Airport Manager Johan Juujärvi, a native of Rovaniemi, says there are not only shops and culture but also activities for all four seasons in the city and nearby.
“The Ounasvaara recreation area has plenty to offer: ski slopes, cross-country skiing tracks and trails for walking, running and cross-country biking. Almost all ski resorts in Lapland are, at most, just a couple of hours away by car. All this, and particularly the closeness to nature, makes Rovaniemi a good and safe place to live.
Juujärvi names the Kaihuanvaara hiking area as the hidden gem of Rovaniemi. It is situated 60 kilometres east of Rovaniemi along the Kemijoki river. In winter, you can admire snow-covered trees on top of the hill. In summer, the diverse trails are well worth exploring.
By area, Rovaniemi is the largest city in Europe. Tourism has grown strongly in recent years, and with an increasing number of services have come to Rovaniemi. The Polar Circle area has been developed and the accommodation options now include everything from cabins to igloos made of glass. If you are looking for the one and only real Santa Claus, the Santa Claus Village is the place to visit.
Juujärvi has lived in the city since 1996. He has been Airport Manager of Rovaniemi Airport for about five years, but has been familiar with the airport for years. His hobby, model aeroplanes, and his first summer job, took him there.
“My favourite place in the airport is the area on the second floor furnished with rocking chairs. It offers views over the runway, the apron level and inside the terminal, and you can watch life in the busy airport in the summer and winter alike. In the summer, it offers a fantastic view of the evening sun.”
Preparations for winter begin in summer
The airport is carefully prepared for the winter season. Winter is long. The first snows usually fall by the end of September, and it lasts until early May. The winter maintenance equipment must be serviced in the summer so that it is ready for use as soon as the snow begins to fall.
“Snow must be cleared from an area of 115 hectares quickly and efficiently. We are fortunate to have expert personnel to do this, both in maintenance and terminal services,” Juujärvi says.
“The coming winter season will be exceptional because, as matters stand, the first direct international flights are not scheduled until mid-February. Before that, we have approximately 22 scheduled weekly Finnair flights to Helsinki. The airport terminal gate restaurant and souvenir shop serve passengers around flight departure times.
Airport Manager Johan Juujärvi’s tips
“In the spring and summer, rafting on the Raudanjoki river is worth trying. In the winter, Finland’s best ice climbing destination is Korouoma Canyon, a great place to explore in the summer as well.”
“Auttiköngäs waterfall is a beautiful outdoor destination all year round, in all seasons. It is one of the most magnificent waterfalls in Finland, and you can also enjoy the peace and tranquility of the old-growth forest. From the observation tower in the area you can admire other hills and primeval forests in the region.”
“Snowmobiling is popular in Rovaniemi. Snowmobiles are available for rent for personal use or you can participate in a snowmobile safari. A wide range of options is on offer, from short rides for beginners to real safaris that take hours.”
“Rovaniemi offers a comprehensive choice of restaurants in all price categories. Dinner at the Lapland Hotel Sky Ounasvaara restaurant is worth trying. The charming summer restaurant Sauna, on the banks of river Kemijoki, offers both food and a sauna experience in the summer. In the city centre, Café & Bar 21 is very popular, as is Yuca, which serves genuine Mexican food. If you fancy sushi, Himo is the place.
The Arctic Light Hotel serves probably the best breakfast in Finland. For traditional Lapland cuisine, go to Nili. The newest restaurant, Gustav Kitchen & Bar, is also well worth a visit.”
“You can enjoy Rovaniemi Art Museum exhibitions in Korundi House of Culture, and they also offer a wide variety of concerts. In Arktikum, you can explore the history, nature and culture of the north. And the building itself is well worth a visit.”
“Science Centre Pilke informs visitors about the sustainable use of northern forests, silviculture and products originating in the forest.”
For friends of Alvar Aalto
“Did you know that the city plan of central Rovaniemi, designed by Alvar Aalto, is the so-called ‘Reindeer Antler Plan’? In the plan, the city centre is the head of a reindeer and the roads north, west and south form the antlers. There are a large number of buildings designed by Alvar Aalto, including the cultural and administrative centre of Rovaniemi, consisting of the City Hall, City Library and Lappia Hall conference centre, which also houses the theatre of Rovaniemi, plus residential buildings.”
The Jätkänkynttilä, or Lumberjack Candle Bridge / Visit Finland
Ounasvaara Visit Finland/Vastavalo/Marko Junttila
Santa Claus Village Visit Finland
Airplane at sunset Finavia
Sami Hut Visit Finland/Juho Kuva
Arktikum Visit Finland