Friday, 8 Dec 2023

Inside the magical Christmas village where it’s festive 365 days of the year

When Wizzard sang “I wish it could be Christmas everyday” they clearly had not visited one Nordic village where it is festive 365 days of the year.

Rovaniemi in northern Finland is the official hometown of Father Christmas as the capital of Lapland, playing host to the post office where half a million letters are sent to him by children from around the world and vistors can send out their own letters with the Arctic Circle postmark.

Tourists can visit the big man’s office and meet both he and his wife Mrs Christmas, enroll in Elf Academy where new recruits will get their own certificate and even meet the reindeer at the Elf Farmyard.

The Santa Claus Village, which even crosses into the Arctic Circle, also allows people to go for snowmobile rides, husky sledding and take part in a Christmas safari.

There are plenty of shops where festive gifts can be bought with numerous restaurants and the village’s own ice bar providing the perfect location to relax in post-shopping.

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Father Christmas even has his own football team in Rovaniemi called FC Santa Claus, which plays its matches in the fifth tier of Finnish football. 

While the village is open all year round, it can be odd celebrating the festive season in July and not all of its Christmas attractions are open outside of winter.

And if you get bored of festive attractions, Rovaniemi is also home to the Arktikum Science Museum and prominent Jatkankynttilasilta bridge which features an eternal lumberjack candle at its centre.

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Those visiting in winter should book their festive activities early as these sell-out fast and it is worth doing some research before leaving as the village is home to more than 40 Christmas attractions.

The Santa Claus village itself gets rave reviews on Tripadvisor earning four out of five on the platform from more than 4,000 reviews.

There are plenty of accomodation options for those wanting to stay in the village itself including a glass igloo and snow hotel.

Those wishing to sample the village’s delights for themselves can take a direct flight from Stansted Airport to Rovaniemi with Ryanair.

Flights in November cost about £100 for a return ticket in November and it takes about three hours and 20 minutes to get there.

Once in Rovaniemi it takes just seven minutes by car to reach the Santa Claus Village.

For those who are short of cash, the village offers to take on seasonal workers as Lapland Rangers and Santa trip planners with jobs found on the Work a Season website.

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