Early winter in Finnish Lapland
Great news: Santa Claus exists! And it get`s even better. He lives with his elves and reindeers in a beautiful village, called "Santa Claus Village" in Finnish Lapland. This village is embedded in an absolutely stunning scenery and it is easy to reach. We just did a trip to Finnish Lapland and we are happy to share a few impressions and travel informations with you.
How to get there by train?
The "Santa Clause Village" is located close to the city "Rovaniemi".
This city can easily be reached by plane or train. We recommend
to take the train from the capital of Finland, Helsinki. During the winter season from Dec 15 until April 29, there are two direct day trains and two direct night trains running on most of the days. All trains can be booked online at www.vr.fi. (Price btw. 34 € and 195 €)
Finnish trains are very modern and comfortable. They are equipped with air conditioning, in seat power outlets, mobile phone amplifiers and WLAN (in some cars). Most day trains and all night trains have a restaurant car, offering warm meals, snacks, sweets and beverages. All informations about Finnish trains can be found here.
If you prefer to have a really luxurious experience, you can book the
finnish First Class equivalent, which is called "Extra Class". This class offers more spacious seating arrangements, self service counters, newspapers and WLAN.
Traveling by Nighttrain, you have to choose between three different categories. There are seating cars and sleeping cars. No couchettes! So you can either book a regular seat in a seating car, or if you choose to travel in a sleeping car, you have two options of compartments: Regular sleeping compartments (lower deck, with shared toilets and showers at the ends of the car) or upper deck compartments with your own shower and toilet. The bed size in all sleeping cars is 200x 75 cm. In case you are traveling alone, you can book just one bed in a shared compartment with a person of the same sex. Alternatively it is possible to book the compartment for single use, which is, of course, a little bit more expensive, but worth it. All information about the finnish Nighttrains can be found here.
Just fyi: It is also possible to take your own car or van in a special car carrier wagon with you. More information about the dimensions and weight restrictions can be found here.
The two biggest advantages of the train: Less stress, great view!
Helsinki > Rovaniemi
Rovaniemi > Helsinki
How to get there by plane?
For those of you, who prefer to fly, you can fly directly to Rovaniemi (RVN) from:
Istanbul (Turkish Airlines, Dec 5 - Mar 22 ; Tue, Thu, Sun)
London (Norwegian, Oct 28 - Mar 27; Mo, Wed, Fri)
London (Easyjet, Nov 17 - Mar 25; Wed, Sun)
Manchester (Easyjet, Nov 21 - Jan 6; Mon, Thu)
+ occasional flights to destinations in the UK with Thomas Cook and occasional flights with Luxair from Luxemburg.
All direct flight connections to / from Rovaniemi can
be researched here.
The official Airport website can be found here.
The offical AirportBus website can be found here.
One way prices to Hotels in the center 7 € per Person, to other adresses in the center 10 € per Person (16 € for two persons) and to other adresses 12 € per Person. Prebooking necessary!
Links to all other transfer services from the Airport here.
Links to all car rental companies at the Airport here.
All information is subject to change. Please check vr.fi as well. Thank you!
All information is subject to change. Please check the AIrports website as well. Thanks
How to get around in Rovaniemi?
Rovaniemi is a relatively small town with short distances. Almost everything is within walking distance. The local tourist board of the Rovaniemi region offers a lot of information about accomodation, restaurants, activities and sights on their website: www.visitrovaniemi.fi. They also offer an interactive online map with great search options or a static map to download here.
Buses are the only form of local public transport in Rovaniemi.
All information about routes and timetables, a journey planner, tickets and service points can be found on:
If you want to check travel options on your way, this link will help you to find all connections from your current location.
Single tickets can be purchased on the bus in cash or with the most common debit / credit cards. The ticket allows you to transfer from one vehicle to another within 60 minutes.
24 hours tickets can be bought at the Osviitta Service Point (Shopping Center Rinteenkulma, Koskikatu 25, 2nd floor) or Matkahuolto (Lapinkävijäntie 2). The ticket is valid for 24 hours from the moment of activation on the bus.
The 30 days ticket is called "Season ticket" and requires a Waltti travel card, which can also be bought at the service points.
All information is subject to change. Please check the operators website as well. Thanks
The local tourist board recommends the following two companies:
Taxi Lähitaksi Rovaniemi, tel: +358 200 88 000;
Rovaniemi Taxi Service, tel: +358 60 030 030 / +358 29 009 1090; email: email@example.com, website
Rental Car Companies
How to get to Santa Claus?
Santa Claus lives about 8 km North of Rovaniemi. He can be met in two locations:
Santa Claus Village
This village is located exactly at the Arctic Circle and it is open all year around. You can find many programme service companies, souvenir shops as well as Santa`s Main Post Office and cafes and restaurants there. Of course, Santa is there as well, in his chamber, 365 days a year. In addition to that, there are a lot of activities offered at the village: sled-rides with Santa`s reindeers, Husky-dog-sledding in the wilderness, a little zoo, snow mobile rides or a Mrs. Santa Claus workshop, where you can learn to make delicious Christmas porridge and traditional gingerbread cookies. (Some of the activities are just offered seasonal)
Santa Park is an indoor Christmas theme park, voted the top Christmas destination in the world. You can join their merry elves on an unforgettable journey to the heart of christmas at Santapark. Hop on a Magic Train and travel through enechanting worlds, earn a diploma at the Elf School, cross the Arctic Circle underground and enter the realm of the Ice Princess, enjoy the jolly Elf show on the main stage, send your christmas greetings, decorate cookies in the kithen of Mrs. Gingerbread and whisper your dearest wishes to Santa Claus himself!
The distance between Santa Claus Village and Santa Claus Park is 2,3 km, but the Santa`s Express from Rovaniemi stops in both places. If you want to get off at Santa Park, please get off at the stop Arctic Treehouse Hotel. This Hotel is located right next to the Santa Park. The actual timetable and prices for this winter season can be found here.
The public bus line 8 also connects the city center of Rovaniemi with the Santa Claus Village. The actual timetable can be found here.
Where to stay?
There is a variety of accomodations and hotels in and around Rovaniemi + a lot of private rooms, apartments and houses on airbnb.
Before you make your booking, do the pro`s and con`s. A hotel in the city center might be cheaper, but it is more difficult to see the Northern Lights from there. So you might have to book Aurora Excursions to get out of the city lights at night or hire a rental car. On the other hand, you will have a bit of shopping and nightlife at your door. An accomodation out of town is better to watch the Northern Lights, but bus connections might be rare and you may need a rental car to get around and to do your shoppings.
We`ve chosen Lapland Hotels Ounasvaara Chalets for our stay, because we wanted to stay in a wooden cabin to get an authentic Lapland feeling. This totally worked out and the Chalets had some other advantages. They are located outside of town, with less light polution, which is great to watch the Northern Lights. Breakfast is included in the Resorts main restaurant. The location is also perfect for downhill and cross country skiing. It ls located between a ski center on one side and the river Kemijoki on the other side, right at the foot of the mountain Ounasvaara.
The scenery in this area is stunningly impressive. We did walks and hikes on every day. My most favorite hiking route was the trail up to the Ounasvaara High Point. The view from there is just incredible!
We can highly recommend to watch the sunset from this viewing point. You will never forget the impression of the sun going down behind a million of snow covered trees.
Pictures of the view from the Ounasvaara High Point can be found in the gallery on top of this page. More information about the Lapland Hotel Ounasvaara Chalets can be found here.
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