A winter wonderland of pink skies, husky sleds, frosty fir trees, steaming hot chocolate and twinkling lights – Finnish Lapland is where all your snow-filled fantasies come to life. And right at the heart of it is Rovaniemi, perched on the edge of the Arctic Circle and the official home of Santa Claus (and he’s got to know the best place to live). From the Northern Lights to reindeer sleigh rides, the winter months in the far north are full of magic, and my first Arctic adventure more than lived up to expectations. So here’s how to plan a trip to Rovaniemi in winter.
Santa Claus Village is the epicentre of all things festive in Rovaniemi (even right into March) and there are a ton of wintery activities you can do on site, making it an easy place to base yourself if you’ve only got a few days in Lapland and don’t want to spend your time travelling around. The park gets super busy in the run up to Christmas, but things calm down after the New Year – making it a good time to visit.
Speeding through the snowy forest behind a team of Siberian Huskies was one of my must-dos for my winter trip to Rovaniemi, and it didn’t disappoint. There are various different lengths of route you can take, from a short 500 metres to eight kilometres. But these guys can really move, so hold on to your hats (literally) as the ride soon whizzes past (and the cold wind is brutal at top speed so wrap up warm). Whether you’re taking a husky sled ride or not, you can visit the Husky Park where you can meet and stroke some of the park’s gorgeous dogs.
Even if you’re not staying in the city, it’s worth heading into Rovaniemi for a look around. One of the main attractions is Arktikum, a museum and science centre in an amazing modern building overlooking the river. It’s split into two sides, with natural history on one side and cultural history on the other, so you can find out about the people and landscapes of the Arctic Circle.