***Warning this post contains lots of details and info for moms & dads who want to visit Santa Claus Village, Lapland- all the boring details aren’t meant for kids****
If you’ve been following along on our Lapland posts, today is all about what many consider the MAIN attraction…Santa Claus Village, Lapland.
Want to catch up? Start here to see how we booked and then read about how we found our travel to Rovaniemi here.
After dropping our luggage at our AirBnB we had a quick lunch and headed off to Santa Claus Village. When we dropped our luggage our AirBnB hostess gave us plastic sleds for the kids. The kids spent their time being pulled around and pulling each other.
If your accommodation doesn’t provide sleds for the kids they’re a great investment during your stay.
***If you’re worried about how the kids will do with Finnish food have no fear. There are enough chain restaurants in Rovaniemi that the kids won’t go hungry. We had lunch at Subway (located in Lordi Square behind the Visit Rovaniemi office) before we went to Santa Claus Village. Not at all adventurous but it was quick, cheap and the kids ate. We all get hangry in this family so being fed before we headed off was the priority.
The #8 bus leaves from the city centre and travels to all the Santa attractions.
The bus comes approximately every hour. There are bus timetables available at the Visit Rovaniemi office and on each bus stop. Since we just missed the bus by about 10 minutes we opted for a taxi to rather than waiting. The taxi to Santa Claus Village cost €20 and we were there in 8 minutes.
In early December the sun rose around 10:30 and set between 2:30/3:00.
With limited daylight we wanted to do as many outside activities we could. At Santa Claus Village there were a few small hills around and plenty of open space to play in the snow. We spent the first half hour or more sledding, throwing snow balls and making snow angels. Growing up in Upstate NY snow was a way of life. So many memories were made with the kids in the snow that afternoon.
Thanks to the kind people at Visit Rovaniemi we were provided with a reindeer sleigh ride of 1.km. With two of us in each sleigh covered with a cosy reindeer hide we were pulled out into the snow. The sleigh ride took us over the Arctic Circle and into the pristine white forest. Even within 1km we were soon surrounded by peace and snow. It was perfect for the kids. I could have stayed for longer.
On the 2nd of December Snowman World was just opening. If this is a main attraction for you, you may want to consider coming later in the season. Nonetheless we enjoyed exploring the still under construction igloos, ice bar and ice sculpture. (**The ice bar, hotel and restaurant did not open fully until just before Christmas 2017).
Slipping down ice slides and tobogganing on three different paths kept us entertained for quite some time. Tobbagan trails were small, medium and large. There was a size just right for all of us.
With the sun setting it was time to head to Santa’s Post office where you can send postcards from around the world and learn how many letters Santa gets each year.
It was packed! It’s clear when the sun goes down the inside activities get busier. After sending some postcards we headed back outside and the kids enjoyed more time on the sled and running around the trees and snow. There was also plenty of time for exploring all the rest of the village.
Getting a bit hungry we headed for snacks at the Reindeer Cafe. We can’t comment on the price of food in the restaurants at Santa Claus Village but we did get 2 coffees, 2 hot chocolates, 3 donuts (which were amazing) and 1 slice of apple cake for €21 at the Reindeer Cafe. It kept us going and we thought the price was good value.
Seeing Santa in his office
By 5:00 the queue had quieted down and we finally went to see Santa.
Inside Santa’s Office you cross the Arctic Circle again and see some displays as you walk to Santa. You can peek through a key hole and see the elves at work. There are a few ‘elves’ to help out along the way (if its elves you’re after stay tuned for our post on Santa Park).
The kids were well and truly star struck upon meeting Santa. They couldn’t even speak! It was pure magic really and they smiled and giggled about it for days!
Visiting Santa is free but gifts and photos will cost. While in the queue elves were on hand to give more information on this to moms and dads.
Thanks to Visit Rovaniemi we received a VIP visit with Santa which included the photo and video package. The photos are high-definition and available to download to your computer, your phone and anywhere else you want. We were delighted when we realised our entire visit was recorded with sound for us to treasure forever.
Don’t forget Santa is live streamed over the internet.
We text our family and friends and let them know when we were headed in to see Santa. They all watched us give them a big wave from Lapland.
After visiting Santa we spent the remainder of our time in Santa Claus Village exploring and taking photos at the Arctic Circle. Don’t forget you can check out huskies, snowmobiles and exhibits on the history of Christmas all at Santa Claus Village.
This Irish Family’s Top Tips of Santa Claus Village:
- The memories are what you make. Santa Claus Village is pure magic when you play along together as a family.
- Get the kids sleds.
- The queues for seeing Santa gets long just after dark (which will be in the middle of the afternoon).
- Watch the entry ways they are slippery (we saw a lot of people slipping and falling as they entered and exited buildings).
- Buggies- we did see some people with them. To be honest if a child is old enough to sit independently and walk I think pulling them in the sleds would be easier.
- Consider your travel date If you are dying for a drink in the Ice Bar go later in the season. Santa is there year-round and the winter season is only getting started in December.
Disclaimer: Visit Rovaniemi very kindly provided us with a free reindeer ride, family pass to Snowman World and a VIP visit to Santa. As always all thoughts and opinions are entirely ThisIrishFamily’s.
Planning a trip to Lapland? Check back for more posts on Santa Park, a day in Rovaniemi, a day in Helsinki, and what to pack for Lapland.