Rovaniemi

The Official Hometown of Santa Claus

Rovaniemi is the gateway to Finnish Lapland. Located on the Arctic Circle, this small city is an urban oasis surrounded by wilderness of the Arctic. Nestled at the joining of two rivers, surrounded by fells and extensive forest areas, Rovaniemi brings nature to the everyday life of its citizens and guests alike. The city has many faces: the home of Santa Claus, a student town, a hub for outdoor activities, a base to observe the magical natural phenomena of the northern lights or a host for lively events – Rovaniemi offers it all.

History in short

Thoroughly destroyed in 1944, the town was rebuilt under guidance of the most famous Finnish architect and designer Alvar Aalto. The main streets were designed in the shape of a reindeer’s head and antlers. Rovaniemi received its city status in 1960, and after the surrounding villages were united into a single entity in 2006, Rovaniemi became the largest city in the European Union by territory but only had 62 000 inhabitants.

Rovaniemi appeals to each visitor in its own special way and will surely make you want to return again and again.

Rovaniemi highlights

Rovaniemi has it all — from the northern lights dancing in the sky on a winter evening to the Midnight Sun glowing all night long throughout the summer months; cold, crisp, snow-white days to lush green, long, sunny days; activities for those who are looking for adventure and activities for those who are looking to relax.

For those seeking a unique experience, a once-in-a-lifetime activity and the opportunity to witness the magic of nature at its most beautiful; we have something for you in Rovaniemi.

Local life in Rovaniemi

The lively city centre of Rovaniemi is great for shopping, eating out and enjoying a night away in one of its many hotels. Three shopping centres along with many specialised shops and boutiques cater for all needs; from fashion and shoes to sports equipment, or classic Finnish design brands. With restaurants from across the culinary world, there is something for everyone's taste buds. Rovaniemi has many accommodation options to suit your needs, ranging from budget hostels to high end boutique hotels to a cosy cottage in the wilderness or even an apartment in the city. Rovaniemi can cater for all your needs to make your stay here in the Arctic an amazing experience.

How to dress in Rovaniemi

Winter in Rovaniemi can be very cold, however dressing correctly and according to the conditions will help keep yourself warm in most temperatures the arctic winter can throw at you. Firstly, base layers: this can be thermals or tights and vests. For the feet add some woollen socks over your regular cotton socks. Add your normal clothes on top of this base layer. Something comfortable and flexible is recommended such as a fleece or woollen sweatshirt and sweatpants/trackpants. This is because you will be wearing warm thermal outdoor clothes over these, either our thermal outdoor clothing or your own winter ski clothing.

Summer facts

June - August
Temperature +15 - +25 degrees (the hottest temperature recorded is +30,6 °C)

Daylight 24 hours
Midnight sun brings with it wonderfully long sunlit days, meaning plenty of time for summer activities.

Activities include canoeing and boat trips on the lakes and rivers of the area, visiting huskies and reindeers, hiking, fat-biking, berry picking, sauna experiences and visiting Santa Claus.

Autumn facts

September - mid November
Temperature -5 - +15 degrees

People head to the forests in search of berries and mushrooms.
Aurora starts to dance in the night sky. 
The first snowfall is usually experienced by mid-November.

The autumn colours of oranges, reds and yellows start to appear.
To witness this transformation of colour enjoy one of our tours visit Autumn activities.

Activities include berry and mushroom picking, nature photography, sauna experiences and visits to a local museum.

Winter facts

Mid-November - mid-April
Temperature -5 - -30 degrees
(the coldest temperature recorded is -45,3 °C)
with rivers and lakes freezing over.

The shortest day of the year is December 21st or 22nd (varies annually), and thanks to being located right on the Arctic Circle, on this day, the sun doesn’t rise at all in Rovaniemi.

Beautiful winter landscapes highlighted by the brightness of the snow which on average stays for 183 days of the year.

See the vast selection of our Winter Activities.

Spring facts

Mid-April - May
Temperature -15 - +15 degrees

The snow starts to melt although many winter activities can still be enjoyed.
The days get longer and warmer, the ice starts breaking up in the rivers and moves downstream in great floes.

Nature (flora and fauna) wakes up and Rovaniemi starts to become green again. In Ranua Wildlife Park you can witness the animals getting ready for the summer.
The focus of the Activities in Rovaniemi includes both winter and summer experiences during this indecisive period.

Rovaniemi is situated in Finnish Lapland, right on the Arctic Circle. Despite the northern location, getting here is easy – Rovaniemi is well connected to the rest of the world via various means of transport. From abroad, the easiest way to get to Rovaniemi is by plane, either via Helsinki or direct. Inside Finland, Rovaniemi can be reached by plane, train, coach or car.

Flight connections
Daily flights between Rovaniemi and Helsinki are operated by Finnair and Norwegian throughout the year. During the winter season, November - March, EasyJet and Norwegian operate direct flights from London Gatwick to Rovaniemi.

Train connections
Finnish railroads are operated by state company VR.
Rovaniemi is easy to reach by rail from many Finnish towns, with several trains running to and from Helsinki every day and a night train every evening. Trains run year round, despite the harsh weather at times.

Coach connections
The coach services operated by Matkahuolto and Onnibus cover most of Finland’s road network and provide a well-priced option for getting to Rovaniemi.

Road connections
Rovaniemi is easy to get to by car from all directions although distances can be long. If you plan on travelling around Lapland by car, be sure to allocate enough time for the long distances and changing weather conditions, particularly in the winter. Note that during the winter period of snow and ice it is compulsory to have winter studded tires on your car.
Up-to-date information on road conditions is published by the Finnish Transport Agency.