A Remarkable Finnish City: Rovaniemi Attractions, Hotspots, and Historical Sites

Ever since its founding in 1453, the quaint and picturesque city of Rovaniemi has been growing, expanding, and staking its claim in the nation’s budding tourism sector; however, it’s important to note the city’s humble beginnings before investigating the present-day landscape.

So, let’s take a closer look at Rovaniemi’s interesting origins and history, and at the main Rovaniemi Attractions.

Rovaniemi’s History

The Sami people, who are colloquially referred to as Lapps or Laplanders, belong to an indigenous Scandinavian group comprising the vast majority of Rovaniemi’s bloodlines, which is why the local customs and societal norms are firmly rooted in Saamic ideologies and beliefs. They traditionally engage in herding reindeer.

During the 1450s, the Rovaniemi region revolved entirely around small villages, animal husbandry farms, and numerous agricultural hubs, although fishing and hunting were also very common. However, it took approximately 300 years for Rovaniemi to rise to prominence, and most of its growth and expansion took place during the 1800s.

Throughout the 19th century, the Lapland province underwent seismic economic shifts due to the development of extensive logging sites, mineral mining businesses, and other lucrative ventures supported by the region’s abundant natural resources. As a result, Rovaniemi quickly became the foremost commercial center of the Lapland province, and continues to hold the title to this day.

Modern-Day Rovaniemi

Due to its rare geographical location in Northern Finland and unique topographical features, the region surrounding Rovaniemi has remained relatively untouched and unspoiled for many centuries.

Consequently, this quaint city has an inimitable blend of traditionalism and modernity, which has sparked a significant increase in touristic activity, with over 500,000 international visitors arriving during the past year alone.

Rovaniemi Attractions: Why Travel to Rovaniemi?

Regardless of whether you wish to engage in exciting nature tours, instructive museum trips, riveting nighttime jaunts, or lively shopping excursions, Rovaniemi’s tourism industry truly has something in store for everyone; however, as any experienced jetsetter will tell you, it is important to highlight the most popular attractions. You will want to focus on the following activities:

The Ice Breaker Cruise: A convenient shuttle bus will pick you up from Rovaniemi, Kemi, or Levi and bring you directly to the Polar Explorer’s official dock, at which point you’ll board the largest touristic Ice Breaker in the world. During the breath-taking three-hour tour, you’ll be able to see the expansive Bothnian Bay in all its glory, see amazing ice-crushing displays, and even don a flotation-survival suite before swimming in the bay’s icy waters. This unique icebreaker cruise is an excursion you simply cannot miss.

Santa Claus Village: As the primary residence of St. Nick and all of his helpers Elves, this Christmas-themed amusement park is consistently one of the biggest draws in all of Lapland. From the opulent onsite eateries and sumptuous shops to the ubiquitous elf shows and exciting sleigh rides, the world-renowned Santa Claus Village is a winter wonderland – and not only for children.

Arktikum Science Museum: Located in the heart of Rovaniemi on the shores of the Kemijoki River, you’ll find a remarkable museum with some of the most incredible infrastructural designs and exhibits in the world. The building materials include granite and pine wood. The most visually impressive section of the Arktikum facility is the 172-metre-long glass corridor that serves as the “Gateway to the North.”

If you wish to visit more Finnish cities and areas, Read about Finnish Lapland main attractions- here.

FAQ

Most frequent questions and answers

Yes, you can choose your pick up and drop of location during the booking process. Price will be calculated accordingly. Your luggage will be stored in the bus during the tour. 

Yes, when you are coming by our shuttle bus you can store your luggage in the bus during entire trip. No special reservation for luggage is required.

Yes, you can make your way with your own car and park free of charge at the cruise terminal. There is no actual border between Finland and Sweden, you can drive non-stop via the border.

There is no age limit for participating in a cruise, children of all ages are welcome on board!
Survival suits are available at size 125 cm so if your child height is over 120 cm they can swim.

No, a double layer survival suit, which you will put over your normal clothes, will keep you insulated from cold water.
Swimming is voluntary – so if you don’t feel like it you don’t have to do it.

Walking on sea ice is allowed only when ice is solid and at least 20 cm thick. Early winter cruises may not allow walking on ice activity.
Captain makes a decision when it is safe to walk on ice on each cruise.

The ship is not wheelchair accessible due to high thresholds around the ship required for water holding in case of flood.

During the cruise meals are not served, but snacks and beverages can be purchased from the cafeteria on board.
Icebreaker buffet lunch is offered at extra charge in restaurant on shore after the morning cruise and before afternoon cruise.
Gluten and lactose intolerance is considered in all meals. Vegetarian meals are offered.

There is no border control between Finland and Sweden, driving is non-stop. Though occasional check may happen. Please also have valid ID with you.
If you hold Schengen visa, same visa is valid for both countries and single entry visa also valid to cross brothers within Schengen area multiple times. 

In case the border of Finland or Sweden is closed due to emergency lock down, all cruises will be cancelled and your payment is fully refunded. 
In case the country where you were travelling from closes down and travelling outside of the country is prohibited for leisure reasons, standard cancellation policy will apply.
We recommend buying travel insurance covering costs caused by cancellations due to COVID, health conditions or any other circumstances preventing travelling.

No cancellation fees are charged if you cancel your booking 31 or more days before cruise departure.
25€ booking fees per person are non-refundable. 
If you cancel 30 days before cruise departure or later, 100% cancellation fees are charged.
In case of “no show”, being late for cruise departure or shuttle bus pick up resulting in missing the departure, 100% cancellation fees apply.
Cancellation fees are charged If cancelled for any reason, including restrictions due to COVID-19 and medical reasons.
We recommend buying travel insurance covering costs caused by cancellations due to health conditions or any other circumstances preventing travelling.

In case our icebreaker cruise is cancelled due to weather conditions or lack of passengers, you will be offered an alternative cruise date or time.
If none of the alternative options fit you, you will get a full refund.

We do not practice discount coupons. From time to time we have flash sales in our social media channels so follow us on our instagram (@polar.explorer.icebreaker) and on facebook (polarexplorericebreaker) to keep an eye on them.