According to best-medical-schools, Rovaniemi is the historical and cultural center of the Finnish province of Lappi, it is especially popular among tourists in winter. They are attracted here by the northern nature, the mysterious Sami culture and Santa Claus, whose birthplace, according to the Finns, is located here. In confirmation of this, not far from the city, Santa’s Village is located – a place of attraction for young guests of the city and all those who believe in magic. It is especially popular on Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
In addition to the cultural and excursion program, Rovaniemi has ample opportunities for outdoor activities. Snow field safaris with dog and reindeer sleds, golf, ice fishing and skiing. The Ounasvaara ski resort is located within the city, not far from the Santasport complex. It is relatively small, but it has everything you need – good slopes, a snowpark with jumps and rails, freeride slopes and modern infrastructure.
Communication and Wi-Fi
Mobile communication in Rovaniemi works no worse than in the rest of Finland. All 3 main operators – Sonera, DNA and Elisa are excellent at fishing. One of them connects to the Russian network in roaming, but the connection with the house in this case is expensive. The best way to save money is to buy a tourist prepaid SIM card, the cost of calls through a payphone is higher. The most budgetary tariff is offered by Elisa, it is her packages that are especially popular among city guests. The price of the issue is about 5 EUR, which are immediately credited to the account. A minute of conversation costs 0.69 EUR, the same amount is charged for SMS. Additional bonus – Internet access for 1 EURin a day. Tariff plans are sold at newsstands, gas stations, supermarkets and mobile phone stores, where you can top up your account.
Free Internet access points are available in most hotels, cafes, restaurants and shopping centers. There is no Internet cafe here, but in the halls of some hotels, the library and Arktikum there are laptops that you can use for free.
Ounasvaara ski resort with 9 slopes is located 10 km from the center of Rovaniemi. One of them is for children, the rest are approximately equally divided into red and blue. Beginners on gentle wide slopes will be quite comfortable, but professionals who are used to conquering difficult long descents can get bored. The longest track is only 820 m long, the maximum height difference is 80 m. But lovers of cross-country skiing have a place to roam – 200 km of flat skiing have been laid in the resort. There is also a certified slalom track, a half-pipe, dedicated freeride slopes and an 800m long toboggan run. Snowboarders will enjoy the modern snow park with kicker jumps, rails and slideboxes.
For those who are just about to start skiing, a ski school is open. There are group and individual lessons for children and adults – from 59 EUR per lesson per person.
All tracks and slopes of Ounasvaara are maintained in excellent condition, snow-compacting equipment and evening lighting are in operation. The center is famous for its well-developed infrastructure. For movement along the slopes – 5 chairlifts and drag lifts.
For those who are not going to spend the whole holiday on the slopes, there are season tickets for 1-3 hours (20-35 EUR for adults and 15-25 EUR for children and seniors). Day ski passes are sold for a period of 1 to 7 days (49.50-139 EUR and 29.50-103 EUR). Without a card, one lift costs 7 EUR. For those who plan to ski periodically throughout the winter, it is more advisable to buy a season pass – 419 EUR for adults, 299 EUR for children under 12 and pensioners.
The resort has equipment rentals. An hour of ski rental will cost 20 EUR, a week – 139 EUR. There are discounts for children, pensioners and students. You can prepare equipment for skiing right on the spot – there is a ski service on the slopes. Issue price – from 19 to 49 EUR.
What to bring
There are many souvenir shops in Rovaniemi with traditional Sami souvenirs – amulets, key rings and jewelry made of wood, deer antlers, skins and other materials. Tourists are happy to take away with them shaman drums, Lapland kuksa bowls and Finnish knives in deer antler sheaths.
The city has shops and shopping centers where you can find clothes and accessories of many popular brands. True, as in all of Finland, all this costs a lot, but the quality is excellent. Profitable offers are available during the sales period – in early January and late June. Not far from the railway station there is a flea market that sells tourist knick-knacks, antiques and quality used items at very reasonable prices.
Very interesting souvenirs are sold in the shops of the Santa Claus Village. Local elves make original toys, postcards and Christmas decorations.
To please your friends with delicacies, it is best to take with you a piece of dried venison, some cloudberries and a couple of bottles of Mintou liquor (it will not work anymore – restrictions on the export of strong alcohol).
