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First Timer's Guide To Rovaniemi, Finland

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Noelle Ong

Klook Travel Curator

The first timer's guide to Rovaniemi


Rovaniemi is the capital of the Finnish lapland and home to some of the most unique cultures! Apart from being one of the best viewing spots for the Northern lights and the midnight sun, the vast wilderness makes this an ideal destination for hikers. Apart from that, Rovaniemi is also home to our favorite childhood character - Santa Claus!

If you’re a first timer in Rovaniemi, read on to find out some of the must visit places and must eat foods.

Photo credit : http://www.visitfinland.com/article/rovaniemi-a-northern-culture-hub/

Klook activities to check out


Northern Lights Tour

  • Explore the wilderness of Rovaniemi and catch one of nature’s most spectacular phenomenons
  • Enjoy a campfire with newly made friends on the tour
  • Get increased chances of spotting the lights with the help of your professional guide

Tour inclusive of :

  • 2 way hotel transfer
  • English speaking guide
  • A light snack
  • A hot drink
  • Grilled sausages, corn and marshmallows

Tour time: 7pm-1am

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Rovaniemi Ice Fishing

  • Learn the skills of the natives and fish for your own meal
  • Drill a hole in the ice and wait patiently for your catch
  • Cook the fish over open fire and enjoy it with snacks and a hot drink

Tour inclusive of:

  • English speaking guide
  • Round trip transfer
  • A light snack
  • A hot drink
  • Grilled sausages, corn, and marshmallows

Tour time: 10.30am to 2.30pm

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Rovaniemi highlights


1. Northern Lights

If you’re visiting Rovaniemi during peak Northern lights season (October - April), you definitely won’t want to miss catching the elusive lights! These lights occur when there is increased solar activity in the magnetic field of the earth, causing a visible glow above the horizon. If it’s your first time chasing the lights, here are some tips.

  • Bring a tripod because you’ll need to take long exposure shots in order to capture the beautiful lights
  • Layer up because it can get pretty chilly when you’re out in the open waiting for the lights
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2. Rovaniemi Ice Fishing

Another must try winter activity in Rovaniemi is ice fishing! Head over to a frozen lake and catch your next meal. Since the lakes are only frozen on the surface, drill a hole in the ice and fish for your own food! Locals usually grill the fish over an open fire afterwards.

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3. Ranua Wildlife Park

The Ranua Wildlife Park is a must visit for animal lovers! Spend a day in the Finnish wilderness with the arctic animals and get ready to get up close and personal with these furry friends. Home to animals like owls, polar bears, elks and even foxes and wolves, you’ll be able to see all these animals in their natural habitat! Klook your Ranua Wildlife Park experience and it includes a 2 way transfer as well as lunch!

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4. Wild Taiga National Park

The best place to experience the great outdoors in Finland is at the Wild Taiga National Park! The untouched land, clear lakes and beautiful green treks are just waiting to be explored. Klook your visit to Wild Taiga and let your guide take you to the best animal spotting places. You’ll also learn how to make a fire (without any matches) which you will sit around to enjoy your snacks!

Photo credit: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/289848926007162697/

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Other Rovaniemi attractions


5. Santa Claus Village

We hope you’ve been nice all year around because when you’re in Rovaniemi, you wouldn’t want to miss paying Santa Claus a visit. Visit the magical Santa Claus Village in the Arctic Circle and pay Santa a visit. You’ll find Santa Claus’ main post office where all your letters to Santa are sent to. See the elves sort out the mail and buy a stamp or two back for your next letter to Santa.

Getting here: Take the local bus number 8 to arrive at the village!

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6. Arktikum

Apart from being a science center and a museum, the Arktikum even houses a beach! Spend a whole day at the Arktikum and learn more about the Arctic and northern way of living. The comprehensive section of the history and culture of the laplands will give you a glimpse of life in the past.

If you’re visiting during the summer months, be sure to pay the beach a visit! Be sure to pack a picnic basket and your swimsuit and take in the midnight sun.

Getting here: Hop on local bus service 8!

Photo credit: https://www.visitrovaniemi.fi/see-do/sights-and-attractions/

7. Ounasvaara Ski Resort

There’s no better way to welcome summer in Rovaniemi than a slide down the Ounasvaara hill! Take the lookout lift to the top of the hill and enjoy the breathtaking views of Ounasvaara and Rovaniemi. From the lookout lift station, you can then purchase your tickets to the Sled. Don’t worry if you have never sled before because the track is safe for everyone, regardless of experience. In the winter, you can opt for activities like snowboarding and skiing!

Getting here: Take bus 8 from the airport and transfer to bus 1A Ruokasenpuisto. Alight at Laskettelukeskus P-alue.

Photo credit: https://www.visitrovaniemi.fi/see-do/sights-and-attractions/

8. Arctic Adventure Park Huima

Experience the great outdoors from up high at the Arctic Adventure Park Huima. With obstacle courses between living trees, put your balancing skills to the test! With courses of varying difficulty levels, it’s a great place for the whole family. You can also play mini golf, drive around the pedal car park or rent fat bikes to explore the place!

Getting here: Take bus 8 from the airport and transfer to bus 1A Ruokasenpuisto. Alight at Urheiluopisto piha and the park is 1 minute walk away!

Photo credit: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/576249714799662074/

9. Devil’s Churns

The devil’s churns or potholes on the rocky slopes of Sukanlanrakka just outside of the Rovaniemi city centre are Finland’s largest potholes! The biggest one is 15 metres deep and 8 metres in diameter and you definitely would not want to risk falling in!

Address: Hiidenkirnuntie 165 97110 Rovaniemi. Getting here: It is a 30 minute drive from the airport.

Photo credit: https://www.visitrovaniemi.fi/see-do/sights-and-attractions/

10. Amethyst Mine

If you like rare gems, you wouldn’t want to miss a visit to the unique Lampivaara Amethyst Mine! This real gem mine is a unique attraction to the Lapland and you definitely wouldn’t want to miss a chance to dig around for your own amethyst.

Getting here: The shortest hiking route to the Lampivaara mine is approximately 35-45 minutes and you will need to arrange for transport there as the mine is located in the national park and private motors are not allowed.

Photo credit: https://www.visitrovaniemi.fi/see-do/sights-and-attractions/

Must eat places


1. Ice restaurant

One of the most unique dining experiences in the world can be found in Finland’s ice bar and restaurant! Tuck into a traditional Finnish meal with meats like elk and salmon as you sit on benches made of ice. You can even order a drink or two from the ice bar and your drink will also be served in a cup made entirely out of ice.

Getting here: Take the Rovaniemi Pello train to Lehtojarvi L and the arctic snow hotel is 9 minutes walk away.

Photo credit: https://www.visitrovaniemi.fi/see-do/eat-and-drink/

2. Nili Restaurant

Visit this traditional Finnish wooden lodge - Restaurant Nili, decorated with reindeer coats, antlers and even bear rugs! This cosy little restaurant serves meat like bear, reindeer and moose so get your stomachs ready for some unique meats. Be sure to make a reservation before heading down because we hear that this restaurant can be pretty popular.

Getting here: take bus 8 from the airport and alight at Toripuistikko L, the restaurant will be a 4 minute walk away.

Photo credit: https://www.visitrovaniemi.fi/eat-and-drink/restaurant-nili/ and http://www.visitfinland.com/mystay/product/lappish-restaurant-nili-in-rovaniemi/17477/