Discover the magic of Rovaniemi with kids
There is nowhere else I want to visit more at Christmas, than Rovaniemi in Finland and I think you and your boys may feel the same way, once you know the magic behind the place.
For anyone who celebrates Christmas, Rovaniemi is a place you know so much about (even if you don’t know it by name) but very few have ever visited.
It is the place where Santa calls home, an excellent place to view the Aurora Borealis (the Northern Lights), and a place where the outdoor activities are so plentiful, there will be no chance anyone will get bored.
Ever since my sister visited Rovaniemi many years ago and returned with magical stories of Santa and reindeer, snow and huskies, I have dreamt of visiting the official hometown of Santa Claus in Lapland on the Arctic Circle.
To someone who lives in Australia, Rovaniemi seems so far away which is one reason why we have never gone. Surprisingly, the flight to Rovaniemi is a mere one hour more than a flight to London. Why haven’t we gone before now?
Since this marvelous discovery, countless hours of research has been done to find the best things for families of boys to do. It might be a bit chilly, but it ticks all the boxes.
What to see and do
If you are going to be in Rovaniemi around Christmas time, here are the amazing things to see and do.
- Visit Santa Claus Village
- Witness the mesmerising spectacle of the Northern Lights (on clear nights from late August to late March)
- Go on a reindeer sleigh ride http://www.santaclausreindeer.fi/reindeer-sleigh-ride/
- Dog sledding safaris with huskies
- See reindeer in the wild. With more reindeer than people, you are sure to set eyes on some
- Discover the history and traditions of the indigenous Sámi people
- Hit the slopes on skis, snowboard or toboggan
- Snowshoeing through the woods
- Ice fishing
- Ice swimming (I think I’ll give this one a miss)
- Sauna (might need some warming up!)
- Eat in a snow restaurant
- Build as many snowmen as your heart desires
The blue twilight of the Polar Night or ‘Kaamos’ as it’s called in Finnish, is where the sun is visible during the day but only rises above the horizon for what can be as little as two hours. As the sun sets the sky displays some amazing colours, mainly blue hues which occur from mid-November to mid-January. Having never experienced such little true sunlight it will be interesting to see how everyone deals with it when we go.
It may be cold and dark in Rovaniemi during winter, but the Finn’s have an important custom to warm up, coffee. They consume quite a number of cups of coffee a day, which is fine by me!
Reindeer are the cattle of Lapland so are featured highly on menus throughout Rovaniemi. Don’t stress if you can’t eat reindeer as there is so much fresh local produce to choose from including berries, salmon and trout from the rivers and lakes, wild birds such as black grouse, as well as elk, and for the truly brave at heart, the occasional bear.
There is some amazing accommodation available in Rovaniemi. You can sleep in an igloo or snow hotel, choose a regular hotel, or a private home or apartment. Here are some of our favourites to get you started.
Ounasvaaran Lakituvat (sleeps 6)
Rovaniemi is situated in Finland on the Artic Circle and is the capital of Lapland. It is relatively easy to reach Rovaniemi with daily flights from Helsinki as well as good options by road, train or bus and is accessible from Norway, Sweden and Russia.
It might be a bit late to plan a trip this Christmas, but it is one that is now on the top of our bucket list.
Is Rovaniemi on your bucket list now?
Photos by Visit Finland https://www.flickr.com/photos/visitfinland and Booking.com
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