I love Christmas. Always have. Loved taking the kids each year to see Santa in his Grotto, doing the advent calendars, putting up the tree, candles, lights, decorations the house, baking gingerbread, even cooking up a storm on Christmas Day. But there is one thing I’ve always wanted to do…and that is to visit Santa in his Lapland home.
Today I got to tick a longstanding item off the bucket list. We got to the Village in Lapland where Santa spends most of the year and his elves are busy running the Post Office and other important jobs that brings magic to the Christmas season!
The real Santa – who we met – clearly has plenty to do all year round, so there is always something going on at the Village. There is a reindeer area where we were able to take a short ride on a ‘one-reindeer-open-sled’. We posted a few postcards from the Post Office, visited Santa himself and met a few of the elves. We had lunch and bought a few decorations to bring home.
The Village has a number of different things that visitors can see and do. When the snow comes it changes again and there are snow activities to also do.
The Arctic Circle actually crosses right through the village at 66deg North with Santa’s Office built smack bang on the Arctic circle. There is a magic crossing inside as you wind through the building to visit him. The big world clock is there to count the hours that Santa is making his deliveries and tracking his progress. Walking through we were told we could look through the keyholes to watch the elves at work in the various workshops/kitchen etc. They are flat out at the moment so these areas are not open to the public. The elves just get too distracted and want to talk to everyone.
We are staying a 2km walk away – south of the Arctic Circle – at the Arctic TreeHouse Hotel in a lovely modern cabin with beautiful picture window. The Village and our hotel are about 8kms from the city of Rovaniemi, Finland. The TreeHouse hotel is not as the name suggests up in the trees, but the cabins have a full wall of glass that looks into the forest. They are built on an elevation so that the sense is that you are sleeping up in the trees. It’s light and cosy with furs on the floor and rugs on the bed. From our window we cannot see anything but forest. It’s awesome.
A tip for travellers though, the bus route that brought us here stops back up at Santas Village. There was no transfer from the bus stop to the hotel, so we had to cross the highway via an under pass in the damp weather and dragging our luggage over gravelled paths to the information desk at the Village to order a taxi. The info desk usually charge 1Euro booking fee per person, however we didn’t have cash and the lady at the desk was very keen to not make things difficult and waived the fee. The taxi cost 12.5 Euros to get us to the hotel. All of this was ok, but it took us a while to figure it out. The bus driver didn’t have enough English to explain what we needed to do and it was a few calls/emails to the Hotel before we could work out exactly how to get there.
The Hotel is tranquil and comfortable. After returning from Santa’s Village we sat by the fire in the bar and had an afternoon drink. I had a ‘cloud berry sour’ and Andy a ‘ blue berry something-or-other’. Both old style cocktails perfect for fire gazing in a cozy spot.