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Trip to Lapland in Summer: Things to do in Rovaniemi

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A trip to Lapland in summer? nuh-uhLapland is a winter wonderland!!!

This was my understanding of Finnish Lapland before I visited there this summer. Are you also the Lapland-is-better-visited-in-winter type? Yes!

This post is for you thena complete guide to Lapland Finland in summer with kids.

It includes everything from where to stay, what to eat, and how to get around to what to see and do in Finland in summer with kids.

Read on to get convinced to take a trip to Finnish Lapland in the summer.

Summer in Lapland is as magical as winter. It’s a wonderful time to experience their long never-ending summer days.

As a sustainable traveler, I recommend this sustainable travel guide to Lapland to help you make sustainable choices when visiting Finnish Lapland.

Trip to Lapland in Summer – The Beginning

Helsinki to Rovaniemi flight trip to lapland with kids
A window seat on an airplane is quite an exceptional place to be, you see 🙂

As the airplane departed Helsinki and flew towards the northernmost part of Finland, the urban jungle lost ground giving way to a magical land far back beyond.

The ground looked like a green blanket with blue patches here and there. It was all sheer wilderness, rising and falling over highlands and lowlands.

My face was glued to the airplane window from takeoff to touchdown.

My decision to visit Lapland in the summer felt like a success already!

We traveled to 5 astonishing Nordic countries with kids this summer but when they ask me to name one place I loved the most – I say Finnish Lapland.

Mini-me agrees with me on this BTW.

It’s natural when people get confused as to how to react to my answer because they have never ever thought of Finnish Lapland as a destination for summer holidays.

That’s pretty understandable. I don’t blame them.

The place has been publicized as a winter wonderland. My whole idea of Finnish Lapland changed when I visited there in June this year.

Finnish Lapland or Fairyland!

colors of Lapland under the Midnight Sun lappish summer
The remarkable colors of Lapland under the Midnight Sun!

Located in the northernmost tip of Europe, Finnish Lapland is stuff that dreams are made of.

It’s one of the most special and unique corners of the world.

Ah! It’s effortlessly magical!

Let me tell you Lappish nature is at its best during summer and autumn.

Lappish summer is short (2-4 months) but it’s the magical time of the year that breathes new life into each and every element. No wonder Finns celebrate their summer like no other.

It’s the time of the year –  when the air is as pure as a child’s heart…when the sky is as blue as Picasso’s Old Guitarist…when the sun refuses to set bequeathing the breathtaking orange shades over the horizon all day all night…when the nightless nights cast a magical spell on you…when you don’t mind getting lost in the Arctic wilderness…when nature intensates and buds blossom like crazy bursting into oodles of vivid colors and the landscape wears all shades of green, red, orange, yellow, and purple…You need to see this!

The immense beauty and surreal charm of Lapland in summer left us flabbergasted. We fell hard for the Finnish summer. Literally! While I write this, I can still feel the touch of Finnish summer on my skin.

Rovaniemi in Lapland – Official Hometown of Santa Claus

Placed right on the Arctic Circle, where Kemijoki and Ounasjoki rivers meet, Rovaniemi is the soul of Finnish Lapland.

Lapland like Disney is one of those few noteworthy destinations that spark imagination, sprinkle magic dust, and entice kids to no end. It’s literally and figuratively, a place where all your childhood dreams become reality.

We chose Rovaniemi as our destination to experience Lappish summer and Lapland adventures.

If you want a more peaceful, less touristy destination then you might want to consider Saariselka which is around 260 km from Rovaniemi.

Kids had been looking forward to visiting Santa Land since we started our Nordic adventures. The most awaited one for them. Now, they can’t have any other big reason to visit Rovaniemi than meeting Santa.

Rovaniemi Airport welcomed us with Christmas-themed décor even when Christmas was months away.

Santa’s homeland airport is decorated like it’s Christmas all days of the year.

trip to lapland  with kids in summer rovaniemi airport
Rovaniemi Airport oozes the Christmas charm all through the year!

As the official hometown of Santa, the sense of Christmas remains in the atmosphere of Rovaniemi all through the year, whatever the season.

Interestingly, Santa Village is one of the rare places in the world where Christmas carols are played all 365 days of the year.

Read More: Porvoo – The Little Fairy Tale Town in Finland

Fab Things to do in Lapland with Kids in Summer

We spent 3 days discovering the magical Lapland. Kids were giggling and dancing around all the time.

These are the moments we live for. These are the moments we cherish.

Taking mini-me to Disney and Finnish Lapland had been the most cherished family holidays that we could experience.

From witnessing the Midnight Sun, experiencing the wilds of Lapland, meeting the real Santa Claus at his home at the North Pole with a look of awe and wonder, feeding reindeer, meeting friendly huskies, to crossing errr jumping the Arctic Circle and the look of achievement after getting the Arctic Circle Crossing Certificate – the kids in their own way and in their own good time savored the Arctic Summer. “A perfect playcation!” they exclaimed.

Here’s a list of fab things to do in Lapland in summer with kids –

Meet Santa in the Santa Claus Village

lapland with kids Santa Claus Village Rovaniemi Finalnd
Yes! The.Real.Santa is here! I mean, if you believe in one 🙂

For families traveling to Lapland with kids, a trip to Lapland means a trip to Santa Claus Village, the official home of the real Santa. The jolly old man dressed in red makes kids feel loved.

