It is the capital of Finnish Lapland, and incidentally the city of the most famous Finn: Santa Claus. With 6,000 inhabitants (2016), Rovaniemi has established itself as the economic centre of the region. Built a few kilometres south of the Arctic Circle, the city is at the confluence of the Ounasjoki and Kemijoki rivers. In the past, the Ounasjoki carried thousands of tree trunks which, via a complex river network, reached, under the watchful eye of the tukkijätkä (timber floats), the centres of the timber industry on the shores of the Gulf of Bothnia. Entirely destroyed in 1944 by the German army, Rovaniemi will be rebuilt according to Alvar Aalto's plans (look at your plan: the ramifications of the streets connecting the town centre are reminiscent of reindeer woods). Apart from the Lappia House and the congress centre, however, there is nothing that catches the eye in a city centre with its endless streets and stupidly rectangular buildings. However, the city is not without interest! In addition to its formidable Arktikum Museum, which focuses on the environment and the history of the people living north of the Arctic Circle, the city is only 20 minutes from a superb ice hotel and offers a wide range of activities. Rovaniemi has indeed a huge advantage: it is in the middle of nature and you get out of the city quickly. It is therefore the starting point for many of the leisure activities that are widespread in Lapland: downhill and cross-country skiing, snowmobile tours, dog sledding, visits to reindeer farms, snowshoe outings... You will find several agencies in the centre of Rovaniemi that offer these outings. We recommend Safartica and Lapland Safaris. Finally, a stop in Rovaniemi makes it easy to reach the whole region.
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