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Best day trips from Rovaniemi in Autumn

8 week old puppies at Bearhill Husky Kennels in Finland

Are you ready to explore the capital of the famous Lapland region in Finland? It is said to be the official Hometown of Santa Claus, where you do not have to wait until Christmas to visit him! Inside the Santa Claus Village, he has been receiving visitors all year round since 1985! Rovaniemi is not all about the Man in Red though!

The Northern Lights and the sunsets of the Northern Summer attract photography enthusiasts, adventurous travellers can join the “Arctic Survival” trekking tours, and the area is also known for its unique accommodation options like panorama glass huts in the middle of the Arctic wilderness. For an unforgettable experience of the region, read through our guide to best day trips from Rovaniemi.

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Day trip from Rovaniemi to The Santa Claus Village

Rovaniemi has less than 70.000 inhabitants, but every year the Lapland Santa Claus Village welcomes more than 500.000 visitors! Tourism in the Arctic Circle goes back to a specific point in time and… one special cottage! The so-called Roosevelt Cabin is now a part of the Santa Claus Village, and it was built for the reception ceremony of Eleanor Roosevelt who visited Rovaniemi in 1950 to see how the Marshall Plan (a post-World War II US initiative that provided financial aid to selected Europeans countries) was being implemented in post-war Finland.

The Santa Claus Village is by far the most popular attraction in the region, filled with things to do, design and souvenir shops, cafés and restaurants and even places to stay! Accommodation options have been available in the Santa Claus Village since 2011 and tourists who wish to stay overnight can choose between glass igloos, glasshouses and simple wooden cabins. It is a great place for families to visit, and kids are invited to explore Santa’s workshops (where they will be able to see the hard-working elves), have their photo taken with Santa Claus and pet the reindeer.

The peak of your visit to the Santa Claus Village will be the peek into Santa Claus Post Office (near which the Roosevelt Cabin is located)! Operated by the Finnish Postal Service “Posti”, It is a real post office that gives you a special Arctic Circle postmark (not available anywhere else) on every parcel or letter sent from there. 

The Santa Claus Village is located only 8 kilometres north of Rovaniemi city centre. You can get there by public transportation, either by taking bus no. 8 or a special “Santa Express” coach that also stops at The Arctic Treehouse Hotel and the airport. If you want to combine a visit to The Santa Claus Village with eg. a guided tour around Rovaniemi village too, we recommend you book a trip online or with an agency!

Day trip from Rovaniemi to The Santa Claus Village

The Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi

Day trip from Rovaniemi to a reindeer farm

We mentioned that you can pet the reindeers at The Santa Claus Village, but what about a tour to a Lappish Reindeer farm? You will find several farms around Rovaniemi, but the program and things to are similar, so whichever farm you choose, you are in for a ride! Take that literally, as part of the experience is to ride a traditional wooden sledge, pulled by a reindeer! You will be sitting comfortably wrapped in warm blankets learning about reindeer herders and their daily lives. When you get back, you can be sure to be offered a steaming hot drink and home-baked ginger cookies – every local’s favourite remedy to winter’s challenges!

Besides the sledge ride, reindeer farms offer a wide range of other attractions like ice fishing, guided snowshoe tours and guided skiing trips. A trip to reindeer safari is also an amazing opportunity to see some of the incredible Lappish nature, and some farms also offer northern light safaris!

As mentioned, there are several reindeer farms around Rovaniemi – some of them are commercial farms offering guided experiences to tourists, others (tend to be slightly more expensive and might be situated further out of town) are family-owned. The herders and their families live there, and to visit those farms you must call them and make an appointment in advance. If practical arrangements seem confusing, we recommend looking online or contacting an agency for booking a guided tour to reindeer farm directly from Rovaniemi!

Day trip from Rovaniemi to a reindeer farm

Meet and feed Santa’s Reindeer at Santa's Village

Day trip from Rovaniemi: Husky excursion at Bearhill Husky Kennels

Speaking of family-run farms, one of our top picks is Bearhill Husky, a husky dog kennel in Rovaniemi. Working with dogs, breeding and training them is a family passion and tradition, and since 2003 the family has been sharing their passion with tourists offering both day trips and short tours.