His long shiny beard, his glowing face, his infectious laugh, his spirited reindeer, his naughty yet diligent elves – everything about him is magical.

Grown-ups or little ones – Meeting Santa in Lapland makes everyone feel that a little magic in life is essential.

The man in red might be ordinary but radiates an infectious enthusiasm.

Mini-me had a short and lovely conversation with Santa.
Santa: “So, What all the places have you visited in Finland?”
Mini-me: “Helsinki was our introduction to Finland. We also visited Porvoo.”
Santa:  “A big small capital – That’s what I call Helsinki. How do you like it?”
Mini-me: “I loved it, especially Linnanmäki. Santa, Do you mind if I ask?”
Santa: “Ho ho ho…I never say no to kids.”
Mini-me: ” I’m wondering if you really make reindeer fly with your magical superfood –  super-lichens.”
Santa: “Shhhh….that’s a secret! Visit me during Christmas and I’ll make you ride on my magical sleigh.”
Mini-me: “Sure thing!”

kids met santa claus in santa claus village in rovaniemi finnish lapland
Jab kids met Santa! Meeting Santa was a dream come true for kids.

We left Santa’s room with a promise to come back during Christmas.

Would you believe it if I told you that you could visit Santa for free?

It’s true!

You can meet Santa 365 days a year at Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi, Lapland.

Photos with him do cost some money but are worth it. We paid around Euros 40 for the photographs and the video to be downloaded from the official website by putting in a code we were given at the Santa Claus Office.

If you don’t feel like paying for the photos then don’t as it’s not obligatory. Try meeting Santa at Santa Park where you can get clicked with him for free.

Stop by the local post office to see how tirelessly elves work to make your days special.

If you don’t want to miss meeting Santa at his secret home beneath the Arctic Circle, check the dates as Santa Park (theme park) is open on particular days in summer.

It opens around the last week of June till the first or second week of August from 10 in the morning to 5 in the evening.

They also have a wonderful Elf school at Santa Park. The tickets cost Euros 17.5 for adults and Euros 15 for kids aged 3-12 years.

Elf’s Farm Yard, just behind Santa’s office is great for young kids, especially toddlers. The entrance ticket is 10 Euros for adults and 5 Euros for kids. It’s open daily from 10 in the morning to 3 in the afternoon.

Download the Map of Santa Claus Village.

Cross the Arctic Circle

trip to lapland in summer arctic circle rovaniemi finland
Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi is located on the Arctic Circle where travelers can cross the latitude.

You all must have read about the Arctic Circle in Geography.

I remember reading about it in grade 6 in a chapter about Latitudes and Longitudes in Geography.

While attending those geography lessons, never in my wildest dreams I thought that I’d cross the most northerly of five circles of latitude someday.

The Arctic Circle runs through the Santa Claus Village in Lapland where a line is marked which you can cross to get the certificate authenticating your tour de force.

Now that’s something you don’t do every day!

lapland with kids crossing arctic circle rovaniemi
Kids jumping in joy while crossing the Arctic Circle. I read that stress and tension melt away as you move further north of the latitude.

Finns tell a legend that says if one crosses the Arctic Circle in the course of midsummer and full moon with a rabbit’s foot in the pocket and clover in hand while saying a spell, the person is given the power of a wolverine, the eyes of a snowy owl and the pace of a reindeer.

But the point is how can we see a moon when the sun doesn’t set at all during the summer season?

Here’s a perfect tour for you that lets you meet Santa, visit the Reindeer Farm, cross the Arctic Circle, and enjoy the traditional lunch.

Bask in the Glow of the Midnight Sun

trip to lapland in summer nightless night Ounasvaara midnight sun
The sun shining brightly at 9 pm

One of the unique features of Lappish Summer is the Midnight Sun.

Starting early June until early July, the sun doesn’t go down the horizon and the nights are white all through this period.

The closer you get to the Arctic Circle, the longer the duration of Midnight Sun.

Midnight Sun is an experience quite unlike any other. In fact, Midnight Sun is not an experience but an emotion.

I’d recommend taking any one of these summer photography tours to capture Midnight Sun at its best.

Do you know the golden glow lasts incessantly between 10 pm to 4 am during the Midnight Sun Period (21 May – 22 July?)

Luckily, we were in Rovaniemi on June 21st which gave us a chance to witness the summer solstice.

The summer solstice happens when the sun is directly over the Tropic of Cancer or 23.5° north latitude. The North Pole reaches its maximum annual tilt toward the sun. As the planet rotates on its axis, areas within the Arctic Circle see the sun circle through the sky for 24 hours.

admiring midnight sun rovaniemi lapland finland nordic countries
Can you imagine the time here? It’s 1 am!!! Words can’t describe what I was feeling at that moment.

Rovaniemi is located right on the Arctic Circle, thus the sun stays above the horizon for a complete 24 hours on the 21st or 22nd of June.

It doesn’t get dark even for a second. The magical experience of seeing nature soaked in the golden glow of the midnight sun is the stuff of making lifetime memories.

A lot of our friends asked how did we manage to sleep in sunlight even at night.

We struggled to sleep for a day or two but then we made up our minds not to worry about sleep anymore and decided to enjoy the ravishing nightless nights and explore as much as we could. Sleep can wait, right?

