6 Best Winter Adventures in Rovaniemi Finland

by Vanessa Wanders Miles

Rovaniemi is a true winter wonderland experience. The Finnish Lapland offers adventure, wildlife, and culture. Located in the furthermost part of Europe, you will discover the dense forests and stunning skies made even more beautiful with the expanse of white snow in the colder months. Most of all, you can be guaranteed some of the BEST winter adventures in Rovaniemi.

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Discover The Best Winter Adventures in Rovaniemi

Speed off on a snowmobile

Hold your hand up if you’ve dreamt of speeding through the snowy forests of Lapland. It was top of my list and snowmobiles are an exhilarating way to experience this.

After a short safety demonstration on how to drive the vehicles, visors down and off you go through the Lappish wilderness. It gets pretty icy out there so layering up for the cold weather is needed for this unforgettable snowmobiling safari experience. It really is one of the best winter adventures in Rovaniemi.

Be a husky musher!

When else would you get to be a husky musher? Controlling the pack of huskies towing the sled across the 10km wilderness was an awesome experience. These four-legged arctic animals go crazy when they know they are ready to go out but they are also up for a cuddle too. You get taught the basics of being a husky musher which sounds more difficult than it is. Once you get into your stride, husky sledding is a fabulous way to explore the white wonderland. 

Explore Lappish culture on a reindeer safari

Learn about reindeer herding from the Sami people, an indigenous group from Lapland. Only Sami people are legally allowed to own reindeer which generally roam free with close monitoring. Traditionally, reindeer were a primary mode of transport but nowadays tourists are big users of fun sleighs in the snow. Reindeer have 2 coat layers where the air is trapped to keep them warm, stroking the reindeer would move this air so no petting these Arctic beauties. Finding out more about the culture on the reindeer safari was a bonus!

Relax and float in an icy lake

Sounds like a strange concept but floating on a frozen wilderness lake and looking up at the sky was a very soothing experience. You get decked out in a big orange survival suit so only your face is visible – this will keep your body warm and your clothes dry. Be warned, they are not the most attractive of outfits but they sure do work. You will feel the vacuum effect when you enter the water which is a hole carved out of the ice. We went ice-floating at night hoping to gaze at the Northern Lights but you can also do this ice-floating activity during the day.

Brave the Arctic sauna

You will find a range of Finnish sauna experiences in Lapland. We immersed ourselves in the traditional wood sauna and when things got too steamy, we ran out for a roll around in the snow between sessions. Dipping into the numbing cold and bathing in the sauna is good for circulation. Sounds bonkers but do as the locals do, the Finnish sauna is an experience you cannot miss. As there are twice as many saunas as Finnish people, you can be guaranteed your hotel will have one.

Feel festive in Santa Claus Village

Lapland in winter would not be complete without a visit to see Santa Claus. This amusement park at the Arctic Circle is a place where you can meet Santa all year round, send your letters from the Post Office, go reindeer and husky sledding, visit the Elf’s Farm Yard, have a gander around the shops, and dine in the restaurants – I’d recommend the Smoked Salmon soup in the Three Elves in Santa Claus Village.


Where to stay in Rovaniemi

Apukka Resort –Featuring an ice village on-site in the winter months, Apukka Resort – Aurora Centre is in Apukka, just 17 km from Rovaniemi. The property features 6 saunas, including an ice sauna, an igloo sauna, and movable saunas. >> Read reviews of Apukka Resort

Santa Claus Village – Located at the heart of Santa Claus Village, 10 km north of Rovaniemi, it offers heated cabins with private saunas, a kitchenette, and a terrace. >> Read reviews of Santa Claus Village

Arctic City Hotel – Located in central Rovaniemi, a 2-minute walk from Sampokeskus Shopping Centre. It offers free parking, 2 relaxing saunas, and rooms with a flat-screen TV and free WiFi. >> Read reviews of Arctic City Hotel


Tours and local information on Rovaniemi

Getting to Rovaniemi

  • PlaneDaily flights between Rovaniemi and Helsinki are operated by Finnair and Norweigan. There are direct flights from London Gatwick between October and March.
  • Train – Rovaniemi is easy to reach by rail from many Finnish towns, with several trains running to and from Helsinki every day. Trains by VR run year-round, whatever the weather.
  • CoachMatkahuolto offers services in most of Finland.

Travel Insurance for winter activities

Especially with the winter activities in Finland, make travel insurance a priority! World Nomads is my go-to guys, I’ve learned this from experience. You can buy and claim online even when you’ve left home.  I love that they give a little back too and support community development projects in various countries.



Zenja | Bearly Here 21st February 2019 - 11:50 am

Love it! Huskies, snowmobile, reindeer safari – all of it! Thanks for sharing, I suddenly feel like Christmas again after looking at all of your photos!

Vanessa 6th March 2019 - 11:34 pm

It was great to visit after Christmas to get over the sadness of the season being over – all the activities were non-stop fun!

Elizabeth 21st February 2019 - 3:28 pm

Looks amazing! We want to visit Finland but I don’t know what time of year. Winter is so cold- but it seems like so much of Finland is best highlighted in the winter! Summer also looks gorgeous though!

Vanessa 6th March 2019 - 11:37 pm

I’ve heard it’s a fabulous place to visit in the summer too, the landscape would look so different and I guess you get boats across the lakes instead of walking on them.

