Santa Claus village – honest guide

Santa Claus village – honest guide

Santa Claus village is one of the things that people will tell you to visit when going to Lapland. To be honest, it very much depends on your travel style and what do you actually want from Lapland to see. In my opinion, Santa Claus Village is like Christmas itself – stressful, busy and expensive.

Why Santa Claus village?

According to Americans, Santa lives on the north pole, according to Danes, Santa lives in Greenland (possibly because Greenland is still part of Denmark), according to Swedes, he lives in Finland. There isn’t anyone living in the north pole, and Greenlanders weren’t interested. But Fins decided that Santa will have his own village. And because he is supposed to have reindeers, he will live in Lapland, where they have a lot these animals.

What to expect?

Lordi in Santa Claus Village
Lordi is probably one of the most famous metal band in Finland. And even they visited Santa Claus Village

It is a place where are constantly Christmas. Which could be a good thing. When you come here, you will see a lot of decoration and cozy atmosphere. But this place is also well-known. Which mean that by no means you will be here alone. In fact, there is a long line for taking pictures with Santa or other attractions.

Yes, it is true, in Santa village, you will find a lot of attractions. And if you really want to, you can even live there. There are a lot of hotels around. So what do you find? Except for the hotels in shape of iglu (only for guests), you can find there a place for reindeer sledding, husky sledding, petting zoo, snowmobile tour, Moomin castle and possibly even more.

Did I hear you say “that sounds awesome!”? It might be. Here is the thing. There is a free entrance to Santa Claus village. But that is about all that is free over there. If you want to ride with reindeer, you need to pay. Same for huskies, snowmobile, castle and more. I wouldn’t even have an issue with it if they would present it in advance and not as some kind of extra feature. Things here are cheaper but have a different quality than normal tours.

Visiting Santa

First, you will walk around Santa’s house and sure, the decorations are nice and it has a very cozy atmosphere. But it is terribly crowded. Next step is to go and meet Santa your self. It is kinda cool, you will see all these pictures of famous people with him including Chinese president or Finnish metal band. But you can be stuck in a line for a very long time. I was for half an hour. Then I met Santa. Cool, but if you go there just because you are curious, and you are 25 like me, this becomes awkward. Everything is set up so you can quickly just take a picture and go, go, go! Besides the girls there are dressed as elves makes the weirdest sounds ever. I guess they are trying to sound cute, I’m just not sure if it is working.

Reindeer experience

View from sleds
Sometimes the only thing that you see from the sleds is reindeer but and snowy nature

As an example of in Santa Claus Village attractions, here is my experience from sledding a reindeer. Here in this giant gift shop, I find a place where I can do some sledding with reindeer. There were three options for sledding. Either 400m, 1km or 3 km, each had a different price of course. And you could also pay extra for what they called “reindeer driving license”. All that sounds very fancy until you try it.

At the gate, I asked the woman if I can try to control the deer by myself. She said I can try, but I should tell it to the guy who will be walking with us. I did, however, he said that they don’t have any reindeer here for beginners, so I should just sit and enjoy the view. Well, the view was just reindeer but, but fair enough, kinda cute.

Another thing that kind of bothered me was the fact, that we are going for the whole kilometer and not once we tried to go any faster than just by walk. I just left, feeling like I had no proper experience from this. Besides here the animals are treated very touristy, so they would stay tacked the whole day. I’m no expert of reindeer, but I know that it would be an issue with horses.

Petting zoo

Another thing that I decided to try was my visit to the petting zoo. I love these kinds of attractions. But this one had like 5 animals, some of them weren’t used for touching. And because that particular corner of Santa Claus Village was also to try cross skying. That is something I actually cannot do because of my knees.ย  So the guy tried to make me awkwardly hug the trees instead. I have nothing against hugging trees when it kinda make sense or when I want to. This way it is just weird. And definitely wasn’t worth even those 10 euros that they wanted.

Summary of my trip

Santa Claus Village
A place of forever Christmas

I guess I’m glad that I went, but friendly warning that it will be like this would be nice. I don’t think that Santa Claus Village is necessarily bad. But if you are a traveler who is looking for non-touristy places, it is not for you. However, if you have kids and want to go for a winter wonderland holiday, Santa Claus Village will be a place to be. Kids will try everything and for that, it is relatively cheap. Or at least cheaper than a normal tour that would consist maybe just snowmobile or just some other activity.

In fact, one thing that I liked about this place is that the gift shops were very original here. In case you are collecting anything.

But for me Santa Claus Village was a one-time experience, I’m glad that I had it. But I’m not going to do it again.

Santa Claus Village and where to find it

This Christmas village is in Lapland, so north part of Finland. It is very close to Rovaniemi, which is considered the capital of Lapland. How to get there? Easy. Since Lapland is about 800 km north of Helsinki, you can take a train there (there is a possibility of an overnight train) or you can fly there with Finnair or Norweigian. When it comes to the village itself, there is a lot of shuttle buses that go directly there or there are a lot of busses from Rovaniemi.

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14 Replies to “Santa Claus village – honest guide”

  1. This looks like a perfect winter/Christmas activity. I live in the deserts of Arizona, so I have never had the opportunity to visit a winter wonderland like this one. Maybe someday!

  2. Is the Santa Claus village open all year? I would love to do a reindeer ride, even if it does mean just staring at his furry bum the whole time lol. I’d actually love to visit, but I don’t like tourist places – dilemma ๐Ÿ™‚ But thanks for the honest report!

    1. No, I think they stop in April and open sometime in November or late October, since most of the activities that they held around actually need snow ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Itโ€™s refreshing to find a review that features the ups and downs of Santa clausโ€™ Village. Itโ€™s a shame about your reindeer experience and Iโ€™m not surprised itโ€™s so touristy and out to make as much money as possible. Good to know what to expect though!

  4. I didn’t even know a place like this existed. I appreciate the honest review and as a single woman I may not go now, but if I ever have kids I would love to take them here. I’m sure it would be a magical experience for them even if it’s on the touristy side ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. It sounds like one of those destinations that is heavily geared towards kids so I think I likely wouldn’t go unless I was taking children. The reindeer sled sounds kind of neat though, there aren’t many places where you can go for a sleigh ride with reindeer! It’s too bad that the ride was a bit boring though.

  6. Ha, this almost sounds like a comedy of errors– although it sounds like some people have a really great time! I imagine the scenery would be spectacular, at the very least, but I’m with you– it doesn’t sound like those reindeer are exactly loving their lives.

  7. I’m with you, Christmas is over rated! What an ahhh interesting time you had here. On the upside you’ve now experienced this and don’t need to go back ever again

  8. I love Christmas so I’d probably enjoy this winter wonderland. It looks like fun, or maybe I’d think that until I got there. Probably a great place to go with kids

  9. What an experience! I know what you mean by ‘once in a lifetime’. I’ve had a lot of experiences like that myself. I’d definitely like to try this one day.

  10. Sounds like you had some bad luck with the place being so crowded at the time of your visit! I went for a quick visit a few years ago and I found it a bit touristy but not too crowded, of course this could have changed since then. There’s plenty of peace and quiet places in Lapland where you could also see reindeer so I hope you have a chance to get another experience sometime ๐Ÿ™‚

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