The best places to see the Midnight sun in Rovaniemi are Jätkänkynttilä Bridge, Ounasvaara Fell, Santavaara Hill, Arctic Garden, and, Ounaskoski Beach.

You can experience the beauty and warmth of the Midnight sun while floating on a forest lake that follows a tasty BBQ and bonfire.

If this idea fascinates you, book your Midnight Sun Floating Experience in Forest Lake here.

Get Lost in the Woods – Nature Hike

nature trails and hikes in lapland in summer

Lapland has ample opportunities for people who love to get lost in the woods. Rovaniemi has plenty of nature and outdoor activities to explore.

There are huge areas of forest, wetlands, and estuaries just 10 minutes away from the center of the city.

Hiking in nature is one of the best things to do in summer.

The views over the wilderness are intoxicating.

Book a wilderness day tour to experience the untouched wilderness of Lapland.

With no darkness to stop you from exploring, you have all day and all night to hike and enjoy the Everyman’s Rights.

trip to lapland with kids ounasvaara hike
Kids enjoy hiking in the Ounasvaara region. Lapland means pure and rugged Arctic wilderness.

We hiked to Ounasvaara, a hill that rises across the river. 

There are umpteen maps on the hiking trails, but we took the 5km Ounasvaara Nature Trail.

The hike starts at the Hiihtomajantie parking place. Another starting point of the trail is across the Jätkänkyntilä Bridge.

trip to lapland in summer triangular structure at top of ounasvaara fell
When the moon and sun make romance 🙂 At the top of Ounasvaara fell.

Hiking to the top of Ounasvaara Fell takes anywhere around 40 minutes to an hour. The 5 km Nature Trail to Ounasvaara is as mesmerizing as the views from the top of Ounasvaara.

The jaw-dropping sight of Rovaniemi soaked in the radiance of Midnight Sun from the top of Ounasvaara makes one go weak in the knees.

trip to lapland in summer tokka a group of reindeer at top of ounasvaara
Can you spot the tokka (a group of reindeer?)

We enjoyed the longest day in the northern hemisphere hiking, breathing in the cleanest air, and reflecting and introspecting on life.

Soup to nuts, this has to be one of the most cherished moments of our lives.

There’s no dearth of beautiful hiking trails in and around Rovaniemi.

midnight sun at ounasvaara rovaniemi finnish lapland
I can sit here for hours admiring nature and its wonders.

Rovaniemi is an ideal spot for those who love nature and outdoor activities. There are plenty of hiking trails and opportunities for outdoor adventures there.

Barbequing is another way to enjoy the Lappish summer.

You can book a hiking and camping tour where they combine hiking, Barbequing, sauna, and camping for an absolute experience.

Here are a few of the hiking tour suggestions for you to choose from:

Visit Local Lappish Family Home and their Traditional Workshop

Join a handicraft workshop at a local Lappish home to see how the traditional and sustainable art of reindeer antler carving survives and thrives here.

You can even make your own reindeer antler souvenir with the help of local artists at a workshop.

The 3-hour cultural and theme tour to visit the handicraft workshop with a Lappish Family in Rovaniemi is ideal for family travelers. You too can book it here.

Visit Reindeer Farm to Meet Ever Charming Reindeer

Reindeer Farm Santa Claus Village Rovaniemi Finland Lapland
You can’t ride the reindeer during summer but of course, can meet and feed the friendly reindeer.

It’s almost certain that you spot reindeer at some point while traveling in Lapland.

We were lucky to have spot tokka (a group of reindeer) roaming around the Ounasvaara hillside. You can even find them hanging on the roads during the summer.

Lapland vacation isn’t complete without visiting a reindeer farm.

Walking around with the reindeer, feeding and petting them, and meeting the reindeer herders at the reindeer farm is a different experience altogether.

We visited the Reindeer farm near the Santa Claus Office at the Arctic Circle in the Santa Claus Village. The entrance fee to the Santa Claus Reindeer Farm is 5 Euros.

reindeer farm santa claus village rovaniemi finland

The ticket for the Reindeer Herders Chores Program is 65 Euros where you can experience the daily farm life, cross the Arctic Circle on a reindeer, make your own souvenir, and eat fried salmon.

The farm is open from 10 am to 4 pm Monday to Saturday.

For a more authentic experience, where you can closely experience the life of Reindeer Herders, I’d recommend booking a tour that takes you to the local traditional reindeer farm a bit away from Rovaniemi.

You can book one here or here.

Taking a ride with reindeer during summer wouldn’t be possible as it’s a winter activity but kids would definitely cherish meeting these friendly creatures who pull their favorite Santa’s sleigh.

Riding a reindeer sleigh just like Santa and trying the Husky Sledding have been added to kids’ bucket lists.

Both these winter activities are a thrilling way to experience Lapland’s snow. We are certainly coming back to Lapland in Winter.

Meet Huskies at Traditional Husky Farm

Arctic Circle Husky Park at the Santa Claus Village rovaniemi finland
Arctic Circle Husky Park at the Santa Claus Village.

Visiting the Husky farm to meet the gorgeous Siberian Huskies and see how they are trained professional husky mushers to pull the sleds is a must-do thing.

We visited the Arctic Circle Husky Park situated right inside the Santa Claus Village. The park is open year-round from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. during summer and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. during winter. The closing timing is extended by an hour from December 15 to January 9.