Bearhill Husky Kennels promote responsible tourism – they are actively working to re-home old dogs that have served as sledge dogs throughout their lives. The dogs can be re-homed as pets or sometimes kept by the kennels as puppy trainers, as the experience of old, already trained sledge dogs is important for training the Husky puppies. Puppies will not be shown to you at Bearhill Husky though. The family considers it unethical to keep puppies for tourist display only, and the young dogs are kept safe, away from the visitors.

A husky excursion at Bearhill Husky Kennels can be arranged all year round; there will be a different program for summer and winter tours respectively. We recommend to check the kennels’ website and browse through the available tours. The road to the kennel can be challenging, and therefore when you book a tour with Bearhill Husky, a pick-up from your hotel in Rovaniemi will be included.

Day trip from Rovaniemi: Husky excursion at Bearhill Husky Kennels

Born to Run - Husky excursion at Bearhill Husky Kennels in Finland

Day trip from Rovaniemi to Moose Safari

How about a nighttime safari? After the sun sets in Rovaniemi, the tourists head out to the Lappish wilderness to look for moose – largest land mammals in Europe! After dark, you will travel around off-the-grid paths where you will not only encounter moose but also reindeers, owls and wild hares. You don’t have to worry about coming too close to be taken by surprise but he large animals. During the Moose Safari, you and your guide sit in a minivan, and the car stops frequently to let you experience the nature and the wildlife closely and take photographs.

It is important to join a guided tour if you want to come closer to the wild moose. They are shy animals who can hear humans from kilometres away and run to hide in the forest. For that reason, most moose encountered on your tour will be females and youngsters. There is a chance to see baby moose too! Your guides who know the area and are familiar with the animals will make sure that you can experience wildlife and come home with fun memories and great pictures. Tours can be booked online or with agencies around Rovaniemi.

Day trip from Rovaniemi to Moose Safari

European Moose, Alces alces, also known as the elk

Day trip from Rovaniemi to Ranua Wildlife Park

Curious to see more arctic animals? Ranua Wildlife Park is a popular tourist destination with a mission! It is a place where endangered species are being protected and cared for, and the visitors get educated on how they can become part of the special protection programs. Ranua Wildlife Park specializes in northern and arctic animal species, and the park also provides care and nursery for injured animals found in the wilderness.

Ranua Wildlife Park is the only place in Finland where you can see polar bears. To make the animals feel comfortable and safe, the park has re-created a living environment as close to the natural settings as possible. The all in all 200 individual animals or various species thrive in spacious fencings in the northern forest. Prepare to see not only polar bears but also lynx, wolves otters and even polar farm animals, eg. during one of the spectacular daily feeding shows.

Visiting the Ranua Wildlife Park, you as a tourist must remember that the animals come first! There is no lighting inside the park, so if you plan your visit for after 2 PM in the wintertime, you will explore it in the dark. Visitors are allowed to bring own flashlights or buy one from the ticket sales office. Ranua Wildlife Park is open every day of the year, but opening times vary with the season (longer opening times during summer). For the exact operation hours as well as feeding show timetables, we recommend you check the website before arriving in the park. 

It will take you around one hour to travel from Rovaniemi to Ranua (a distance of 80 kilometres). There are daily buses that go directly from Rovaniemi bus station to Ranua Zoo Station. The ticket fares are 17,3 € (around 19 USD) for a single one-way journey, and your bus ticket can be booked online in advance.

Day trip from Rovaniemi to Ranua Wildlife Park

Ranua Wildlife Park. Entrance. At the park you can see polar bears as well as 50 different other arctic animal species in the midst of northern woods.

Day trip from Rovaniemi: Trekking in Lappish Nature

Many trips to Ranua are combined with trekking in Lappish Nature, but you can also dedicate a full day to hiking and experiencing the stunning nature of Lapland. Prepare for an immersive experience, in fact these days agencies offer specially curated, so-called “Meditative hikes” or a “Wellness from the Lappish Nature tour“. Those are tailored to visitors who long for a tranquil getaway to a clean, pristine environment and want to learn more about the Finnish way of living in symbiosis with the surrounding nature.

