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There is a place where snow blankets the city, you can take a reindeer-drawn sleigh ride, and you can have a personal meeting with Santa Claus. Believe it or not, this winter wonderland actually exists in Rovaniemi which is in Lapland Finland. Rovaniemi is known as the official hometown to Santa Claus. One of the main things to do in Rovaniemi is Santa Claus Village. Our family traveled to Rovaniemi this past December and we would love to share all of our tips in this family guide to visiting Santa Claus Village Finland.
*Some of our activities were hosted by Visit Rovaniemi. Visit Rovaniemi provided tickets to Snowman World, the reindeer ride, and our digital downloads while visiting Santa.
General Questions About Santa Claus Village
How Do You Get To Santa Claus Village?
As mentioned above, Santa Claus Village Finland is located in Rovaniemi, Finland. This adorable village is located approximately 8 km North of Rovaniemi on Highway 4 toward Ivalo.
Our recommendation is to get a rental car to travel around the city. However, there are other great options to get to Santa Claus Village from Rovaniemi. Santa Village is accessible by Bus 8 (timetables, routes, and ticket prices can be found at Visit Rovaniemi). You can also take the Santa Express bus which travels between Santa Claus Village, Santa park/Arctic Treehouse Hotel, Santa’s Igloos Arctic Circle and the Airport. The 2019/2020 Santa Express Bus schedule can be viewed here. Another option is to hire a taxi. We had to use a taxi the day before we rented our car and we recommend Taxi Lähitaksi Rovaniemi. This is the company also recommended by Visit Rovaniemi.
If coming from Helsinki you definitely want to look more into the VR overnight train: Santa Claus Express. This is what my youngest will tell you was one of his favorite parts of the trip. For more information on the Santa Claus Express and more information on how to get to Santa Claus Village check out our post on planning a trip to Rovaniemi, Finland or our video below.
Santa Claus Village Opening Hours
We were able to find posted information that stated Santa Claus Village is open from 10:00-17:00 daily. During the high season the hours are 9:00-18:00. However, Santa Village is made up of individual establishments. It is probably best to check with the individual companies’ websites to get the exact hours for when you are visiting.
While there are main hours that most of the establishments are open, you can still walk around the village after these hours. We actually stopped by the village the night before we visited to go sledding and take a peek at the different places in the village.
How Much Does It Cost To Visit Santa Claus Village?
There is free entry into Santa Claus Village. While there is no charge to walk around and visit some of the attractions in the village, there are several that do charge to participate in activities.
Santa Claus Village Activities
As mentioned above Santa Claus Village is made up of privately-owned companies. These companies provide food, accommodations, and a variety of activities for family fun.
Visiting Santa at Santa Claus Office or Christmas House Shop
If you are like our family, the must-see activity when visiting Lapland is visiting Santa. While most people might think you can only see Santa in the winter, you will be happy to know that he is available 365 days of the year. There are two places where you can visit Santa in the village: Santa Claus Office Or Christmas House Shop. The most popular place and the place where we visited him was at Santa Claus Office.
Santa Claus Office
Since we visited in December we had been warned there may be a long line to see Santa. I don’t know if it’s because we are from Central Florida and we are used to long lines, but we didn’t feel like it was too long. We waited approximately 30 minutes in line. However, we never stood still very long. There were cute things for the kids to look at while they waited (like peeking through doors to see what elves are up to) which also helped the time pass quickly.
What Do We Wear?
As most mothers who plan for the most important event of meeting Santa I thought, “Should we all be in the picture with coordinating outfits?” 😉 As you can see by the picture that quickly went by the wayside and I just let the kids be in the picture and wear their Christmas PJs. However, if you are interested in your children wearing something other than their big bulky jackets never fear. 🙂 As you get closer to where you will see Santa you get to talk with elves and you are given a bag to put your jackets in. You will have plenty of time to fix hair, practice your smile, and rehearse what you are going to tell Santa while waiting to meet him.
When it is your turn to meet Santa you will enter through a short hallway where you can set down your bag and any other belongings you don’t want in the picture. There are a couple of small steps to climb to meet the jolly old man. He will welcome you and ask you some questions and tell you some things as well. It really is a precious time. Each family gets to enter by themselves to share this special moment together with Santa.
