A return to Santa Claus Holiday Village

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At the end of our 3 Cards 3 Continents challenge, I wound up at Santa Claus Holiday Village in Rovaniemi, Finland, where I crossed the Arctic Circle, met Santa, and saw the Northern Lights. At the time, I said that while I had a lot of fun even visiting as a solo traveler in the off-season, I thought this would be a great destination for a family trip. Then, for this past holiday season, I got the chance to return to Rovaniemi and Santa Claus Village with my family. I had intended to review the experience immediately after the stay, but I kept pushing it back over the past couple of months — I hope my review comes better late than never. We had a great time and there was enough to do that we barely left the Santa Claus Holiday Village at all. I’d certainly consider doing it again — and that’s high praise coming from someone who doesn’t really like winter or winter activities.

In a nutshell

Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi, Finland is a lot of fun. There’s plenty to do to keep you busy for a few days. It isn’t a luxurious, five-star type of experience, and it is neither points-friendly nor wallet-friendly in high season. But if you’re after some Christmas magic, particularly for young kids, I think there is a lot about it to love.

This Instagram reel gives you an idea as to what a trip to Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi is like with a family. I’ll delve into more detail in this post, but if you just want to get an idea as to what the experience looks like, this should give you a taste.

 

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A post shared by Nick Reyes (@nickatfm)

The Setting

a map of santa claus village
The entire property is pretty large. The cabins where we stayed at the ones to the right side of the picture, but there are other (more expensive) options a bit farther from the main central square but still on-property.

It is necessary to understand that the Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi, Finland actually sits outside of the town along a highway. That gives it a bit of a theme park feel in the sense that you pass a few billboards for it coming down a rural highway about a mile from the airport and then hit a traffic light with a large 24hr gas station / cafe on one side of the rural highway and the entrance to Santa Claus Village on the other.

Very much unlike a theme park, you don’t buy an entrance ticket and the experience is not exactly one giant unified park, rather imagine many acres of land occupied by a multitude of independently-owned Christmas-themed and winter sports-themed businesses.

It therefore gets a bit confusing when talking about the place because there are a number of duplicated or similar experiences on property. For instance, there are at least two (maybe three?) different dogsled experiences on the property. If you go online and buy tickets to one of them, it can be confusing knowing where you should go since there are different sites with the same type of attraction.

That isn’t to say that the place feels disorganized necessarily so much as it is to say that it does require some patience and understanding that it’s not all one thing even though it’s kind of all one thing. In fact, when I say that I went to the Santa Claus Holiday Village, even that is confusing: technically, the entire property is called Santa Claus Village. The cabins you can rent (which is where I’ve stayed on both trips) are actually the Holiday village. But there is also Santa’s Igloos Arctic Circle, the Nova Skyland Hotel and Restaurant, Glass Resort, and a few other accommodation options all on the same huge property. That makes it sound a bit Disney-esque and while I suppose there are elements that would make ole Walt proud, it feels less faked than Disney feels to me (don’t come after me with your pitchforks, Disney faithful! And yes, I realize the irony in saying that it feels less faked.).

So understand that everything I discuss in this post is piecemeal: you sort of pick and choose what you want to do and which business with which to do it. Planning in advance can save you some money, but it can cost you some time and confusion: last time, I ordered in advance (and paid for) a certificate saying that I’d crossed the Arctic Circle. Figuring out where to pick up that certificate was an exercise in frustration since there must be at least four different places that sell them and I must have gone to the wrong 3 to start.

All that said, overall, we loved this trip. My 6yr old is adamant that it was his favorite trip yet and he wants to go back. Truth be told, even my wife and I (and her sister, who joined us on this trip) said that it would be fun to do it again. That might not sound like a glowing endorsement, but as someone who has palm trees and sunshine in my blood, you have to understand that the fact that I would even consider another trip to the Arctic Circle in the dead of winter is the highest of praise.

Accommodations

Our half of a duplex.

The cabins at Santa Claus Holiday Village are simple. Each cabin is a standalone duplex containing two cabins that share a main front door and small hallway between them, but each cabin has its own entrance from the hallway. Cabins are perfectly clean and comfortable enough, but think more like a nice Comfort Inn or Best Western than a Park Hyatt. I took these pictures last time and the cabin we had this time didn’t look remarkably different from these pictures from my previous stay.

a room with a bed and a couch a room with a bed and a chandelier a table with a red and white tablecloth and a red pitcher on it a wooden sauna with a bench and stool a shower with a shower head and a window a sign with cartoon characters on it a bathroom with a toilet and sink

This time around, as you can sort of see in the Instagram reel in the part where Santa visited our room, the layout was just a bit different. Our room was a bit longer and there was space for two single beds separated by a nightstand and a pullout sofa all along the same wall. But otherwise, features were quite similar. We actually had a slightly more premium room this time around and the beds did feel a bit plusher. The room was slightly more spacious — but it was still just one open space with beds, sofa, and kitchenette, so it wasn’t practically space that made a lot of difference.