We recommend booking trekking tours with an agency, as you will need a skilled guide to lead you through the Arctic Mountains, either on snowshoes or skiing. Once you reach the top of the mountain, you can simply enjoy the space and peace or try one of the popular activities like ice fishing or, for sports enthusiasts, snow surfing! Some tours also offer an outdoor culinary experience like fish smoking in the forest. On your “Wellness from the Lappish Nature tour” the guide will show you the best spots for picking mushrooms and berries. Those tours often end with a cosy picnic around an open fireplace and are recommended for families that want to hike around the Lappish forests and mountains, but are not looking for challenging trek like the widely available “Arctic Survival Tours”!

Day trip from Rovaniemi: Trekking in Lappish Nature

Small pond on Sarkitunturi fell top reflects the blue sky and white clouds

Fatbike Day Trip from Rovaniemi

Hungry for even more sports activities in Rovaniemi? Try a fatbike day trip to bring your heartbeat up, make your blood pump faster, and enjoy amazing sights of the Lappish forest. The tours start in downtown Rovaniemi, where you get your bike and helmet and leave the city in a car that brings you and the bikes out of the city.

The tours are usually planned for around 4 hours and include biking for between 5 to 20 kilometres (check the intensity of your tour before booking to avoid any unpleasant surprises!) and a snack break by a campfire. Do not miss your chance to taste local sausages, have some tea or coffee and… catch your breath!

Before booking the trip, make sure it is suitable for your fitness level, however, the wide tires make it fairly easy to ride the bike, also on uneven grounds! If you are an experienced cyclist, you can also rent a fat bike on your own. It is a popular activity in Lapland, so rental offices are all around Rovaniemi, and nowadays you can also rent e-bikes equipped with a little engine that will power the bike in case your legs need a rest from cycling.

Fat bike also called fatbike or fat-tire bike in summer riding in the forest. The woman rides a bicycle among trees and stumps. He overcomes some obstacles on a bumpy road.

Day trip from Rovaniemi: Ice Fishing Adventure

Ice fishing is often offered as a side-activity during day trips around Lapland, but you can also dedicate more time to a full Fishing Adventure! Especially Salmon Fishing trips (by boat) are popular in the Arctic region. The tours available and the way you fish (ice fishing or by boat) will depend on what time of the year you choose to visit Finland.

If you decide to join a boat fishing adventure trip, you will also be able to experience some of Finland’s beautiful lakeside surrounded by the tranquil Lappish forests. Finland is often referred to as “The Land of Thousand Lakes”, which makes it a huge understatement, as there are, in fact, 187.888 lakes in Finland! Even if you are not experienced, but are simply keen to try, the Finnish fishing adventure is a good pick. The guides will prepare your equipment and teach you how to use it. They will also demonstrate different fishing techniques and show you how to prepare the caught fish on an open fire! 

Whereas fishing trips are available all over the country, different species inhabit different places/lakes in Finland. For example, the most popular Salmon fishing adventure trips are around Turku, which is 820 kilometres south of Rovaniemi! We recommend contacting an agency before booking the trip to learn more about the fish living in the area and what type of fishing is in season.

Day trip from Rovaniemi: Ice Fishing Adventure

ROVANIEMI, FINLAND - Unidentified fisherman during ice fishing on the frozen lake in Lapland, Finland

Day trip from Rovaniemi: Riverboat Cruise

We just mentioned that Finland is referred to as “The Land of Thousand Lakes”, so how about adding another water adventure to your itinerary? A riverboat cruise is a great activity for the whole family (do not worry, life vests are provided and every tour begins with safety instructions!) and a fun way to gain more insight into the history of the Rovaniemi region.

You will start your cruise on the Kemijoki River, the longest river in Finland, and continue sailing towards the Ounasjoki river. From your “jokivene”, a traditional wooden boat, you will be able to observe the beautiful Lappish countryside and woodland. Each boat is led by a local guide who will tell you more about Finland’s industrial heritage and share with you stories and myths about 19th-century Lappish raftsmen.

Too busy during your day? No problem, nighttime cruises are widely available too! It is a popular tourist activity to chase the northern lights on a riverside cruise. The night cruises are in a sturdy catamaran that gives you a broad view of the northern sky, and even though northern lights cannot be guaranteed, a nighttime riverboat trip is an unforgettable experience! For your convenience, we recommend booking a cruise in advance either only or with an agency in Rovaniemi to guarantee hotel pick-up and a reliable guide.

