Getting to Rovaniemi, Finland from Tromsø, Norway was quite problematic. There were no direct flights, no trains or buses that took us there. Not during winter, anyway. It was almost infuriating.
The first choice would be Tromsø > Helsinki > Rovaniemi by flight. But that’s a horrible idea because we would need to fly back down to Helsinki AGAIN to head to Iceland. It’s like a zig zag motion.
After researching for what seemed like an eternity, we’ve decided to just take a short flight and a train ride. This would require spending overnight in a small Finnish town though.
So, we flew from Tromsø > Luleå > Oulu (the flight is less than 2 hours actually, just a quick technical stop) and then a 2-hour train ride from Oulu to Rovaniemi.
Sounds a little complicated but it was manageable. We figured we might as well save some money and overnight at the airport, which was quite pleasant. Never had such an experience so I was expecting the worst, just to give myself a mental preparation. But nope. One of the most pleasant ‘camping out’ experiences I’ve had!
So we’ve arrived at the land of Santa Claus’ home! Yay! Stayed at this cute little studio (Airbnb link) and the location was amazing. It was literally in the heart of the city center, so it meant easy access to food, tour centres and tour pick up locations. Highly recommended if you’re unsure of where to stay!
Fell in love with the Lapland landscape. Especially the trees!
Our schedule in Rovaniemi was somewhat similar to the one we organised in Tromsø. Northern lights tour on the same day of arrival, and early morning winter activity next. A little tiring, but our holiday mood will power us through!
We tried out Lapland Welcome (website link) and it felt a little less personal as compared to our experience in Tromsø, Norway. We were provided with all the winter jumpsuits and other basic winter necessities, and taken to the camp that they’re affiliated with. Luck was on our side, because we were greeted with yet another ridiculous beautiful starry sky. No cloud cover means our chances of seeing the northern lights were greater!
Waiting and waiting and waiting…
And true enough, the lady showed up! I noticed that this time it was lower on the horizon though the lights were very strong. I would imagine that the display would’ve been excellent back in Tromsø. So this was one of the cons about watching the show slightly further away from the arctic circle belt if the kpi is low that night.
Still so beautiful though. The dance was very apparent during that night’s session. I was in awe. Nothing beats seeing it with your own eyes and being able to make out the curtain structures of the aurora. I’m in love.
Retreated back to the teepee in between times where the aurora has weakened, and occasionally sticking our heads out to check on the status. Hot chocolate and snacks were served and it felt really cosy inside. Maybe because I’m just too drawn to the warmth of the fire as compared to the freezing temperatures outside!
Next morning, we walked over to Lapland Safaris (website link) office and got geared up for our snowmobile ride. Pretty fun like the dog sledding too! Sometimes I felt like I was gonna fall right off. Funnily enough, I sabotaged my friend and I. Totally fell to the side in an embarrassingly slow manner!
Snowmobiled to the reindeer farm and had a quick reindeer sleigh ride which lasted about a minute or two. So cute!!!
Sat in another teepee while they told us ancient Finnish folklores.
The last activity on the itinerary (included in the tour) was a bus ride to Santa Claus’ village! Yay! Lunch was provided, and off we went to explore by ourselves.
Santa Claus’ post office! Send letters and cards right from the North Pole! I wish I could but we didn’t have enough time. I was too busy roaming around other areas taking photos. The vibes of the whole area is just too cute. Made me feel like a little kid.
Aaaaand we finally met Santa himself! He chitchatted with us for quite a bit, and really kept in character the whole time. So whimsical. We only realized that they took VIDEOS of the whole conversation too. Whilst we were purchasing the photos for online download, a video is also included. Super cringe worthy to see ourselves HAHAHA.
Didn’t want to post our own photo but your photo with Santa will look like this!
It was time to head down south to Helsinki and honestly, we spend much time in the city. Just a quick walk around the city centre to see some monuments, and we decided to TAKE A FERRY TO ESTONIA! Only two hours away, great idea for a quick trip if you have time. At least I can scratch off one more country on my map, right? Hehe!
Helsinki’s market square. Nothing much in the morning, I would assume it would be quite awesome at night. Had some burgers from this stall and they were pretty good. Hahaha. After this, it’s ICELAND!