Everything was clean and everything you needed was present.

Santa Claus Holiday Village is not what one would describe as “luxurious”. And if you went during the month of September (as I did the first time around), you wouldn’t expect Park Hyatt-level luxury. Prices were cheap during my early fall 2022 stay — around $100 a night.

However, this trip was at the end of November and beginning of December. Pricing is a starkly different story at that time of year. We paid north of $2,000 for three nights — by far the most I have ever spent per night for a hotel stay. Thanks to the miracles of points and miles, I’ve stayed in plenty of hotels that charge rates like that, so even though I don’t routinely pay that much cash, I have a frame of reference as to what a $600-$700 per night hotel feels like….and this place is not one of those places. In my case, I initially planned to cash out Capital One Shopping rewards for Hotels.com gift cards to book, but I dragged my feet on booking and eventually the nights I needed were only available when booking directly, not through Hotels.com. So we got stuck paying that cash rate. We are incredibly fortunate to be able to travel comfortably without paying much for most of our travels, so I decided it was worth a splurge even though I knew that the accommodations themselves wouldn’t feel like they were worth ~$700 a night.

Again, the place is perfectly clean and the beds were decently comfortable. Each cabin has a mini kitchen and is outfitted with what you need to cook and make coffee. That all came in handy, especially since my 3yr old is such a difficult eater. We were able to get supplies at the grocery store to make some grilled cheese sandwiches, which was huge.

The bathrooms in the cabins I’ve had both times feature a Finnish sauna (I think all of the cabins here have that feature). Ever since my previous stay, I have discovered that I love a sauna. I used it daily on this last trip and I liked it enough that I could imagine someday having one at home.

The heat in the cabins worked wonderfully, which was much appreciated after hours in the cold. Again, you’d expect that at this price point, but knowing that it’s a $100-per-night property much of the year, you might wonder whether it meets your needs. It will.

Still, there were some oddities. We had to switch cabins after our first night (the same room type wasn’t available for all three nights). The staff moved our things for us, but we later realized that we were missing something (a garment bag that had a couple of small souvenirs in it). I went to call the front desk….and promptly realized that there was no phone in the room. I haven’t had a hotel room with no phone in a long time! Yes, I have a cell phone, but it would be an international call, so instead I trekked out to walk to the front desk and back (which was probably 7-10 minutes walk each way from our cabin this time). Unfortunately, they never did find that garment bag or offer any sort of help or compensation. It wasn’t a really big deal, but it was kind of disappointing.

But overall, the accommodations are what I would call simple and simply satisfying.

Things to do

There are a wide range of things to do at Santa Claus Village. We didn’t do everything, but we sampled quite a bit.

As mentioned in a previous section, the various businesses at the Santa Claus Village are independent. There is overlap in terms of activities offered and nearly every company has its own website (and it is possible to book many of those activities on sites like Viator, which can yield some savings in the form of portal cash back or card-linked offer rebates, just beware of the downfalls of Viator).

This page has a huge rundown of stuff you can do, but then you’ll end up having to click out to a bunch of different websites to find pricing and full details.

Some of the things that are available to do are:

  • Free sledding. There are literally free sleds all over the place. You can just grab one when you see one available and drag your kids around. There are plenty of little hills and snow piles from plowing. It’s a little weird that the sun goes down between 2-3pm, so it meant that we were often sledding when the sky was completely dark (as seen in the Instagram reel), but it was a lot of fun.
    Sleds like this one were located all around the village and you could just pick one up and go when you wanted. We ended up renting an outfit for my younger child to wear. It was very reasonable (I believe it was 15 or 20 Euro per day without boots or gloves or a bit more with those). This was a much better snowsuit solution than what we’d brought as it was all one piece and he reported being toasty warm the whole time — even when the rest of us were freezing.

