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Rovaniemi (Finland)

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There´s so much to see in the capital of Finnish Lapland

Located on the Arctic Circle, Rovaniemi is considered a gateway to the arctic and the capital of Finnish Lapland. With a population just shy of 62,000, Rovaniemi is an international city, a university city, the commercial centre for the area and a city of sport and culture. It is located where two of the region’s largest rivers, Ounasjoki and Kemijoki, meet.

Though there has been continuous settlement in the Rovaniemi area since at least the Stone Age, very little of the city’s buildings and infrastructure pre-dates 1944, when 90% of Rovaniemi was destroyed during war. When the city was rebuilt, it was designed with input by famed Finnish architect Alvar Aalto, who planned the city’s footprint in the shape of a reindeer’s head and designed several of its buildings.

Not designed by Aalto, but arguably the most popular area of Rovaniemi is the Santa Claus Village. The Santa Claus Village is renowned as Santa’s official North Pole residence and is one of the top tourist destinations in Finland, with thousands of visitors flocking to meet the big man in red each year. The Village is open year-round for visitors of all ages to meet Santa and his elves, visit Rudolf and the other reindeer, or help Mrs.Claus decorate gingerbread cookies.

Visitors can also send postcards—with Santa’s special postmark—from the Santa Claus Post Office, shop for souvenirs at the various handcraft shops or learn about Finnish yuletide traditions at the Christmas exhibition.

Other popular activities available near Rovaniemi include snowmobile tours, reindeer and husky safaris, ice fishing, skiing and snowshoeing.

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