Lapland’s capital, Rovaniemi, plays by its own rules. While the rest of the region enjoys the relaxed Lappish pace of life, this lively metropolis is a city that never sleeps. Holidaymakers flock here as much for the snow sports and the after-dark offerings as they do for the scenery and the chance to meet Santa, and locals and university students keep the place ticking over long after the tourists have left.
The city centre itself is fairly compact, with everything centred around a few main streets. Here, shopping malls are home to big department stores and stylish fashion boutiques. Smart restaurants serve everything from traditional Lappish fare to modern French cuisine. And funky nightclubs play the latest tunes until the early hours. All that said, wherever you go in the city, brightly-lit Christmas trees and out-of-the-ordinary ice sculptures remind you you’re in Lapland.
What’s more, head just five minutes outside the city, and the dramatic scenery and snowy wilderness this part of the world is synonymous with stretches out in every direction. And there’s no end of ways to explore it. Zoom through the forest on a snowmobile, or take a seat in a sleigh pulled by reindeer or huskies.
Christmas festivities in Rovaniemi, meanwhile, come courtesy of Santa Park. This underground grotto, where Santa and his helpers work, is a magical world of ice sculptures, elf shows and fairy-lit workshops.
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Our hotels and apartments in Rovaniemi include Christmas Cottages, Forest Heights, Hotel Santa Claus, Hotel Sokos Vaakuna, Rantasipi Pohjanhovi, Santa Sport Hotel, Santa's Secret Grotto Day Trip, Scandic Hotel Rovaniemi, Snowy Cottages and Winter Wonderland Hotel and Log Cabins.