Santa Claus village is one of the things that people will tell you to visit when going to Lapland. It is a place that is generally great for kids. And there is certainly a lot of activities for them in Santa Claus Village. Whether you would like this place very much depends on your travel style and preferences. So I will write everything you need to know to visit this place plus my honest opinion on this place.
What is Santa Claus Village in Lapland?
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 village. And because he is supposed to have reindeers, he will live in Lapland, where they have a lot these animals.
This Santa Claus village is full of activities connected to these animals and whatever winter wonderland offers. Additionally, some things are typical just for Finland.
Santa Claus Village activities
1, Visiting Santa
The biggest attraction in Santa Claus village is to meet Santa himself. That is done in the main building of this whole theme park. You can visit the whole Santa house with Christmas decorations all around the house.
To meet Santa, you will need to stand in a line of people who wants to meet him too. Even in the offseason, there are still a lot of people. But on your way there, you can see a hall full of famous people, who have already met him. People like famous metal band LORDI or even Chinese president.
Once you get to Santa’s room, you will be instructed by elves to sit next to him. Santa will probably tell you one or two things. The Elves will take a picture of you and then you will send out, through the gift shop. There you can buy your picture with Santa. It cost 14 euros to get pictures printed. And no selfies or cameras are allowed in Santas room.
2, Santa’s post office
This is a pretty cool idea. A lot of kids would write to Santa about what they wish for Christmas. And Santa’s post office is all about it. This way you can send a postback to the kids. There are postcards that you can buy and send out. They will be stamped with the original Santa’s post office stamp, which makes the postcard unique.
3, Stepping over the arctic circle
It is true, there is a border with the Arctic center. So walk, jump or run through it, you got up there. You can take a picture of it – a million people are doing that. You can also get a certificate, that you have been to the arctic circle. That cost 25 euro. I would say that it is not necessary since you can just take pictures of yourself that proves it.
Yey, one of the bigger activities in Santa Claus Village. The premise of this theme park is basically that there is a couple of stations around the whole areal, where you can go and do something. This is one of the activities. You can choose the different duration of the snowmobiling, and you will be guided to go through a park. The minimal duration is 30 minutes, which cost 55 euros.
Because the place is children friendly, you can also buy a ticket for your kid. They will be driving mini snowmobile – a very safe alternative to the grown-up one. A 20 euro ticket is for 10 minutes of fun on the mini snowmobile.
5, Husky safari
Similar to snowmobiles, you can also try husky safari here. There are different times and schedules. The cheapest husky experience cost 10 euros, which will include about half an hour with the dogs. You would also try the rides on the sleds with huskies, but you won’t get the chance to drive the sleds by yourself. There will be a guide doing it for you. You can also choose to get an appointment for a longer ride with huskies.
6, Reindeer safari
Ride with the reindeers is the same thing as with huskies. You will get to meet reindeers and the company there will offer you three basic rides. One where you would just go around the block, another one that is for one kilometer and the last one that is for 5 kilometers. The last one cost 65 euros, then 25 euros and the shortest one was just for 15 euros. I did the medium one.
It was nice enough to go around and everything but it still felt pretty short and the guide didn’t want you to touch the reindeer. Even though they said that all the animals that they have there are harmless.
7, Petting zoo and cross sky stand
Another stand that I found was a place where they both petting zoo and an opportunity to try cross sky. There is only a little circuit, where you can try the sky experience. I didn’t do that, mainly because my knees are in bad condition. But I couldn’t say no to the petting zoo. It is not one of the biggest activities in Santa Claus village, but there are still some people coming there for it.
The petting zoo isn’t too big and it consists of a couple of sheep, goat and some bunnies as well. They are all well taken care of. This stand would also charge you for doing all this stuff, it cost 15 euros to visit the petting zoo and try to cross-sky.
8, Winter wonderland
Another thing that you can visit in Santa Claus would be a local winter wonderland. A special park full of snow statues. There are a lot of different ones and very well done. You can see here moomins – very typical for Finland. But also Santa and some other things shaped into ice. It is a place, where you can spend probably half an hour. But the tickets cost 30 euros per person.