Day trip from Rovaniemi: Riverboat Cruise

Rovaniemi/Finland -dusk view of the Rovaniemi Bridge and ferry boat

Trip from Rovaniemi: The Auroras Floating

You can see the northern light from a boat, but you can also experience it… while floating on a partially frozen lake! Northern lights are also called “Aurora Borealis”, hence the name “Aurora Ice Floating” or simply “The Auroras Floating”. Chased by many tourists and photography enthusiasts, the northern lights are a chemical phenomenon. This spectacular light show is caused by collisions between gas molecules of oxygen and nitrogen and electrically loaded particles released from the sun.

The Auroras Floating is a night excursion; your guides will take you to one of the many lakes, out in the Lappish wilderness, far from any light pollution, which will give you the best chance of seeing Aurora Borealis. You will be equipped with a special dry suit that will keep you warm even when floating in almost freezing lake water and provide you with safety instructions. Once your suit is on, simply lay back in the water, relax your body and let yourself drift and enjoy the beautiful sights above. Most tours end with a refreshment; a hot drink to warm up the body.

Since this tour demands special equipment and safety guidelines, you cannot arrange it on your own. Book the tour online or through an agency in Rovaniemi.

Trip from Rovaniemi: The Auroras Floating

Northern Lights Photography Tour from Rovaniemi

If you are looking for more than just the sight of the northern lights and want to learn to take the best possible photos of Aurora Borealis, we recommend you join a specially curated Northern Lights photography tour. Those excursions are guided by a professional photographer who will share with you tips and instructions on how to get the most impressive photographs from your Lapland tour!

Your northern lights photography tour will usually start in Rovaniemi; you will be picked up by a tour guide and driven to a more secluded location, away from any city lights that would disturb the natural sights. (Great way to experience the Lappish landscape at night, you will get that “Arctic Survival Tour” feeling!) Prepare for a night where you lodge in a spacious tepee, listening to both technical photography guidance, but also local myths around the northern lights phenomenon. Aurora Borealis might be the highlight of your tour but prepare for stunning sights of a pristine starry sky too. And no need to worry about staying up during the night! To keep the energy and your body temperature high, you will be offered snacks and warm beverages.

Northern Lights Photography Tour from Rovaniemi

Aurora borealis and silhouette of standing man. Lofoten islands, Norway. Aurora and happy man. Sky with stars and green polar lights. Night landscape with aurora and people. Concept. Nature background

Finnish Sauna Trip in Rovaniemi

If you have spent the night watching the northern lights and long for a relaxing day-after, there is no better thing to do than visiting a Finnish Sauna. In Finland, saunas are used both for therapy and recreation, and many Finns make a sauna visit a weekly ritual! Locals use saunas as a relaxation tool, and the many health benefits are a great addition. A traditional Finnish Sauna is usually built of aromatic wood from which fragrances release as the sauna heats up.

It is believed that the best benefits of using the sauna come when you alternate the hot and cold. Therefore, after spending some time inside of the hot sauna, you jump into the snow! This is called snow swimming and the activity is familiar to most Finns. Alternatively, you can simply leap into cold water, but do try to balance out the temperatures!

Finnish Sauna is a substantial part of the Finnish culture and tradition, and in fact, many Finnish houses have one! It will be easy for you to find a sauna in Rovaniemi, but if you want to combine your Finnish Sauna experience with eg. a gourmet dinner, you can have a look at different tours available online and with agencies in Rovaniemi.

Finnish Sauna Trip in Rovaniemi

Sauna room interior as background, spa room. Relax in a hot sauna, Finland-style classic wooden sauna interior in public building, hotel. Small home Finnish wooden sauna

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Best day trips from Rovaniemi in Autumn

Best day trips from Rovaniemi in Autumn

Best day trips from Rovaniemi in Autumn

Article written by:

Hi, my name is Samantha, Finance Managing Guru by day, Travel Blogging Enthusiast by... well... day too! Haha! Travelling King is the destination hotspot for the wannabe traveller! Showcasing affordable, luxurious getaways for the budget conscious! With the combination of my financial knowledge and travelling experiences I aim to show you, with a little planning, the right budget and a realistic goal you can fulfil your travel fantasies and explore the world whatever your budget or desires may be!