    The sleds were really useful for dragging the kids around the property. We often had a train like this where one of the adults pulled and the kids pulled each other behind. They loved getting pulled around and we loved not hearing anyone whine about not wanting to walk while also having them glide around pretty easily.
  • Kids’ snowmobiling. Here’s the website of the individual operator of this activity. This was both very cute and reasonably priced at 22 Euros. It was only about 10 minutes of actual snowmobiling (I think some rounds got closer to 15 minutes), but in truth the ~10 minutes was plenty in one shot to satisfy our son. There were a few minutes of instruction and then it was pretty literally off to the races, zipping around a sort of oval-shaped track with just enough incline and decline to probably make it really exciting as a kid but safe enough to make it comfortable as a parent (although I have to admit that I was a little concerned that my son wasn’t going to have any idea what to do because he’d never been on a snowmobile and I initially assumed for sure that he would find a way to crash, but he got the hang of it almost immediately). You can see some video in the Instagram reel. I believe all of the snowmobiles they use are fully electric. This company also offers ice karting, and I so wish we could have done that, but it wasn’t yet up and running for the season at the end of November / beginning of December. I was told a few times that they don’t always have this much snow at the very beginning of December (we checked out on December 2nd).
  • Adult snowmobiling. I didn’t look into this because we had the kids with us, but there were some longer snowmobile tours for adults.
  • Cross the arctic circle. They have the Arctic Circle clearly marked in the center of the village. You can see us cross the line in the Instagram reel. You can buy a certificate commemorating the experience at a number of the gift shops around the village. On my previous visit, I got pretty excited about it.
    a man jumping in the air
  • Reindeer feeding. It was free to go look at the Reindeer up close (and their enclosures were essentially right in the middle of the woods). If you wanted to feed them, I believe it was 3 Euro for a bag full of food (it appeared to be something like moss).

    There were a bunch of gorgeous-looking reindeer and you could feed them for just a couple of bucks for the bag of food.
  • Reindeer-pulled sled ride. They had reindeer pulling sleds — one reindeer for 1-2 adults (or one adult and two kids). You can book ahead for longer rides, but there is a 5-7 minute path in the Santa Claus village that is a walk-up activity and costs 25 Euro per adult / 20 Euro per child or a longer 10-15 minute ride that costs 40 Euro for adults / 30 Euro for kids.
  • Dogsled rides. There are a few different places around the village that offered dogsled rides.
  • Mail a letter from the post office. You can get a letter sent from Santa to a loved one (though by the time of our visit, which ended on December 2nd, it was too late to order one for Christmas delivery!). Alternatively, you can send your own letter. They have both a “regular delivery” option and a “Christmas Delivery” option (in case your visit is not at Christmas but you’d like them to hold it and mail it around Christmastime).
  • Meeting Santa. There are two different places to meet Santa at Santa Claus Holiday Village and the experience differs between the two. I will cover this more in a separate section.

    We visited at Santa Claus Office this time. Last time, I visited Santa in the main gift shop. Pro tip: many families coordinated outfits for this activity, and that would have been fun! Note that it is free to visit Santa, but you can’t take your own pictures, so you have to buy pics/video if you want it.
  • Northern Lights tours. I should note hat I’ve read/heard that Northern Lights shows are better earlier in the fall due to less cloud cover. That said, Matías Gaitan, the photographer who captured my Northern Lights sighting during 3 Cards 3 continents, now has a company called Artic Photo Experience, and he posted some incredible shots during the week I was there this time (we didn’t book a Northern Lights tour this time). I would recommend him without hesitation. That said, when I went, I booked with Beyond Arctic and their prices are significantly lower. Matías was the photographer for my trip with Beyond Arctic though and I thought some of his shots were particularly creative (and seeing the ones he’s done since have confirmed that).
  • Various other tours. You can buy various tours from places in the village or you can book your own tours to do all of the things you might imagine in this part of the world. For instance, you can visit a reindeer farm, go ice karting, visit the Arctic Snow Hotel, etc. You don’t need to book these through the village itself — a lot of stuff can be booked via Viator and other sites like that. Pro tip: it might be worth checking the opening schedule of things before planning your trip. We drove to the Arctic Snow Hotel hoping to grab a bite in their restaurant, but it wasn’t actually open yet for the season (like I said, it apparently isn’t a given that they’ll have much snow on the ground by the first weekend of December).That place and a few other similar things weren’t set to open until a week or ten days after our trip.

One more pro tip on activities: be mindful of traffic within the Santa Claus Village. While most drivers were particularly careful since there were so many children on sleds around, not everyone practiced the same level of caution. I did see a few drivers who either didn’t have much experience driving in snow or just weren’t thinking of how quickly a child could slide in front of them, so keep an eye on your kids.

