Visiting Santa Claus in Lapland

I always wanted to go to Lapland one day, and at the end of November, this dream came true. And as traveling in a group is more fun, Tatjana and Annemarie joined me on this trip. Our journey started quite early, as we first had to take the train from Odense to Copenhagen Airport. We still had some time left until our flight left. So, we went to one of the airport lounges at the airport and had breakfast there.

On our way to Rovaniemi, we first had to stop in Helsinki, as there are no direct flights from Copenhagen to Rovaniemi. At Helsinki Airport, we then also met Annemarie as she had already gone to Helsinki the day before. By the time we finally made it to Rovaniemi at around 2 pm, it was already dark, as the sun rises at 10 am and already sets at 2 pm. After taking the airport bus to our accommodation, the Hostel Café Koti, and checking in there, we went for a walk through the city center. Later in the evening, we went on a Northern Lights Safari, where we went a bit outside of the city center into the middle of nowhere, as there the chance of seeing Northern Lights is higher. Although we, unfortunately, weren’t able to see them, we had a nice evening and first day in Lapland anyways.

The next day we took the bus to Santa Claus Village and stopped at Santa Claus Reindeer first, where Tatjana and Annemarie also took a ride on the sleigh with them. Afterward, we visited the Husky Park at Santa Claus Village and were shocked when we saw the huskies there were kept in small cages, seemed completely desperate, and the whole park stank of piss. So, we left the place pretty fast again and went for something to drink.

While visiting Santa Claus Village we also stopped at Santa’s Main Post Office and the place you could take a picture with Santa Claus – for 30 €. But as the queue there was long anyways, we left again. Before going back to our hostel again, we waited until it got dark to see the village also during the night, strolled one last time around the area, and then went on the bus back to the city. In the evening, we had dinner at Cafe & Bar 21 but went right back to the hostel afterward. We were pretty tired from the last two days and needed some sleep. But to be honest, there is also not much going on in the evening in Rovaniemi.

On our last day, we first had breakfast at the hostel again. The afternoon we then spent at Arktikum, a museum about the history of Rovaniemi and Lapland. Back at the hostel, we spent the rest of the time writing postcards before heading to the airport together again. And after some hours of traveling, including a stopover in Helsinki again, we were back at Copenhagen airport and waited for our train back to Odense. But as, unfortunately, it got canceled, we had to take the bus to another train station on the way to Odense, where we then caught the right train and were able to make it back in time to Odense.

Although it was nice to visit Rovaniemi and see Santa Claus‘ home, I wouldn’t go there again. While the city is one of the ugliest cities I’ve ever seen, everything was super expensive there. And visiting Santa Claus Village might only be a nice experience when you go there with kids. Also, our visit to Husky Park upset me. There, they kept the Huskies in small cages only to attract tourists and make money. As a former tourism student, I am aware tourism can help to revive bare areas and create an income source for locals, it should still be authentic and not only for to sole purpose of making money.

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