Dubbed the official hometown of Santa Claus, Rovaniemi is the capital of Lapland, the largest and northernmost of the regions of Finland. In addition to offering the chance to meet the “real” Santa, the city provides endless opportunities to discover the history and culture of the Arctic Circle.
Start your day with breakfast at Coffee House, a welcoming café serving an array of sandwiches and bagels as well as warming coffee and tea in the town center for less than $10.
Get to know the extensive history of the city at Arktikum, a museum and science center that tells the story of the North and facts about the Arctic. The attraction offers admission to several exhibits and a show about the Northern Lights for about $13.
The buffet lunch at Arktikum is the perfect spot to catch your breath while touring the exhibits, serving soup, salad and two main courses for $13. Dishes include specialties like forest mushroom soup and smoked salmon pasta.
Spend the afternoon getting to know the “real” Santa at Santa Claus Village in the Arctic Circle, an amusement park located a short distance from downtown Rovaniemi. No matter the time of year, visitors can enjoy a Christmas atmosphere at Santa Claus Village, offering admission to holiday-themed shops, Santa’s office and Santa Park for about $22.
For a taste of Lapland, visit Restaurant Nili for dinner, serving Finnish specialties prepared with fresh Arctic ingredients. The restaurant serves traditional entrees like sautéed reindeer with homemade lingonberry jam and bear meatballs from about $20.
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