The deafening sound of barking scared the kids as soon as they entered the farm, but ere long they welcomed them with utter enthusiasm.

Huskies started jumping up and down as if they had been waiting to be petted.

The smiles on the kids’ faces widened.

The Huskies seemed quite joyful and spirited that it’s inevitable to not be happy in their company. The trainer made kids meet all the Huskies by name.

She even told me who’s calm or hyperactive, who’s playful, and who’s moody. I loved the color of their eyes. One of the Huskies looked so pretty with different colored eyes – one deep green and the other blue 🙂

husky farm santa claus village rovaniemi finland
One of the Bi-Eyed Siberian Huskies at Husky Park with a condition called heterochromia.

Interestingly, Huskies posed really well for the photographs. Kids were happy to have furry friends.

Summertime activities include meeting and learning about Huskies, enjoying summer cart drives, and trekking with Huskies.

You can go hiking with the husky or reindeer for an absolutely unique experience.

There are many tours that combine the reindeer and husky farm visits and rides/hikes.

Check out this unique tour that combines the best of Lapland experiences – Canoeing, visiting the Husky and Reindeer farms, and authentic Lappish BBQ.

Take a Day Trip from Rovaniemi and Visit Ranua Wildlife Park

ranua wildlife park rovaniemi lapland finland

Ranua is around 80 km from Rovaniemi and can be explored on a day trip. Ranua Wildlife Park is home to around 200 adorable Arctic animals.

The kids are so excited to meet polar bears, foxes, lynxes, and many other arctic animals that they forget to complain about all the walking they are doing in the middle of the forest.

Book a Day Trip to Ranua Wildlife Park here.

It’s open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. during summer and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the rest of the year.

The entry costs anywhere between 17 to 19 Euros for adults and between 14 to 16 Euros for kids (4 to 14 years) depending upon the season. A family ticket costs between 51 to 59 Euros.

If you don’t have a car, buses run daily at regular intervals to and from Rovaniemi. The ticket per person is around 17 Euros on one side. You can book a ticket here.

Go on Long Drives in Lapland

Driving to Ounasvaara through Jätkänkynttilä (Lumberjack's Candle Bridge.)
Driving to Ounasvaara through Jätkänkynttilä (Lumberjack’s Candle Bridge.)

Lapland’s endless empty roads sprinkled with cute little villages hidden in tall coniferous trees are worth a drive.

 Rent a car and go on long drives.

Go Swimming/Boating/Fishing

Finnish summer is a time to luxuriate in water activities – swimming, fishing, or boating.

Swim or float in the forest lake’s water under the Midnight Sun or take a sauna boat river cruise or make use of Everyman’s right that says you can fish anywhere.

Kids love it!

Book an exciting Arctic waters fishing adventure in Lapland.

Catching a fish on their own brings a smile to kids’ faces. Salmon, rainbow trout, brown trout, and grayling are the varieties of fish found in Rovaniemi.

There are guided boat fishing tours designed for both experienced travelers as well as for those who don’t know how to fish. Fishing tours include all fishing equipment and fishing licenses.

Go Berry Picking in Forest

Forest Berry Picking in Lapland
Berry Picking in Lapland.

Lapland has dense forests everywhere and summer is a great time to experience the pure Lappish nature as you wander into the forest to pick the Arctic superfoods – bilberries, raspberries, cloudberries, and lingonberries.

You can adventure the forests on your own to pick berries and mushrooms or take one of the berry-picking tours that last for 3 to 4 hours and offer a Lappish BBQ too.

Lappish forests are a treasure trove of wild berries but wandering in the forests on your own without the help of a local guide makes it difficult to spot the right places for berry picking.

It’s recommended to take a tour where you can learn the basics about the Arctic superfoods while picking fresh berries.

Book the Lapland Berry Day Experience here.

Experience the Arctic Beach Life

Midsummer Celebration at Ounaskoski Beach Rovaniemi Finland
Celebrating Midsummer at Ounaskoski beach. Pic Credits: Visit Rovaniemi

Bath in the golden light of the Midnight sun while lazing at Ounaskoski Beach.

The beach becomes alive and happens when Finns celebrate the midsummer and never-ending nights by lighting a huge bonfire under the magical midnight sun and socializing around it.

I told you Finns celebrate summer like no other.

Ounaskoski Camping on the bank of Kemijoki is also an option for adventure lovers.

Try the Finnish Culture of Sauna

finnish sauna rovaniemi lapland finland
Finnish Sauna

Indulge in the art of Finnish wellness. A dip in the cool water of the lake coupled with a sauna is what Finns do to relax and rejuvenate.

And Finns really want the visitors to try Sauna when in Finland. We had a sauna at our summer cottage and thoroughly enjoyed bathing in the Finnish culture.

It’s good to know the Finnish Sauna etiquette before you walk into one. You might want to read sauna tips for first-timers.

Cruise the Rivers Kemijoki and Ounasjoki

ounasjoki river cruise ounasvaara fell rovaniemis highest point
Ounasjoki River as seen from the Ounasvaara Fell – Rovaniemi’s highest point.

An hour’s river cruise along the Kemijoki and Ounasjoki rivers takes you through the beautiful forest route in Finland’s traditional wooden boat.

The riverboat cruise allows you to admire the city of Rovaniemi from the boat.

