Christmas in Finland is more than a tradition: Since it is the place where Santa Claus lives, Finnish people take Christmas pretty seriously. Today we talk about three sights and attractions that feature Santa Claus in Lapland, the north of Finland. All of these sights can be found in the capital of Lapland, Rovaniemi.
Santa Claus Village
The first attraction is situated 8 kilometers north-east of Rovaniemi, and close to the airport. It is the Santa Claus Village (official website). You can get there from the city center as well, taking the bus number 8 from the train station.
Santa Claus Village, seen from outside. Source (CC: by).
It is open the whole year and offers different attractions:
- Visit the Arctic Circle line. A line on the ground marks this geographic line of the Earth. Above this line, there is at least a night a year that lasts 24 hours, and a day per year where the sun doesn’t set for 24 hours.
- The Santa Claus post office in Finland: a shop with Christmas products and Christmas cards. You can send your mail from there with a stamp of Santa Claus, and you can specify the day that you want the mail to arrive (for instance: next Christmas), independently from the day you were there.
- Santa Claus’ office in Finland, where he receives guests and chats with them in different languages, since he speaks many languages (English, of course, included). You can take a picture with him and take it with you as a great memory.
- Other attractions: in the village you can find several shops, restaurants, and even “Miss Roosevelt’s cabin“, since the wife of the former president of the USA Franklin Roosevelt was the first tourist to the region of Lapland. There is also a Christmas exhibit that shows how Christmas is celebrated in different parts of the world, with movies and objects.
The line of the Polar Arctic Circle. Source (by-sa).
Joulukka: Fairytale of Christmas
Joulukka (official page) is located in the middle of a forest 16km from Rovaniemi. It is said to be one of Santa’s best kept secrets in Finland. Out of the three places where you can see Santa Claus sights and attractions in Lapland, this is the newest and the one with the highest prices. Up to now the elfs – Tonttu in Finnish language – made sure that nobody was able to find it, because it’s the place where the Command Center of Santa is located: The place where he carefully plans his trip on December 24th.
In this Santa Claus attraction in Rovaniemi you can do different activities depending on the program you choose. Each of these programs are suitable for different group sizes and focus on a subset of the whole Joulukka. For instance, some of these programs – that last between 1 and 4 hours and that almost all end up with some traditional meal in Joulukka – are:
- Joulukka Christmas Special: A route with the elfs through the forest, where you can find different magic animals and creatures.
- Santa Claus Safari “Dream of Joulukka”, where you can learn how to make Christmas decorations and gingerbread cookies. At the end of the activity you’ll get a certification from the Santa Claus school.
- Exclusive Private Meeting with Santa Claus, where you can find out how elfs live. They will guide you through the forest to the Santa Command Center where he monitors how good people have been, and you can meet him.
The Santa Park
The Santa Park (official page) is another popular attraction about Santa Claus in Rovaniemi. The park is designed to look like his cave residence. The visitors of the Santa Park descend through an impressive portal that leads them through a cave into the mountain.
The entrance to the Santa Park. Source (CC: by-sa).
Getting inside the cave. Anything to meet Santa Claus in his Lapland home! Source (CC: by-sa).
What you can find inside this sight of Santa Claus in Finland is:
- The Elf Show, the Elf School and the Elf Workshop: different workshops to learn about the life of the Tonttu, the elf helpers of Santa. You, as an apprentice elf of any age, will learn how to make Christmas decorations, behave like a good elf, or simply relax watching their show.
- Santa’s Workshop: We should not forget to pause a moment to say hello to Santa Claus and personally hand him our list of wishes.
- The Ice Bar and the Ice Gallery: Like many other ice bars in the world (many of them inside ice hotels in Finland), this is a place to rest and enjoy some pretty cold drinks. You can also meet the Ice Princess and enjoy all the ice sculptures that are on display.
- The Gingerbread Kitchen: The kids can decorate gingerbread cookies made by Miss Noel, and in the meantime the parents can have a glass of glögi, the Finnish Christmas drink.
- The Sleigh Attraction: Riding a sleigh, you go through the four seasons of Finland, and you also visit the elf workshop, where you’ll see them working because everything has to be ready for December 24th.
- The post office: Similar to the one in Santa Claus Village, you can also send your best wishes from this office, and leave your wish list to Santa.
Santa Park is located 9km north of Rovaniemi, and you get to it with the bus number 8 too (this bus is known as Santa’s Express). The Santa Park was named “Best Adventure Destination in Finland” in 2007 and 2008.
Sending your letter to Santa Claus
We did a post about sending a letter to Santa Claus, with the right address and some tips, but it is always good to remember the address: Santa Claus, 96930 Arctic Circle, Finland.
The official post office of the Santa Park. Source (CC: by-sa).
Have you visited some of these sights and attractions of Santa Claus in Lapland, the north of Finland? What did you think of them?