creations of the Taigakoru jewelry workshop .
What to do around the Village?
Remember: Rovamieni is your gateway to Lapland and the Arctic Circle. You will therefore find many activities there to discover the region. There are obviously the dog sled rides , a must that can be a bit expensive. And if the experience is worth the expense, still make sure that the dogs employed by your company are treated well (this is not always the case): ask questions, ask to see the kennel.
Still if you are an animal lover, it is possible to visit a reins farm. You may have the opportunity to feed them. In any case, you will discover a lot about the culture of the Sami .
Another popular activity for visitors is the snowmobile tour. Okay, it’s not very green but it is nevertheless the classic means of transport for the inhabitants of the region.
Small selection of activities 👇
If none of this suits you, opt for the simplicity of a walk on one of the many trails that surround Rovaniemi. The Ounasvaara hill , which acts as both a ski resort and an activity park, is ideal. You can also make it your base camp to visit the region: the site has more than sixty chalets, with sauna, in the purest Sami tradition.
There you have it, now you know how to visit Santa Claus Village in Lapland. Have a nice stay and have a great end-of-year celebrations!