After spending one night in Lulea (Sweden) and one in Kemi (Finland) (you can read about it in the blog post Lapland tour: arriving in Sweden and crossing the border to Finland https://camyinwonderworld.blog/2020/02/02/lapland-tour-arriving-in-sweden-and-crossing-the-border-to-finland/) the next destination of the one-week travel in Lapland was Rovaniemi, the home of Santa Claus! Rovaniemi is a popular destination for families, because of the Santa Claus Village, where you can personally meet Santa himself and take a picture with him (after a long queue). But, the town is lovely for couples, too, as there are many activities to do there. My favourite was the snowmobile tour, where you get to drive across fairytale landscapes and woods, covered in snow and with reindeers popping out from behind a tree. The operator we chose was Lapland safaris (https://www.laplandsafaris.com/en/).
But beside that, you can also ski, or do the Finnish sauna experience (which was also amazing), which involves getting heated up in a floating sauna on Rovaniemi’s frozen river and then dipping yourself into the ice cold water of the river, as the guide makes a hole in the ice and you ca access the water through a little stair. This sounds like madness BUT it’s very good for your health!
We decided to take the train to move from Kemi to Rovaniemi, which takes 1 hour and 20 minutes and costs between 13 and 20 euros.
After this journey the decision to always travel with backpacks and ditch big, uncomfortable trolleys was made xD
Big suitcases are never handy, on the snow (the worst) or on the sand…or in the jungle!
The train was lovely, we spent the whole journey in the restaurant and looked outside the window, sipping hot, hyggeligt drinks, eating cinnamon rolls and feeling as if I was on the Orient express.
After arriving in Rovaniemi’s train station, we took a taxi to the rental agency to collect the keys and check in. The tiny rented apartment. small but so well planned, was just around the corner from the agency. It even had a sauna, as the tradition wants most Finnish homes to have (Kotimaailma apartments -> https://www.kotimaailma.com/en/cities-and-apartments/rovaniemi).
Finding an accommodation in Rovaniemi wasn’t that easy, or rather, finding a hotel was feasible but the prices skyrocket in the high season, obviously, and we travelled there just after Christmas to spend the New Year’s Eve, therefore it was the case. Moreover, I booked quite late during the year so not a wide choice was left. But I managed to find a great flat for an acceptable cost.
If you budget allows it, there are some luxury, exceptional hotels which provide bungalows with a transparent roof which lets you see the stars and, if you’re extremely lucky, the aurora borealis (unfortunately it wasn’t our case).
The apartment was right in the centre of town, near all the restaurants and agencies where you can book activities. I recommend booking well in advance because when I booked, almost last-minute, there weren’t many time slots available.
The flat was so modern and cosy and the sauna was just what you needed to find comfort after the -7 degrees outside. As we spent New Year’s Eve in Rovaniemi, the first activity of 2018 was finding some refuge in the sauna after watching the fireworks by the frozen river.