9, Santa shop
When you will be leaving, you will probably meet this stand. It is right next to the bus station. You can buy there all kinds of different things, related to either Christmas or something very Finnish. So you can expect here things like Moomin mugs, actually anything with Moomins. Except for that, you can also see there pictures and drawings of Northern lights, or even bear meat in a can. All of it is quite expensive. On the other hand, some things you will see here are unique, so it is fine, that they added some extra euros to it.
How to get to Santa Claus Village?
Santa Claus village is only 8 kilometers away from the closest city called Rovaniemi. If you are renting a car, you just follow the main road and you should be there in 10 minutes, even in the winter.
Another option is to take a bus. There are a couple of stops all around Rovianemi, so you can just hop on one. The ticket cost 10 euros and it is a two-way ticket. So you can just show it on your way back. In the village itself, you have a monitor, to see when the next bus is coming. They are usually coming every hour, so it is easy to get on one.
The airport is much closer to the village than the city of Rovaniemi. It is only 3 km, to the village. One option is to take the shuttle, that goes directly there. The shuttle cost around 10 euros. You can also take a taxi for about 20 euros.
The budget option here would be to take bus n. 8. The bus leaves every hour and stops right next to the entrance of the Santa Claus village. The bus cost only euros. But keep in mind that both prices and time schedules are changing from time to time.
Where to stay?
Santa’s hotel aurora
Considering everything, this would be the best budget option for two people. It cost 168 euros per night. But you would get a private sauna with the room, breakfast and northern lights alarm. Besides, there are all the necessities that you need like kettle, shower or TV. The hotel also offers rooms with fireplaces in various sizes or even the igloo room for 715 euros.
Santa Claus hotel
Another very budget option, but this time maybe not too comfortable like the first one. The cheapest place at Santa Claus hotel costs 162 euros per night. In that price is included a shower, breakfast and free usage of the hotel sauna.
If you are looking for a luxurious hotel, Glass Resort in Santa Village is certainly one of them. You will get your private sauna, entrance and even bathing place outside of the apartment. The price is for 625 euros per night for 2 people. However, if you are coming in early spring, you can get 10% off the price.
Igloos Arctic circle
This would be another option for a luxurious traveler. The Igloo hotel is almost worldwide known, you will have a bedroom with glass instead of walls. There is no sauna in this particular hotel, but you can still get northern lights alarm and breakfast. The price is 580 euros per night.
Accommodation in Rovaniemi
If you feel like all this is a bit too pricey for you, there are great options for hotels and hostels in Rovaniemi, which is very close by. You might not be in the middle of the woods like you would with these Santa hotels, but there is a sauna in most of the hotels in Rovaniemi and breakfast as well. Some of them also offer Northern lights alarm. The hostels here have very high quality and are usually very nice. Rovaniemi has also a lot of restaurants, with a different style of food including vegan dishes, or other special diets.
Are Santa Claus village activities worth it?
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 a cozy atmosphere. But this place is also well-known. Which means that by no means you will be here alone. There is a long line for taking pictures with Santa or other attractions.
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.
Let me give you some examples of how it goes in Santa Claus Village. The main activity is possible to meet Santa in person. In-person, it looks something like this:
First, you will walk around Santa’s house and sure, the decorations are nice and it has a very cozy atmosphere. But it is crowded. The next step is to go and meet Santa your self. But you can be stuck in a line for a very long time. It was for half an hour. Then I met Santa. Nice, but if you go there just because you are curious, and you are 25 years old like me, this becomes awkward.
Everything is set up so you can quickly just take a picture and go, go, go! Go right to the gift shop where you can pick up your picture!
Besides the girls, there are dressed as elves make the weirdest sounds ever. I guess they are trying to sound cute, I’m just not sure if it is working for someone, for me it was a bit weird. I guess it is just part of the role, that they are playing there.
Another example of in Santa Claus Village attractions, this time with animals. Here in this giant gift shop, I find a place where I can do some sledding with reindeer. There were three options for sledding. 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.
The 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 in reindeer, but I know that it would be an issue with horses and I suppose it is the same with reindeer.
Summary of my trip
I’m glad that I went. I got to try a thing that so many people were talking about. 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 experience, it is relatively cheap. Or at least cheaper than a normal tour that would consist maybe just snowmobile or just some other activity.
One thing that I liked about this place is that the gift shops were very original here. In case you are collecting anything. I got a couple of very cool playing cards, that I’m always collecting.
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.
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