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.
Imagine standing on a silent, vast frozen lake just north of the Arctic Circle.
The shadow of the trees of the shoreline in the distance in front of you, the white snow-covered ice stretching as far as the eye can see and the ink black sky above you dotted with more stars than one could ever imagine. Out of nowhere the green haze of light begins to show itself, growing in stature as the evening progresses and slowly starting its dancing of shimmering green skipping across the darkness of space.
If you are lucky, colours of pink, blue and violet may even appear.
In Finland it was believed that the lights were caused by the firefox who ran so quickly across the snow that his tail caused sparks to fly into the night sky creating the northern lights.
The colours most often associated with the northern lights are pink, green, yellow, blue, violet, and occasionally orange and white. Choose the best way for you to hunt the northern lights here.
In summer months Rovaniemi cannot offer a northern lights show for you, however it has something else to surprise you with – the midnight sun!
On the Arctic Circle where Rovaniemi lies, the sun officially stays above the horizon for a full 24 hours on summer solstice: 21st or 22nd June. The midnight sun period in Rovaniemi lasts for a month, from 6th June to 7th July. The midnight sun opens up the opportunity to enjoy activities around the clock.
Why not sample a midnight sun picnic or a canoe trip down the Ounasjoki River. Have a look here for more experiences during the period of the midnight sun. With the skies too bright to experience the northern lights the midnight sun is a wonderful natural phenomenon to enjoy during the summer.
Santa Claus and Santa Claus Village
Rovaniemi is the official hometown of Santa Claus. Eight kilometres north from Rovaniemi there is a village named after this noble old man: Santa Claus Village, which is a must see when visiting Lapland! In the center of the Village there is Santa’s Office where he meets guests for a quick chat every day of the year absolutely free of charge. As a perfect memory of your visit you can purchase the photographs of yourself and Santa Claus for a modest fee.
If you wish to have a longer chat with Santa, check out our Santa Claus tours.
The Village is also conveniently located on the Arctic Circle, which is marked through the Village with a white line on the ground and a line of lights above you. You can mark this occasion of crossing the Arctic Circle by getting the Certificate for yourself. After this the next stop is Santa’s Post Office. From here you can order a personal letter from Santa, to be delivered just before Christmas to your loved ones or send a postcard with a unique stamp from the Arctic Circle.
In Santa Claus Village you can visit husky and reindeer camps, souvenir shops, cafes and restaurants.
Our office is located in the Village as well. Welcome!
The Arctic has a wide variety of animal life and for a chance to view some of them you need to get out to the forests and hiking areas.
For those animals which are not normally found in the Arctic or are difficult to find then head to Ranua Wildlife Park, 80 km south. Here you can see polar bears, arctic foxes and 50 species of other amazing arctic animals.
If you are looking for more interaction with animals, check our reindeer and husky tours. These informative trips offer a deeper insight into the lives of these animals and the culture surrounding them; you will have the chance to experience exciting sleigh rides too!
Places to visit
Arktikum and Pilke Museums
Arktikum is a museum and science centre that tells about arctic nature, culture, traditions of indigenous Sami people, and life in the Arctic. It is also a perfect place to find more information about the northern lights. Pilke is a science centre that focuses on the forests of the Arctic and the connections we have with them as people living in the North.
Ounasvaara ski center
Although Rovaniemi is not a large ski resort like Ruka or Ylläs, it has Ounasvaara ski centre where you can try snowboarding, cross-country and downhill skiing during winter and mountain/fat- biking or hiking during the summer. Lessons for both beginners and more advanced skiers or snowboarders are available through Ounasvaara ski school.
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.
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.
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.
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.