Kemijoen Helmi aka The Pearl of Kemijoki cruise ship promises you an unmatched view of Rovaniemi.

There are boat tours along the Kemi River that take you to Kotisaari Island.

Explore the City of Rovaniemi

Umbrella street in Rovaniemi Finland
Lovely parrot green color umbrellas hanging on the main street of Rovaniemi.

Rovaniemi can be better explored on foot.

Angry Birds Activity Park, HOP-LOP and ROLLO-HALLI Adventure parks, Rovaniemi Church, Korundi House of Culture, Science Centre Pilke, City Library of Rovaniemi, Europe’s Northernmost University, Town Hall, Lappia House, Arktikum are some of the things to see and do in the city of Rovaniemi.

Arktikum, Pilke, and Korundi are some of the must-do things in Rovaniemi with kids.

Science Centre Pilke is all about northern forests. In Lapland, you can explore the forests outdoors as well as indoors, you see.

Located right on the banks of the Ounasjoki River, you can start your Rovaniemi exploration with Arktikum.

arktikum science center and museum rovaniemi finland
Arktikum Science Center and Museum. Pic Credits: Discovering Finland

The best place to experience Arctic nature, history, and culture, Arktikum Science Centre and Museum is one of the top things to do with kids in Rovaniemi.

Its long glass corridor lets you see the sky bathed in the golden glow of the Midnight Sun during summer and the green and purple flames of the Northern Lights during winter. You got to experience this to know how awesome it is!

Korundi House of Culture cleaves the past of the city of Rovaniemi. This is one of the few buildings that survived the disastrous Second World War. It now houses the Rovaniemi Art Museum and a Concert Hall.

Visit the intriguing cultural and historical attractions in Rovaniemi with a 7-day Culture Pass.

There are many Rovaniemi sightseeing guided tours like this or this one that can help you discover the city of Rovaniemi with ease and style.

They are perfect to see Rovaniemi with the local’s eyes in one day. I found this tour a good bet.

If you prefer to explore the Arctic Wilderness than the City attractions then this tour is perfect for you.

This 3-hour long tour takes you into the forest and makes you taste the stupendous and untamed Finnish wildlife and Lapland’s natural treasures.

Stay in a Traditional Finnish Cottage

finnish summer cottage rovaniemi finland
Enjoy summer the way Finns do. They escape to the summer cottage to relax and spend more time in nature. That’s the secret of their good life.

The cottage isn’t just a place to stay but a ritual in Finland. Come summertime, Finns retreat to cottage life (mökkielämä) to connect to nature, loved ones, and themselves away from the world.

Tune into nature and immerse yourself in quintessential Lapland culture and lifestyle by staying in one of the pretty traditional Finnish Cottages, kesämökki as they call it.

A sauna is an essential ingredient in almost every summer cottage. Appreciate the art of doing nothing the way Finns do.

Live the Lappish Way

live the lappish way

Life in Lapland is out of the ordinary.

It’s so peaceful and laid-back. No one is rushing to get somewhere for no reason. You wouldn’t want to come back.

Traveling to Lapland

However remote, Finnish Lapland is well-connected to the rest of the world via plane, train, and road. From other countries, you can get to Lapland by flight via Finland’s capital, Helsinki.

Inside Finland, the Lapland can be reached easily by road (car, bus) or train, or plane. Rovaniemi has regular road connections from and to Russia, Sweden, and Norway.

You might need a Schengen Visa to travel to Finland. Read more about the Schengen visa details in our complete guide to Schengen Visa for Indians.

Flights to Lapland

Boarding the flight from aitport Helsinki to Rovaniemi
Boarding the flight to Rovaniemi at Helsinki Airport.

Norwegian and Finnair fly daily to all the major airports in Lapland (Rovaniemi, Kittilä, Ivalo, Enontekiö, Kemi, and Kuusamo) from Helsinki.

Finnair also has regular flights from Delhi to Rovaniemi with a short layover at Helsinki airport. We spent a few days exploring Helsinki before flying to Rovaniemi by Norwegian which is cheaper than Finnair.

Train to Lapland

Several trains run to and from Helsinki all through the year whatever the weather.

The overnight train is a lovely way to travel to Lapland from Helsinki. It takes anywhere around 10 to 12 hours.  We wanted to travel by train but couldn’t due to the time crunch.

The Santa Claus Express Night Train starts from Helsinki, and makes a stop at Rovaniemi before it reaches its final destination, Kemijärvi.

Reservations can be made in advance through Eurail or by calling Finnish Railways (VR) customer care. I’d suggest not buying a rail pass if you aren’t planning to take multiple trains in Europe.

Buy the regular train ticket If you’re planning to make a single one-way trip.

Visit the Finnish Railways Official website for train timings and tickets here. Tickets can also be booked through RailEurope.

Bus/Coach to Lapland

Matkahuolto and Onnibus offer regular bus services to this northernmost part of the world.

Drive to Lapland – Rented Car or Taxi

Whether you are behind the driving wheel or behind the driver’s seat, you are going to love this road trip.

A drive through the E75 route from Helsinki to Rovaniemi is packed with breathtaking stopovers.

One can choose to drive through the mesmerizing Finnish Countryside dotted with wooden houses enveloped by dark forests with enough days on hand.

