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Rovaniemi is the capital of Finnish Lapland. Because of its central location and status, Rovaniemi has become a center of education in Finnish Lapland. There are as many as 10 000 university and university of applied sciences level students living in Rovaniemi.
During summers this shows as a large drop in the number of people vacating the city. The river Kemijoki, notable for being the longest river in Finland, runs next to the city center. On the west side of the river there is a large hill called Ounasvaara.
Rovaniemi Airport (RVN), located eight kilometers north from the city center, is the largest airport in northern Finland. Most of the flights go south to Helsinki, but it fields a limited number of international flights mostly to North Russian destinations like Murmansk. To get to the city center you have to take a bus or a taxi. Flights from Helsinki, operated by Finnair or Blue1 or Norwegian, may be cheaper than corresponding train.
Rovaniemi is the terminus of most trains from the south. The line extends only a little further northeast to Kemijärvi. The journey from Helsinki takes 9–12 hours and is reasonably comfortable in a sleeper. You can also take your car with you. The railway station is located right next to the city centre and is within an easy walking distance - you facing north when you exit the station, and the city center is to your right, to the northeast.
Gold Line and Oy Matkahuolto Ab operate daily night buses to Rovaniemi from Helsinki via Helsinki-Vantaa Airport. Coming by bus from the south is relatively cheap but requires about 14 hours of sitting.
The bus station is in the city center and is just a few hundred meters away from the railway station.
The city center itself is very small with a radius of about one kilometer, and everything inside it is within an easy walking distance. Only some of the tourist attractions are located farther away from the center and might require other forms of transportation than your feet.
There are several bus companies providing transportation to other local areas in Rovaniemi, but the schedules are bad during weekends and summers. During evenings and nights there is practically no bus service available.
What to see
Most tourists come to Rovaniemi for precisely one thing: The Santa.
Santa Claus Village, 8 km north of Rovaniemi and right on the old computed place of the Arctic Circle, is a tourist trap if there ever was one – but few tourists can miss the chance to meet Santa himself. Apart from meeting the man, there are also other attractions like small-scale sledding hills for kids, Santa Claus' Main Post Office with nice special stamp, souvenir shops etc.
Pilke Science Centre. Ounasjoentie 6. Do you feel attracted by northern forests? If so, your place to visit is Pilke. exhibition tells about use of northern forests and about the forests' diverse yields,products and commodities.
Lutheran church was built in 1950 and is located close to the administrative centre. The church is for its considerable large fresco "Spring of the Life" by professor Lennart Segerstråle.
Korundi House of Culture is located not very far from the shopping centre. It offers art, music and events. Korundi is art museum but also home of the Chamber Orchestra of Lapland.
Jätkänkynttilä bridge is one of the most important symbols of Rovaniemi. It runs over the Kemijoki close the northern end of the city center. Bridge has a high pylon with bright yellow light on top.
German Soldier Cemetery is in Norvajärvi. Constructed of large stone blocks and located virtually in the middle of nowhere it might be of interest to some. During autumn one can eat berries on the way.
What to do
Various arctic safari companies, many of which are on the west bank of the river, can arrange all sorts of cold and snowy like snowmobile safaris and dog sledding. Most of the tour operators have summer activities available too.
Safartica - The House of Adventures provides memorable activities and accommodation in Rovaniemi and Ylläs for individuals, groups and MICE.