Rovaniemi – the Lapland Capital on the Arctic Circle

Idylically situated at the confluence of the Kemijoki and Ounasjoki rivers at the Arctic Circle, in the midst of an endless, rugged wilderness, Rovaniemi is Finnish Lapland’s capital city, a unique destination with respect to location and services offered. Internationally recognised as the home of Santa Claus, Rovaniemi attracts visitors from across the globe who come to see the great man and cross over the Arctic Circle. Summer visitors can enjoy the brightness of the long summer nights and the beauty of the Midsummer Sun, while winter visitors can admire the flickering colours of the Northern Lights and the star-splashed arctic skies.

Rovaniemi Attractions

The most visited Rovaniemi attraction is the Santa Claus Village located right on the Arctic Circle, where Santa himself spends most of the year available to meet and greet visitors from all over the world. A full service resort, Santa Claus Village is home to the popular Santa Claus Post Office, where everything sent gets stamped by hand using Santa’ special postmark; Christmas House, with its unique Christmas-themed exhibition; numerous different restaurants and cafés, live entertainment, sauna, and jacuzzi; and Mrs. Santa Claus Christmas Cottage. There is a range of accommodation available, including the stylish new Santa’s Igloos Arctic Circle, with 71 luxurious glass igloos, or the modern Glass Resort, with 24 glass apartments each with a hot-tub and sauna:

Close by the village, Snowman World is a magical world of snow and ice where guests can enjoy a drink in an Ice Bar, dine in an Ice Restaurant and admire beautiful ice and snow sculptures, enjoy a range of fun snow activities, or join the wild safari tours. For visitors who would prefer something a little less noisy, there are reindeer-pulled sleigh rides, or husky safaris in the arctic wilderness, with special programs for children too.

Located a little closer to Rovaniemi than Santa Claus Village you’ll find the delightful SantaPark, an underground cavern packed with cheerful elves who will ensure every family has a fun day of activities and entertainments. These include an Elf school, cookie making in Mrs. Gingerbread’s Bakery, an Angry Birds Activity Area, visiting Santa’s office, a Calligraphy School, the amazing Ice Princess Ice Gallery and the Ice Bar, rides on the Magic Sleigh and the Fairytale Train, and the Elf Workshop and their Post Office.   

Some 26km from Rovaniemi on the shore of Lake Lehtojärvi visitors will find the enchanting Arctic SnowHotel, another favourite Rovaniemi tourist attraction. This famous complex features the main SnowHotel, an Ice Bar, an Ice Restaurant, a Kota Restaurant, a Snow Sauna, and the Lumikartano party venue. Of course not everyone wants to spend a night in a Snow Hotel, so the complex welcomes visitors daily, and provides a range of activities such as ice fishing or snowshoe hiking.

Just outside the city, over Rovaniemi’s iconic Lumberjack Bridge, the Ounasvaara Ski Resort is ideal for families, with excellent downhill slopes complemented by an extensive and well-maintained network of cross-country skiing tracks. During the summer months these same routes are perfect for MTB riders, while the hills work for summer-tobogganing. From the top of Ounasvaara hill visitors can admire the beauty of the Lapland wilderness as it spreads out before them.

As the region’s capital, Rovaniemi is also the cultural heart of Lapland. Arktikum houses both the Arctic Science Centre and the Regional Museum of Finland. Korundi House of Culture is home to the Rovaniemi Art Museum, and also has an excellent venue for concerts where the Lapland Chamber Orchestra perform regularly. Science Centre Pilke is located in the famous Pilke House, a modern office and museum structure made entirely from wood.

Taxari Activities & Adventures in Rovaniemi

There are plenty of activities offered by Taxari Travel Agency in Rovaniemi for visitors to choose from. These include a range of Aurora hunting expeditions, which can be enjoyed on a private tour, via a bus or minibus, via snowmobiles, by reindeer-pulled sleigh, as a photography tour, on an ice-floating trip, or with an exclusive flight above the clouds! There is a choice of snowmobile excursions available; two hour trips into nature, family with kids safaris; visits to a husky farm or reindeer farm; safaris with ice-fishing and campfire lunches; and a trip to Santa Claus Village

Other Arctic experiences to be enjoyed include the Siberian Husky happy trail tour; Snowshoeing in Nature adventure; Excursions to the Arctic SnowHotel, with optional snow sauna and dinner; husky safaris; reindeer sleigh safaris; and a traditional wood-fired sauna experience. There are a number of day trips organised by Taxari to attractions a couple of hours from Rovaniemi. These include excursions to the Luosto amethyst mine, trips to the frozen waterfalls of the Korouoma Nature Reserve, excursions to Ranua Wildlife Park with lunch, and trips to the coast to enjoy icebreaker cruises on the Sampo or Polar Explorer

Rovaniemi Accommodation

For many visitors the idea of sleeping in a room fashioned from ice in the Arctic SnowHotel is a little extreme, but fortunately there are plenty of other excellent options available.

The Arctic Light Hotel is a new contemporary hotel situated in the heart of  Lapland’s capital city. Equipped with a cosy lounge, delightful restaurant, and a collection of 57 spacious individually styled rooms & suites, the Arctic Light Hotel is the essence of supreme comfort and is appreciated for offering a personalized stay on the Arctic Circle.

The Arctic TreeHouse Hotel offers guests a brand new way to experience the Arctic Circle and the beauty of the Northern Lights, with thoughtfully designed suites perched high in the forest. Featuring spectacular views over the treetops, the suites offer an exclusive combination of local tradition, Lappish heritage and modern Scandinavian design. The Arctic TreeHouse Hotel’s atmospheric lounge area is ideal for relaxing with friends and loved ones, while the panoramic restaurant caters delicious continental and local cuisine in unique surroundings.

Located in Santa Claus Village on the Arctic Circle, Nova Skyland Hotel provides high quality hotel apartments in semi-detached cottages decorated in the Scandinavian style, each of which has a fireplace, sauna, terrace and fully equipped kitchen. Apartment sizes vary between 34 m2 and 82 m2, and are suitable for from 2 to 8 people. Nova Skyland Hotel’s fine restaurant serves Lappish and Asian dishes prepared from locally sourced ingredients, aiming to pleasantly surprise guests with flavour combinations previously unknown to them. The menus are planned by Jari Ruonakoski – Maître Rôtisseur Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs.

Located in the heart of Rovaniemi, in a building dating to 1933, the HAAWE Boutique Apart Hotel features 12 rooms and 2 suites, with decor inspired by the changing seasons, nature, and natural phenomena of Lapland. Choose from the warmth of wood and dark colours, the simplicity of light-coloured surfaces and minimalist furnishings, or the spacious luxury of a suite with its own spa room replete with sauna and bath, with free parking for guests, among other services offered.

Apukka Glass Resort

Apukka Resort offers accommodation and activities just 8 km from Santa Claus Village and 15 km north from Rovaniemi City centre. We offer both traditional and special accommodation including Aurora Cabins and Ice Cabins, with guests also able to stay overnight in an Aurora Wagon in the middle of arctic wilderness.

Getting there

Despite its northern location on the Arctic Circle, getting to Rovaniemi is easy as it is well connected to the rest of the world. During the winter season there are a number of direct flights from abroad, but Rovaniemi is most commonly reached via Helsinki, with both Finnair and Norwegian offering daily connections. It is also well connected by rail, with the Santa Claus Express overnight sleeper train from Helsinki being particularly popular. There are also regular bus services connecting Rovaniemi with many other towns in Finland, north and south.


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