Visiting Santa

two men sitting on a couch with a santa claus garment

You actually have a couple of options for visiting Santa at the Santa Claus Village. There is a large gift shop to the right of the main building when you enter the village and inside the gift shop, you can meet Santa and enjoy a photo op. I visited Santa in that gift shop the first time I went to Santa Claus Holiday Village and we took the photo above. The video below is from that Santa’s website (Christmas House Santa) and it shows both the village and Santa. He was excellent — a very friendly and eager Santa who you can meet year round.

The experience in that case is fairly simple — Santa has a decent setup for photos and is very talkative, but the buildup is very minimal. There’s a carpet in the gift shop that says 24 steps to Santa (you can see that in my Instagram reel) and that’s pretty accurate.

The other main option to visit Santa is in what sort of looks like the “main building” in the central part of the Santa Claus Village. This building is called “Santa Claus Office” and it is just off of the Arctic Circle line in the heart of the main square — I can’t believe I didn’t have a better photo of the front of the building, but you won’t miss it. It’s the main focus in the central square.

While I found Santa in the gift shop (“Christmas House Santa”) to be very friendly (he actually gave me a thumb drive with free photos when I explained why I was there for the 3 Cards 3 Continents trip!), I found the overall experience in the “Santa Claus Office” central building to be much more satisfying. It is set up much more like a Disney ride in the sense that there is a long indoor walkway that is fully decked out to look like you’re making your way into Santa’s office. The downside is that the walkway is so long because the line can get very long. Still, I think there is enough to look at and enough buildup to justify waiting a little longer.

This experience is also more organized in general. For example, just before entering the room with Santa Claus, guests are given a bag(s) in which to place coats and gloves so that they can get photos and video without those bulky items. I saw example photos on the wall where families had coordinated outfits like with matching or color-coordinated Christmas sweaters and I kinda wish we had thought to do that! Still, our family photo came out well enough.

Speaking of photos and video, you can not take your own at either experience. Obviously they want to sell photo packages — meeting Santa is free, but you’ll pay for the digital evidence. The online pricing says packages start from 50 Euro for up to 5 people and then an extra 5 Euro per person thereafter and an extra 20 Euro per photo file. I believe we paid about $88 for the digital photo and videos.

I was kind of impressed with what we purchased from this experience: not only did we end up getting digital copies of the photos, but we also got video of the entire experience without even realizing that they were recording it. There are multiple cameras going to record both video and audio and I had no idea until we saw it after the fact. This was a little pricey, but I really enjoyed the multiple angles and having a recording of the interaction. My kids will only be this age for so long and I don’t have many videos of all of us together where it isn’t my wife or me recording (and therefore out of the frame). That made me splurge for the package.

I also thought that Santa was on his “A” game at this second experience. He asked where we were from and my kids said New York. He asked if we were from the city or the state. They said the state and he asked the name of the town. One of us said it and then I started to explain that it’s a very small town in the mountains — and Santa cut me off to say, “Yes, I know.” My 6yr old looked at me like I was a moron and rolled his eyes and said, “Daddy, of course he knows — he was there last year.” I wonder how many times a day that happens and how much Santa giggles inside every time an adult steps into it.

With the family, we only did the Santa Claus Office experience, not the Christmas House one. I did both experiences last time (I only got a photo from the Christmas House Santa) and I thought that Santa Claus Office was the better of the two, so this is the one we did this time around. In addition to going to visit Santa, we arranged for Santa to come to visit our cabin — and though that was one of those things that costs more than it should, I would do it again without hesitation.

Having Santa visit your cabin

During the process of booking a room at Santa Claus Holiday Village, you can pay for an add-on to get a visit from Santa (and I believe you can also add this on after the fact). The price is steep: it cost $175 for a 15-minute visit.

Yes, that is a lot for what you get — but at the same time, I occasionally splurge on an overpriced travel experience like a gondola ride in Venice, a helicopter tour of Kauai, the bobsled experience at Lake Placid. If you would bungee jump or skydive or do any of those types of experiences, this probably doesn’t ring in wildly different in terms of cost per minute — especially when you consider that the whole family gets the experience.

I have some more praise for this, but before I get there let me say that Santa for this experience was a little weak in that he didn’t wear his best outfit and the whole thing wasn’t quite as polished as the other Santa experiences.

However, I have to say that I was impressed with the preparation.

