Are you dreaming of a Lapland winter wonderland holiday with a plethora of fun winter activities all together in one place, plus the added bonus of being able to step across the Arctic Circle? Then Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi, Finland could be the perfect destination for you and your family. Especially if you love heaps of snow, Christmas, and want to meet the real Santa… or at least a very authentic one!
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When is Santa Claus Village Open?
Santa Claus Village in Lapland, Finland is open all 365 days of the year. It is considered the official hometown of Santa Claus after all! Come spring, summer, autumn or winter, Santa will be there ready and waiting for your visit.
If you want a snowy experience however, you’d need to visit during the cold, dark winter months of November-March. Personally, I think Santa Claus Village looks way more enchanting when it’s covered in a thick blanket of fluffy snow.
Although Santa may be here all year, bear in mind that the same cant be said for all the fun activities. Some only run during the snowy months, and If theres not been enough snowfall at the start of the winter season, then expect some things to be switched up slightly. For example, the reindeer sleigh rides are adapted to sleighs/carts on wheels.
How much does it cost to get in to Santa Claus Village?
It’s actually FREE to enter Santa Claus Village, but the majority of activities are chargeable.
If you didn’t want to do any winter activities, why not do a spot of window shopping, grab a hot chocolate or warm glögi and enjoying strolling around watching everything going on. Theres a free little park for children to play in, and if the ground is lovely and snowy they’ll have so much fun being pulled along on the sledges.
There is one free activity you can do though, and thats meeting Santa.
Meeting Santa Claus in Santa Claus Village
We all couldn’t wait to meet the man himself, and what a charming Santa he was. Very authentic, with the deep, yet soothing Santa voice that’s depicted to us throughout our entire childhood. Apparently this Santa can speak multiple languages too, which is incredible as people from all around the globe come here to meet him.
Santa was sat on his chair inside a highly Christmassy themed room, and we got to spend a good 5 minutes or so talking with him. The meeting didn’t feel rushed at all, and the elves took a couple photos of the four of us with Santa.
I was completely oblivious, but the entire meeting was recorded too. So as typical tourists, and because this was a once in a lifetime experience, we forked out €50 which gave us a digital copy of the photos and video for us to download. (
TIP: you’re not allowed to take your own photo’s or video when in the room with Santa
Does Santa give a present?
Visiting Santa is free, and there is an option to purchase a small gift (soft toy) for Santa to hand over during the meeting.
We didn’t do this as we had wrapped and brought our own gifts from home. All we had to do was find an elf, and execute the plan without being spotted by the children!
We have a 7 and 8 year old, so the strength of believing is sadly starting to dwindle, especially in our eldest’s eyes. So, to make it even more believable, we took copies of the boys Christmas letters that they posted off to Finland from the UK a few weeks prior to our trip, and wrapped them inside their gifts.
Their little minds were blown when they saw their letters again – it was pure magic!
Do you need to book a ticket to visit Santa at Santa Claus Village?
Nope! You can’t book an entry time slot. It’s just first come, first served.
I recommend visiting Santa early doors if you can – it gets busy. So busy, that you could potentially spend hours stood queuing, and that’s fun for no-one.
We stayed at Nova Skyland within Santa Claus Village, meaning we could get here bright & early. Way before the coach loads of day visitors began to arrive. We went straight in at 9am and there was only one other person in front of us. The entire walk inside the building to reach Santa was very impressive and beautifully themed. Dim, yet colourful lighting with presents and wooden shipping containers stacked high, plus lots of other things to see along the way. There were little doors where you could peep through key holes, and watch elves doing different things. It’s actually just a video playing, but it’s very clever and would certainly fool young children!
TIP: There are two places where you can meet Santa at Santa Claus Village. We did the one at ‘Santa’s official office’ and I think we picked the far better option out of the two!
What activities are available at Santa Claus Village in Finland?
The activities within Santa Claus Village are all run by independent businesses. The most obvious choice is to meet Santa, but there is so much more to do here.
