Things to do in Rovaniemi

Activities in Rovaniemi, the capital of Finnish Lapland, are vast, and there are many things to do all year round.

Holiday tips for Rovaniemi all year round

Nature

The colours of autumn are at their most beautiful in Lapland from September to October, when the trees take on glorious autumn colours. Kuninkaanlaavu lean-to is a perfect day trip destination when you wish to enjoy natural scenery and admire the autumn colours. The lean-to has amazing views over Ounasjoki River. Along the Ounasvaara nature trail you can admire the breathtaking scenery, close to the city centre. In the Arctic Circle Hiking Area (approx. 25 km away) there are many trails of different lengths and levels. The Giant’s kettles in Rautiosaari village are some of the largest in Finland. Auttiköngäs (approx. 80 km away) is a convenient day trip destination with a stunning waterfall and taiga forest.

You can see the Northern Lights in Lapland already in September. The top of Ounasvaara and the Arctic Garden next to Arktikum are popular places for spotting the Northern Lights. Check out Aurora Alert, which tells you when the Northern Lights can be seen. You can go on a guided Northern Lights excursion wearing snowshoes or by husky sled.

Sights

In Rovaniemi, you will find numerous museums and cultural delights for all ages. Science Centre Arktikum provides the opportunity to explore the nature and history of the North. At Science Centre Pilke, you can explore the northern forests with all senses. The Forestry Museum of Lapland offers plenty to see if you’re interested in Lapland’s forestry traditions. At Culture House Korundi you can discover northern perspectives through modern art. Jätkänkynttilä bridge is an iconic landmark that crosses the Kemijoki River.

You will find many shopping opportunities and restaurants in downtown Rovaniemi. The small city centre is quite compact. All necessary services are located within walking distance of each other. Check out arctic design products and try flavours from Lapland in local restaurants.

Fun things to do round the year

Trail of the bridges is a walking and cycling trail popular among the locals, which crosses over three bridges. In addition, you can walk the poronsarviasemakaava (“reindeer antler city plan”) trail, designed by the famous Alvar Aalto. You can learn about the operations of the local brewery during a brewery tour at Lapland Brewery. The Angry Birds Activity Park and Rollohalli indoor activity centre provide fun for the whole family. Ranua Zoo is the northernmost zoo in Finland and it is located approx. 80 km from Rovaniemi.

Versatile winter activities

Ounasvaara. Picture: Vastavalo/Marko Junttila

Rovaniemi and the Arctic Circle are guaranteed to have snow, and it is ideal for all kinds of outdoor pursuits and arctic activities. The possibilities are almost infinite, from skating to snowshoeing and from sleigh rides to snowmobile safaris. Pristine nature and snowy scenery invite you to the great outdoors. Lonely Planet has chosen Rovaniemi as the most interesting destination in Europe for the winter season 2020-2021.

The Ounasvaara Ski Resort is located very close to Rovaniemi city centre. There are slopes for different levels and you can find ski jumps, rails and presses in the Snow Park. In addition to slopes and trails, there is a toboggan run and ski jumps in Ounasvaara.

Christmas in Rovaniemi and the Arctic Circle

Santa Claus. Picture: Visit Finland, Juha Kuva

It’s easy to meet Santa Claus in Rovaniemi because it’s the official home town of Santa. In Santa Claus Village you can meet Santa any day of the year. There are also many kinds of activities, from reindeer rides to the Snowman World.

Nightless nights in the summer

In the summer, you can experience the nightless night and admire the midnight sun on the Jätkänkynttilä or Ounasjoki bridges, on the banks of the Ounasjoki river or on the top of Ounasvaara hill. Try fishing or paddling on the Kemijoki river. For more speed, ride a water scooter, water ski or wakeboard. Admire the beautiful views from a ski lift at the Ounasvaara ski centre. Lapland forests also offer plenty of nature trails  and guided tours, such as  trek riding and husky rides in a summer cart.

In the summer, many events are held in the centre of Rovaniemi for the entertainment of both local residents and tourists.

Book your accommodation in Rovaniemi:

Rovaniemi Arktikum. Copyright Visit Rovaniemi

Rovaniemi Culture Pass

Korundi, Arktikum and Science Centre Pilke are destinations for the whole family, where you can experience the nature, art, history and phenomena of the North in many different ways. With the Culture Pass, you can easily visit all three destinations.

Scandic Friends benefit:
As a Scandic Friends member, you get a 10% discount on the Culture Pass (adult pass) and the shops in Korundi, Arktikum and Pilke. The benefit is valid for the card holder and applies to all normal priced tickets. You can receive the benefit by showing your membership card (mobile or plastic card) at the checkout when making the purchase.