Pictures & Video
One thing to be aware of is that they do not allow personal pictures or videos to be taken while you are visiting Santa. (I had a media pass which is why I was able to take pictures and video). However, they do record and take pictures while you are visiting Santa. When you exit your visit there will be an elf waiting to preview your pictures with you. If you purchase a hard copy they will print your picture right then. If you order a digital download they will give you a business card with a QR code to access your downloads with.
While Visit Rovaniemi provided our family the digital image posted above, we also purchased the hard copy of the photo and it is absolutely stunning. The print we purchased was printed on special shimmer paper and I know it will be a picture that we treasure for a lifetime!
As you enter Santa Claus Village the Christmas House will be one of the first buildings you see. I’m sad to say that we didn’t really go into this building except to run in and grab a map. Now that I see what it includes I’m sorry that we didn’t have time to explore it.
The Christmas House is another destination where you can visit Santa. Similar to the other Santa, pictures are available for purchase. In addition to seeing Santa, you can also experience a walk through exhibit of Christmas traditions from around the world. I wish we would have done this as I think it would have been fun and interesting to learn about the different traditions.
After visiting Santa we headed to Snowman World. Snowman World Winter Zone is a place where you can see ice sculptures, snow sculptures, and go ice skating or snow tubing.
Snowman World is open the first week of December and closes at the end of March (these dates are subject to winter conditions). Opening hours are 11am-5pm (hours are shortened for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Years Day). Tickets for Snowman World can be purchased just outside Cafe Ensilumi. Tickets are 28Euros for both adults and children (children 3 and under are free).
We visited in early December and the snowfall had not been what they typically receive in December. Therefore they were still working on some of the ice sculptures and ice skating was not open yet.
Snow & Ice Sculptures
We enjoyed walking through the snow igloo looking at the variety of snow sculptures made on the walls. There were also ice sculptures to look at. There were even men working on carving new sculptures when were there. Both the ice sculptures and snow carvings were a sight to see!
After walking through the igloos we headed out back to participate in snow tubing. There are three snow tube slides to choose from. There are two slides available for those looking for an easy ride. The other slide is for the more adventurous (and when I say adventurous I mean the most intense tube slide I’ve ever seen). We had a great time riding the snow tubes. There is no age or height limit so everyone in our family was able to participate. You are also allowed to ride with a child on your lap.
Ice Restaurant & Ice Bar
Inside Snowman World there is an ice bar and restaurant. While we did not eat or drink at the ice restaurant or bar, we did take a walk in to take a peek. It looks like a great place for a romantic meal or a special family meal. For more information on menus, prices, and hours of operation visit the Snowman World website.
If you are looking for a place to get out of the cold and fill hungry tummies you can visit Cafe Ensilumi just outside Snowman World. Cafe Ensilumi serves snack type food like pastries. You can also grab a cold or warm drink like hot chocolate, hot tea, or coffee.
Our family really enjoyed visiting Snowman World. We spent approximately 2 hours playing. I would say that you should expect to spend 1-3 hours there depending on which activities you participate in but you will not need a full day here.
Santa Claus Village Reindeer Ride
Right next door to Snowman World you will find Santa’s very own reindeer. This was such a neat experience. I never dreamed that I would be riding in a reindeer-drawn sleigh in Finland.
There are three adventures to choose from (Reindeer Path, Forest Path, and Winter Adventure.) Tickets for the Reindeer Path (400m) and Forest Path (1000m) can be purchased when you walk up. If you are interested in the longer ride, the winter adventure, you will need to make reservations through their website. We were provided tickets for the Reindeer Path from Visit Rovaniemi.
After you purchase your tickets you will get into the appropriate line based on which ticket you purchase. When it is your turn the reindeer handler will escort you to your reindeer and sleigh. Since we have 5 people in our family we were split into 2 sleighs.
Our handler was very kind, patient, and willing to help get the pictures I requested. Once we had taken our pictures he bundled us up in our sleighs, covered us with reindeer hides and we started on our journey. For the 400m you stay on a circular path right in the village. It is approximately an 8-10 minute ride. I thought it was the perfect amount of time to experience a reindeer ride but not get too cold.
