OUR ULTIMATE GUIDE TO ROVANIEMI, FINNISH LAPLAND (THE ULTIMATE WINTER WONDERLAND)

OUR ULTIMATE GUIDE TO ROVANIEMI, FINNISH LAPLAND (THE ULTIMATE WINTER WONDERLAND)

If you are looking for the perfect winter wonderland escape, Finnish Lapland is the place to go! Why? Because the small town of Rovaniemi – located on the edge of the Arctic Circle – is the official home of Santa Claus and is one of the most magical spots in the world. Our Christmas getaway was full of fairy lights, cozy cabins, sugary hot chocolates, husky sleds, and snowball fights.

If you are busy planning your next Christmas holiday, we are here to convince you why Finnish Lapland is the place to go! Check out our YouTube video below of our time in Rovaniemi, and keep scrolling for more info!

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December in Rovaniemi

Two things you need to be prepared for when heading to Lapland in December is that it can get quite cold and you won’t get much sunlight. Each day the sun would rise at around 10am and set at 2pm, but we found it wasn’t pitch black for the rest of the time. It seemed that twilight went for much longer than normal with sunrises and sunsets lasting an hour!

We also got quite lucky with the weather with our coldest day only getting down to -10°C. (The locals told us it can get down to below -20°C during this time of year!) As long you cover up with a really good set of winter clothing and bring a lot of layers the weather is bearable. Whenever we would start feeling the cold, we would just use that as an excuse to have a hot chocolate break, warm back up and head back out again.

Get Good Travel Insurance

We always recommend quality travel insurance when travelling overseas, but even more so when snow is involved. You never know what can happen on a winter getaway, and having the peace of mind that help can be there if we hurt ourselves is important to us. We choose to use Cover-More Travel Insurance whenever we travel, because we know its hard-working medical and emergency assistance team can help us if we need – even in the Arctic Circle!

Where to Stay

If you are looking to have the ultimate Christmas winter wonderland experience we highly recommend staying at least one night at Santa Claus Holiday Village. There are a bunch of accommodation types you can choose from including glass igloos and treehouse cabins. We decided to book a night in our very own red cottage with private sauna. They have a bunch of activities on site, including husky sledding, reindeer rides and you can even meet Santa Claus himself! We had the most magical stay; it really does make you feel like you have stepped into a Christmas movie the moment you arrive.

If you are looking for a more affordable place to stay we suggest checking out Airbnb and staying in the city center of Rovaniemi. Here you will also have easy access to shops, restaurant and the public buses. We decided to stay in this Airbnb for our final two nights to save some money that we put towards more experiences and activities.





Things to Do

Husky Sledding

A visit to the Arctic is not complete unless you have sped through the snow-covered forest behind a team of Siberian Huskies. At the Husky Park you can simply come to meet and play with these sweet dogs or if you are up for some adventure, you can choose from a short 500m to 8km sled ride through the snow.



Visit a Reindeer Farm

They say here in Lapland there are more reindeer than people and the herding of reindeer has been apart of the Lappish culture for thousands of years. We just had to see these beautiful animals for our self! We headed out to a local reindeer farm and met so many reindeer – and even went on a traditional sleigh ride. The tour ended warming up by the fire inside a traditional Kota as we drank hot berry tea and ginger cookies.

We booked our experience with Klook.


Hunt for the Northern Lights

A major reason people head to Lapland is to experience the Northern Lights (or Aurora Borealis). However, it is just one of those things that cannot be guaranteed. You need to have perfect conditions to be lucky enough to spot this natural phenomenon and unfortunately, we didn’t have such luck.

One night we headed out on a Northern Lights tour where we drove 50km outside of the city to a large lake with no light pollution, set up a fire and cooked sausages and marshmallows under the stars while looking out for the colourful lights. It was quite a cloudy night, which made it hard to try spot anything, but being out in the wilderness close to midnight around a campfire was a pretty awesome experience in itself!

We booked our experience with Klook.

Meet Santa Claus

A Christmas getaway to Lapland has to include a visit with Santa Claus. This guy is the real deal – look how much taller he is than us … We look like little kids next to him! And that beard is pretty epic! You can meet Santa at Santa Claus Village free of charge, you just have to pay if you want any of the photos.

You also need to head to the Post Office where you can send letters with a special Arctic Circle postmark. You can even send postcards to friends and family in a year’s time for a little surprise next Christmas!

Cross the Arctic Circle

It’s not every day that you can say you have walked across into the Arctic Circle. The line of the Arctic Circle runs right through the middle of Santa’s Village – you can see it marked with a row of lanterns and strip of blue lights.

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Where to Eat

Santa’s Salmon Place

If you are looking for a place to try original Lappish cuisine you need to head to Santa’s Salmon Place. Here they serve fresh salmon baked inside a traditional Lappish teepee in the open fire. This is the perfect place to relax by the fire and have a truly unique dining experience. It can get quite busy so be prepared to line up for half an hour or more … but trust us, the wait is totally worth it!

Lapland Restaurant Kotahovi

Another spot we loved is Lapland Restaurant Kotahovi located inside a Kota, which is a traditional Lappish hut. The restaurant offers typical Lappish dishes including creamy salmon soup (our favourite dish). There is a toasty fireplace in the center of the hut making it the perfect place to warm up while having a delicious meal in the Arctic.


Thanks to Cover-More Travel Insurance for partnering with Flying the Nest on this post!

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