The Ultimate Guide to visiting Santa Claus village Rovaniemi

Two lamp posts with Arctic Circle written on them in front of a large Christmas tree in the snow

What better way to celebrate Christmas than visiting Santa in his office at Santa Claus village Rovaniemi. Lapland in winter is the ultimate Christmas destination.

The small city of Rovaniemi – located on the edge of the Arctic Circle – is the official home of Santa Claus, it is one of the most magical places in the world.

For young and old this is a must when you are visiting Lapland. We were worried that we would be only 30 year old’s walking around without any kids, but we were definitely not alone. It is definitely a place for everyone, no matter your age.

Santa’s Village is full of hot chocolate, fairy lights, Christmas decorations, Christmas trees, snow and plenty of Christmas cheer.

So, if you’re planning your next Christmas destination why not head to Santa Claus Village Rovaniemi, Finland.

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Are you planning a trip to Lapland? Check out this posts to help you plan your trip

The Dreamiest Hotel in the World: Arctic Treehouse Hotel Rovaniemi
The Ultimate Guide to visiting Fi
nnish Lapland in Winter
Taking the Santa Claus Express Train to Lapland
Arctic Fox Igloos: A night in luxury under the stars


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Winter in Rovaniemi

A snow field with red houses in the background

Whilst winter in Rovaniemi is a dream come to true and the ultimate Christmas destination you need to be prepared for two things! Number one, it is very cold. When we met Santa I mentioned how cold it was (it was minus 8 degrees) and he said it wasn’t cold. Santa things between minus 20 and minus 40 is cold.

Number 2, the day light hours are very limited. Sunrise is at about 10 am and sunset is about 2pm. Luckily, in Lapland, sunrise and sunset last longer than in other countries. We found that it was light from about 8:30 am until 3:30-4pm.

It gets very cold outside and inside it is very warm! I suggest packing lots of layers. Make sure you have a very warm jacket and some sturdy snow boots. Of course, don’t forget your beanie, scarf and gloves!!

Make sure you get some good travel insurance

A cabin in a forest covered in snow

Part of the excitement of visiting Lapland is participating in snow activities and these can come with some dangers. If you’re me, even just walking around on the ice and snow is a dangerous activity.

So while I would always recommend purchasing some good travel insurance, it is extra important when snow and ice are involved. Before our four month trip around Europe we purchased travel insurance from World Nomads.

World Nomads is travel insurance created by travellers for travellers! For us, it was much cheaper than competitors and included all of the necessary extras.

When purchasing your travel insurance, make sure you do some research to make sure it suits your travel needs.

Where is Santa Claus Village Rovaniemi

A Finnish Teepee next to a log cabin surrounded by snow

Although the rumours are that Santa Claus lives at the North Pole, he actually lives in his village in Lapland, Finland.

Lapland is located in Northern Finland and the village is located in the business capital of Lapland, Rovaniemi.

To be exact, Santa Claus Village Rovaniemi is located right on the arctic circle.

How to get to Santa Claus Village Rovaniemi

A tall post with a temperature gauge reading -6 surrounded by snow and trees

By Train

The train between Helsinki and Lapland depart several times a day and takes about 11 hours. I suggest taking the overnight train, you board the train just before bed time and you wake up in a winter wonderland. That is of course, if you are travelling in winter!!

Little fun fact, the train from Helsinki to Lapland is called the Santa Claus Express. You can read more about the Santa Claus Express here.

By Bus

Matkahuolto and Onnibus are the two main bus services in Finland. They are a great option for reaching Lapland from Helsinki but also for travelling around Lapland from town to town.

By Car

Rovaniemi is easily accessed by car. If you don’t have your own car you can hire a car.

When driving in Lapland be aware of changing weather conditions, especially in winter and the long distances you need to drive.

The drive from Helsinki to The Arctic Treehouse Hotel Rovaniemi is about 10 hours.

By Plane

Of course, you can also fly to Rovaniemi. Flights between Helsinki and Lapland go daily, flights between London and Lapland depart on Wednesdays and Sunday’s, and flights between Istanbul and Lapland depart Tuesdays, Thursday and Sundays.

To Santa Claus Village

Two lamp posts with Arctic Circle written on them in front of a large Christmas tree in the snow

If you arrive by train, you are staying at the Arctic Treehouse Hotel or you are in city center of Rovaniemi you can board the Santa Claus Express bus. Tickets are 3€ per person.

Unfortunately, if you land at the airport there is no public transport to the Santa Claus Village, however, you can easily catch a taxi.

Things to do at Santa Claus Village

A building surrounded by people, lamp posts and snow

Santa Claus village is full of excitement, Christmas cheer and it just seems to be constantly buzzing.