Mrs. Santa Claus’ Christmas Cottage
Located just behind the reindeer rides you will find Mrs. Santa Claus’ Christmas Cottage. While we did not participate in this activity it looks like it would be a fun and cute experience. You get to help Mrs. Claus make porridge and gingerbread cookies while listening to her sing songs and tell stories of the Arctic. You can find available times and pricing here.
Right next to the reindeer rides are mini snowmobiles for kids to ride. For 20 euros your child will be instructed how to drive the snowmobile and given proper equipment. They then will be allowed a 10-minute ride. My kids definitely wanted to do this activity but unfortunately, we ran out of time.
Elf’s Farm Yard
Another adorable activity in Santa Claus Village is Elf’s Farm Yard. Tickets for this attraction are 15 euros for adults and children (3-15y) are 10 euros. The Elf’s Farm Yard is a beautiful little area amongst the trees with a lot of family fun activities.
Our first activity in the farmyard was reindeer petting. An employee let us into the pen and gave us instructions on how to be appropriate with the reindeer as well as how to pet them. This was a really neat experience to be up close and personal with the reindeer.
Next, we went over to try out traditional Lappish skiing. I did not participate as I was busy documenting the whole thing (there always has to be a family historian 🙂 However, my husband and all three kids tried it out. There was a circular track that went along the outskirts of the property. My oldest son, daughter, and husband were all able to make it around the entire track. My youngest son however only skied a little and then he was done because his feet were a little too small and he was cold.
Thankfully Elf’s Farm Yard also had a Lapland hut that had a fireplace in it. I hung out with my youngest in the hut while the other three finished skiing. We were able to warm up to head out and finish the other activities on the farm.
After warming up we headed over to play on a sledding hill. The farm had a variety of sleds to try which my children really enjoyed. There was also another fire pit located next to the sledding hill to keep you warm if you got too cold.
In the center of the farm there are furry little bunnies who love to hop over and see you. Our last activity at the farm was to feed the bunnies carrots.
Santa Claus Main Post Office
You definitely want to take time to visit the Santa Claus Main Post Office when visiting Santa Claus Village. Inside the post office you can view letters sent to Santa from around the world.
You will likely want to take a couple of minutes to send a postcard to loved ones back home. There are tables available for you to sit down and write and address your postcards (remember to bring addresses). You can also purchase a letter to come directly from Santa to be delivered either this Christmas or the next. Since we were visiting in early December it was too late for Santa to get the letter out for this Christmas.
Located next to Elf’s Farm Yard is Husky Park. We did not visit Husky Park as we had already planned an excursion with a husky farm outside of Santa Claus Village. The Husky Park has 500m and 2km husky rides that do not require a reservation. However, if you are interested in a safari you should visit their website.
Crossing The Arctic Circle
When visiting Santa Claus Village you will want to head to the center of the village to cross the Arctic Circle. In the winter the line cannot be seen on the ground due to the snow so the neon blue line overhead will help you indicate where the official line exists. If you want your family at home to be a part of the fun you can notify them before crossing the line and they can watch you on the live stream you as you pass over. You can also cross over the arctic circle underground at Santa Park.
Snow Play & Sledding
As I mentioned before we headed over to the village the night before we actually visited during the daytime. This was also when we had a lot of fun sledding. Just out front of Snowman World there is a great hill for sledding. Just be aware that a road does come through there so you have to keep an eye out for cars that may be passing through. The good thing about sledding at night was that there were very few cars passing through.
If visiting in the winter there is plenty of snow to have a fun time playing in it. Whether having a snowball fight or making a snow angel you are sure to have a great time just playing in the snow at Santa Claus Village.
Santa Claus Village Restaurants
While we only ate at two restaurants while we were in Santa Claus Village I wanted to give a brief overview of the choices available.
As mentioned in the Snowman World section of this article, Cafe Ensilumi is a great place to stop and get a little snack when tummies are getting rumbly. With snacks and pastries and warm and cold drinks, there is something for everyone in the family.
