The capital of Lapland and the business centre of Finnish Lapland, Rovaniemi was destroyed by Germans in the final days of World War II; only a few buildings were left intact. Thankfully, rebuilding has put Rovaniemi back into a fascinating and inspiring place.
The city centre itself is very small; almost everything is within walking distance. The Administrative and Cultural Centre is a very beautiful building to see, and it includes the Lappia Hall, public library and city hall. Or you could visit the Arktikum, one of the best museums in the whole of Finland which focuses on life in Lapland and arctic region through the ages — and a very beautiful building, too.
Rovaniemi – aerial view, Finland
The Pilke Science Centre is all about forests; it teaches visitors how we can sustainably use northern forests. Near the city’s shopping centre is an art museum full of Finnish art. For those of you who are more active, on the west bank of the river you can find all sorts of companies to organise snowmobile safaris, dog sledding and winter safaris for you.
Brücke in Rovaniemi
However most tourists come to Rovaniemi for “The Santa”; Santa Claus Village is 8km north of Rovaniemi but will allow you to meet Santa himself. There are also small sledding hills for children to play on, a Santa Claus post office with a special stamp for those back home and many lovely souvenir shops. Sometimes there are various activities going on, and when it’s dark the village is lit by beautiful ice sculptures.