Another Christmas season is coming, children all over the world wish to receive gifts from Santa Claus. At Santa Claus Village, Rovaniemi, Lapland in Finland – which is considered the hometown of Santa Claus, all wishes can come true! Finland is also one of the coldest yet beautiful countries in Northern Europe. Through this blog, I would like to share photos of my family during last Christmas with some useful tips. So, what to do and how to plan a perfect budget trip to Santa Claus Village rovaniemi (Santa Claus Village Lapland, Santa Claus Village Rovaniemi, Santa Claus Village Rovaniemi Finland) for the first-time? Let’s check out our detailed Santa Claus Village Rovaniemi review from how to get there, where to stay, top things to do to as well as traveling costs to find out the answer!
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Santa Claus Village Rovaniemi review: How long should you stay in Rovaniemi?
It is recommended to stay in Rovaniemi for at least 2 to 4 nights to be able to experience all the services here comfortably. The best time to go to Rovaniemi is in the winter months (November to March), when the snow has covered all branches and roads, creating a very magical scene.
How to get to Santa Claus Village Rovaniemi Finland and getting around the city
Getting there: In Rovaniemi, you can’t search for buses by using Gmaps like in other cities. If you have to travel by bus, use this website to searching for bus routes. Bus to the airport is No. 8 bus(3.5 Euros/way) or Bus Santa Express (6.6 Euros/way). Traveling from Rovaniemi airport to the city center, you can take a shuttle bus (price is about 10 Euros/person depending on how far your hotel is).
Rovaniemi is a small city, so most people only travel by bus. Taking a taxi here is quite difficult. There are 2 buses from Rovaniemi center to Santa Claus Village which are bus number 8 and Santa Express Bus. These are 2 different transportation companies, so tickets cannot be shared. Bus fare in the city is 3.5 euros/person/way and Santa Express is 6.6 euros/person/2-way. The bus runs very punctually on its schedule, so you can easily control your schedule.
Where to stay when coming to Santa Claus Village – Rovaniemi?
There are many places to stay options in Rovaniemi. If you want to stay in luxury hotels, closest to Santa village, you can book hotels right in Santa Claus Village Rovaniemi. Some super beautiful and luxurious resorts that you must have seen in pictures on the Internet you can refer to such as Arctic TreeHouse Hotel (Agoda.com or Booking.com) built in a high hill area, panoramic windows with beautiful Aurora view. Or Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort – Igloos and Chalets (Agoda.com or Booking.com) is as enchanting as the shelters in the snowy white forest.
We can’t afford to stay in a such luxury, so we book an Airbnb apartment in Rovaniemi. An apartment a bit far from the center but located in the forest, so the experience is also great and the price is cheaper! Honestly, this is the most beautiful Airbnb apartment I’ve ever stayed in! The house is spacious, clean, fully equipped and feels like home. I think this is a pretty good choice because it’s expensive in Santa’s village but there are no activities at night because there’s nothing to do after 7PM.
I rented a house for my whole family on Airbnb. The owner is very nice, the 2-bedroom house is clean, there is floor heating in the rooms, kitchen appliances, washing machine and dryer all are equipped. Near the house there is a bus stop to go to Rovaniemi center to change another bus to Santa Claus Village. The house is suitable for families or groups of 4-5 people. However, when I just checked, this house changed owners because the old owner just moved back to Helsinki. Probably okay, no matter who is owner, as long as the house is beautiful and convenient as well as cheap. We stayed from Jan 3 – Jan 7 for 387 euros.
Below we recommend more best budget, mid-range and upscale hotels with good ratings and reviews you can refer to.
- Santa Claus Holiday Village (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
- Arctic Light Hotel (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
- Scandic Rovaniemi City (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
- Lapland Hotels Ounasvaara Chalets (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
- Arctic City Hotel (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
- Original Sokos Hotel Vaakuna Rovaniemi (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
Things to do in Santa Claus Village and Lapland
Many of you inbox me asking if Lapland is bored because many visitors after visiting Lapland, go home and say it’s boring, cold, nothing to play. My opinion is to be happy or not is up to each person. My family, from adult and young, all have had a lot of fun, interesting and impressive experiences. Even this year, my family still wants to come back for other experiences.
There are many tours to explore Rovaniemi such as: Hunting the Northern Lights, visiting reindeer farm, husky sledding (this is different from Santa Claus village), skiing, snowmobiling, hiking or even climbing. You can learn more at this link. A little note is that my family only experience reindeer riding and husky sledding in Santa Claus village, but did not have time to participate in private tours at the farms outside.
Activities in Santa Claus Village
In addition to the main purpose of meeting the legendary Santa Claus (taking photos, receiving gifts, sending postcards stamped with Santa’s post ..), there are also many other interesting activities:
- Reindeer riding: Although the speed is very “turtle”, this is an interesting experience not to be missed. You will see slowly the snowy pine forest and your reindeer’s squirming butts :))
- Husky sledding: Although the price is quite expensive compared to reindeer riding tour, the feeling is very sasisfied. Just like what is seen in the movies hehe. At the end of the trip you can even take pictures with these lovely and strong husky dogs.
- Join the snow games at the recreational area: Ride a snow motorcycle through the forest in the cold -15 degrees Celsius.
- Visit Santa park.
Hunting the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis)
From my experience suggests that you should hire a local tour guide to lead you to explore, and also have to regularly check the radar app to see what day it is clear and most likely to see the Northern Lights. Prepared to hunt but I was worried because I read 50 reviews, 50 of them said not see the Northern Lights. Sitting in the car and went out of the city 20km, then walking through the forest for 30 minutes under the temperature of (-22) degrees Celsius, but in the end the results were not bad.
In addition to the shuttle service to the aurora hunting spots, the tour also provides grilled sausages on the spot, coffee and tea to fight the cold in the mountains and forests. Being able to celebrate Christmas once in a lifetime in Santa’s hometown must be a memorable experience, right?
This is the information about the Northern Lights tour that I participated in or simply book a tour via Klook, the tour operator will take it all for you. Host Antti is a very nice and pleasant person! You will be guided all when booking the tour and will be picked up + dropped off at your accommodation. However, remember to dress warmly. Tour price is 69 euros/person. There are also many other tourguides that you can explore on Airbnb, maybe even better.
Cost for Rovaniemi trip
I do not save the total cost for the trip, but in general, in Rovaniemi, the tour fee and experience are expensive, but eating and drinking, my family buy everything in advance to cook, so it doesn’t cost much.
- Some more information is left for you refer to:
- Reindeer ride service (29 Euros/adult; 23 Euros/child) Snowmobile (198 Euros for my whole family)
- Husky sledding (135 Euros for my family)
- Take and print photos with Santa Claus (65 Euros)
- Shuttle bus service from the airport to accommodation (20 Euros)
The cost that my family (3 people) spent on accommodation and participating in activities is about 863 Euros.
Read more Finland travel guide here.