A cultural approach to Rovaniemi

September 18, 2017 Henri Anundi

Getting to know local culture adds a whole new dimension to any holiday. Rovaniemi is the provincial capital of Lapland and the Official Hometown of Santa Claus with quite the list of cultural experiences on offer – have a look for selected picks below.

A basic introduction through attractions, Santa Claus and handicraft

Culture Pass

– This ticket unfolds three of the most essential cultural establishments in Rovaniemi: the arctic science centre and museum Arktikum, the forest-themed science centre Pilke and the Korundi House of Culture.

Santa Claus Safari

– This tour combines nature, culture and the spirit of Christmas. Santa, reindeer and crossing the Arctic Circle are the high points of the day.

Secret of the Antler

– Hornwork handicraft workshop is a family business specialising in working with traditional Lappish materials such as wood and reindeer antler. This experience lets participants craft their own souvenir out of reindeer antler.

The Arctic in Change exhibition in Arktikum, Rovaniemi

A look into art and architecture

Buildings by Alvar Aalto and the reindeer antler town plan

– Did you know the Rovaniemi town plan is shaped like a reindeer’s head and antlers? Explore Rovaniemi’s architecture and landmarks on your own with the help of a guide route available on the Citynomadi app.

  • More information on the town plan and architecture in Rovaniemi here.

Galleries and exhibitions

– Rovaniemi has several spots that culture buffs will find interesting:

  • Gallery Napa  is run by the Artists’ Association of Lapland.
  • The University of Lapland has four galleries where students and staff of the Faculty of Art and Design present their works.
  • Varjo Galleria (site in Finnish only) calls itself “the people’s gallery” with a down-to-earth approach to culture and door always open to all.
  • The Lapponica Hall in Rovaniemi City Library houses exhibitions by Lappish artists and with Lapland-related themes.

Art gallery Galleria Napa in Rovaniemi, the Official Hometown of Santa Claus

Sleep in style – design-oriented accommodation

Arctic Light Hotel

– The hotel combines Lappish history and contemporary design in a 1950’s building that has previously functioned as the City Hall. The breakfast alone is a worth a stay.

Hostel Café Koti

– The design hostel opened in 2016 in a refurbished former bank building in central Rovaniemi. The interiors are characteristically Scandinavian: modern and sleek.

Arctic TreeHouse Hotel

– The rooms of this hotel are suites standing on stilts, with window walls facing north for viewing arctic natural phenomena such as the Northern Lights.

Room in Hostel Cafe Koti in Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland

Food culture - restaurants with local flavours


– This Lapland restaurant is the place to start for Lappish flavours, as everything from the menu to the interior is based on local ingredients, materials and craft.

Café & Bar 21

– An eclectic menu with unique dishes based on local ingredients characterise “the 21”, signature portions being salty and sweet waffles as well as Lapas (Lappish tapas).


– The small and intimate restaurant and street bistro draws influences from the US and Italy, but is strongly rooted in Rovaniemi and Lapland.

Local tapas in Aitta Deli & Dine in Rovaniemi, Lapland

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