Rovaniemi, the land of Santa Claus
 

Rovaniemi is the "capital" of Northern Finland, is in the lower regions of Lapland at the centre of where the Arctic Circle winds its way through the heart of Finland. On the Arctic Circle at the junction of two great rivers, the Kemijoki and the Ounasjoki, Rovaniemi has grown round the Ounasvaara Hill recreation area is a part of nature itself. (source: visitrovaniemi.fi)

One advice, do not leave Rovaniemi without a vist to Arktikum. Located on Pohjoisranta 4, Artikum is one of the best museums and science centers in Finland, focusing on life in Lapland and arctic region through the ages. It has many exibithions and many interesting information abouth the northen lights, people, language and costumes of the artic circle people (not just in Finland).
 


Where to stay

Rovaniemi have a big variety of hotels, hostels and even particular guest houses. You can find very easily all the offers on the internet, the prices are very different from hotel to hotel, but you might expect the biggest prices on November and December. I personally stayed at the Aakenus Hotel. Not a luxury hotel, very simple, with all the essentials, warm rooms, many services, free wifi and even a sauna. It is located 5 minutes walking from city center and the main desk people are very, very welcome, giving you all the info you need about the city, transportation and all other stuff.
In the link below you will find TripAdvisor list of hotels in Rovaniemi. You can check one by one and you can also read former users feedback.


http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Hotels-g189922-Rovaniemi_Lapland-Hotels.html


Shopping around

During my stay i used the public transportation, so i might have miss some spots, but i noticed that in city center (a small zone of 1km), around the main hotels and local services, there are many shops of local products. I went to several of them and i found the people very welcome and very friendly.
On the other hand, you also have Sampokeskus Shopping Center, located on city center where you can find a big lot of stores all in the same confortable space.
If you go to Rovaniemi on winter this is one of best places to spend s while, not just to warm up inside but to have a coffe and a snack (they have inside Sampokeskus a place called Arnold's Donuts that claims to have the best donuts in Finaland).

On the other hand you also have Kalotinlinna, next to Sampokeskus, the big advantage is the supermarket where you can have all the products you need to your journey, as the prices are lower here (compared to a coffe or restaurant), for instance, all the juices and water that i used during my stay where bought here.
Do not expect to find any big shopping center, as we have in many european countries. Here the local store still runs ahead and there are plenty of them around Rovaniemi streets.