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Right by the Arctic Circle, the ‘official’ terrestrial residence of Santa Claus is the capital of Finnish Lapland and a tourism boom town. Its wonderful Arktikum museum is the perfect introduction to these latitudes, and Rovaniemi is a fine base from which to organise activities, visit Santa and generally get a taste for the Arctic.

Thoroughly destroyed by the retreating Wehrmacht in 1944, the town was rebuilt to a plan by Alvar Aalto, with the major streets in the shape of a reindeer’s head and antlers (the stadium near the bus station is the eye). Its utilitarian buildings are compensated for by its marvellous riverside location.

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These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Rovaniemi.


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