The real Santa Clause lives in Finland. He's at the Santa Clause Village, they say.
The Santa Clause Village in Rovaniemi, Finland: this attraction takes us three hours to see. On our tour, we visit shops in the Christmas House, and see the Christmas exhibition, mail postcards at Santa's Post Office, and even meet Santa himself. If you tour the entire village, go on reindeer sleigh rides, see Santa, or do extras, like go on snowmobile rides. For a full entertainment programme, give yourself more than three hours' time. In the image below there's a general overview map of the village. We parked our car on the far right of the pic., see the P (near the yellow bus) parking place.
Below is also a video showing all the glory of Santa Clause Village.
The wind is howling, and the snow in our faces makes visibility poor. We are in a snow storm - the perfect setting to see where Santa lives in Finland! Finally, we have arrived at the Arctic circle, close to the city of Rovaniemi.
Since we are traveling by car and most navigational devices include popular attractions, it is easy to navigate our way to the Finnish Arctic Circle. In the right picture, we are standing below the arctic circle Napapiiri sign. The yellow arrows show our distance from New York = 6204 kilometers; London = 2260 kilometers; Rome = 2985 kilometers and so on. From the Southernmost tip of Finland you can count on driving two days if you want to get where we are standing. Naturally, Santa Clause Village is busy around the Christmas holidays, that is why we are here at the end of February.
Tip: Visit off-season to find discounts, deals, items on sales, great bargains and of course, fewer people as well as cars and buses. Welcoming our arrival, we notice these buildings...
Inside the Christmas House (#5 on the map). Inside the Christmas house there is a large shop we found with all kinds of Finnish gifts, a Toy Factory and Christmas exhibition. Rosa finds a key chain pen made of a reindeer antler. Souvenirs include handcrafted, wooden spreading knives, clothing, mugs, Santas carved out of wood and elves. This is one of the many shops at the Santa Clause Village. We dig out a bit for bargain souvenirs. Adjacent to where we are standing, we find reindeer fur for sale.
My favorites are the Northern lights collection picture framed photos on display. Here are pictures of the Northern lights displayed in Finnish Lapland.
There are many more Northern Lights pictures to select from at the store.
And here are some practical gift ideas from Finland. Everyone spreads something on bread - butter, jam etc.
Christmas around the world... what is it like? We go into the houses and see Christmas tree decorations from different parts of the world. This exhibition has rooms to see what Christmas around the world looks like. There is an explanation posted about each room. Let's go take a walk around the Christmas tree! The tree is carrying the Finnish flag. Top right, a pic of the Finnish Santa Clause.
There is a close-knit relationship between Lapland and Santa. Center picture: Santa looks like a Lapp!
See more at the exhibition:
But first... along the way we meet a reindeer herdsman, willing to offer us a sleigh ride. We are almost out of time and in a hurry to find Santa. Before seeing Santa let's get Aura's postcards mailed out.
An ice House used for the ice exhibition display, completely made of ice, except for the wooden roof. The windows, block elements, walls, fixtures are all out of ice, held together by frozen water like mortar.
Ahhh, back indoors and out of the snow blizzard where it is warm. A golden sign on a the table reads: Joulupukin Pääposti Santa Claus' Main Post Office. Here, you can read letters that others sent to Santa.
Making the choice difficult, there are hundreds of postcards with Santa, Christmas, Lapland, Northern Lights. Ready to send your mail? Ok, great! The friendly elf will place an official stamp on your letter/postcard/parcel.
Back out into the cold and to our final stop. To see Santa Clause. Yes, he is in Finland. This is where to go to See Santa... notice the red welcome note on the side of the steeple?
Tomi is entering the hut to pay Santa a visit. Aura and Rosa are already in the building. Getting closer and closer to Santa! Inside the hut, we venture along the narrow corridors, through paths of snow and ice, up the creaky wooden stairs. What could be up there?
Finally, we are on an upper loft, eyes fixed at some amazing clockwork which the elves put together. A huge wooden clock wheel.
These elves are geniuses! Now we are really close to seeing Santa. The bright light under the wheel is where all the action is. Seeing Santa is free, we talked and sat with him, he talked to us, put his arm around Tomi and Rosa, and - flash! - we got a picture with him. This time around we did not get the Santa and Us video to take home. A picture with Santa costs around 25 euros, and the DVD - 35 euros.
Tip(s): Rovaniemi airport is closer to Santa's village than it is to Rovaniemi town. So if you are flying into Rovaniemi, first go to the Santa Clause Village from the airport, then on into Rovaniemi to your accommodation.
Santa Claus Village is situated 8 km to the North of Rovaniemi in the direction of Ivalo along highway number 4. You can reach the Arctic Circle also easily by local bus number 8.
Opening hours for the Santa Claus Village. These are tricky, but bear with it!
Make sure you do not go on:
The same for the dawn of the New Year:
It's recommended to go to the Santa Clause Village in late January or early February for the best prices.
! Michelin recommended driving directions to Rovaniemi