Laurence 21st February 2019 - 10:15 pm

Wow, you saw a reindeer! so chrismassy, The photos looks amazing, I wanted to try the snowmobile, looks adventurous but I guess I need to learn how to make it work first, ahha

Vanessa 6th March 2019 - 11:38 pm

They teach you all you need to know before driving the snowmobiles in Lapland, you need to try it!

Carrie Ann 22nd February 2019 - 2:15 am

These sound like some fun winter activities! I’d especially like to try the husky sledding and the reindeer safari. I’ll be in Finland this summer, so not the best time for these types of things. Hopefully I’ll get to go back in winter someday to try them 🙂

Vanessa 6th March 2019 - 11:42 pm

Oh lovely… I’d like to see the difference of Finland in thew summer!

Brittany 22nd February 2019 - 7:19 am

What an awesome winter holiday! Dog sledding, reindeers and all. I can just imagine all the hot Coco I’d be drinking there!

Vanessa 6th March 2019 - 11:44 pm

There’s always a little something to help you warm up after a day in the snow. Can’t recommend Rovaniemi enough!

Esther 22nd February 2019 - 2:31 pm

oh your articule brought me some good memories. I did this trip last year and it was the best experiences ever. The only thing I couldn’t do was the snowmobile and of course I didn’t see any Northern Light so bad….Need to go back.

Vanessa 6th March 2019 - 11:44 pm

I didn’t see the Northern Lights either but that sky sure was pretty anyway!

Sarah Wilson 22nd February 2019 - 6:01 pm

This is so high on my bucket list. I would love to visit Finland. I’ve always wanted to try an Arctic sauna and do a reindeer safari. And you’re never to old to visit Santa 🙂

Vanessa 6th March 2019 - 11:46 pm

The Artic sauna is fabulous… and yes, visiting Santa is timeless as far as I’m concerned!

An Indian Traveler 22nd February 2019 - 7:13 pm

This seems like a great adventure. I want to visit Nordic Countries. Hopefully, will plan soon. Thanks for the inspiration.

Vanessa 6th March 2019 - 11:47 pm

It was my fist visit to a Nordic country and I’m a big fan now!

Bilal 22nd February 2019 - 9:02 pm

This is so cool! all of these are on the list of things we want to try! Husky sledding sounds like so much fun.

Vanessa 6th March 2019 - 11:48 pm

This is a great list of fun activities – husky sledding in Lapland was awesome!

Dani Ward 23rd February 2019 - 2:14 am

Ice floating at night to see the Northern Lights?! I don’t think I can imagine anything more unique and awesome. That just got added to my bucket list!

Vanessa 7th March 2019 - 4:47 am

I loved the experience, I just wished we were staring at Northern Lights, we weren’t so lucky!

Richa 23rd February 2019 - 11:12 am

Wow from the images it does look like Rovaniemi is a true winter wonderland experience!! My kids would love to visit the home town of Santa Claus and view the Northern Lights. Arktikum the museum and science center exploring the Arctic region would be interesting to visit too.

Vanessa 7th March 2019 - 4:46 am

Rovaniemi is perfect for kids (think I’m just a big kid) – I loved every minute of it!

Shalini 23rd February 2019 - 5:22 pm

These are nothing short of bucketlist points! Thanks for sharing your experience. I’m in awe and I dont know if I’d be able to experience the same someday.

Vanessa 7th March 2019 - 4:45 am

I do hope you get to experience this snow-filled fun-filled land of Lapland some day.

Hailey 23rd February 2019 - 8:40 pm

I’m a total winter girl so I would be all about this! Those reindeer are so adorable, I would have to see them. Also Santa is a must!

Vanessa 7th March 2019 - 4:44 am

Lapland has your name written all over it in that case… hope you get to experience!

Luda 24th February 2019 - 12:42 pm

Looks like you had quite the adventure! I would love to visit Santa’s cave and stay in a teepee – sounds like the perfect winter getaway 🙂

Vanessa 6th March 2019 - 11:32 pm

Rovaniemi was the best Winter getaway – so much fun to be had!1

Renata - www.byemyself.com 24th February 2019 - 8:43 pm

Being based in northern Europe, I mostly tend to travel south – seeking the sun. However, Scandinavia looks always so mesmerizing – I think I have to explore it. This spring, we are starting with the Baltics, so….

Vanessa 3rd March 2019 - 5:04 pm

Now I live in Dubai, it’s lovely to visit cold places like Finland. When I lived in the UK, it was always hot destinations. I’d love to see more of Scandinavia!

Thelittlelai: Beyond limits 25th February 2019 - 12:54 pm

Truly, having a chance to float on a frozen wilderness lake while looking up at the sky was seemed very soothing experience and interesting as I have not read anything like this before. I haven’t been to Finland, but surely, this has long been penned on my bucketlist. thank you so much for sharing this with us.

Vanessa 3rd March 2019 - 5:02 pm

Finland certainly was up there with my top trips… and yes the ice floating was a unique experience!

Alecia 20th January 2021 - 1:59 am

Your adventure sounds amazing! I can’t think of any activity that you listed that I wouldn’t want to do. Your Santa Claus photo made me smile from ear to ear. Thanks for sharing your experience.

Vanessa 24th January 2021 - 8:05 pm

Thanks Alecia. I would go back without a doubt for more fun in the snow but I’d love to experience Finland in the summer too!


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