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Visit Santa Claus’ Official Hometown: Rovaniemi in Finnish Lapland

Legend has it that Santa Claus lives in the North Pole but in real life, Rovaniemi in Finnish Lapland claims to be his official hometown. Located in the Arctic Circle, the southernmost latitude where the sun can stay below or above the horizon for 24 hours, Rovaniemi draws visitors worldwide to Santa Claus Village. 

santa claus grand opening christmas season rovaniemi lapland finland
Photo Credit: VisitRovaniemi

The backstory of how Rovaniemi became the official hometown of Santa Claus begins during the region’s rebuilding efforts after World War II.  In 1950, Eleanor Roosevelt, the wife of US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, visited Rovaniemi and the Arctic Circle. Rovaniemi officials rushed to build a cabin eight kilometers north of the city. The cabin marked the birth of Santa Claus Village and still stands today next to Santa Claus Main Post Office.

santa claus holiday village santa claus village rovaniemi lapland finland 10
Photo Credit: VisitRovaniemi

Santa Claus Village is populated with shops, restaurants, an igloo hotel, ice bar and offers dog sledding tours, reindeer rides, and snowmobile tours.

snow brick snow construction rovaniemi lapland finland
Photo Credit: VisitRovaniemi

Also while visiting, be sure and mail your Christmas cards from Santa Claus Main Post Office. Since 1985, Santa Claus has received 15 million letters from 198 countries.

santa elves santa claus main post office rovaniemi 11
Photo Credit: VisitRovaniemi

Postal elves serve customers all year round in their headquarters, which is a real post office operated by Posti, Finland’s national postal service. Every letter sent from here gets a special Arctic Circle postmark not available anywhere else.

santa elves santa claus main post office rovaniemi 1
Photo Credit: VisitRovaniemi

Rovaniemi during the holidays is an ideal place to view the Northern Lights on clear nights as shades of red, yellow, green, blue, and violet dance across the skyline of the city on view from in and around the city from mid-August until early April.

snowland igloo restaurant northern lights rovaniemi lapland finland 1
Photo Credit: VisitRovaniemi

Also known as Aurora Borealis, the Northern Lights are visible on around 150 nights a year in Finnish Lapland usually between 10 PM and 2 AM.

northern lights aurora borealis rovaniemi lapland finland 1
Photo Credit: VisitRovaniemi

A show might last from only a couple of minutes to several hours. You can get an instant notification service  Aurora Alert Realtime alerting as soon as the Auroras are visible.

Rovaniemi Grand Opening of Christmas Season 2019 Santa Claus Village Rovaniemi Lapland Finland 5
Photo Credit: VisitRovaniemi

On 23rd of December, before departing to deliver toys around the globe, crowds gather at Arctic Circle to send off Santa Claus in a celebration.

Arctic Circle
Photo Credit: VisitRovaniemi

Santa Claus Village is open year-round and if you choose to visit during the summer months, you can experience the region’s Midnight Sun, a natural phenomenon that takes place on and above the Arctic Circle in the summer months. On the Arctic Circle, where Rovaniemi lies, the sun officially stays above the horizon for a full 24 hours on the summer solstice, 21st or 22nd June. The Midnight Sun period in Rovaniemi lasts for a month, from 6th June to 7th July.

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Karen LeBlanc

Karen LeBlanc is a freelance writer living in Orlando, Florida with many published bylines in magazines, newspapers, and multimedia sites. As a professional lifestyle writer, Karen specializes in art, architecture, design, home interiors and personality profiles. Karen is the writer, producer and host of the streaming series, The Design Tourist (www.TheDesignTourist.com) that brings viewers a global dose of design inspiration with episodes featuring the latest looks and trends from the world’s premiere design events and shows. She also publishes a quarterly magazine on design travel that you can read by clicking the link: https://thedesigntourist.com/the-magazine/ Her journalism background includes seven years on-air experience as a TV news reporter and anchor covering a range of issues from education to politics. Her educational credentials include a Master of Arts in Mass Communications from Northeast Louisiana University and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Louisiana State University. Throughout her career, Karen has written and produced dozens of documentaries and videos for educational, commercial, corporate, and governmental clients and appeared in many TV and video productions as a professional host.

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Karen LeBlanc

Karen LeBlanc is a travel host and writer with a popular travel show, The Design Tourist, and a companion lifestyle blog. As a widely published travel journalist and content creator, Karen is a member of the North American Travel Journalists Association. She also serves as the Design and Travel editor of the national lifestyle magazine, LaPalme. Karen believes that every destination has a story to tell through its local art, architecture, culture, and craft. This immersive creative exploration begins with authentic accommodations where the narrative of place unfolds through art, accessories, accouterments, furnishings, fixtures, and food. 

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