Rovaniemi is an Artic capital and the center of Lapland. It has been branded as the home of Nordic magic.
Rovaniemi is located on the Artic circle, in the county of Lapland. It is an urban city surrounded by nature and Lappish culture. Rovaniemi is also the official hometown of Santa Claus. Meet Santa Claus in the Santa Claus Village all year around. You can experience the Northern Lights in Rovaniemi from late August until early April. There are a couple of good places near the city center to see the Lights, such as the Artic Garden and the top of the Ounasvaara fell.
One of Finland’s national architects, Alvar Aalto, has greatly influenced Rovaniemi’s architecture. He helped to rebuild the city after it was badly destroyed in World War 2. Find Aalto’s work around the city in large public projects as well as in housing. Rovaniemi has several landmarks, which are located close to each other and can be easily toured on foot in a couple of hours.
Rovaniemi offers award-winning luxury hotels, holiday villages, and resorts as well as glass igloos for tourists interested in Artic holidays. There are events and entertainment such as Artic Lapland Rally, Artic Design Week, and the Grand Christmas Opening. For people interested in sports, Rovaniemi is an excellent location. There are winter golf courses, skating rinks, swimming halls, and snowmobile routes to mention a few.
Rovaniemi is a great place to experience both the Polar Night and the Midnight Sun. The Polar Night defines the time in the polar regions when the sun does not rise above the horizon in midwinter. It is a mix of mysterious lights on glittering snowdrifts. The colors of the Polar Night are generated by the sun shining light on the upper layers of the atmosphere causing the colors of a sunset. In addition, Northern Lights are visible starting from early afternoons during Polar Nights.
The opposite of Polar Night is the Midnight Sun. It is a natural phenomenon that takes place on and above the Arctic Circle in the summer months. The sun stays above the horizon for a full 24 hours on the summer solstice, 21st or 22nd June. However, in Rovaniemi, the Midnight Sun lasts for a month, from 6th June to 7th July. This is due to the Earth’s tilted axis and the refraction of sunlight. This means that there are outdoor activities such as jet skiing, horseback riding, floating, and hiking river cruises available night and day.
Reasons to choose Rovaniemi
- Best place to experience magical phenomena such as the Northern Lights, the Polar Night, and the Midnight Sun
- Home of Nordic magic and Santa Claus
- Capital of Lapland
Many locals would say that Rovaniemi has up to eight seasons, each with its own distinct characteristics. This means that the weather in Rovaniemi is ever-changing.
Midwinter, which takes place in January-February, is the coldest period. The average temperature is from -25°C to -15 °C. This is also a very dark and quiet period, with a mysterious atmosphere. Midwinter is followed by the snowy Spring. The sunlight starts to increase in late February and it starts to get warmer. The typical temperature during this period is from -15°C to 5°C. Snow starts to melt away in late April. Ice starts to melt in April-May and the temperature increases from 5°C to 15°C. The Midnight sun shines from early June to early July, but the nights are white all the way until early August. The temperature during the summer is typically around 15°C-25°C. Harvest season starts in August, and locals hurry to the forests in search of berries and mushrooms. The nights start to get dark again in mid-August and the Northern Light season begins. In September, nature changes in color as the leaves turn brown, orange, and yellow. Temperatures drop below 0°C in October and permanent snow arrives in November. The darkness and the Polar Night take over again in December. Luckily, the Christmas lights, snow, and tourists from all over the world brighten the surroundings.
Food culture in Rovaniemi is greatly influenced by the Lappish culture. Lappish cuisine includes pure and simple ingredients from nature. Reindeer is an essential part of the Lappish food culture; the most classic dish is the sautéed reindeer served with mashed potatoes and fresh lingonberries. Fish is also a popular ingredient as Rovaniemi has a long fishing tradition. The iconic fish dish of Lapland is salmon soup, which is served in several restaurants in Rovaniemi. Local specialties in Rovaniemi include treats such as the dessert “bread cheese”; fried soft cheese served with cloudberry jam, soft flat beard “rieska”; usually enjoyed with butter, and the “kampanisu” or “comb scone”.
Rovaniemi is located in the North of Finland, on the Artic circle. However, it is well connected to the rest of the world.
Flights between Helsinki and Rovaniemi are operated by Finnair and Norwegian. It is possible to find direct flights to Rovaniemi from European cities such as London, Paris, and Brussels among others. Find more information about the Rovaniemi Airport here. https://www.finavia.fi/en/airports/rovaniemi
It is easy to reach Rovaniemi by train from most cities in Finland. Trains are operated by state company VR. Find more information about VR here. https://www.vr.fi/en Trains from Helsinki to Rovaniemi run every day.
Coaches are provided by Matkahuolto and Omnibus. They are a great way to arrive at Rovaniemi and also the only public transport that connects Rovaniemi with the northern parts of Lapland. Find more information about Matkahuolto here https://www.matkahuolto.fi/en and Omnibus here https://www.onnibus.com/home
VR and Matkahuolto offer student discounts for students. Find more information about discounts on their websites.
It is easy to walk around the Rovaniemi city center. Find the map and services of Rovaniemi here. https://www.visitrovaniemi.fi/plan/map/
Buses are the only form of public transport in Rovaniemi. Find timetables, routes, and tickets here: https://www.linkkari.fi/In-English
Some taxi companies in Rovaniemi include Taxi Lähitaksi Rovaniemi, Rovaniemi Taxi Service and Menevä Taxi.
In Finland, the meals for students are state-supported, and thus healthy, nutritious, and very affordable.
Students can eat for cheap at the University’s cafeteria and other students’ restaurants when they present their student cards to the cashier.
Find more student restaurants in Rovaniemi here: https://www.lapinamk.fi/fi/Esittely/Yhteystiedot/Ravintolat
During your studies, your health care services are provided by the Finnish Student Health Services (FSHS or YTHS in Finnish). To access these services, you will have to pay a health care fee to Kela. Find more information about the FSHS here. https://www.yths.fi/en/frontpage/
Please note that even when your student status makes you eligible to access the student health care services, this does not replace the need for valid insurance.
Find more information about student health care here: https://www.lapinamk.fi/en/Students/Student-Support-Services/Wellfare-services or contact your UAS.
Santa Claus Village
Experience the magic of Christmas every day of the year at the Santa Claus Village. The Village resembles a real village, which you can walk around. You can enjoy Artic cuisines at the various restaurants and cafes, visit Santa Claus’ Main Post Office and meet Santa Claus himself in his office. Here you can also cross the Artic Circle line.
Arktikum is a science center and a museum where you can experience northern nature, culture, and history.
Artic Garden is a garden located in front of the Arktikum Science Center and Museum.
Haunted walk and gallery of darkness
Haunted walk and gallery of darkness is an art gallery in Sonka, Rovaniemi.
Ounasvaara nature trail
Ounas vaara nature trail is one of the many nature trails in Rovaniemi. It is an ideal day-trip destination.
Artic Restaurant serves tastes from northern forests and fells as well as fish and seafood from the lakes of Lapland.
Revontuli shopping center
Revontuli shopping center is located in the city center of Rovaniemi. It hosts around 30 different shops.
Artic design shop
Artic design shop hosts local designers from Finland and unique artwork by students of the University of Lapland.