If you are visiting Rovaniemi…
We were recently filming in Rovaniemi, and after speaking to local people and experiencing some of the Arctic Circle’s best places we have come up with a list of things you should see or visit…
No visit to the Arctic Circle would be complete without checking at least a few of these boxes – they come recommended from the charming locals we encountered on our adventure. So if you want to lap up some culture …
What to do?
FC Santa Claus
A reason to visit alone. This team is not just a gimmick for tourists – one of the only semi-pro teams in the 2nd Division in Finland, FC Santa Claus are a proper side. The football season runs from April – Oct, as in the winter many places in Finland only get 2 to 3 hours of sunlight. However, FC Santa Claus still play futsal in the winter months. If you do want to see the team during the summer, FC Santa Claus plays its football at Rovaniemen keskuskenttä.
Santa Claus Village
This is a must visit in December. Meet Santa Claus, visit one of the busiest post offices in the world, train as an elf. You can even ride reindeer and go on a husky safari. This place is based just off the main road that connects the airport and the city: it’s easy to find and super easy to get carried away in the Christmas spirit.
If you have a bucket list, this is probably on it. Rovaniemi is one of the best places to watch the Aurora Borealis as it’s visible over 100 nights of the year. To hedge your bets of seeing some action you should be watching the sky in a dark place: you won’t see the northern lights if you’re in the city. There are also better times to see the phenomenon, such as January where there is lots of clear nights. However it’s well below freezing in Finland so don’t be a hero and wrap up warm!
Santa Claus Cup:
This summer International tournament based at the Arctic Circle is fast becoming one of the biggest youth tournaments in the world, attracting players from all over the world. As it’s based during the summer, the sun is out for 24 hours a day, with games played under the surreal midnight sun.
Where to eat?
A traditional restaurant in the middle of town. At Nili you will enjoy the genuine tastes and feeling of Lapland. This place is pricey, however they cook great traditional food with welcoming service. We suggest trying either the sauté reindeer or the beer meatballs.
If you live in a big city you will be aware of the best burgers in your town. If you travel to Rovaniemi, we have found it for you. Pure Burger is a classic hipster burger joint with irrelevant typewriters and broken bikes in the window. However this place serves up great burgers … and has a full bar. What made this burger joint even better was the shop that’s connected to it, packed to the rafters with skating gear and obscure Finnish brands.
Where to drink?
If you want to find some company for the night then this is the place to go. Roy club is open from 2200-0400 every night. You can play blackjack or sing karaoke under the midnight sun. Every town needs a bar like this.
A very busy bar in the middle of town, with two levels: a bar on street level and a club down stairs. Oliver’s Corner is a great place to watch live sport with multiple TVs showing both football and the national sport – Ice Hockey. They serve a wide variety of alcohol including Karhu, which is very popular larger similar served around the world.
If you want to see what happened when two of our presenters Sausages and Caviar went to Rovaniemi, to meet FC Santa Claus and visit Santa Claus village you can check it out here:
If we have missed anywhere you visited in Rovaniemi please leave a comment below and tell us why it should be on the list! Merry Christmas.