You can check the live information from the Finnish Transport Agency on road conditions here.

Want to rent a car in Europe but something’s stopping you? Read our tips and tricks to successfully rent a car in Europe.

Getting Around Lapland

By Bus

Lapland has extensive bus connections ranging from local to regional to hop-on-hop-off buses. It’s effortless to travel within the city and from one town to another town in Lapland by bus.

The companies operating in Lapland are Onnibus, Matkahuolto, and Linkkari.

Santa’s Express bus number 8 runs every hour from Rovaniemi Railway Station to Santa Claus Village.

By Rented Car

You can explore Lapland in your rental car. It gives you the freedom to stop anywhere and click as many photographs as you want.

We rented a Hertz car from the airport. It’s recommended to book a rental car online in advance especially if you are traveling during peak season. Other major car rentals in Rovaniemi include – Scandia Rent, Sixt, Avis, Budget, and Europcar.

We always use Discover Cars as they compare the prices of all the car rental companies available in the market and help us choose the best.

Parking is paid mostly. Check for gas stations when traveling from one town to another in Lapland.

By Taxi

You can hire a taxi from three of the major taxi services in Rovaniemi – Santa Line, Rovaniemi Taxi Service, and Taxi Lähitaksi Rovaniemi.

Airport Transfers

The Airport Shuttle Services are available between the International Airport and the town center.

Best Time to Visit Lapland

trip to lapland in summer
This is what summer looks like in Lapland!

Lapland isn’t just a winter wonderland!

It’s a summer wonderland.

It’s a spring wonderland.

It’s an autumn wonderland.

Let’s cut it short – Any time of the year is the best time to visit Lapland.

What and Where to Shop in Lapland

Souvenirs shop at Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi.
Souvenirs shop at Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi.

If shopping to you means just buying souvenirs like me, numerous Souvenirs and Gift Shops inside the Santa Claus Village are enough to satisfy your shopping quest.

We shopped at Santa Claus Main Post Office Shop.

It’s not only an official post office but also houses Special Santa Claus Office Products, unique stamps, postcards, souvenirs, and other gifts.

Mini-me got hold of Santa postcards, stamps, a bell, and a mug while I got my mitts on fridge magnets as always.

We also ordered a personalized Christmas letter from Santa stamped with the official Arctic Circle postmark for mini-me.

You can buy postcards from here and mail them to your near and dear ones right away or for Christmas. Mailboxes are placed in the lobby just outside the Santa Claus Office Shop.

Put the postcard in yellow one if you want to send it right away or else use the red one for Christmas delivery.

Isn’t it exciting to get a postcard from Santa’s Office at the North Pole on Christmas?

mailboxes santa office rovaniemi finalnd
Yellow and Red mailboxes outside the Santa Claus Village Post Office
me posing at santa office rovaniemi finland
Me posing at Santa Claus Office

Mini-me mailed several postcards to her friends and relatives that should reach them on or before 25th December.

It’s already 12th December and she’s waiting to hear from those she sent Christmas postcards to and we are waiting to see a smile on mini-me’s face as she gets her personalized letter from Santa.

Arctic Circle Mall in Santa Village has typical tourist shops selling everything you can imagine.

Santa Claus Gift House in the Santa Village also has a few souvenir shops like Santa’s Gifts, Delicacies and Poronpulkka, and Piece of Lapland.

gift house in santa claus village rovaniemi with kids
Santa Claus Gift House in Santa Claus Village. It’s a completely touristy place with shops, restaurants, and a hotel.

Bring back a piece of Lapland with you in the form of wilder snack bars.

Arctic Superfoods makes snack bars using wild berries and herbs that are as wild in taste as its name.

We brought back these snack bars as souvenirs for kids back home. The bars are available at many outlets around Lapland. We found them at Pilke Shop.

Traditional Lappish Knife from Martitiini Knife Factory (don’t know if it’s allowed to carry while flying,) Shaman jewelry, and Sprout Pencil are some other authentic souvenirs to bring back from Lapland.

What to Eat in Lapland

Rovaniemi has a growing food scene that extends fresh seasonal food. Whether you choose fine dining or casual dining or a barbeque by the campfire, the original and fresh Arctic flavors will hit you in the heart 🙂

Lappish Food is greatly inspired by nature and the fresh and pure produce it offers.

Vegetarians like me may not like it, but Lapps just loves to eat Reindeer, moose meat, and local salmon. Yes, that’s an integral part of Lappish Cuisine.

The meat is traditionally served with almond potatoes (Lapin Puikula), pickles, and lingonberry jam.

Kotahovi Lapland Restaurant

We dined at Kotahovi Lapland Restaurant in the Santa Claus Village.

While my friends and family relished the Traditional Sautéed reindeer meat, I was happy with the Goat cheese vegetable patty and Blueberry pie.

I love to sample local cuisine wherever I go, though my being vegetarian limits me to some extent.

Kulta Katriina

trip to lapland in summer coffee at kulta katriina rovaniemi

Kulta Katriina is quite a spesh part of the Finnish coffee culture. We tried this traditional Finnish coffee at Santa Claus Village.

Nili Restaurant

Nili is another celebrated restaurant in Rovaniemi where you can taste Lappish Cuisine.

Go for Rovaniemi Market for starters if you want to try all the Lappish delicacies in one meal.

