Some five miles northeast of the Finnish city of Rovaniemi is where you will find Santa Claus Village, and for anyone that enjoys the Christmas season, it is a must-visit during a Finland vacation. Since it is open year round, you can see Santa in Finland regardless of the month. When traveling with kids to Santa Claus Village, part of the joy for the adults is seeing just how excited the children get. It’s really an amazing experience whether you believe in Santa Claus or not, and as one might imagine, come wintertime this place sees a lot of visitors.
In North America, the majority of the people would tell you that the North Pole is where Santa Claus lives, but for many others around the planet, the Santa Claus history tells a different story. Many Europeans hold onto the notion that Santa resides in Lapland, just on the edge of the Arctic Circle. As Santa Claus history goes in Finland and in much of Europe, Santa was first seen in the Lapland region of Finland in the 1920s. His ultimate residence, and thus the residence of Mrs. Claus and Santa’s elves, is near the Russian border where the Korvatunturi Fell is located. This fell is special, and its unique shape is what allows Santa Claus to listen to children’s wishes around the world. Around the 1950s, Santa began to travel to Rovaniemi to visit kids of all ages, and by the mid-1980s, he was making so many trips to the capital of Lapland that he decided to establish a village there. Hence the creation of Santa Claus Village, which today, is one of the top attractions in all of Finland.
Helping to make Santa Claus Village more authentic is the reindeer park that is close by. After all, Santa’s reindeer should always be at hand, and they should also be well taken care of. Interestingly enough, Eleanor Roosevelt, who was the wife of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, was the first official tourist to see Santa Claus in Finland, which only helped to cement the notion worldwide that this is where Santa hails from. When visiting Santa Claus Village, you can see the Roosevelt Cabin, which still stands to this day next to the Santa Claus Post Office. Another curious thing that you will see when visiting Santa Claus in Finland is the line that marks the Arctic Circle. You are officially entering the Arctic Circle when you cross it, and nobody will fault you for snapping a few creative pictures. More pictures are to be taken when you ultimately see Santa Claus in Finland, and he’s always here, so chances are good that you will at least catch a glimpse.
One of the fun things to do when you head to Santa Claus Village is mail some letters or postcards. At the Santa Claus Post Office, all mail that is sent out feaures a special postmark from Santa Claus. Various CDs and Christmas cards can be purchased while at the post office, making it one of the more interesting places to go shopping in Finland. In addition to the Santa Claus Post Office, there is also Santa Claus’s Office, which is where you will most commonly find Mr. Claus. Once again, you’ll want to pull the camera out here to get some unforgettable snap shots. How many people, after all, can say that they actually took a picture with Santa in his Arctic Circle village?
Visitors who travel to see Santa in Finland can not only enjoy some shopping at the post office, but also at the other shops that are found here. There are also restaurants in the village where you can enjoy a good meal, and if you want to really buy something spectacular when here, you’ll want to make it a point to pass by the Swarovski shop. Of course, you could travel to Austria or Switzerland to buy some Swarovski pieces, but you won’t get to see the real Santa Claus in either of those countries.
A trip to see Santa in Finland is a blast, and while you’re up in Lapland, you’ll find plenty more to get into. Some of the largest national parks in Finland are in Lapland, and since it is considered to be the last real wilderness in Europe, you will likely spot plenty of intriguing wildlife. To get to Rovaniemi from the capital of Helsinki, you can take a flight, hop on a train, or buy a bus ticket. There are also connections from other main cities in Finland, such as Oulu, Tampere, and Turku. You might have to stop at a few towns or cities along the way when going by bus or train, and since the ride is long from southern Finland, most visitors fly in.