The Aurora Zone Blog

Things you didn’t know about Lapland’s capital, Rovaniemi

Santa Reindeer 2 Credit Visit Rovaniemi Rovaniemi Tourism Marketing Ltd

Those that have heard of Rovaniemi may recognise it because of its reputation as the official hometown of Father Christmas. Though this is a big incentive to visit Rovaniemi during your winter holiday, there are many other reasons to come to this wonderful city.

Our Aurora Travel Experts pride themselves on knowing all about the destinations they travel to, and Rovaniemi is no different. They visited the city before heading further into the Arctic wilderness to our two brand new holiday destinations at the Apukka Resort and the Arctic Circle Wilderness Lodge, both around 20 minutes away.

During their time here, they uncovered some lesser-known facts that make this destination special and now we want to share this knowledge with you.

Here are a few things you might not have known about Rovaniemi:

A modern city

The city suffered badly during WW2. In fact, the war destroyed 90% of the buildings in the town centre and because of this, you won’t find any old buildings in Rovaniemi. Though the city has a modern feel, the surrounding wilderness means it still holds a strong connection to nature. Not surprising when you have the chance of seeing the Northern Lights in the skies above!

Aurora Rovaniemi 15 Credit Visit Rovaniemi Rovaniemi Tourism Marketing Ltd

Innovative rebuild

Following significant destruction during the war, the city took the opportunity to rebuild Rovaniemi in a unique way. Architect Alvar Alto came up with the idea of creating the shape of a reindeer, Lapland’s signature animal, in the new layout of the city.

Central Rovaniemi wraps inside the reindeer’s head with the sports stadium Keskuskenttä making up the eye. The roads leading north, west and south form the shape of the antlers.

visit rovaniemi love architecture web opt 2 1

Northern Lights viewing

Aurora Rovaniemi 7 Credit Visit Rovaniemi Rovaniemi Tourism Marketing Ltd

Rovaniemi sits within the Arctic Circle, which means it has good Aurora viewing potential. However, from our years of experience Northern Lights hunting, we know that it’s the dark, unpolluted skies that really give the best chance of enjoying Aurora displays.

The Apukka Resort is just 15 minutes from the city and gets you out of the light pollution. What’s more, they also offer innovative ways for you to go on the hunt for the Northern Lights.

One of these, exclusively to the Apukka Resort, is the Snowtrain. Here, you’ll ride comfortably in your cosy carriage pulled by a guide’s snowmobile. This unique form of transport will take you even further into the wilderness to far-reaching lookout points.

The Arctic Circle Wilderness Lodge is our other holiday destination close to Rovaniemi, just 20 minutes away from the city. Again, this distance takes you out of light pollution and into darker skies.

This is another hotel with undeniable knowledge about the Aurora. You can see this from the activities they offer, the best being the incredible Northern Lights flight. Knowing that cloud cover can hide a Northern Lights display to those on the ground, the Arctic Circle Wilderness Lodge offers a very smart way to solve this problem. Their small private jet will take you above the clouds and if the solar activity levels are favourable, you’ll be in and amongst the green lights.

During the flight, you may also see the aforementioned reindeer design of Rovaniemi in all its glory.

Aurora Flight 2 Credit Arctic Circle Wilderness Lodge

Crossing the Arctic Circle

Known as the gateway to the Arctic,  Rovaniemi sits right on the Arctic Circle line. There is a belief that the Arctic is free from stress and hurry, which means that this line is the border to being carefree!

Unsurprisingly, many people come to Rovaniemi to cross this somewhat magical boundary, and in some instances, you’ll even receive a certificate for doing so.

There are different ways you can cross this line. From simply walking over it to a more memorable approach such as dog sledding or a reindeer sleigh ride. There’s even a place you can go 50 metres underground to cross it!

Snow and ice

Snowshoeing 6 Credit Visit Rovaniemi Rovaniemi Tourism Marketing Ltd

Snow covers Rovaniemi for almost 6 months of the year, transforming it into the winter wonderland you’d expect from Father Christmas’ hometown. Not only does this open up an array of winter activities to maximise your use of the landscape, the locals here certainly know how to make the most of the materials around them too.

You can visit snow igloos, ice bars, and even a snow chapel. What’s more, the Apukka Resort is a centre for ice building and you can have an unforgettable night’s stay in an Ice Cabin.

Don’t worry though, as firewood is provided by the state you’ll find plenty of cosy spots around the city to keep warm.

As the UK’s first dedicated Northern Lights tour operator, we tend to shy away from cities as we know that their light pollution doesn’t give you the best chance of seeing the Aurora. That being said, we love that Rovaniemi is an urban stop off so close to our new holiday destinations, so you can have the best of both worlds. The Apukka Resort and the Arctic Circle Wilderness Lodge are around 20 minutes away from Rovaniemi and both have strong Northern Lights viewing potential and brilliant activities to get you on the hunt.


Talk to one of our Aurora Travel Experts today on 01670 785 012 to plan your perfect Northern Lights holiday.

Click here to find out more about The Apukka Resort

Click here to find out more about the Arctic Circle Wilderness Lodge


Image credit: Juho Kuva, Visit Rovaniemi Tourism & Marketing Ltd, Arctic Circle Wilderness Lodge

Read 134 times Last modified on Wednesday, 14 November 2018

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The Aurora Zone was born from a desire to share Mother Nature’s greatest wonder with our clients. We’ve explored the destinations, researched the science, and fallen in love with the Scandinavian way of life. It’s our mission to pass this knowledge on to you, providing you with the very best chance of experiencing the magic for yourself on your Northern Lights holiday.

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