In advance of your time for Santa to come to your cabin, you can sneak off to the Santa office, where you’ll fill out a little paper with information about the family — including the names, ages, and interests of your kids. This was a great touch because Santa knew their names and knew the things they were interested in to show that he knew them. I thought that part was really well done.

You also had the option to drop off a gift for Santa to give your child. We actually dropped off gifts so that Santa would have one gift for each member of the family (kids and adults). We knew about this in advance, so we helped Santa out by bringing some things for this, but we didn’t wrap them since we figured that airport security would unwrap them at some point. That was no problem — Santa’s elves wrapped the gifts for us without issue or additional charge. Again, you can see a snipped of video of this experience in the Instagram reel.

At the time when Santa was due to arrive, he and an elf arrived at the room and we sent our 3yr old son to see who was at the door. I’ll always remember the way he opened the door and just silently stared for a second. We asked him who was there and he very matter-of-factly said, “It’s Santa”, but you could tell he was kind of in shock. It was fun. Our 6yr old was initially a little nervous / shy, but within a few minutes, both kids were talking Santa’s ear off. The elf carried his bag and kept him on schedule to leave when it was time to head off.

The experience perhaps wasn’t quite as theatrical as I’d imagined it to be, but at the same time my kids are still talking about it three months after Christmas — just the other day they talked about how they wanted to go back to Santa Claus village and how Santa came to visit our room. I know they won’t remember 80% of the trips we’ve taken and things we’ve done, but I’m pretty sure that Santa Claus Village is one that they’ll probably always remember.

Shopping

You can shop until you drop at the Santa Claus Village. Souvenir shops abound. Some of them have a lot of cheap trinkets, but there are also a lot of really cute gifts (and some very expensive ones). There is actually a little indoor mall of sorts that is packed full of little gift shops and there are also some in separate buildings, like the one in Roosevelt Cottage, where Eleanor Roosevelt is said to have stayed during her visit many years ago. It had a fun ice bench carved out front.

Prices and quality generally varied wildly. We did get a couple of really cute toys for our kids. They particularly loved a couple of wooden crossbows we bought that I thought were made really well with a bungee cord and soft pieces of cork that they shoot (the cork is strong enough to fire satisfyingly well, but soft enough and light enough to not really have any chance of hurting anyone or anything too badly). Hopefully, nobody shoots an eye out. So far, so good.

You can find everything from winter closing to reindeer pelts to Christmas decorations and a lot more. Some of it is made in Finland (or other parts of Scandinavia), but of course not all of it is.

Dining

You could book a private meal in an igloo like this. It looks cool, but I’m not sure I’d find it to be worth the price. Maybe it’s fun though, particularly if you’re from an area without snow and you’re visiting during peak winter and/or you’re looking for a romantic private meal.

Dining options are somewhat limited at Santa Claus Holiday Village. There are a couple of restaurants, but far fewer options than what you would probably expect.

I believe that breakfast is included for all rooms. Depending on the room type you book, that’ll either be in a restaurant that is sort of attached to the main gift shop or in the Three Elves restaurant that is in the main reception building.

Last time, I had the breakfast in the restaurant attached to the gift shop. It was fine — if you’ve ever stayed at like a Comfort Inn in Scandinavia (which is nicer than the US, but still fairly simple), that’s approximately what it was — some pastries, breakfast meats and cheeses, coffee — mostly relatively basic breakfast buffet stuff.

This time around, we had some sort of a “deluxe” type upgraded room, so we got breakfast in the Three Elves restaurant. I’m actually not sure that anyone was checking room numbers — we just walked in and took a table each day and helped ourselves to the buffet.

The Three Elves buffet was a bit nicer than the other buffet, but ultimately it was still a pretty basic breakfast buffet. You probably won’t walk away either hungry or impressed.

My wife and her sister ate dinner a couple of times at the Three Elves restaurant and I ate dinner there once during this stay (and once on my previous stay). It isn’t fancy per se, but think of like a ski lodge restaurant atmosphere — you don’t need to dress up, but the menu consists of a lot of steaks and seafood. Presentation is very nice. Options are rather limited if you don’t want reindeer meat or seafood, but I imagine that most people will be relatively satisfied with the food if not the price.

This was a vegetarian truffly gnocchi dish, but the menu consisted mostly of steaks/roasts (mostly reindeer) and seafood/fish.

There was some sort of pizza restaurant all the way across the property, but we never ate there as it was too far of a walk at the times when it might have made sense.

I actually think they are missing the boat a bit in not having some souped up hot chocolate drinks and the sort (not that you couldn’t get hot chocolate, but they clearly aren’t capitalizing on that sort of opportunity the way my American mind would).

