It’s getting colder and summer is definitely a distant memory, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still get outside and have fun. Rovaniemi in Finland is the perfect city to base yourself for some winter excitement. It’s where you will find us at the start of every year for our Arctic Trek season (see number 1) and we love it. We can’t wait to get out there again this coming January.
1. We are going to kick off the top 10 with our own Arctic Trek Challenge. Starting out from Rovaniemi, we head out for three days of trekking into the Arctic Circle. It’s not for the faint hearted; you will be pulling your own kit in a pulk, battling against the elements and sleeping in tents. We consistently receive feedback that it’s the “the best challenge ever” and we are not going to disagree with that. A few spaces are still available for 2021 and our 2022 dates are now out. Go to the trek page for full details.
2. If you still have energy after that, then why not hop on a fat bike! Our friends at Roll Outdoors do guided winter fat biking tours, including an amazing night experience through the woods above the city.
3. We can’t leave out the obvious and that’s seeing the famous Northern Lights. Those who take part on our trek often get to see them as they head into camp at night, but for those of you who fancy a more laid-back approach, there are many tours that go from the centre of Rovaniemi. Take a look the official Visit Rovaniemi website for lots of ideas of where best to see them.
4. Stay in an igloo at the Arctic Snow Hotel. We love this place and for those of you trekking with us, you get to spend your final night in one of their cosy glass igloos. Enjoy a drink in the ice bar and then get tucked up in your warm bed and enjoy the undisrupted view of the night sky. Press a special switch in your room and you will be notified if the Northern Lights appear so you don’t sleep through them!
5. Visit Santa at Santa Claus Village. Rovaniemi is the official home of Santa and who doesn’t want to meet one of the most famous people on the planet? Head to the Village and meet him, his elves and of course his reindeer. While you are there you can give him your Christmas wish list.
6. We are taking the activity up a notch now and heading to the Rovaniemi 150. This is a 150 km ultramarathon through tough winter conditions. Do it on foot, on a fatbike or skiing and just make sure you finish before the 42hour cut off time. And if this does not sound nuts enough, you can always do the 300km version!
7. Take a guided run tour. We know lots of you are keen runners and what better way to see a city and its surroundings than running around it! We did a 12km guided run tour along the snowy forest trails earlier this year with Rovaniemi Running Tours. It was -20oC, but the running kept us warm and the views were spectacular.
8. Ice lake floating. We haven’t done this yet, but we REALLY want to! It’s all about enjoying the peace and quiet as you float among the ice on the lake. You wear a special suit to keep you dry and warm and if you are lucky you will get to see the Northern Lights too.
9. Take a trip to Arktikum. OK, so we admit that this experience might have made the list because we felt we needed to show that we are at least a little bit cultured. But we really do want to go here. Arktikum is a museum and Arctic science centre. Their ‘Arctic in Change’ exhibition sounds right up our street.
10. Eat some local food and yes this includes reindeer! Reindeer is an essential part of Lappish cuisine. Sautéed reindeer served with mashed potatoes and fresh lingonberries is the most classic dish. All hunting in Finland is highly regulated and based on respecting nature, but if you prefer to pat a reindeer rather than eat it, then why not try the popular dessert known as “bread cheese” (“leipäjuusto”). This is a type of soft cheese, fried and served with fresh cloudberries.