If you happen to be high up north in Lapland during Christmas time, you must visit Santa Park near Rovaniemi, Lapland's capital. You've always wanted to meet the original Santa Claus? Well, then this is your ultimate chance to experience and live your childhood dream. There's a lot to discover at Santa's home as the cave system Santa lives in is an exciting place to discover.
All areas of the park
You get to see a school that resembles nothing of a normal school we all went to. It's an elf school, living up to the motto “everyone needs elf skills”. You will be introduced to the secrets of the elf world. You even have the chance to obtain a certificate at the elf school and try the newly acquired skills back home. On top of all, you may learn how to write in elf language. Just stop by the calligraphy school and here you are in the process of becoming the new elf poet.
Santa Claus' wife, Mrs Claus, has an excellent reputation for baking the best gingerbread far and wide, meticulously sticking to a secret recipe. In addition, the bakery serves wine and other culinary delights.
In the Angry Birds fun area you may let birds fly just as you know it from the popular game.
A highlight in the park is of course Santa Claus' office. In the comfy room you find a man sitting with a white beard and a red suite – a fully-fledged Santa Claus. He might be familiar as he was probably omnipresent during your childhood Christmas time. Approaching him, you will be given a warm welcome. You may give him your wish list or whisper it into his ear.
When here, the ice sculpture collection is something not be missed, either. It's situated in the gallery of the ice princess. Enjoying a cocktail at the ice bar, you may learn a lot about Finland while occupying yourself with the ice sculptures shown here.
The northern polar circle goes right through the mountain. How about you crossing it underground? This is what you can do at the park 50 m (164 ft) under the ground. Upon successful completion of crossing the polar circle, you receive a certificate. How wonderful is that?!
Something that must not be missing either when here is a ride with a sleigh. While sledding, you learn a lot about the Arctic winter, animals home to this region and the country's fairy tales. Towards the end of your tour, you arrive at the elf toy factory. Here you have the possibility to make your own Christmas decoration.
The park even has its own post office, but this one, as you might already have guessed, is quite different from usual ones. Standing here, you may watch a machine sorting all the post and actually send letters and postcards from here, all getting a special stamp. So every recipient knows where the letters and postcards are sent from. Send a special gift to those you love. Friends and family will always remember a present from Santa Claus himself.
Last but not least, paying a visit to the café in the park seems indispensable. Time to indulge yourself! After your visit to the café you might want to spend some time in the souvenir shop and purchase something to always remember this place of magic.
How to get there
The city of Rovaniemi is located in Finnish Lapland. Santa Park is about 8 km (5 mi) away.
It's recommended to travel here by plane as it's the most comfortable way. Rovaniemi is the largest airport in northern Finland. There are additional flights offered around Christmas, the time of year Santa Park is open.
Another possibility to get here is by train of course. Most long-distance trains end in Rovaniemi. Starting your journey towards the north in Helsinki, you will need 9 to 12 hours to get here, depending on the route and train connection. It's therefore recommended to take a night train.