On first glance, it appears as though it is one big shopping area, and yes, there are plenty of shops (we will come to that in a moment) but if you look a little harder there is actually so much to do.

Santa Claus’ Post Office

A wall filled with selves of mail.

On of the things we found most exciting at Santa Claus Village is visiting Santa’s Post Office. The post office is filled with elves but is still a real working post office.

The cool thing about the post office is that you can see the hundreds of letters that are mailed to Santa from all around the world

Can you see your home country?

Post a letter to yourself for next Christmas

A sign reading Santa Claus has so far received about 20 million letters from 199 different countries. At Christmas time Santa can get about 32000 letters/day. Top countries have been Poland, Italy, China, United Kingdom, Japan, Finland and Russia. At Christmas 2018 Santa received about 50000

When visiting the post office you have to send yourself a post card. All mail sent from the post office are marked with a special Arctic Circle stamp.

You can also purchase a postcard and put it in a mail box and it will be sent to you next year in time for Christmas.

Buy a few a postcards to surprise your friends and family at Christmas next year.

Visit Santa in his office

A wooden circle on a wooden wall reading Santa Claus Office Arctic Circle Finland with a picture of Santa in the middle

You can’t have a Christmas getaway to Lapland without visiting Santa himself. Santa is the real deal, he has his Finnish slippers, the most epic beard I have ever seen and he is so tall. I felt like such a child and sat in awe staring at Santa.

It was such a cool experience, he took the time to chat to us and to ask about our holiday and even wished our country well we were in the midst of horrific bush fire season.

You can visit Santa Claus for free but you will need to pay if you want photos or a video. We paid 40€ an digital copy of our photos and the video of our meeting with Santa.

Cross the Arctic Circle

5 lamp posts reading Arctic Circle

Ever since I heard that crossing the arctic circle was a thing it has been on my bucket list. I thought to cross the Arctic Circle you would have to go to some remote part of the world.

But, how cool is it that the line of the Arctic Circle runs straight through Santa Claus Village Rovaniemi. The Arctic Circle is marked with a row of lanterns and blue lights.

Snowmobiling

Santa Claus Village also has some bigger activities that you can do such as snowmobiling. There really is something for everyone.

Experience the thrill of speeding through Arctic Circle on a snowmobile. Snowmobile rides start at 55€ for thirty minutes. There are also rides available for children – kids can ride a mini snowmobile for 20€ for 10 minutes.

Husky Safari

A trip to Lapland would not be complete without a visit to the Husky park. If taking a Husky Safari is not your thing you can just take some to play with the adorable Huskies.

However, if you are feeling adventurous you can speed through the arctic forest behind a pack of Siberian huskies. You have the choice of a 500 meter Husky ride or an 8km safari.

Reindeer Safari

Reindeer eating snow beside a wooden fence.

It is said that there are more Reindeer in Lapland than there are people. Reindeers are really part of Lappish culture and they have been for years. To be me, Reindeers can only be seen on the front of Santa’s sleigh, so of course I had to take the chance to meet some real life Reindeer.

From the middle of Santa’s Village Rovaniemi you can go on a reindeer safari.

Shopping

A fake wooden cabin surrounded by lights, Christmas trees and snow

If you’re up for a bit of shopping or you’re wanting to pick up some souvenirs then you have plenty of options. There many shops where you can buy Christmas decorations, t-shirts, souvenirs, postcards, chocolate and traditional Lappish items.

Where to stay at Santa Claus Village

If you are after the ultimate Christmas experience you can stay right at Santa Claus Village Rovaniemi at the Santa Claus Holiday Village. There are plenty of accommodation types including cabins including a Sauna, glass igloos and treehouse cabins.

The Arctic Treehouse hotel is located 2 km down the snowy road and is the definition of luxury. We stayed one night at the Arctic Treehouse Hotel and I cannot recommend it enough.

Two red rectangle cabins surrounded by trees and snow

If you are looking for a more budget option – to have a little more money to spend on experiences – I suggest booking a the Arctic Treehouse hotel or Santa Claus village for one night and then a local Airbnb for the rest of your trip.

Is a trip to Santa Claus Village Rovaniemi worth it?

A big building that looks like a fake log cabin with Christmas trees in front covered in snow

If you love Christmas and are looking for an amazing winter wonderland Christmas experience then you can’t go passed Santa Claus Village. It is a magical way to spend the day.

I would recommend to anyone, young or old, to visit Lapland and Santa Claus Village at least once in your life.

Have you been to Santa Claus Village Rovaniemi? Let me know in the comments below

Fiona xoxo

Read Next: The Dreamiest Hotel in the World: Arctic Treehouse Hotel Rovaniemi

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