It’s a wooden platter packed with Lappish appetizers – Lappish cheese, reindeer meat, salmon, vendace, and berries. For desserts, try Traditional Lappish Squeaky Cheese made with classic local cheese (leipäjuusto) and cloudberry jam.

Coffee House

Hey, Coffee Lovers! Coffee House has got you covered.

Freshly baked croissants, a cup of coffee, and a relaxed environment – you can’t ask for more! Do you?

You can even choose between vegan and regular milk for your coffee.

Restaurant Valdemari’s

Lying on the Ounaskoski edge of the river Kemijoki, Restaurant Valdemari’s summer terrace assures breathtaking views of the city bathed in the aureate midnight sun plus the great food.

Here are some special recommendations for kids. They’d love me for this, I know.


Rosso, an Italian restaurant that brings kids joy in classic Italian cuisine – Pizzas, Pasta, and risotto. Kids menu, dedicated play area, and Onni the Squirrel (Rosso’s mascot) – they perfectly know how to woo kids.

The best part is you can choose between regular, vegan cheese and can ask for gluten-free pizza too.

Arctic Ice Cream Factory

Anna-Riika Lavia, the founder of the Arctic Ice Cream Factory, makes artistic ice creams by hand using pure Nordic ingredients like blueberries, cloudberries, lingonberries, and pure dairy products from the local farm.

You can buy Arctic Ice Cream Factory’s products from many restaurants, markets, and bicycle vending carts around Lapland.

There are many places where you can buy this fresh and creamy ice cream in Lapland.

We tried one at Choco Deli Cafe in Rovaniemi Centre. Don’t leave Lapland without making your kids relish and cherish Rovaniemi’s special ice cream. They have vegan options too.

You’ll find the Rieska (barley flatbread), and bilberry (Lappish berry) desserts almost everywhere in Lapland.

Find the best deal, compare prices, and read what other travelers have to say about restaurants in Rovaniemi at TripAdvisor.

Where to Stay in Lapland

If you are visiting Lapland in Summer, We’d strongly recommend staying in a Finnish summer cottage/holiday home.

There are many cottages or holiday homes available in and around Rovaniemi that invariably feature three Finnish essentials – a sauna, rowboat, and lake.

You can use some of our recommendations.

Villa Kyyhkynen

trip to lapland in summer cottage rovaniemi finland

We stayed at Villa Kyyhkynen. The holiday room has 3 bedrooms, a living room, and a fully equipped kitchen. It’s pretty close to the Lapland Hotel Sky Ounasvaara.

A lovely cottage in the midst of nature is all you need to make your summer vacation in Rovaniemi a big hit. The cottage accommodates 7 people and is ideal for families.

Book Villa Kyyhkynen here.

Ukonloma Cottages

My friend stayed at Ukonloma Cottages and was all gaga about it. The cottages are located in the midst of the forest and feature Finnish favorites – a sauna, lake, and rowboat.

In winter, the northern lights can be seen from here as zero pollution. The accommodation that’s perfect for summer as well as winter.

They have three options – 2 2-bedroom cottage for 4 people, a large 2-bedroom cottage that accommodates 6 people, and an economy cottage for two.

Read Reviews for Ukonloma Cottages here.

Book Ukonloma Cottages here.

Not your style? No worries. Use this map to find your style of place to stay in Rovaniemi. You can book now and pay later, you know.

Airbnb has around 300 apartments, cottages, holiday homes, and cabins in Rovaniemi.

Read More: Where to Stay in Rovaniemi

What to Pack for Lapland Trip in Summer

Summer in Lapland felt like winter in Delhi to me.

They say that it gets pretty warm in Rovaniemi from June till August but their definition of warm is different than ours, believe me.

Temperature ranges from 15 to 25 degrees Celsius but weather conditions in Lapland change suddenly, so one needs to be prepared.

I couldn’t wear my favorite shorts and skirts I packed with great enthusiasm and had to buy long pants and a wind-proof jacket from there.

So, you must pack long pants or trousers or denim or leggings and a few long-sleeved T-shirts or tops.

Keep one warm plus a wind-proof jacket and good hiking shoes. If a nature hike is on your list, don’t forget to pack mosquito repellent.

It’s wise to pack base layers for young kids.

Best Finnish Lapland Tours in Summer

Here are our recommendations of the best tours to take when in Finnish Lapland around June, July, and August.

Lapland Travel Tips

1. Debit/Credit cards are accepted pretty much everywhere in Finland. Carry some Euros for rare cases and in case you plan to use public transportation (buses).

2. Carry your passport at all times as you might need to give personal identification proof at the time of the transaction.

3. Always carry reusable water bottles to be refilled. Finnish tap water is clean and drinkable.

4. If you are planning to visit Lapland during the summer, make it around the summer solstice.

5. Don’t forget to buy the right travel insurance before you leave for Lapland. Better safe than sorry. We use and recommend Heymondo. Purchase a Heymondo policy with a 5% discount.

5. Read all the practical information on Rovaniemi here.

Here’s to the joys of summer in Lapland!

We only got to experience Rovaniemi and its surroundings during our 3-day trip to Lapland.

We are going back for sure to experience other parts of Lapland viz. Inari – Saariselkä, Kemijärvi, Kemi, Sodankylä, Tornio, Kolari (Ylläs), Pello, Kittilä (Levi).

