Rovaniemi & Santa's Village
More to the north of Finland lies the beautiful but chilly town of Rovaniemi, the home of Santa's Village. The village is a few minutes outside the centre, closer to the airport, and is a hotspot for a large number of international tourists.
One might initially think that such a place would be very much overdone and tacky, but the village is exactly not that. Aside from the constantly playing carols, the area inside the main part of the village was peaceful and inviting... serene even - something only possible with the sub-zero temperates of the climate.
It was mostly negative 2 (Celsius) the entire time I was there, which turned out to be quite comfortable. I was with a film team from Australia who were shooting a piece for a Christmas video campaign for the entire weekend. The piece was shot in the centre of the village, so I had a great amount of time to take everything in.
The piece depended more on the people than it did the location, so we got to meet a lot of different groups of people - some of which were even from Australia!
The short period I spent in central Rovaniemi and Santa's Village has left me wondering just how much I missed out on seeing. The trips I spent in a car to and from the site and the hotel, and from there to the airport, gave me a good view of the landscape and how the endless forests look like under several inches of snow.
I also didn't get a chance to see any wildlife, aside from the tame reindeer at Santa's Village.
I will definitely be travelling back to Rovaniemi.. I got some great vibes from the town, the hotel was awesome and the locals were very friendly. I can highly recommend the trip there, but check it out in late December or January!