Rovaniemi is the capital of Lapland in Finland and is also known as the home of Santa Claus. With its breathtaking scenery and white snow, Rovaniemi makes for a beautiful winter wonderland, especially during the Christmas season. Some of the must-do outdoor activities include skiing, ice fishing, as well as making a trip down to Auttiköngäs Waterfalls. Rovaniemi is also one of the top destinations for viewing the northern lights as tourists from neighbouring cities go on tours to Lapland specially to witness it. If you’re heading to this gorgeous winter destination soon, read on to find out the best things to do in Rovaniemi, Finland.
Being able to catch the northern lights is probably something that is on most of our bucket lists. In Rovaniemi, you’re in luck because chances of catching the northern lights can be pretty high! Tourists from the region even set aside a few days to visit Lapland in order to catch the northern lights. What’s best about this tour is that you’ll get to travel in an air-conditioned minivan with a professional photographer where you get brought to the best spots for a guided session. Equipment like headlamps, thermals, refreshments, and Rovaniemi hotel pick-up and drop-off are included as well. If you intend to go on this tour, you are advised to bring a DSLR camera in order to capture this beautiful phenomenon.
Rovaniemi Northern Lights Photography Small-Group Tour
Duration: 4 to 5 hours
2. Go on a scenic hike to Auttiköngäs Waterfalls
Auttiköngäs Waterfalls is known to be a national attraction and is a must-visit if you are a nature lover. There are hiking trails where you get to be one with nature and enjoy the luscious forests all around you. You can even pack some food and have a picnic here! If not, you can always refuel and recharge at the rustic cafe that is open during summer. If you’re there in winter, you’ll be able to witness the beautiful snow-covered trees that make for an amazing photo opportunity! There is also a small forestry museum on site.
Address: Kuusamontie 7724, 97655 Rovaniemi, Finland
Website: Auttiköngäs Waterfalls
Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)
Santa Park is one of the highlights at Rovaniemi Finland, as it is known to be the hometown of Santa. This is an especially popular attraction during the Christmas period so do get your tickets early. This two-day admission to Santa Park allows you to meet Santa, try your hand at elf school, and stand a chance to graduate with an elf certificate. Go on a sleigh ride and take your shot at the Angry Birds activity park. This is a great place for families with kids as they get to hand their wish list to Santa!
SantaPark Admission Ticket
Duration: 3 to 6 hours
4. Delve into the history of Finland at Arktikum Museum
Arktikum Museum is a must-visit if you love going to museums. It has amazing architecture and it also has interactive exhibitions which are great for families with young children. In this museum, you’ll be able to learn more about the nature, culture, and history of Northern Finland. Other permanent exhibitions include life and stories of the Arctic, the history of Pechenga, and more. Do check out their website for more information on upcoming exhibitions.
Address: Pohjoisranta 4, 96200 Rovaniemi, Finland
Website: Arktikum Museum
Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 10am - 6pm (closed on Mon)
Price: 17 USD
If you wish to live like a local for a day, ice fishing is one of the activities you need to try your hand at. In this package, you’ll be able to learn the art of ice fishing with a small tour group. This includes drilling your own hole and catching and cooking your fish. You’ll also be able to have a short 5- to 10-minute walk through an old forest before reaching the area full of ice and snow. The entire activity lasts for about three hours. Pick-up from your accommodation is included as well.
Rovaniemi: Ice Fishing Experience
Duration: 3 hour
6. Spend an afternoon of learning at Pilke Science Center
Pilke Science Center is known for its commitment to sustainability where it strives to keep its carbon footprint low. They also use sustainable wood products in its building’s design. This is a great place for families with kids as it is enriching and interacting at the same time. In the exhibitions, you’ll be able to learn more about woods and forests through fun and interactive games.
Pilke Science Center
Address: Ounasjoentie 6, 96200 Rovaniemi, Finland
Website: Pilke Science Center
Opening hours: Tue - Fri: 9am - 6pm; Sat - Sun: 9am - 4pm (closed on Mon)
Price: 8 USD
7. Immerse yourself in modern art at Korundi House of Culture
Korundi House of Culture is a modern art museum located in the city center. The building dates back to 1933 and was a former post bus depot. There are interesting art installations like paintings, sculptures, and videos centred on Finnish and Northern art. There is also a small gift shop selling small local crafts where you can get your souvenirs at. This is a great place for you if you’re interested in modern and contemporary art.
Korundi House of Culture
Address: Lapinkävijäntie 4, 96100 Rovaniemi, Finland
Website: Korundi House of Culture
Opening hours: Tue - Wed, Fri - Sun: 11am - 6pm; Thu: 11am - 8pm
Price: 11 USD
Cross-country skiing is a must-do activity if you love nature and are up for trying your hand at skiing. You’ll be led by a guide on your skiing adventure where you’ll get to see the enchanting scenery at the beautiful Ounasvaara winter forests and even encounter deer and moose if you’re lucky. The activity should last for four hours and pick-up can be provided if your accommodation is further than a 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) radius from the office in Rovaniemi. This package also includes ski equipment as well as refreshments along the way. If you’re undecided, there is no harm booking now as this package offers free cancellation up to 24 hours before the activity starts.
Rovaniemi: Cross Country Wilderness Ski Adventure
Duration: 4 hour
If you’re looking for an outdoor adventure, go on a hike or snowshoe at the Arctic Circle. This is one of the best ways to experience Lapland’s wildernesses, enjoy the fresh air, and clock in some exercise at the same time. This activity lasts for two hours and includes hotel pick up from all Rovaniemi city center hotels. Some of the highlights include admiring the frozen rapids, touring the wilderness in snowshoes, and enjoying a cup of hot chocolate at the open fire. Thermal equipment like thermal overalls, boots, gloves, socks, and scarves are also provided.
Rovaniemi: Snowshoeing in the Arctic Circle Wilderness
Duration: 2 hour
10. Catch a show at Theatre of Rovaniemi
The Theatre of Rovaniemi is the city’s performing arts theatre. Annually, there are five to six premiers from dramas to dance to musicals for audiences of various ages. Most of them are based on arctic subjects. Occasionally, it is also used to hold weddings, conferences or seminars. Do check out their website for more information on upcoming shows as well as ticket purchase.
Theatre of Rovaniemi
Address: Jorma Eton tie 8a, 96100 Rovaniemi, Finland
Website: Theatre of Rovaniemi
Touring Rovaniemi, Finland
If you have the chance to visit Finland, do plan your itinerary in advance as there are so many different activities you can sign up for! For those that require online bookings, do book your slot early in advance to avoid disappointments as well. Finland is definitely a great place for couples, friends, as well as families with young children as there are just so many wonderful activities you can take part in!
Get Trip101 in your inbox
You can buy and claim online, even after you've left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
*5% off when you book with our promo code: TRIP101
*For our Canadian and US travellers, unfortunately due to financial services laws, we cannot provide a discount. This promotional code cannot be used with any other discount offer, including World Nomads Members’ discount for travel insurance policy holders.