Helsinki to Rovaniemi: Visiting Santa Claus in his Hometown

Do you ever catch yourself reminiscing about days gone by? You know – back to the days when you too, truly believed in Santa Claus and the magic of Christmas? Can you still recall those Christmas Eve nights when it seemed you would wait up for hours to catch a glimpse of the man in red, only to fall asleep moments before he arrived. While visions of sugarplums may have danced through the heads of some, perhaps you were one of the small tots with visions of meeting Santa face-to-face filling your dreams.

Whether you are young or more advanced in years, have a large family or small, there’s never been a better time to make your magical dreams of meeting Santa come true – and the train can help make it happen!

Santa Claus in Rovaniemi
Santa Claus in his hometown of Rovaniemi Finland. Image courtesy of and some rights reserved by Tarja Ryhannen Mitrovic

Rovaniemi – declared as the official home of Santa Claus

If you’re looking for a once in a lifetime, magical, fantasy-to-reality type of getaway, why not travel by train from Helsinki to Rovaniemi?

Up above the Arctic Circle in Finland, found in Lapland, is the small city of Rovaniemi. It is in this city where you can actually visit Santa’s Village. It is in this village that Santa Claus spends his days tending to his life’s mission – which is enhancing the well-being of children and the kindness of adults. This of course, is in addition to spreading the message love and goodwill of Christmas Spirit throughout all corners of the world.

Santa's Village, Rovaniemi Finland
Santa’s Village, Rovaniemi, Finaland. Image courtesy of and some rights reserved by Tarja Ryhannen Mitrovic

Things to see and do in Santa’s Village

A visit to Santa’s Village in Rovaniemi will provide you with experiences that you cannot find anywhere else in the world. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights of a trip to this quaint Christmas village.

First and foremost on visitors’ lists is a face to face meeting with the legendary man in red – Santa! You can easily accomplish this by visiting him in the Santa Claus Office. The office is open daily, all year round and thousands upon thousands of visitors flock here from all around the world – just for the opportunity to meet Santa! You can find out more on the official Santa Claus Village website.

After meeting Mr. Claus, why not head to the Arctic Circle Husky Park for a fabulous husky sledge ride. The park has roughly 90 Siberian huskies to care for, and part of that care includes lots of running! Nothing makes these pups happier than running through the snow with a couple of friends! A visit to the Husky Park is a great way to spend an afternoon with the family.

See Christmas traditions and culture throughout the world when you stop by the Christmas House, home of the Christmas Exhibition. Watch historic Christmas films, take a peek at rare decorations and just become filled with nostalgic memories of Christmases gone by. The Christmas House is prized with having the best souvenir shop in the village so after you’ve made your way through the Christmas exhibit, you may want to stop by and do a little holiday shopping!

Be sure to visit SantaPark on your visit to Rovaniemi. This underground network of caves is chock-full of Christmas Spirit and certainly should not be missed! Here you can learn calligraphy writing, attend a class on how to be an elf, visit Mrs. Claus’ Bakery and more! A visit to SantaPark is a great day spent with the family.

Tracks to Rovaniemi. Image courtesy of & some rights reserved by Adrián Pére.
Tracks to Rovaniemi. Image courtesy of & some rights reserved by Adrián Pére.

Getting to Santa’s Village by train:

To get to the Arctic Circle, you don’t need your own magical sled…you can get on-board the train! You can travel directly from Helsinki to Rovaniemi by train. Travel time is roughly 9.5 hours on this direct train. You will make a few stops along the way, but you do not need to change trains.

This InterCity train offers 1st and 2nd class accommodations, a restaurant car where food and beverages can be purchased, and even a playroom where youngsters and adults alike can stretch their legs and have some fun with fellow arctic travelers.

Tickets for the train from Helsinki to Rovaniemi start at $128 per person and can be purchased from Rail Europe.

Upon arrival, you can take a bus from the Rovaniemi Railway station to the village. Known as Santa’s Express, simply hop on bus number 8 (of the local bus network). Travel time between the railway station and Santa’s Village is roughly 15 minutes. When you reach the village, you’ll feel as though you’ve been placed directly into the set of your favorite Christmas movie!

If the trip up to Rovaniemi is not the only travel you plan to do in Finland, you may want to consider a Eurail Finland Pass, valid for extensive travel on the national rail network of Finland; a Eurail Finland-Sweden Pass, valid for extensive travel on the national rail networks of Finland and Sweden; or a Eurail Scandinavia Pass which will give you extensive travel on the national rail networks of Finland, Sweden, Norway & Denmark.

This is truly a magical journey, full of wonder and excitement. How could it not be – with every inch covered in Christmas! The trip from Helsinki to Rovaniemi will leave you with fond memories and great stories to bring back to your friends and family (along with all the amazing Christmas souvenirs)!

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