Rovaniemi, Finland

Rovaniemi is the regional capital of Lapland. It is a delightful town in all seasons: the midnight sun in summer, the riot of colors in autumn, the blue hues at the onset of the polar night, the pure white winter, and the atmospheric Christmas season all offer unforgettable experiences.

We were in Rovaniemi in August 2005. The weather was just perfect—clear skies and +23 degrees. We parked our car and went to wander around.

The Arctic Circle is the southernmost line where the midnight sun can be seen. The Arctic Circle (Finns call it Napapiiri) is about 8 km north of Rovaniemi. The official line is marked here; a typical “tourist take photos” place. And we did it also.

Santa Claus Village is just outside the Arctic Circle. Santa Claus lives here; everybody can visit him. Santa’s office was a lovely place. Every one of us has been a child and believed in Santa Claus. I think it is worth it to go there and see him at least once. Of course, it is even more memorable if you are still below ten years old. We sat next to Santa Claus, and he asked us different questions—”What do we dream about?”, “Where are we going?” etc. I believe we all had fun. At the same time, a photographer took a picture of us, which we bought later as it was excellent quality although expensive.

There is also a Santa Claus Main Post Office where you can send specially stamped letters and postcards. We sent several, and for some of them, we used the option that people would receive them only at Christmas.

There is a pretty good souvenir shop in Santa Claus Village. I think it is the best we saw during our trip. But usually, it is hard to buy souvenirs at the first stop.

There are many cafeterias in the area. We had a combo lunch for excellent value—8 euros per person, and it tasted good.

The story continues at Sotkaniemi.

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