Top 6 Things to do in Rovaniemi during Christmas
1. Visit Santa Claus Village
Okay, so this is kinda obvious if you know anything about Rovaniemi and what it’s known for. Rovaniemi is Santa Claus’ home town, he lives there, and you have the chance to meet him. I’m soon 20 and I was so excited to meet him.
There is so much you can do there, not just meet Santa. My sister and I visited Santa’s Village literally every day, meaning we visited the village four times. The first day we saw everything: Santa’s post office, gift shops, went on a reindeer sleigh ride, went to Santa’s house/cabin, drank some mulled wine in a goahti (Kota in Finnish = tipi-like hut, a traditional Sami dwelling) and walked around the village grounds. There is so much to see. And the vibe is so different during the daytime or in the evening. You should see the village during both times!
Where is it? It’s at the side of Sodankyläntie, 96930 Rovaniemi, about 10min car ride from Rovaniemi.
2. Arctic Circle Hiking Area – Vaattukinköngäs
The next in my top 5 of my “the best Christmas vacation in Rovaniemi” guide is a hiking area with some of the most incredible views. There are multiple hiking trails, from 1km trails to over 10km trails. So I promise you will find the perfect trail for you.
I had the best time hiking there. We picked a 5km trail and realized it was 5km one way, so we ended up walking a 10km trail instead of 5km. But all was good, cause of the walking in the forest and across multiple swamps. In Finnish, I would say that “silmä lepää näissä maisemissa“ which translates to “the eye rests in these landscapes” or “the landscape is a sight for sore eyes“. Simple very beautiful. You should definitely visit this place while visiting Rovaniemi. I
Where is it? It’s an about 25min drive from Rovaniemi, at Vaattunkikönkääntie 208, 96900 Rovaniemi. There is a resort at the location if you wanna stay at the sight overnight.
3. Visit a Husky Farm/Park – Go Dog Sledding
I’m gonna start by saying that I didn’t go dog sledding, just visited the huskies. But after leaving the husky farm I really wanted to go back and go for a sledding ride. But I was traveling on a budget and I couldn’t budge (haha see the kinda pun) to get a sledding ride. Either way, visiting them was so much fun and I loved it. I mean you get to pet them! One of them even kissed me! It’s was pure love. Of course, if you don’t like dogs, this might not be for you.
There are many husky farms near Rovaniemi, and we ended up going to Husky Park. All you had to do is pay a 10€ entrance (5€ for children between 4-12 years), and you were free to wander around the park. This husky park is right next to Santa Claus’ Village, which is one of the reasons we chose to visit the park.
4. Visit Arctic Snowhotel and Glass Igloos
We stayed in the glass igloos for one night when we were in Rovaniemi. All I can say is WOW! It was so so beautiful! We didn’t see any northern lights due to the cloudy sky, but it didn’t really matter. The next morning (15.12) when we checked out we were supposed to visit the newly opened snow hotel, but that didn’t happen. The snow hotel was behind schedule and the opening time was pushed back. BUT, that doesn’t mean that’s the case for you.
The snow hotel is a sight to see. There is an ice restaurant, you sleep on a snow/ice bed, an ice bar, snow sauna, and so much more! You just have to see it!
The Arctic Snowhotel and Glass Igloos are a 30min ride from Rovaniemi. They offer a shuttle at approximately 13:00, 14:50, 16:45, and 19:00 (depending on the pick-up location). Spending the night in the snow hotel costs between 100-290€ depending on what room you choose. We stayed in the glass igloos and paid 149€ for one night. If you just wanna visit the hotel grounds 19€ for adults, 10€ for kids 2-12 years.
Take e virtual walk in the snow hotel here!
5. Visit a Reindeer Farm
I earlier said there are many husky farms near Rovaniemi. Well, there are even more reindeer farms. There are so many you just have to choose where you wanna go.
My sister found an animal park, with other animals then reindeer, so we visited that park. There were reindeer, rabbits, alpacas, sheep, and goats. It was so much fun! We got to feed and pet the animals. The reindeers were very happy to see us (okay they were happy to see the food), so it wasn’t like “Hey reindeer come here” no they all came to us and the food.
So which farm should you visit? Well, that depends on you. Do you have a budget? Do you wanna go reindeer sledding? Do you have a car, can you drive further from Rovaniemi city? Therefore I cannot say what farm you should visit.
6. Walk to Santa’s forest
Santas forest is one of the most visits in Rovaniemi. The forest is a 1.5km walk from Santa Claus’ Village. The walk is very easy, so pretty much anyone can walk there.
It took us some time to find the entrance to the hike, but when we found it, well, it wasn’t even hard. You can park your car in the village parking and walk from there. The start is just on the other side of the highway. And there is only one way to get on the other side and that is under a bridge. Voila, the entrance to the hike is right in front of you now! I don’t know how we missed it.
When arriving at the forest you will see a gate and a sign that says “Santa Claus Forest”. Santa’s forest is lovely! There are so many perfect Christmas trees you just wanna run among them. My sister and I took some photos, danced some Christmas Tiktok dances for her Tiktok, and just enjoyed our time there. We had so much fun, and it was so worth it!
BONUS TIP: Where to eat!
I got one favourite restaurant and one favourite cafe to share with you! Let’s start with the restaurant.
I know that being in Lapland, you kinda should eat Finnish traditional food. But this restaurant is a pizza and burger restaurant. They have the best pizzas ever! Haven’t eaten better pizzas in Finland. And the burgers are just heaven. So yes you should definitely visit this restaurant!
The restaurant is called Kauppayhtiö Bar and Grill. But you can also find it as Pure Pizza or Pure Burger (the restaurant is kinda two different sides). The restaurant is in the center of Rovaniemi, so if you are staying in the city I bet you can walk there from your hotel.
My fave cafe is Cafe and Bar 21. That cafe has everything. Ate there 3 times! They have waffles, ice cream, sandwiches, cakes, soup, coffee, hot chocolate and so much more! And the cafe is so chic! Check their website here and see all the amazing things they serve!
Where is the cafe? It’s also in the city center of Rovaniemi. Walking distance from any parking lot.
Ooh so much to do in Rovaniemi! I hope you found something for yourself.
Rovaniemi is the best city in Finland to visit during December. It’s the ultimate Christmas destination. There is no other place worth visiting. I enjoyed every minute there. The nature, the people (they were so much friendlier then at home!) and the snow! Everything was perfect!
Story and Images By Ronja Talala