One nice thing about the rooms in the village though is that they all feature a little kitchenette. My 3yr old has a lot of difficulty with food — being able to get supplies at the store to make grilled cheese and fruit for him to eat each day and having space for that in the room was hugely helpful for us (and it probably saved us quite a bit over going to a restaurant for dinner and ordering something that the kids may or may not eat much of).

Overall

Santa Claus Holiday Village is a lot of fun. I think we would probably get a little bored if we spent an entire week there, but I’d certainly consider going back for possibly 4-5 nights. We rented a car, but I think you could probably get away without one as there is plenty to do on-property, most off-site excursions will pick you up, and taxis abound (though keep in mind that this is Scandinavia, so the cost of taxis will get expensive quickly if you’re going to be coming and going a lot). At the end of the day, it’s hard to beat the “holiday magic” at this place. We combined this stop with a visit to Vienna to see its famed Christmas markets, and if I had it to do again I would absolutely recommend combining this with a traditional European Christmas Market stop in another city as I loved both experiences differently. While this was an expensive stop from the perspective of a primarily points and miles traveler, I will consider doing it again. As we get farther from the trip and still enjoy it in hindsight as much as we did in the moment, I feel good about an eventual return.

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tigerlily

We have plans to take a trip to Finland towards the end of May this year to take my mom who has Finnish ancestry. Her grandpa was a Finnish Laplander and herded reindeer. I am wondering if that late in the season it will be worth it to go there. I figure we won’t get the full experience with no snow, no Northern Lights, no sledding. Should we plan to take the time to go there or is there somewhere else in Finland that might be better?

Foomblay

I stayed at the Nova Skyland hotel, which I recall was significantly cheaper than what you paid (and nicer)! Was only stopping thru Rovaniemi from a few days even farther north (which I highly recommend properly venturing out to Lapland–the winter landscape is STUNNING). And the restaurant at the Nova Skyland was some of the best food I ate in Finland. I loved their cutlery and coffee machine so much I asked the hotel how to get some for myself, but no luck 🙂

TCCQuest

Nick,

Based on the info you posted from 3 cards/3 continents my family did a trip there this past winter, right before Christmas. It was magical and we all had a great time.

We flew in and out of HEL, took the overnight train back and forth, very comfortable, excellent bar car. The grandparents joined us, they loved the adventure of the the train and the whole experience.

We also did the Rauna nature park (zoo) as an activity, and that was a fun time too. Interesting animals, a very nice setting, snow everywhere, nice play ground.

Having been there right before Christmas I’ll add this: it’s a very standard type of vacation for Europeans, particularly the British Isles. Americans are much less aware of this destination but, there are quite a few daily flights from the Isles and those folks hop over for a few days with minimal jet lag. So there are lots of tourists, just not lots of Americans. My point is not that it’s an issue but, this isn’t “niche” once you get outside the States.

Also to note, the hotels in Rovaniemi proper are fine too. We stayed at Santa’s Hotel Santa Claus and it was great. They had free sleds to use to drag your kids around town in the snow, and it was close to bars and restaurants to go out and about for dinner and afternoon exploring.

vutran

Thank you for the review! Our family is going there this December, and we can’t wait!

LSP

Great review, Nick. What were food prices like – you mention expensive (to be expected), but how much did a typical dinner cost?

TCCQuest

Food is fairly pricey but…consider the factors here:
1) Nordic countries have a HCOL and high food prices.
2) You are at the Arctic Circle, you are not close to a temperate growing region or center of a trade route.

My sense was the high food prices was mostly due to items 1 and 2, and not Disney-esque price gouging.

Lynn

I love that you took your family there even though it was expensive. Your kids will always remember this, and what a great father they have for making magical memories. If I had known about this place when my kids were young, we 100% would have made this trip!

Julie Garrison

What a wonderful family trip! Thanks for the review Nick.

Billy Bob

There is an excellent overnight train there from Helsinki, with bathroom and shower in your cabin and with breakfast. We stayed in Rovaniemi proper at the Arctic Light Hotel. We had a top-floor suite with skylights. The room came with breakfast and in the evenings they made mulled wine. We rented a car to try to see the northern lights out of town, dropping it off at the airport near Santa’s village for our flight out. We went in November. Rovaniemi came after a 5-night stay in Helsinki at Hotel U14 on Marriott points, also excellent.

Last edited 25 days ago by Billy Bob
Lee

Buddy the Elf gives two thumbs up. Thanks for the fun review.