If you want to explore Lapland, then 3 days in Rovaniemi is a good choice.
Rovaniemi is located in the northern part of Finland, and is the capital of Lapland. The city was completely destroyed during World War II but later built back by Alvar Aalto, a famous Finnish architect.
Now, Rovaniemi is the 2nd largest tourist destination in Finland, and is known for being the birthplace of Santa Claus, northern lights sightings, and winter activities.
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3 Days in Rovaniemi, Finland
How to Get to Rovaniemi
The most convenient way to get to Rovaniemi is by flying into the Rovaniemi airport. If you’re coming from Helsinki, there’s multiple flights a day for about $90 roundtrip. The flight takes a little over an hour, and is the quickest way to get to Rovaniemi.
Taking a train is another way to get to Rovaniemi. The ride is very scenic if you take it during daylight hours, but it’s also pretty long. The trip takes at least 8 hours during the day while night trains take about 12.
You could also drive to Rovaniemi. The drive is almost 10 hours from Helsinki, but allows you to stop off along the way.
Where to Stay in Rovaniemi
When it comes to booking somewhere to stay in Rovaniemi, there’s one thing to consider. A lot of the igloo resorts are somewhat remote, and not near the actual city of Rovaniemi. If want to visit Santa Clause’s Village or the Rovaniemi city center, you’ll have to shuttle or taxi in. Just something to keep in mind when booking accommodations.
During my 3 days in Rovaniemi, I stayed at two places: Apukka Resort and Lapland Hotels Sky Ounasvaara.
Apukka Resort offers many different accommodation types ranging in size and luxury. We stayed in one of their kammi suites. The suites are spacious, and the decor is very cozy. The bottom floor has two twin beds, a dining table, a kitchenette, and bathroom. Up the spiral staircase, you’ll find a double bed, with a 360 glass dome for aurora viewing.
The nice thing about staying at Apukka is that if you don’t want to leave the property, you don’t have to. There is an on-site restaurant and bar, and you can book all your activities through the resort.
Lapland Hotels Sky Ounasvaara
After two nights at Apukka, we then spent our last night in Rovaniemi at Lapland Hotels Sky Ounasvaara. We stayed in one of their Lapland suites, which was absolutely stunning. There’s two bedrooms with a living room, and an awesome bathroom that has a sauna. Each bedroom also has a large picture window with a beautiful view.
On site, there’s a bar in the main lobby that serves delicious drinks and small bites. Upstairs, you’ll find Sky Kitchen and View, where breakfast and dinner are served. The restaurant has beautiful floor to ceiling windows offering gorgeous views of the surrounding nature.
Find more places to stay on Booking.com
What to Do with 3 Days in Rovaniemi
Santa Claus’s Village
As the birthplace of Santa Claus, you have to go to Santa Claus’s Village while in Rovaniemi. There you can meet the man himself, hang out with his reindeer, send a letter to yourself or loved ones for Christmas, and lots more. Fun fact, the letters kids write to Santa Clause are actually sent there.
Unfortunately, we were unable to make it to the village during our 3 days in Rovaniemi due to scheduling conflicts, but don’t be like us and miss out on this experience.
Dog Sledding is another popular activity in Rovaniemi. We booked our tour through Apukka, and were provided everything we needed: socks, boots, snowsuits, and gloves. We got dressed and then headed across the street, where the dogs were housed. One of the guides told us all about them and what their lives are like as sledding dogs. Dogs that no longer wish to run and those unsuitable for sledding, are adopted by locals who can’t wait to take one in. The sledding itself was pretty fun and definitely a unique experience.
We also took a snowmobiling tour through Apukka. Again, we were fitted with everything we needed before heading out. I really struggled with driving the snowmobile as the steering always kinda shifts back and forth making you feel like you’re tipping over slightly when you hit bumps. About half way through I finally got the hang of it, when I stopped worrying about the prospect of tipping over.
Other popular activities in Rovaniemi include:
Another reason people come to Rovaniemi is to hunt for the northern lights. We didn’t see them during our time in the area, but there are plenty of tours you can book to try and see them like this Small-Group Hunting Northern Lights with Huskies Tour or this Northern Lights Snowmobile Driving Safari.
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