What do you think after reading this post? Is Lapland just a winter wonderland or is it badass to visit any time of the year? Let me know in the comments box.

Can I request something? If this post helped you plan a beautiful trip to Finnish Lapland in summer, be a sport and share it with the world. Well, Isn’t that persuasive? 😉

Recommended Reading:

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trip to finnish lapland in summer

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Anjali Chawla

A story-weaver, and a freelance writer, Anjali is a true-blue traveler. She has been published in both online and print media, lending credibility and authority to her work. Her passion for travel and writing inspired her to handcraft this space she calls her virtual home. She travels far and wide to experience new cultures and bring back stories to share with her readers. Her hubby and her 15-year-old daughter are her best travel buddies. Join her as she unclothes the beauty and culture around the world, one place at a time.

30 thoughts on “Trip to Lapland in Summer: Things to do in Rovaniemi”

  1. Your photos are amazing! Especially that sunset photo! What a cool experience for you and your kids to go to the arctic circle. Definitely one for the bucket list.

  2. Hi Anjali, I really enjoyed reading about your travels through Lapland as it is not a place that I see Indians travellers frequent. It is a wonderfully detailed guide and I would be sure to refer it to anyone who is heading to Finland. I am totally sold on Artic Ice Cream Factory and might just visit just for that!

  3. Wow so many things to do in Lapland. Didn’t know this is Santa Clause hometown. I, myself will definitely have to take a picture with him and see the reindeer. It is fascinating for huskies to have different eye colors, and yes they really post in pictures.

  4. Pinned this! I’ve always wanted to take our boys in the winter- but summer looks AMAZING! And a lot warmer! The sunsets are just stunning and it looks like you can still do much of the holiday stuff even in summer.

  5. This looks like an absolutely wonderful family adventure. I wish my parents had taken me back when I was still small enough to sit on Santa’s lap without making him grimace! I do have to say, as a Canadian, that Santa has Canadian citizenship … so he has to be Canadian, right?

  6. I love the color of the skies and sunsets especially. Such a cool spectrum. Some of your photos look like it’s straight from the storybooks, how quaint some of the buildings are. It looks like it was very peaceful to wander around and your family really seemed to enjoy the trip

  7. I would totally go in the summer time. What a great time to visit with all of the greenery and midnight sun. To boot you got to meet santa off season. Doesn’t get much better. Your pictures are fantastic.

  8. The vastness of Lapland is amazing. I like how you captured the picture of it under the midnight sun. I didn’t know Santa Claus had a home town! Haha! I find it cute and interesting! Nice blog about it!

  9. What a wonderful experience – and to take your kids w/ you! How fun. Love the pics and the adventure. Keep up the good work.

  10. Wow, thanks for sharing this! Lapland (and Finland) have been on my bucket list for several years. It must be so weird to never see the sun go down. I’d love to experience that someday!

  11. I’ve always associated Lapland with being a winter destination, so it was very interesting to read this. Looks awesome to see the lush countryside in milder conditions! The kids must’ve loved it 🙂

  12. First of all, I must say that you have taken stunning photos of Lapland. Lapland has wonderful nature with lovely rivers, long drives and pampering into Finnish style sauna. I would love to see the Arctic Circle as have read too much about Geography.

  13. Lapland must be totally fascinating. Last year, especially on the Dokumenta, there were really interesting artists from Lapland – promoting their culture and heritage – quite inspiring.

  14. This just made our Christmas dreams come true. I just had to google exactly where this was so I could find it on a map.
    Such a good detailed and unique post! Thank You

  15. I didn’t even think it was possible to visit Lapland in the summer?! It’s great that Santa is there all year round as undoubtedly that’s why most families visit! If I were to ever visit Finnish Lapland, I think I would still go during Winter for the extra Christmas magic but it’s good to know it’s a great option for summer too.

  16. Wow! This is one location I want to hear more and more about. Lapland is unique and fresh. Glad you could cover so much in three days. Seems the kid had a lot of fun meeting local family, reindeers and going to husky farm. I always thought ideal time of visiting Lapland is during winters but a summer trip doesn’t seem too bad 🙂 thanks for sharing.

  17. Such a cool post about a place I only thought about visiting in winter. I am trying to imagine watching the sun up at 1 am too haha. Absolutely going to head here during the summer now. Thanks for the great storytelling and hope your kids had a blast!

  18. This is one place that’s high on the bucket list, it sounds like such a fairytale destination. You’ve put together so much helpful information, thanks for sharing.

  19. This truly looks like alot of fun even for adults, the views are amazing. I am loving how detailed this post is that it makes me want to book time off now.

  20. Hey those are the luckiest kids. To be able to go the 5 Nordic countries. The photos were outstanding and the experience and memories made were even more so.

  21. Wow! your photos are amazing! I love to go here and visit those place to see that breathtaking view. Lapland is super beautiful! saving this one.

  22. Wow look at the colours of nature. I think it looks beautiful in summer with lot of colours and charm added to the beauty of nature. Kids would definitely enjoy to be here in summer. Lovely post.

  23. I admit, I too think of Lapland and winter, but, after reading your article, it looks like it’s a fun place all year long. I love that the Santa-related activities are open (so the spirit is kept throughout the year). The landscape is mesmerizing – and the temperatures are definitely more bearable during the summer 🙂 Useful guide!


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