The other restaurant we ate at in Santa Claus Village was Cafe-Restaurant Napatapuli. With a very relaxed vibe, we found it the perfect place to grab a quick bite to eat with our family. We thought the reindeer burger was delicious.
Lapland Restaurant Kotahovi
If you walk across the bridge located behind the reindeer sleigh rides you will find the Lapland Restaurant Kotahovi. They offer traditional Lappish dishes and modern cuisine in a unique and beautiful Finnish hut.
Nova Skyland Restaurant
Combining the tastes of Lapland and Asia, Nova Skyland Restaurant has a variety of offerings throughout the day. They offer a buffet for both breakfast and lunch and beginning at dinner they serve a la carte. If you are just visiting Santa Claus Village for the day lunch is likely the meal you will be eating. The lunch buffet is 14.5 euros. Nova Skyland does allow children younger than 5 to eat free with a paying adult and children between 5 and 10 receive half off-yay for discounts!
Three Elves Restaurant
Available for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Three Elves Restaurant serves Scandanavian food. For more information visit their facebook page here.
Santa’s Pizza & Burger
If fast food is what you are looking for, be sure to visit Santa’s Pizza & Burger. As the name suggests, this restaurant serves pizza and burgers as well as vodka ice cream for the adults in the crowd.
Santa’s Salmon Place
With very high reviews and often with a line to prove it, Santa’s Salmon Place is where you want to eat if looking for delicious salmon. Not only is the food fantastic, but you get to eat in a traditional Finnish Kota while your fish is cooked over an open fire.
Santa Claus Village Hotels
Our family stayed in an Airbnb inside the city of Rovaniemi. I really enjoyed staying in the city as it put us close to grocery stores, restaurants, and shops. However, many people enjoy staying right in the middle of the magic. We will share the hotel choices available in Santa Claus Village. As we mentioned in Planning For A Trip To Rovaniemi, if you are interested in staying in the village you will want to book as far out as possible. Due to the popularity of staying in the village, these accommodations fill up quickly.
Santa Claus Holiday Village
Located in the front of the village, Santa Claus Holiday Village is a perfect hotel choice for those who want to be close to the action. With cottages or their new suites to choose from, this is a perfect accommodation option for families. For more information, reviews, and booking visit here.
Nova Skyland Hotel
If you are looking for more of an apartment-style accommodation, Nova Skyland Hotel may be your answer. Located in the back of Santa Claus Village amongst the trees of the forest, this accommodation puts you close to the action but allows you to experience the beauty of nature. For more information, reviews, and booking visit here.
Snowman World Glass Resort
If the hunting the Northern Lights is part of plans when visiting Rovaniemi, Snowman World Glass Resort is your place to stay. With floor to ceiling windows, this resort is definitely a dream come true for those hunting the northern lights. For more information, reviews, and booking visit here.
Santa’s Igloos Arctic Circle
Another accommodation that offers incredible views for Northern Light hunters is Santa’s Igloos Arctic Circle. With the comforts of a hotel and glass windows and ceilings, your family is sure to have a memory-making time staying in this accommodation. For more information, reviews, and booking visit here.
When we were planning our trip I was concerned with the parking at Santa Claus Village. I thought it would be so crowded that it would be difficult to find parking. We were there on one of the busiest days of the year and we had no trouble finding a parking spot. The parking is free and there are plenty of places to park.
As I mentioned in our post, Planning A Trip To Rovaniemi, if you have little ones (kids 5 and under) I would definitely recommend getting a sled. Like a stroller in warm destinations, a sled is the perfect way to get your little one around as you travel through Santa Claus Village. In addition, you will want it for all that sledding fun we mentioned!
If you are going to Rovaniemi you will also want to check out our post on 10 Things To Do In Rovaniemi With Kids. In this post we cover all the other fun things to do in Rovaniemi in addition to Santa Claus Village.
We appreciate you reading to the end of our article. If you have any questions about Santa Claus Village or visiting Rovaniemi we would love to help answer them. We will also be coming out with a Youtube video where you can see all the fun we had in Santa Claus Village. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to stay updated. Finally, if you enjoyed this article we would love for you to share it by clicking on the pin below or using our social share buttons. Stay Peachy!