From Helsinki to Rovaniemi: A Winter Wonderland Adventure in Finland

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Finland is known for many things, one of which is that it is home to the magical Santa Claus Village in the real-life Winter Wonderland—Lapland. This northernmost region is famed for its scenic subarctic wilderness and cosy ski resorts. This is also where you can see the phenomenal midnight sun and Northern Lights.

If you just booked your Finland trip so you can experience its renowned winter wonderland, but still don’t know what to do when you get there, this guide will give you ideas. So pack your winter clothes and holiday spirits, because we’re going to meet Santa!

Traversing Helsinki to Rovaniemi on a 12-Hour Journey


Upon your touchdown to Finland’s capital city—Helsinki—the first thing you should do is take a traditional Finnish sauna to melt away your fatigue from the flight. After this, the next best thing is to explore Helsinki. The Pearl of the Baltic Sea is a lively seaside city of beautiful islands and lush green parks famed for its innovative art, culture, and architecture. So, if you are an aesthete, you will surely love to take a stroll and discover its key monuments. 

Once you’re fully rested, it is time to get going to the actual destination—Rovaniemi in Lapland. To get there, you would have to ride a train and travel 880 km (547 miles). The travel time depends on the type of train you choose, but it usually takes around 8 to 12 hours. Try not to be discouraged by the incredibly long travel time because traversing Helsinki to Rovaniemi by train is one of the best ways to explore Lapland.

If you book the daytime trip, you will be able to sightsee and admire the scenic countryside views on your way to the north. You also wouldn’t have to worry about your comfort throughout the journey because the trains in Finland are all equipped with WiFi and power sockets so you can comfortably keep yourself entertained. These trains also have ample seating and legroom, so you can also sleep comfortably.

What Is It Like in the Winter Wonderland?

The Arctic Snow Hotel (source:

Finland’s Winter Wonderland is a magical place where you can experience waddling in knee-high fluffy snow all day long and enjoy bone-chilling temperatures reaching well below zero. Not to worry, though, for there will be cosy wooden cabins with fireplaces and saunas to keep you warm.

Alternatively, you can try The Arctic Snow Hotel, which is hands down the best and largest snow hotel in the world.  Here, you’ll be staying in an igloo masterfully carved from densely packed snow. Even the furniture is carved from ice! And don’t worry about getting cold because the igloo blocks out cold winds while preserving the heat generated by your body temperature.

And if the snow hotel isn’t your cup of tea, you can always opt for the glass igloo where you can star gaze and watch the awe-striking northern lights from the comfort of your plush bed. This is truly a unique and unforgettable experience.

Activities To Enjoy in Rovaniemi

Northern lights in Rovaniemi

Winter Wonderland is a dream destination for adventurous snow lovers. You will never run out of things to do and enjoy here, because you can also have fun in the snow with winter activities such as skiing, ice skating, ice fishing, husky sledding, and many more.

Stargaze at the Aurora Borealis

Because Rovaniemi is above the arctic circle, it is a place where you can experience the polar night, where the sun does not peek through for several weeks. This makes for an ideal opportunity to catch a glimpse of the awe-inspiring aurora borealis or northern lights. Not to worry though, because this does not mean the place is devoid of the sun. You can still expect to see about 3 to 4 hours of daylight each day in twilight conditions.

To get the best view of the spectacular northern lights seemingly dancing on the horizon, it is recommended to go on an excursion in the wilderness, free from the light pollution of the village. You can always camp out or go all out by glamping and renting out glass igloos. At night, you can start a bonfire and eat grilled fish along with other traditional barbecued meat.

Explore Santa’s Village in Lapland


Of course, the trip wouldn’t be complete without exploring the magical capital of Lapland, which makes up about one-third of Finland’s total land area. Lapland is home to the rich culture and history of the indigenous tribe of Sámi.

There is also a lot to see around Santa’s Village, from snow-capped wooden cabins, novelty shops, cosy cafes and restaurants, and even Santa’s official post office, where you can actually send a letter and receive an Arctic Circle certificate.

Reindeer Farming

Of course, you can’t pass on the opportunity to meet Santa’s reindeer. You can even book a day-long activity to experience everyday life on the farm. Here, you will help feed the reindeer, all while learning about how to herd them.

Then, you can take an exhilarating sleigh ride with the reindeer through Winter Wonderland, all while capturing the mystic beauty of the wilderness.

Enjoy a Husky Sled Safari

Alaskan huskies are naturally energetic dogs that are born to be on the run, so trust us when we say that they will be more than happy to take you on a little safari.

Gliding through the snowfields on a husky-pulled sled, all while swaddled in thick blankets is an experience that is truly one for the books.

Korouoma Canyon & Frozen Waterfalls Adventure

Korouoma Canyon (source: GetYourGuide)

Korouoma Canyon is the perfect place to hike to get the best panoramic view to admire Rovaniemi’s frozen waterfalls. Here, you will get to see diverse, thriving wildlife, along with picturesque snowy landscapes.

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