The unique charm of Lapland spills over to us. We spoke and dreamt that one day, we would have the chance to step our feet into Finland and explore Rovaniemi, the official hometown of Santa Claus, to experience how the locals celebrate Christmas. We arrived at Helsinki airport early in the morning and switched into another domestic flight to Rovaniemi.
Well, this travelogue on Scandinavia took longer than usual to publish as we had a hard time sorting out the pictures we took. All but thanks to the harsh weather conditions, we returned to Singapore only to realize that one of the SD cards was spoilt which resulted in almost 30% of the precious pictures we took, literally gone.
Here we were, at Rovaniemi airport. The entire town was coated with snow.
Santa Claus Village
Rovaniemi is a true land of Christmas, as the town has a fine white Christmas and a magnificent wilderness which is home to Santa’s velvet-nosed, antler-headed reindeer. The main theme of visiting the Lapland is to meet Santa Claus. There is only one Santa Claus, but he can be met in 3 different places in the town, namely the Santa Claus Office, Christmas House and SantaPark.
Santa Claus’ Main Post Office
The Santa Claus Village was pretty touristy. One of the attractions was Santa Claus’ Main Post Office where you could write postcards and send it to your loved ones.
Pick a postcard of your choice, head over to pay at the counter and start penning down your Christmas greetings.
The collections of greeting cards awaiting to be mailed throughout the world.
We thought this is an inexpensive and must-try experience. Imagine the excitement on our girls when they returned to school after the holidays to hear from their friends about receiving the greeting cards, all the way from Finland.
Santa Claus Main Post Office
Tähtikuja 1, FI-96930 Napapiiri
Tel. 020 4523 120
Fax. 016 3481 418
The Santa Claus Village is an amusement park that was opened in 1985. There are accommodations available and open playgrounds for children to indulge in. It did look fun playing in freezing weather but the grounds were pretty slippery due to lack of friction underneath the boots.
They had fun sliding down the slope.
We didn’t dwell too long outside as it was freezing cold.
Santa Claus’ Office
Next, we had the opportunity to get up close and personal with Mr Santa. Each day Santa Claus arrives at his office at the Santa Claus Village on the Arctic Circle in Rovaniemi. Here he greets visitors from all over the world, replies to letters and listens to the Christmas wishes of the children he meets.
It was a surreal experience in Santa Claus’ Office. Visitors were reminded to wait quietly before stepping into Santa Claus’ room. It heightened our awe and excitement of meeting that “special” someone.
Mr Santa was friendly and warm when we entered the room. He greeted us and carried himself well, sending lovely Christmas greetings and blessings to us. It was a short encounter with Santa but this experience would surely etch in our memories. We guess our only gripe was not able to use our camera to take photos with Santa Claus. As expected, visitors have to pay to get a copy of the photograph.
Welcome to the Snowman World! This snow and ice world is situated right next door to Santa Claus in Santa Claus Village. We highly recommend exploring this attraction as you get a once in a lifetime experience to see Ice Restaurant, Ice Bar & Gallery, Igloo Hotel and Snow Fun activities such as ice skating, ice sliding and extreme bag jumping.
This is the Ice Bar where we can admire the animals and fairy-tale characters in an ice galley atmosphere. Surprisingly it was not as cold inside here as compared to outside.
Try sipping over a cup of hot chocolate. You can also try their special beverages served from ice glasses!
Visitors can enjoy the ice restaurant dining experience here. The dinner service includes entrée, main course and dessert.
It is not a good idea to try this with kids around. For the adventurous, it would be very special to spend a night at the Snowman World Igloo Hotel where you get to sleep in a room built entirely of snow and ice. You will be given a sleeping bag, designed for extreme conditions to keep your mind and body warm throughout the night.
Every room has a different theme.
A constant temperature of just below zero degree Celsius will remain inside the igloo, while outside temperatures may be extreme.
All igloos are individually themed with ice and snow sculptures, and include a thermal sleeping bag. Shared bathroom facilities and a breakfast room are found in the main building.
Would you like to try out this unforgettable experience at the Artic Circle?
Step out of Snowman World and kids get to try out extreme bag jump tubing.
It was really fun sliding down the hills but the challenging part was pulling the tube back to the hilltop. The kids were exhausted after 3 rounds and we decided to call it a day.
The Santa Claus fairytale is alive everyday at the village on Arctic Circle. It has been a trip of rich learning experiences where we will get to discover more of the spirit of Christmas in Lapland.