Top 5 things to do on Rovaniemi’s frozen rivers in winter

October 26, 2016 Henri Anundi

Rovaniemi lies at the confluence of two major rivers, the Kemijoki and the Ounasjoki, that play central roles in local life. In the winter, the rivers are frozen for several months, lending extra ground for exciting winter activities.

1. Walk on water: go for a stroll on the river ice

The simplest way to experience the frozen rivers is to go for a walk on the ice. Walking on the ice is generally safe, but one should always make sure, and for visitors, the best way to do so is to check with locals.

There are countless good spots for a walk on the ice just off the city centre in Rovaniemi – just make sure it is absolutely safe.

Warning: Always stay away from open water!

Walking in snowmobile tracks on frozen river ice in Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland

2. Step on it: go snowmobiling

Snowmobiling is a popular activity in Rovaniemi, and there are numerous tracks that start from the city centre and lead into the wilderness. For visitors, the way to experience this exciting activity is to join a snowmobile safari.

Most snowmobile safaris in Rovaniemi feature lengthy bits on frozen rivers and lakes.

Snowmobiling on river ice by Safartica in Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland

3. Feel the Finnish extremes: step in a hot sauna, then go ice swimming

This is extreme even for some Finns – a dip in a freezing river or lake after a steaming hot sauna. It sounds and looks absolutely terrifying, but once you get round to doing it yourself, it’s one of those things that really makes you feel alive and is definitely not easily forgotten.

Both sauna and winter swimming experiences are available in Rovaniemi.

Winter swimming in Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland

4. Try your luck: go ice fishing

Ice fishing is something of a national pastime for Finns in winter. The idea is obviously to catch fish, but that’s not all: half of the fun is enjoying the fresh outdoors and contemplating on life and things in general.

The most popular time for this is the snowy spring starting from the end of February, when the sun shines bright and daytime temperatures are fairly mild. Ice fishing experiences under expert guidance are available in Rovaniemi.

Ice fishing on frozen lakes and rivers in Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland

5. Do as locals do: go cross-country skiing

Cross-country skiing is a great way to combine exercise, sightseeing and nature experiences. In Rovaniemi, there are cross-country tracks on the river ice, which facilitate seeing the city and surroundings from a totally different perspective.

Most Finns learn to cross-country ski as children, but we understand that’s not the case elsewhere. Visitors are recommended to join guided trips or hire equipment to enjoy this great activity.

Frozen river and winter landscape in Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland

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