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Rovaniemi is much more than just the hometown of Santa – check out our tips for year-round experiences in the Arctic capital

Article published
21.2.2024 at 13:30
Rovaniemen kesämaisema
Rovaniemi offers diverse leisure activities in all seasons, and in its surroundings you can enjoy not only the magnificent nature of Lapland, but also shops and culture. See our tips for unforgettable experiences that are easily accessible from Finavia’s Rovaniemi Airport.

Lapland's varying seasons offer unique experiences for every traveler, regardless of the time of year. Rovaniemi Airport is only 10 kilometres from the city center, and along the way, you can conveniently stop at the Santa Claus Village to meet the real Santa himself.

Tourism has grown strongly in Rovaniemi and brought services to the area. The Polar Circle area has evolved and the new accommodation options now include everything from cabins and Tree House suites to igloos made of glass. Did you know that it is the largest city in Europe by area?

Rovaniemen joulupukin pajakylän sisäänkäynti.

Photo: Santa Claus Village/Visit Finland.

Rovaniemi Airport connects Lapland to Europe with numerous direct routes and charter flights. During the winter season 2023–2024, Rovaniemi has been connected to different parts of Europe with as many as 24 direct routes. In addition, Finnair operates up to 50 flights a week from Helsinki Airport to Rovaniemi.

Enjoy the stunning nature of Lapland

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.

Järvimaisema Rovaniemellä kesällä

Photo: Rovaniemi/Visit Finland, Falke Sports.

Snowmobiling is a popular sport in Rovaniemi. Snowmobile rentals are available for personal use or you can participate in a snowmobile safari. A wide range of options are on offer, from short rides for beginners to hours-long safaris.

Auttiköngäs is a beautiful outdoor destination all year round, in all seasons. One of the most magnificent waterfalls in Finland can be found there, and you can also enjoy the peace and tranquility of the old-growth forest. From the observation tower, you can admire other hills and old forests in the region.

Kaihuanvaara is 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.

Kodassa keskellä lumista metsää.

Photo: Visit Finland, Juho Kuva.

Rovaniemen kesämaisema ja patikoija

Photo: Rovaniemi/Visit Finland.

The ski resorts and national parks of Lapland are only a couple of hours away

The Ounasvaara recreation area is only a stone’s throw away from the city centre with its ski slopes, cross-country skiing tracks and trails for walking, running and cross-country biking. In addition, almost every ski resort in Lapland is only a couple of hours' drive away, which makes Rovaniemi an excellent destination if you want to visit more than one destination in Lapland.

There are direct bus transfers from Rovaniemi Airport, for example, to the Ruka ski resort in Kuusamo and the Pyhä-Luosto National Park, where you can find the Pyhä ski resort with its magnificent fells.

Ounasvaara Lapissa.

Photo: Ounasvaara/Visit Finland, Vastavalo, Marko Junttila.

Pyhä-Luoston kesämaisema ja patikoija reppu selässä

Photo: Pyhä-Luosto/Visit Finland.

Embrace the culture of the Arctic Circle

You can enjoy the exhibitions of the Rovaniemi Art Museum in Korundi House of Culture, where a wide variety of concerts are also arranged. The Arktikum Museum and Science Centre offers a chance to learn more about the history, nature and culture of the northern region. The building itself makes Arktikum worth visiting.

Arktikum Rovaniemellä.

Photo: Arktikum/Visit Finland.

At the Science Centre Pilke, you can learn more about the sustainable use of northern forests, forestry and forest-based products.

For architecture aficionados

The architect Alvar Aalto has designed the city plan for the centre of Rovaniemi, more familiarly known as the Reindeer Antler Plan. In the plan, the city centre remains inside the head of the reindeer and the antlers form the roads leading north, west and south.

A large number of the buildings are also designed by Alvar Aalto. In addition to residential buildings, Aalto has designed the Rovaniemi Administrative and Cultural Centre, which consists of the Rovaniemi City Hall, the City Library and the Lappia Hall Congress Centre, which also houses the Rovaniemi Theatre.

Learn more:

The eight seasons of Lapland: frosty winter is winter at its best

Visit Rovaniemi

Main photo: Rovaniemi/Visit Finland.

This article was first published on 20 January 2021.