Continuing our trip in Finland, we got up early on Saturday morning to catch a flight to Rovaniemi. I found Rovaniemi by pure luck. We knew we wanted to travel to Northern Finland, and when I typed in Lapland, Rovaniemi came up first. It also helped that it was the cheapest to fly to from Helsinki ($50 round trip per person…say what!?). To our surprise, we found out this is where Santa Claus actually lives. It’s also where the arctic circle is! This weekend was nothing short of beautiful and amazing!
When we first arrived at 8:30 a.m. it was still dark out. As mentioned in the Helsinki post, in winter months, Finland can see as little as 5 hours of daylight. Which is still baffling me.
I think the part I was most excited about was the place we were staying. Although we contemplated staying at Santa Claus Village, we decided we were a little too old and a little to late (we went in January), so we agreed on staying at Chatlet Hotel Rovaniemi, which was like living in a snow globe! It was absolutely adorable!
Here is the inside of our cabin. It had a loft and a sauna! Trust me, the sauna was the best part after being outside in the cold all day! Even though it was only the two of us that went, this cabin could have easily slept 4-5 people! The coziness of the cabin made the trip that much better.
That afternoon we scheduled a snow shoeing trip through the resort. A leisure activity that Nate could still do with his arm. It was much harder than it looked. The temps were frigid, but the sites we got to witness were absolutely breathtaking.
Our guide took us in the backwoods of Lapland where it was so quiet and peaceful. We stopped halfway through at a warm fire to have some Lappish sausages and some hot berry juice. Towards the end, he took us up to the top of the mountain to look over Rovaniemi! Wow, what a sight! (Bottom right picture.)
The next day, we got up early, ate breakfast and headed to Santa Claus Village. We wanted to see what it was all about. Us cheap skates decided we would walk, 4 miles, in -26 degree weather. Crazy? Yes, maybe, but hey, we saved $25! 😉 Once we got going, we warmed up and we were able to get some really great shots of the countryside.
We even got to watch the sun rise on our walk, at 10:15 a.m.
We spent the whole afternoon at Santa’s Village. There is plenty of stuff to do for kids and adults. We:
Stood on the Acrtic Circle line,
Visited Santa’s workshop and read letters from kids all around the world,
Went to a ice hotel, complete with a bar and ice sculptures,
Went sledding down a man-made hill,
And even met a life-size Frosty!
By the end of this afternoon, we were so tired. We caught a cab back to our hotel and rested up for our eventful evening of searching for the Aurora and visiting reindeer.
We booked our evening excursion through the hotel as well. They couldn’t make it easier to spend money if they tried! 😉
To us, this was a once in a lifetime trip, so we wanted to go all out. Before Nate broke his elbow we had planned on ice fishing and snowmobiling, but we had to take a different route. Which ended up being for the best! Guys, we got to meet Santa’s helpers.
Although we didn’t get to witness the Northern Lights during this trip, I would recommend a reindeer sled to anyone going to Finland. It was, by far, one of the most different experiences either of us have ever been a part of. Not only was it perfect for an adult with a broken arm, it was kid-friendly, too. Our guide took us to his family owned reindeer farm where they provided us with warm(er) clothes and got us all loaded into our very own sled. They took us on an hour-long ride through the peaceful and serene backwoods of Rovaniemi. It was an experience we will never forget!
After the ride, they took us back to their cabin to thaw out with some hot berry juice and warm ginger snap cookies (which are HUGE over there) and some fresh smoked salmon on pita bread.
We both have said, besides Ireland, this was our favorite trip we’ve taken so far. What an experience! If you ever get the chance to visit to Finland, go, and go north!!