Reindeer rides, husky safari’s, husky cuddles, snow mobile tours, kids snowmobiling, Ice bar inside an igloo, snow tubing, ice slide, ice skating, shopping, crossing the Arctic Circle, feeding animals at Elf farm yard or go on an aurora hunting tour. You can even send a post card from Santa’s post office, and dine at a selection of different restaurants.
Here’s what we thought of the other activities we chose to do during our stay.
Snowman World in Santa Claus Village
Straight up, Snowman world is not the cheapest! We both felt it was a bit steep for what it was.
Although, having said that, the kids both enjoyed it and we had a good time in here. We mainly just enjoyed the novelty of it. After all, how often do you get to spend time inside an igloo and go to an ice bar?!
Entry cost £96 for the 4 of us. However, your ticket is valid all day, so you can come and go as much as you want during that time. Realistically though, you will be done within a couple of hours max.
Having drinks at the Ice Bar in Snowman World
At the heart of Snowman World you’ll find the ice bar. Where not only is the bar made entirely from ice, but so are the tables, stools and even the shot glasses too. Just like any bar, there were disco lights and loud music was playing. It happened to be one of Jasper’s favourite Imagine Dragons songs playing when we walked in, so he was having an incredible time!
The corridors all had different sculptures carved into the compacted snowy walls, and chunks of ice were lit up along the edges, like rocky diamond skirting boards! It was impressive.
Unfortunately, no drinks are included within your entry ticket. Jude had a hot chocolate which obviously came in a normal cup, the rest of us opted for a soft fruity drink in one of the ice cups. These were €6 each, which was rather expensive for a tiny shot of non-alcoholic juice! It was €10 if you wanted it to have alcohol in. But still, it was a fun and unique experience for the boys!
Ice skating & at Snowman World
Inside the igloo there was a small slide made entirely from ice, which the boys slid down multiple times. It was nothing to write home about, but again, a cool experience for them.
Another corridor took you to a rather tiny outdoor ice-rink. There was a small box room beside it, which had rows of ice skates on shelves for you to reach over people and help yourself. Health & Safety in Finland is a very different story to that of England!
The ice rink had no barriers around the edge to hold on to. There were, however, a couple skating guides for the kids to use, similar in appearance to Zimmer frames. We left this one to the boys, and took on the important role of holding their snow boots whilst they enjoyed zooming around on the ice with a couple other children.
Snow-tubing in Snowman World
After that we headed back outside to have a go on the snow tubing. This seemed to be the most popular activity at snowman world, as there was always a bit of a queue at the top. Jude & James zoomed down this multiple times and both found it great fun. The people working here definitely gave the adults a bigger push and spin – hold tight!
Once you’ve zoomed down you have to drag your donut all the way back to the top. Or if you don’t want to go again, you can leave it at the halfway point.
Ice restaurant & bedroom
Back inside the igloo, we took a look at the ice bedroom. The boys were amazed that even the bed was made of ice! Theres an ice restaurant in here too, but we didn’t have a meal in here.
Overall, it was a fun and unique experience. Just a shame a drink isn’t included in the entry fee. I still think it’s worth a visit though, just don’t plan to spend an entire day here because you wont need to!
Reindeer ride at Santa Claus Reindeer Village
Our reindeer ride was just a smidge before 5pm, and It was beautiful with all the trees lit up, plus the snow sparkled so much it looked as-though it was made of glitter.
There’s no need to prebook for the two shorter length reindeer rides (400 m or 1 km) So we warmed up by the crackling open fire for a moment before joining the short 5 minute queue.
Jude & James went in one sleigh, myself & Jasper sat in another behind and we were covered in reindeer fur blankets. Genuine i think!
It was so relaxing getting pulled along by the reindeer. You could hear the snow crunching and the creaking of the wooden sleigh as the reindeer slowly manoeuvred us around the route.
My reindeer was a little moody, but we were allowed to stroke Jude & James’ one!
Going on a husky ride at Husky Park
Hands down, this was our favourite activity of the holiday.
