Europe & Britain | Destination Guides

Visiting Santa's Grotto in Rovaniemi, Lapland

Recently updated on August 13th, 2023 at 02:33 pm

Have you ever wondered what Santa does all year when he’s not handing out gifts on Christmas Eve? He heads back to his office at the Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi, Finland, where thousands of fans visit him throughout the year. We look at what happens at the most festive destination at the planet.

What is the Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi?

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The Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi is the official hometown of Santa Claus, where a real-life Santa receives letters and meets his admiring fans. You can meet Santa Claus at his office and send a letter to family and friends from Santa’s official post office.

Santa Claus Village is open every day and draws over 500,000 visitors from around the world each year. The village is located right on the Arctic Circle, and there are plenty of other incredible things to see and do around Rovaniemi, Finland.

What to see at Santa Claus Village?

Santa Claus Office

This is the official place to meet Santa Claus. It’s located in a tall, illuminated tower in the centre of the Santa Claus Village, and the Arctic Circle line runs right through it. The line to meet Santa winds through an enchanting pathway through caves and Santa’s workshop. You can look through the keyholes of the little doors to spot Santa’s elves working away to build toys for kids around the world.

When it’s your turn to meet Santa, you’ll enter his magical office and spend five minutes with him. Kids love talking to Santa and telling him what they’d like for Christmas… let’s just hope he puts you on his ‘Nice’ list!

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Santa Claus Main Post Office

This is the official post office of Santa Claus and is a fully functional post office. Visitors can send a letter back home with an official Santa Claus Arctic Circle stamp. You can come with a pre-written letter and get the Arctic Circle stamp for free, or sit down at the tables in the charming post office to write your letter.

The post office receives more than half a million letters each year, with children writing to Santa from all over the world. The village has received mail from over 190 different countries.

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Santa Claus Reindeer Sleigh Rides

Take a thrilling reindeer sleigh ride around the Santa Claus village and through the beautiful forests of Lapland around Rovaniemi, Finland. You can meet the adorable reindeer (maybe even Rudolph!) and experience the wonder of the Arctic wilderness. These rides are only available during the snowy winter months.

Arctic Circle Snowmobile Park & Husky Park

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The Arctic Circle Snowmobile Park in the Santa Claus Village offers you the chance to learn how to drive a snowmobile with their mini-snowmobile experience. You can also embark on a longer snowmobile experience, ranging from 30-minutes to a full day. These adventures take you through the spectacular Lapland wilderness on an exciting snowmobile ride.

If you’d like to learn more about snowmobiles, you can also visit Santa’s House of Snowmobiles. This fantastic museum displays the history of snowmobiles in Lapland.

There’s also the Arctic Circle Husky Park, home to nearly 100 gorgeous Siberian Huskies living in their natural environment. You can meet the huskies and go on hiking or sledding adventures through the forests with the huskies.

Cross the Arctic Circle

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The Arctic Circle is one of two polar circles and marks the southernmost latitude where the sun can stay below or above the horizon for 24 hours. This phenomenon is known as the Midnight Sun in summer and the Polar Night in winter. The circle runs through eight countries including Sweden, Norway, Russia, Denmark, Iceland, Canada and the United States.

In Finland, the Arctic Circle runs through the Santa Claus Village and the line is clearly marked. It’s a popular place to cross the Arctic Circle, and you can even get a certificate to confirm you’ve done it.

See the Northern Lights

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The Northern Lights, or the Aurora Borealis, are a natural phenomenon visible in the far Northern Hemisphere. These enchanting lights dance through the skies from mid-August to early April each year.

They can be witnessed in Rovaniemi 150 nights a year and usually appear between 10 pm and 2 am. The lights can last from a few minutes to several hours, and illuminate the sky in a stunning display of green, pink, red, yellow, violet and blue.

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How to get to Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi?

Rovaniemi is located in Lapland, the northernmost province of Finland. The easiest way to get to Rovaniemi is with a flight from Helsinki. You can also travel overland, with buses and trains taking around nine hours to reach Rovaniemi from Helsinki.

The Santa Claus Village is located 8 km north of Rovaniemi. You can find the ‘Santa Express’ bus which departs from Rovaniemi and takes you to the Santa Claus Village.

GET INSPIRED: Nordic Adventure

When is the best time to visit Santa Claus Village Rovaniemi?

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The Santa Claus Village is open year-round and is busiest around the Christmas holidays. It’s a wonderful destination to visit any time of the year, and the best time depends on what you’d like to see.

If you want the dreamy White Christmas experience, visit the Santa Claus village between December and January, when the landscapes are dusted with snow. If you’d like to see the Northern Lights while visiting Santa, travel between October and November or March and April.

Or, if you’d like to avoid the chill of the Arctic winter, head to Santa’s Village during the summer months from June to August. You’ll also get to experience the magical Midnight Sun when the sun almost never sets. This happens for a few weeks every year and you can make the most of the long daylight hours.

Would you like to meet Santa at Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi, Finland? Let us know in the comments below…

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