Rovaniemi Mini Guide
It’s the capital of Finnish Lapland and an important education city with a university catering for more than 10,000 students. The city was built on the extraction of natural raw materials including timber and metals including gold but in the last two decades it has recognised the value of its natural beauty and appeals to tourists who enjoy the great outdoors.
How do I Get There?
Rovaniemi Airport is nearby and has many international routes although most of them are seasonal dealing with ‘Santa traffic’. In summer, you may have to catch a connecting flight from Helsinki
but the effort is worth it. Most major european hubs operate season routes such as Gatwick, Heathrow, Amsterdam and Frankfurt.
What Can I See in Rovaniemi?
It’s not so much a ‘seeing’ place but more of a ‘doing’ city. However, the Arktikum and Pilke museums are fascinating to old and young, basing their interactive exhibits on the science, geography and ecology of the area. There’s also the famous Jatkankynttila Bridge with its eternal flame lantern above it that is a beautiful sight at night as it stretches across the river.
OK, What About the activities Available There?
Most of the activities are outdoors and there’s always something happening year round. In the winter you can ski on either of the two hills that sit each side of the city or skate on frozen tributaries of the river. A couple of companies also offer snowmobile safaris around the countryside which are great fun. You can also visit the Santa sites nearby, including Santa Village and the Santapark amusement park. In summer the city sells itself for more outdoor activities including golf on the nine hole Arctic golf course and swimming from a little beach on the shores of the river.
What can I buy to Take Home?
Rather bizarrely a lot of people just visit the three main malls here to shop but if you look out for the Saami markets you’ll pick up traditional hand crafted souvenirs made of reindeer hide, antlers and bone. Some Saami also sell jewellery made from the locally mined gold.
What Should I eat There?
Try poronkaristys - reindeer meat stewed in water and butter then cut in slices and served in a well made from mashed potatoes and accompanied with jam made from the local ligonberries and garnished with gherkins. It sounds a little strange but should be tried at least once.