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Destination inspiration: Rovaniemi, Finland

The eerie winter wonderland surrounding Rovaniemi

The eerie winter wonderland surrounding Rovaniemi

Why to go?

Rovaniemi is the very picture of a winter wonderland. Sitting on the edge of the Arctic Circle, this Finnish town is coated in snow for most of the year, its fir trees encrusted and bowed by ice like frozen ghosts. In the skies out of town, the ethereal green wisps of the Northern Lights swirl and crackle mysteriously.

With such a picture-book wintry setting, it’s no surprise that Santa Claus officially calls Rovaniemi home. At Santa Claus Village, you can meet the jolly old elf himself – and see the post office that gets over half a million letters from kids around the world every year.

There's no better way to see Rovaniemi's woodland than from a husky-drawn sleigh

There's no better way to see Rovaniemi's woodland than from a husky-drawn sleigh

The real allure of Rovaniemi, though, is what lies beyond the town limits – Lapland’s Great Outdoors. The wild, eerie landscapes that stretch northwards beckon intrepid explorers. Take your pick from zooming across glistening ice flats on a snowmobile, slip-sliding through the forest behind eight panting huskies or setting off in search of the elusive Aurora Borealis.
And back at the ranch after a few hours of the Lappish air numbing your cheeks, a steamy sauna will melt away the chill – and get you reflecting on your unforgettable Arctic adventure.

Located just outside Rovaniemi, Leirikari is home to cosy woodland cabins

Located just outside Rovaniemi, Leirikari is home to cosy woodland cabins

When to go?

Snow falls between October and May, so if you’re after Rovaniemi’s full-on winter experience, plan a trip for some time between November and March. However, the long days of summer are great for woodland rambles, off-road biking and boating on picturesque lakes. And you can even pay Santa Claus a visit during his own off season.

Santa Claus Holiday Village

Santa Claus Holiday Village

Where to stay?

Santa Claus Holiday Village – Rovaniemi, Finland

Located inside Santa Claus Village, these cabins are right in the thick of the Yuletide action. Booking.com guests love having all of the Village’s Santa-related activities on their doorstep – as well as the private sauna that comes with each cabin.

Lapland Hotel Ounasvaara Chalets

Lapland Hotel Ounasvaara Chalets

Lapland Hotel Ounasvaara Chalets – Rovaniemi, Finland

These pine chalets have a beautiful lakeside setting just outside Rovaniemi. Guests appreciate the proximity to the skiing areas and the cosiness of the cabins, each of which has a private sauna to relax after a long day of Lappish fun.

Arctic Light Hotel

Arctic Light Hotel

Arctic Light Hotel – Rovaniemi, Finland

From the delicious breakfast to the helpful staff, this boutique hotel scores highly across the board with Booking.com guests. To get visitors fully into the Rovaniemi vibe, each room has swanky décor with cool images of Arctic animals like polar bears and reindeer on the walls.