There are a few companies you could use for a husky ride/ safari within Santa Claus Village, but we took ours at Husky Park. Purely because they had the authentic Siberian huskies, unlike the another one we walked to around the corner. Their dogs just looked like normal dogs – it wasn’t quite the same! They did claim ‘quickest husky’s at Santa Village’ though. So, I guess it depends what you want.
The only downfall at Husky park was there were no longer safaris available. These had sold out months in advance, so we could only pay to do the shorter course. But wow, even the short ride was still incredible and was by far our favourite experience from our holiday. It was absolutely unforgettable.
All 4 of us sat single file on the wooden sleigh, with the guide stood behind steering the way. Let me tell you, husky’s are rapid! We were flying through the forest and drifting on the bends. It was exhilarating and so much fun. We did this on my birthday, and it made the most incredible birthday ever!
Prebook your husky ride, if you want a long safari.
I would 100% advise you to book your husky ride months in advance, or at least as soon as you possibly can. Especially if you’re wanting to go on a longer safari during peek season, they sell out so quickly.
We would all very much love to do a longer husky ride out in the wilderness one day.
Myself and James wanted to go on a snowmobiling tour as they look fantastic. The only problem was, they were about 2 hours long and the boys had to sit, and be pulled behind on a sleigh the entire time. After reading different reviews of people saying their children froze and cried the whole way around, I didn’t want to risk putting the boys through that. Sitting out in -22 with the wind in your face could have been pretty unpleasant for them.
So we gave snowmobiling a miss, and took the boys somewhere where they could drive their own mini snowmobiles instead.
Arctic Circle Snowmobile Park
The boys could drive their own child sized snowmobile at Arctic Circle Snowmobile Park, and it was only €20 each. They got kitted out with a helmet, and after brief instructions on how to go and stop they were ready to hit the race track. They were also told that if their fingers froze, just to stop. Otherwise it would be hard for them to control.
The snowmobiles were available for age 5+, however, some of the younger children couldn’t control them. One went completely off-roading and drove straight into a tree stump. Another managed to flip the snow mobile over on its side and came falling off. I would probably say age 7+ would really be more suited to driving these, they accelerate pretty quickly!
Jasper had to stop as his fingers got too cold to squeeze the trigger. Sadly, it was the one day we forgot to take our hot hands out with us. Had he had them, he probably would have been alright. Jude survived the entire allocated time and loved it. The track had lots of dips in it, so it made the ride pretty bouncy!
It’s a fun activity, and the boys love telling people they drove their own snowmobiles. I’d just say that perhaps it’s not really all that suitable for 5 year olds. But who knows, your 5 year old might be an absolute legend at driving.
Crossing the Arctic Circle
Santa Claus Village sits slap-bang on the Arctic Circle, which means you get to walk, jump or even skip across it. They light up this latitude line that encircles the Earth with a blue string light, and have pillars along the crossing with Arctic circle written on the sides.
It’s really cool that you can do this here. What a unique thing to say you’ve done!
Places to stay at Santa Claus Village
If you wanted to stay on site at the magical Santa Claus village, there are many accommodation options to chose from. We stayed at the luxurious Nova Skyland Hotel, in one of their aurora suites for our family holiday. I have a review of it here if you’re interested. They have larger cabin’s too, which would be ideal for bigger families.
There is also Santa Claus Holiday Village which consists of bright red wooden lodges. The Glass Resort which has those amazing glass igloo types of accommodation, perfect for couples. Or, you can find some others at Santas Igloos resort.
It’s really nice staying on site as you get to experience the park when its quieter, and can beat the queues which is even better when holidaying with children.
However, if you didn’t want to stay at Santa Claus Village, Rovaniemi has lots more accommodation options in the city which are cheaper too. Then you can simply just catch the bus over for the day.
Hope this post helps if you’re looking to go to Santa Claus Village! We had the best time here, and by booking the trip ourselves we managed to make this trip much more affordable!
If you’re feeling overwhelmed about what clothes to take with you, I have a helpful Lapland packing list.
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