Rovaniemi, Finland (official home of Santa)
ImogenTubbs · 15/09/2019 13:38
DD is 6 and DH and I have decided that if we're ever going to go to Lapland, this is the year, so we have booked a long weekend in Rovaniemi (the 'official' home of Santa) at the start of December. We are staying in Rovaniemi rather than near the Santa village, and hoping there will be snow!
Does anyone have any tips or advice on how to get the most out of a few days? We would like to do some winter/festive activities like see reindeer, etc.
We're keeping it a secret from DD until a few weeks out - but I'm pretty excited myself!
wetpants · 15/09/2019 21:02
We went to Rovaniemi in December 2016. I'm a Finn (living in the UK) and I really loved Rovaniemi, it was my first time there. We did do a package trip through Thomson but you can easily do it all DIY too.
Rovaniemi is a small compact town, it has restaurants and shopping and it's easy to do excursions from there. Airport transfer is also very short.
We spent our free day at the Santa Claus Village which such a fab day. It was free to enter but you pay for the activities there. You can do reindeer rides there and there's also a husky park across the road where you can pat them and take rides. The village also has eateries, shopping and you can do the official crossing the arctic circle line there and get a certificate for it. Oh and you can meet the Santa himself there too.
Not far from it there's also Santa Park which is an underground amusement park. You had to pay to get in. It has an angry bird soft play, mini elf train, ice sculptures and shows. It was cute but little bit tired around the edges.
You can book all sorts of excursions through Lapland Safaris, even an arctic clothing bundle if you don't want to invest in a proper winter gear yourself. This is the same clothing that all the tour operators use.
Where are you staying in Rovaniemi?
ImogenTubbs · 15/09/2019 22:19
That's so helpful - thank you! We are staying at the Crystal Arctic Suites - quite central in the town, I think.
We have been looking into whether dog sledding is ethical, but Finland seems to hold itself to quite high standards in that regard.
DD is 6, so we can't do anything too crazy, but definitely want a bit of adventure!
wetpants · 16/09/2019 09:26
I just looked up your hotel, looks good! It's central, few minutes walk to the town centre main drag. Rovaniemi is tiny though so it's not going to be a long walk from anywhere. On the same street there is a super market (K-Market) where you can stock up on snacks and goodies.
6 is a great age to experience Lapland When we went the first time, our DS were 4 and 7 and they had a blast.
We've done husky sledging three times in Finland and as far as I can see, the dogs have been well cared for and the owners really care about their wellbeing. They are working dogs but there has always been emphasis not to make them do too many trips and that the sledges aren't over filled. Husky sledging is amazing and exhilarating fun.
I forgot to mention that the make sure to pay attention to the pink sky which turns into an amazing shade of sapphire blue before it becomes completely dark. This is known as polar twilight when the sun doesn't rise properly but stays low down in the horizon before dipping dipping back down. (which is at about 2:30pm!)
ImogenTubbs · 16/09/2019 20:47
Thank you wetpants!
Sux2buthen - We are planning the whole thing ourselves as we didn't want to fork out for the tour operator costs. We are travelling from Europe but the flights are similar price as from UK - return for the three of us are about €800. It's cheaper because we're going at the very end of November. Prices jack up in December. The hotel is just under €600 for three nights and then we'll have to book activities and pay for food, transfers, etc on top of that. You don't have to pay to go into the Santa village but I'm assuming the activities there all cost €€. I admit I'm spending my Christmas bonus in advance but we figured it was a once in a lifetime kind of thing!
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