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Facts, figures, highlights

Rovaniemi is the Official Hometown of Santa Claus and the provincial capital of Lapland, situated on the Arctic Circle at the confluence of rivers Kemijoki and Ounasjoki. Besides being a popular travel destination, the town is the commercial, educational, administrative, cultural and sports centre of Lapland.
For essential information in a nutshell, please see below.

For extensive information on Rovaniemi, please see the Visit Rovaniemi media kit.

Please see our Stats page.

– In terms of geographical area, Rovaniemi is the largest town in Europe, spanning 8 016 km² in all. The total area comprises 7 601 km² of land and 415 km² of water.

– Rovaniemi is Finland’s 16th largest town.

– The number of citizens is 61 838 (31st December 2015). Including the additional 5 000 students (2012 estimate) whose main place of residence is outside of Rovaniemi, the total number of inhabitants rises to approximately 65 000.

– 2.4 % of the town’s residents have foreign citizenship (31st December 2014). The total number of different nationalities exceeds 90 (31st December 2012).

– Each year, Rovaniemi is visited by approximately half a million travellers, of which around 60 % come from foreign countries and 40 % are domestic visitors.

– The town is surrounded by approximately 30 villages, most of them situated near the rivers Ounasjoki and Kemijoki.

– Rovaniemi has been the administrative centre of Lapland since 1938.

– Rovaniemi was granted town status in 1960.

– The average annual temperature in 2015 was 2,6 °C.The coldest month in 2015 was January with an average temperature of -10,9 °C. The warmest was July with an average temperature of +13,8°C.

– At the end of 2014, age distribution was as follows: 0-14 years, 16.9 %; 15-64 years, 65,9 %, 65 and older, 17,2 %. Of citizens 15 years and older, 75,4 % had completed secondary school at the end of 2014 and 31,3 % had graduated from college or university.

– In 2011, the number of business locations was 3 266.

Media highlights

What you definitely should know when planning a story in and on Rovaniemi

Santa Claus

Rovaniemi is the Official Hometown of Santa Claus, where the man in red can be visited 365 days a year.

  • Santa Claus has received visitors in Rovaniemi since 1985.
  • Rovaniemi received the status of the Official Hometown of Santa Claus in 2010.
  • Santa Claus is an ambassador of good will, love and peace.
  • Santa Claus is available for interviews as well as photo and television shoots, but they need to be booked in advance.
  • Santa Claus does not participate in brand promotions or the like.

Please read more on Santa Claus.

Santa Claus feeding his reindeer in Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland

Santa Claus Village

Santa Claus Village is the main tourist attraction in Rovaniemi and Lapland with more than 300 000 annual visitors.

  • The birth of Santa Claus Village was sparked by a visit from Eleanor Roosevelt in 1950. She visited Rovaniemi to see how the US initiative Marshall Plan was helping in the rebuilding process after World War II. She wanted to visit the Arctic Circle, and Rovaniemi officials rushed to building a cabin eight kilometres north of the city. The cabin still stands today next to Santa Claus Main Post Office.
  • Today, Santa Claus village is a holiday resort that features around 50 draws in the form of attractions, activity companies, design and souvenir shops, restaurants and cafés.
  • Since 2011, accommodation has been available in Santa Claus Village. Today options range from holiday cabins to glass igloos and an igloo hotel.
  • Santa Claus Village lies right on the Arctic Circle, and is the most popular place to cross the line as it is clearly marked.
  • Santa Claus Main Post Office is one of the most popular attractions and shops in Santa Claus Village. It is a real post office operated by Finnish postal service Posti. Every letter sent from Santa Claus Main Post Office gets a special Arctic Circle postmark not available anywhere else.

The central plaza in Santa Claus Village, Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland

SantaPark

SantaPark is Santa’s home cavern, mined 50 metres underground in the Syväsenvaara fell.

  • SantaPark is possibly the only place in the world where you can cross the Arctic Circle underground.
  • SantaPark is the place to go for elf-themed activities like the Elf School and the Elf Workshop.
  • SantaPark is well suited for private Christmas-themed shoots.
  • The cave also features an ice gallery year round.

The Elf School in Rovaniemi, the Official Hometown of Santa Claus

Northern Lights

The Northern Lights are a magical phenomenon very popular among tourists, many of whom come to Rovaniemi mainly to see the dancing arcs of light in the sky. Find out more about the Aurora Borealis.

The Northern Lights, picture by Visit Finland

Midnight Sun

The Midnight Sun and white nights provide light around the clock in the northern summer. The light conditions are unique and ideal for photography. The nocturnal light also gives an extra edge to activities. Read more on the Midnight Sun.

The Midnight Sun over river Ounasjoki behind Arktikum in Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland

Unique accommodation options

There are several unique ways to stay the night in Rovaniemi.

  • Glass igloos by Arctic Glass Igloos half an hour from central Rovaniemi and by Santa’s Igloos in Santa Claus Village for Northern Lights viewing.
  • Hotels built of ice and snow by Arctic SnowHotel half an hour from central Rovaniemi and Snowman World in Santa Claus Village.
  • Arctic TreeHouse Hotel, nest-like rooms on stilts with large windows for Northern Lights watching next to SantaPark, a five-minute drive from the city centre.
  • Beana Laponia Wilderness Boutique Hotel with Safaris is a resort designed for adults looking for relaxing holidays, personal service and outdoor activities in small groups.
  • In Rovaniemi city centre, Arctic Light Hotel is the latest high-end addition to Rovaniemi’s range of hotels.
  • Vartiosaari is a private island close to central Rovaniemi, with an establishment that has 11 guestrooms, each furnished with Finnish classics by designers such as Alvar Aalto.

Arctic TreeHouse Hotel in Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland'

Rovaniemi's wide activity assortment

Rovaniemi has excellent grounds and facilities for a plethora of activities year round.

Most popular winter activities include:

  • Husky tours
  • Reindeer rides
  • Snowmobiling
  • Northern Lights hunting tours (starting end of August)
  • Snowshoeing

Most popular summer activities include:

  • Jet ski tours
  • Activities under the Midnight Sun
  • Tours on rivers, for example on a river boat or a floating sauna
  • Hiking
  • Mountain biking

And that’s just scratching the surface. Please see our Activities page for the whole range.

Jet skiing on the Kemijoki river in central Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland

Changing seasons and weather

Rovaniemi has all four seasons – some locals would argue there are up to eight of them in the year – with stark contrasts between them, and each shows the city and surrounding natural areas in a totally different light. Read more on the four seasons and when to go.

Autumn leaf colour in Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland

Snow sauna

The snow sauna is an exotic concept even for Finns, to whom traditional sauna is a source of national pride. Arctic SnowHotel constructs snow saunas each winter. Getting steamy hot in a cubicle made of snow and ice is truly a unique experience!

Snow sauna by Arctic SnowHotel in Rovaniemi, the Official Hometown of Santa Claus