Helsinki to Rovaniemi: Visiting Santa Claus in his Hometown


Added to the list of things that can only happen in Finland: someone decided that the town Rovaniemi was going to be declared the official home of Santa Claus. I mean, they already had the reindeer, so I suppose this was the next logical step.

Whether you’re young or just young at heart, have a large family or small, there’s never been a better time to make your magical dreams of meeting Santa come true – and the train can help make it happen!

Santa Claus in Rovaniemi
Santa Claus in his hometown of Rovaniemi Finland.

Rovaniemi – declared as the official home of Santa Claus

If you’re looking for a once in a lifetime, magical, fantasy-to-reality type of getaway, why not travel by train from Helsinki to Rovaniemi?

The small city of Rovaniemi is up above the Arctic Circle in the region of Lapland. In this magical place, you can visit Santa’s Village and maybe see a toy or two in production. Maybe you can even find out if you’re on the naughty or nice list this year.

Santa's Village, Rovaniemi Finland
Santa’s Village, Rovaniemi, Finaland.

Things to see and do in Santa’s Village

A visit to Santa’s Village in Rovaniemi will provide you with experiences that you cannot find anywhere else in the world. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights of a trip to this quaint Christmas village.

First and foremost on visitors’ lists is a face to face meeting with the legendary man in red – Santa! You can easily accomplish this by visiting him in the “Santa Claus Office.” The office is open daily, all year round and thousands upon thousands of visitors flock here from all around the world – just for the opportunity to meet Santa! You can find out more on the official Santa Claus Village website.

After meeting Mr. Claus, why not head to the Arctic Circle Husky Park for a fabulous husky sleigh ride. The park has roughly 90 Siberian huskies to care for, and part of that care includes lots of running! Nothing makes these pups (or spectators) happier than running through the snow with a couple of friends. A visit to the Husky Park is a great way to spend an afternoon with the family.

Learn about Christmas traditions and culture throughout the world when you stop by the Christmas House, home of the Christmas Exhibition. The Christmas House apparently has the best souvenir shop in the village, so after you’ve made your way through the Christmas exhibit, you may want to stop by and do a little holiday shopping!

Be sure to visit SantaPark on your visit to Rovaniemi. This underground network of caves is chock-full of Christmas Spirit and certainly should not be missed! Here you can learn calligraphy writing, attend a class on how to be an elf, visit Mrs. Claus’ Bakery and more! A visit to SantaPark is a great day spent with the family.

Tracks to Rovaniemi. Image courtesy of & some rights reserved by Adrián Pére.
Tracks to Rovaniemi. Image courtesy of & some rights reserved by Adrián Pére.

Getting to Santa’s Village by train:

To get to the Arctic Circle, you don’t need your own magical sled…you can get on-board the train! You can travel directly from Helsinki to Rovaniemi by train. Travel time is roughly 9.5 hours on this direct train. You will make a few stops along the way, but you do not need to change trains.

This InterCity train offers 1st and 2nd class accommodations, a restaurant car where food and beverages can be purchased, and even a playroom where youngsters and adults alike can stretch their legs and have some fun with fellow arctic travelers.

Upon arrival, you can take a bus from the Rovaniemi Railway station to the village. Known as Santa’s Express, simply hop on bus number 8 (of the local bus network). Travel time between the railway station and Santa’s Village is roughly 15 minutes. When you reach the village, you’ll feel as though you’ve been placed directly into the set of your favorite Christmas movie!

If the trip up to Rovaniemi is not the only travel you plan to do in Finland, you may want to consider a Eurail Finland Pass, valid for extensive travel on the national rail network of Finland; or a Eurail Scandinavia Pass which will give you extensive travel on the national rail networks of Finland, Sweden, Norway & Denmark.

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Rovaniemi by train with Rail Europe

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