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Old 11-27-2012, 03:41 PM   #1
jacksmomma
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Santa Claus Village in Finland?

Has anyone visited Santa Claus Village in Finland? I am reading reviews on trip advisor but hoping for some first hand accounts. Did you enjoy it? How much did you spend? What time of year were you there?

Thanks!
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Old 11-27-2012, 04:31 PM   #2
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I have two different friends who did this with their families and both loved it! They went in December if I remember correctly. One might have been late November. It's been 2 years since one friend did it and her boys still talk about it.
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Old 11-27-2012, 05:56 PM   #3
czycropper
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I've never been but my college roommate's DH (she's from Finland he's from the States) has been Santa there in the past. Yes, they live in Rovaniemi. They have been trying to get us to go during Christmas and I've always said that it's just too cold for me.

She's told me that they have tourists from all over the world coming in December to see it and to see the herd of reindeer. I've seen photos and it looks beautiful! We're going to visit them but in July

If you go you and you drink alcohol you need to try the Cloudberry Liquoer (I know I messed up the spelling) but it's wonderful! She sends me some every year.
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Old 11-28-2012, 02:46 AM   #4
pogo791
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacksmomma View Post
Has anyone visited Santa Claus Village in Finland? I am reading reviews on trip advisor but hoping for some first hand accounts. Did you enjoy it? How much did you spend? What time of year were you there?

Thanks!
First-hand account here: how you take it depends a lot on your expectations, and on the time of year. We've been there both in November, and in July. And we enjoyed it, even without kids along for the ride.

The best time, of course, is during the winter, when there is lots of snow, beautiful lights, and the place feels Christmasy. The reindeer sleigh rides, husky sleigh rides and other winter fun help the mood. You can also go on a snowmobile safari. (Down side: during the winter, you only get a few hours of sun, and depending on the weather, you might get a cold snap!)

During the summer, the place is fairly quiet. There is the added attraction of the midnight sun, when the sun hardly bothers to set at all.

Expectations? Disneyworld it's not, but given the scale, it's nice. There are two main attractions: visiting Santa Claus in his home (a rather cavernous place; I would say it's rather enjoyably done), and checking in at the post office to see how the letters and cards to Santa from around the world are answered. Other than that, the village consists of a number of restaurants, as well as Finnish factory outlets and souvenir stores. Lots of good quality stuff, but whether or not you get thrilled depends on your taste.

Costs? Entry into the Village itself is free. What costs is going to visit Santa; that's about 30 dollars per person. You do get your photo taken with him, though. As for food, you can eat at a reasonable price in one of the three cafeteries (where meals cost about 15 dollars - and that's reasonable for Scandinavia!). The Santamus restaurant is very nice: they even offer a mini-spa, prospecting for gold and some other activities, all in the same large building. The prices at Santamus, however, start ar around 40 dollars for a full meal, and that's not including those extra activities.

Accommodations? When we were last there (two years ago), some cabins were being built right next to the village, but otherwise the closest accommodations are in the city of Rovaniemi, about five miles south. (The Santa Claus Hotel, incidentally, is in Rovaniemi, and not near the Village. Rates there are about 180 dollars a night.) I understand the cabins are now available; I'm not sure of the rates.

A few other pointers. The Village is located only about five minutes away from the Rovaniemi Airport, right on the Polar Circle. Especially during the weeks before Christmas, it can get very busy. There seem to be a surprisingly large number of charter flights from London and other places in England, bringing families up for two or three days of Santa Claus, snow and reindeer.

Bottom line: I'd recommend Santa Claus Village as a place to visit if you get up to Scandinavia in general, and are planning to combine it with some travel around Lapland. I can also understand people flying up with their kids on a charter, where you get a special deal, and everything is included; it's probably a great experience for people who haven't seen much snow. However, and at the risk of being sacrilegious, I wouldn't fly all the way over from the U.S. just to get a photo opportunity with Santa!
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