Deep in Lapland, at a 10 hour long drive up north from capital Helsinki, lies Rovaniemi. This is the region's capital and the typical gateway for trips into the area, bringing quite a few tourists here. Home to just over 60,000 people, two universities in town share about 10,000 students between them, injecting further life into what would otherwise be a quiet outpost very near to the Arctic Circle.
Don't go to Rovaniemi expecting a beautiful city. The retreating Nazis bombed it to the ground, and I'm sure that the buildings of the reconstructed city are practical, but beautiful they are not. That is until the snow starts falling, and a riverside walk here (the city sits on the broad Kemijoki river) offers some nice scenery at every time of the year.
In central Rovaniemi, the Arktikum museum is one of the obvious must-see places. This is a museum and science center focussing on the culture and history of Finnish Lapland. Next to the Artikum stands the Pilke Science Centre teaching its visitors about Finland's forestry. There are some other sights in town like the Rovaniemi Church, but most people will inevitably head out to the Santa Claus Village. Meet Santa, visit his post office, go sledding, buy souvenirs... it's all good fun. [Review by travelindicator]
You can find the best hotel deals in Rovaniemi here.
- Rovaniemi is a city in Finland's region of Lapland. It has a population of 61,329, is situated at an altitude of 285ft and the best airport to fly into is RVN (Rovaniemi, Rovaniemi)
- The main spoken language here is Finnish, and the average English skill is intermediate
- The currency used in Finland is the Euro (EUR)
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More Rovaniemi travel resources
Head over to Lonely Planet or Wikitravel for more basic information. The Travel with Bender blog can offer some more inspiration on how to spend your time here. Of course the official Visit Rovaniemi website has to be mentioned and is worth a visit.