Rovaniemi – Discover the magic of Lapland in the Arctic circle
Blue hour, the midnight sun, the dance of the northern lights and wonderful autumn landscapes, where nature is dressed in its best glory. In Rovaniemi, you can experience unique wild nature, authentic flavours from Lapland and the heartbeat of the capital of Lapland.
Rovaniemi is a charming city of Lapland in the middle of unique arctic nature. Just choose the most suitable season for you and head to experience the real magic of Lapland!
Nature attractions near you
A special feature of Rovaniemi is the fantastic nature spots in the vicinity of the city. A couple of kilometres from the centre rises Ounasvaara hill, the most popular recreation area of the city, where you can adventure in the nearby nature away from the hustle and bustle. Choose from downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, cycling or hiking on nature trails. The observation tower located on the top of the hill opens up impressive views over the city, and you can admire the nightless night in summer or the lights of the city in winter.
About eight kilometres from the city centre, you can find one of the city's most famous lean-tos, Kuninkaanlaavu. These bare cliffs offer unique landscapes over the Ounasjoki valley. Pack your favourite evening snack with you and head to admire the sunset, where the sky is coloured in different shades of purple. In addition to Kuninkaanlaavu, Rovaniemi has dozens of different lean-tos, where you can relax and enjoy the peace of nature.
During the summer or autumn months, an excellent destination for birdwatchers is the 2.5-kilometre-long Koivusaari nature trail, just a stone’s throw away from the centre of the city. The trail passes islands that are part of a significant traditional landscape complex and they used to function as pastures until the 1960s. Find a floating bird tower along the route and some of the up to 130 species of birds that have been located in the island’s area!
Some of Rovaniemi's best hiking trails are located in the Arctic Circle Hiking Area, where the spectacular Raudanjoki rapids Vaattunkiköngäs and Vikaköngäs await you. The hiking area's routes are versatile, from the easy-to-pass 0.2-kilometre Kielosaari Plant and Fungus Trail to the seven-kilometre Mire Trail and more demanding routes that lead to the nearby summits. Try the 10-kilometre-long Könkäiden polku Trail, which takes you to various arctic landscapes: to beautiful Vaattunkivaara Hill, open swamps and gorgeous rapids.
In addition to adventuring on your own, you can fall in love with nature on guided tours. The selection of guided tours, includes among other things, Northern Lights Tours, where guides lead travellers to special places to see the magical aurora borealis. Other attractive activities include husky tours through a fairy-tale-like forest, a visit to a reindeer farm and a reindeer sleigh ride, snowmobile safaris in wonderful snowscapes and floating in the middle of the wilderness perceiving the most amazing natural phenomena.
City holiday in the cultural capital of Lapland
Rovaniemi, the capital of Lapland, offers plenty of interesting cultural experiences. Due to its compact size, Rovaniemi's most essential services and attractions can be found within walking distance of each other. When you walk through the streets of the city centre, you are actually walking along the Reindeer Antrel Town Plan. The plan is the design of Alvar Aalto, one of Finland's most famous architects.
Aalto's handprint can also be seen in the cityscape, as the architect designed a building complex on Hallituskatu known as the Aalto Center, which consists of the Rovaniemi City Hall, the City Library and the Lappia House, which functions as both a congress centre and a theatre space. In addition, some residential buildings are designed by Aalto.
The number one destination for those hungry for culture is the science centre and museum Arktikum located on the banks of Ounasjoki, where visitors can get to know Arctic nature, culture and history. The Arktikum building itself is already an attraction with its impressive 172-meter-long glass tube. In the adjacent Science Center Pilke, you can get to know the secrets of the northern forests.
Wander to the banks of Kemijoki to see the city's most iconic sight, the Jätkänkynttilä bridge (The Lumberjack’s Candle Bridge in English) and enjoy the art exhibitions of Korundi, a House of Culture built on an old mail truck depot, and the music offerings of its concert hall. Make wonderful discoveries at the Arctic Design Shop, whose selection includes works by designers from Lapland. And don't miss the historic log house Lauri, where you'll find a handicraft shop full of delightful traditional items made in the courtyard's own workshop.
Santa Claus Village – the Christmas magic every day of the year
Did you know that Rovaniemi is the official hometown of Santa Claus? Only about eight kilometers to the north of the city center you’ll find Santa Claus Village, where Father Christmas receives guests from all over the world every day of the year. In this atmospheric village, you can enjoy an authentic Christmas feeling with the Christmas carols playing in the background all year round.
Santa Claus Village is located right on the border of the Arctic Circle. The boundary line is clearly marked on the ground, and you can easily take a picture of yourself crossing the magical Arctic Circle!
There is plenty of bustle in Santa Claus Village. In wintertime, you can try both husky and reindeer sleigh rides and snowmobiling. At the Santa Claus' Main Post Office, you can greet the hard-working elves at work. Don't forget to send a letter or card from the post office, because it will be stamped with a special Arctic Circle postmark stamp!
You can find plenty of restaurants, cafes and gift shops as well as Finnish design inside the Village’s cute wooden buildings. If you want to stay longer in the charming Christmas atmosphere, you can also spend a night in the Santa Claus Village.
Another unforgettable Christmas destination is SantaPark, Santa's home cavern, located 50 meters below the ground. In this fairy-tale-like cave, you can go to the elf school to learn elf secrets and skills, decorate your own gingerbread cookie and get to know the elves' chores on the Magic Train.
Unique accommodations and delicious tastes
Rovaniemi is a popular travel destination all year round, which is also reflected in the wide range of services: in the city, you will find an excellent accommodation options and restaurants. The hotel gem in the heart of the city centre is the internationally awarded Arctic Light Hotel. This boutique hotel is located in a prestigious building with cultural and historical significance and offers the city's most famous breakfast, which not only treats your tongue but is also a pleasure for your eyes. Another design hotel in the centre, Haawe Boutique Apart Hotel, invites visitors to enjoy luxurious experiences. Each of the hotel's 14 rooms has its own backstory inspired by Lapland's enchanting nature.
If you want to wake up in the middle of a charming natural landscape or be mesmerised by snowfall or the midnight sun under the arctic sky, choose a glass igloo. Santa's Igloos Arctic Circle offers an unforgettable sleeping experience in the Arctic Circle near Santa Claus Village. The huge windows of the Arctic Treehouse Hotel, located on the side of Santa Park, open up to the most beautiful scenery, and the hotel's brilliant design has been noted in international media.
Rovaniemi's restaurant offering is unparalleled. In addition to local cuisine, the city offers a variety of flavours around the world. Have dinner with the best views of the city on top of Ounasvaara hill at Sky Kitchen and View, whose dishes are modern works of art made from northern ingredients. In the centre, try authentic Lapland delicacies at Restaurant Nili, whose menu is full of fish, game, berries and mushrooms, and the interior emits traditional Lapland romance.
One of the new acquaintances is the trendy Gustav Kitchen & Bar, which draws its inspiration from the flavours of the world. Gustav's crusty bread is sinfully good, and the cosy, relaxed atmosphere invites you for a visit over and over again. In winter, you can also enjoy dinner in a cute glass igloo!
Stop by Cafe & Bar 21, a drink bar popular among the locals. The place is also famous for its waffles, for which you can choose a salty or sweet filling. At Kauppayhtiö’s Pure Pizza, you can find artisanal pizzas that are one of the best in Finland. The go-to restaurant in the summertime is definitely Summer Restaurant Sauna, located near Ounasvaara on the banks of the Kemijoki River, where you can savour burgers while taking a sauna bath in an idyllic beach landscape.
Finnair flies to Rovaniemi daily all year round.