- What are the interesting shops in Rovaniemi
Cuisine and restaurants in Rovaniemi
Restaurants in Rovaniemi serve modern European and traditional local cuisine that is rooted in Sami culture. Of the meat on the table, elk, bear meat and venison are more common. The latter is most in demand among tourists – boiled, stewed, fried and dried. Potato garnish, pickles and sweet and sour lingonberry sauce set off the taste of dishes well. Also in the traditional Lappish menu there are usually mushrooms, berries and fish.
If you want an authentic atmosphere, you should definitely look into the Nili restaurant. The interior is decorated with deer antlers and skins, and the menu is exclusively Lapland cuisine.
For lovers of fast food in the city center there is a McDonald’s. This is one of the most budgetary ways to eat (from 10 EUR for a hearty snack) – the general price level is quite high. Breakfast in an inexpensive cafe or restaurant costs about 10-15 EUR. For the same money, you can have lunch in some eateries, but only on weekdays from 11:00 to 15:00 (an analogue of our business lunch is “lounas”). Otherwise, a full meal per person will cost 30-40 EUR, and the average bill for a dinner with wine for two in an expensive restaurant can reach up to 200 EUR.
Entertainment and attractions
Most of the sights of Rovaniemi are connected with the north, the Arctic region and the Sami. The most famous museum of the capital, the Arktikum Science Center, is dedicated to the history and natural features of Lapland. The permanent exhibition contains objects and artifacts that will tell about the life, traditions and culture of indigenous peoples, as well as about the nature of this harsh land.
The local history museum of the same name has been opened in the ancient Pöukköl estate, within the walls of which the interiors of the 19th century have been restored in detail. On the territory there are sheds, barns and the main building. The exhibition introduces guests to the life of the peoples of northern Finland, their crafts – hunting, fishing and reindeer herding. The exhibition is only open during the summer months.
The symbol of the city is the Yatkyankyuntilla bridge stretching over the river.
The Art Museum in the capital of Lapland has more than 2,000 pieces by contemporary artists from the Finnish north on display, although it all started with 500 pieces of art donated by the Jenny and Antti Vihuri Foundation.
Reindeer farms are open in the suburbs, where you can feel the Sami culture, learn the intricacies of winter fishing and breeding northern animals, learn how to drive a team and ride through the Arctic forest.
And the best way to end the day is in the most unusual bar in the world, where everything – from the roof and the bar to the very last chair – is made of ice. You can get to the entertainment complex “Snowland” from the center by taxi in 10-20 minutes. In addition to two bars, there is a restaurant, a disco is open in the evenings, and you can spend the night in real igloos.
7 things to do in Rovaniemi
- Learn to drive a reindeer team.
- See the northern lights.
- Visit Santa and make a wish.
- Drink alcohol at the ice bar.
- Make a Sami souvenir with your own hands.
- Learn the secrets of cooking venison delicacies and surprise your relatives upon arrival.
- Visit the Arctic Circle and get a certificate.
Rovaniemi for children
The main “children’s” attraction of Rovaniemi is located 8 km from the city of Santa Claus Village (off. site in English). There is an exhibition where young travelers learn about the history of Joulupukki, who in Finland plays the role of Santa Claus, as well as about the New Year traditions of different countries of the world. Certificates and keepsakes can be bought at the gift shop.
Not far from the village is an underground amusement park – Santa Park. Elves live and work on its territory, gingerbread is baked in the bakery, and congratulations are never tired of receiving and sending congratulations at the post office. Here Santa has his own office, where he meets visitors.
In Huskypark, which is on the Arctic Circle, you can go in search of the northern lights in a dog sled.
Children’s entertainment is not limited to the residence of Joulupukki. The sports complex “Santasport” has a large playground with slides, labyrinths, transparent pipes and rope ladders. There is also a swimming pool with a paddling pool and children’s slides. In the warm season, it is worth a trip to the Arctic rope park “Polar Adventure”. There are 8 routes of varying difficulty, children’s and adult tracks to choose from.
Although Rovaniemi is located almost on the very Arctic Circle, the climate in the city is quite temperate. Snow covers the ground from late autumn to mid-spring. Winter is long, but severe frosts are rare, more often moderately cold comfortable weather. The high tourist season is from December to February, the biggest influx is at Christmas.
Summer is short and cool, so it is unlikely that you will be able to relax on the beach. The temperature and weather are more like our mid-spring, so you should put warm clothes in your suitcase. In early autumn and spring, you are most likely to see the Northern Lights.