Take A Trip To Santa Claus' Village For A Picture-Perfect European Christmas Vacation

Sparkly lights, cherished decorations, cheerful carols, and festive food — Christmas really is the best time of year. And one man in particular is at the center of it all. The legendary Santa Claus, who represents the joy of giving, resides in a small village in Europe and welcomes guests throughout the year. So where exactly can you find jolly St. Nick?

Rovaniemi is an urban city in northern Finland, the capital of Lapland, and one of the world's most magical Christmas towns. It's known for its arctic nature, the stunning Aurora Borealis, and its most famous resident — Santa Claus. In Rovaniemi, you can visit Santa 365 days a year. In fact, since 2010, Rovaniemi has been the official hometown of Santa Claus. Guests in Rovaniemi have the choice of visiting Santa Claus Village, SantaPark, or both. Santa Claus Village is magical year-round with plenty of outdoor adventures, while SantaPark is inside a cave within the Syväsenvaara fell and only open at Christmastime.

Luckily for Santa lovers, the big man is easy to get to. The nearest airport is Rovaniemi Airport. For drivers in Rovaniemi, Santa Claus Village is just under 5 miles north of Rovaniemi on Highway 4. For those taking public transportation from Rovaniemi's city center, visitors can take the Santa Claus Bus, which travels between Rovaniemi's railway station, Santa Claus Village, and SantaPark (with other stops along the way), making visiting Santa Claus relatively easy.

Things to do in Santa Claus Village and SantaPark

Rovaniemi gives the gift of a picture-perfect European Christmas vacation. Here, you can meet Santa at both Santa Claus Village and SantaPark. What's the difference? They're two separate parks less than two miles from each other. If possible, visit both. Santa Claus Village is outdoors and home to shops, restaurants, and activities, like reindeer rides and tours on snowmobiles. Visitors can cross the Arctic Circle and visit Santa's Main Post Office, which is currently in operation by Finland's Posti. Beyond popular, the post office in Santa Claus Village has received 18 million letters from almost 200 countries since 1985. The village is also home to cute animals at the Elf's farmyard and the Arctic Circle Husky Park. Guests can also spot Santa Claus' reindeer at the farm or by taking a reindeer sleigh ride. Interested in learning more? Here's a map detailing everything Santa Claus' Village has to offer.

While Santa Claus Village is free to enter, tickets to the indoor SantaPark range from $42 to $48, but the fee includes a variety of fun activities, including Elf School (where you can get your own Elf School Diploma), Santa's Office (where you're guaranteed to meet Santa Claus), the chance to cross the Arctic Circle Underground, and even a Magic Train, among many, many other things.

Where to stay when visiting Santa Claus' Village

Staying in Santa Claus Village is a great way to extend the Christmas magic and possibly spot the Northern Lights. A few unique accommodations include apartments made of glass, cozy red cabins, and luxury apartments next to the Santa Claus Office. Glass Resort (starting at approximately $759 per night) in Santa Claus Village is exactly the way it sounds — glass accommodations. The windows, walls, and ceiling are all made of glass, providing uninterrupted views of the snowy nature of the Arctic Circle. As a bonus, all modern glass rentals have their very own hot spa and sauna.

At Santa Claus Holiday Village (starting at approximately $130), guests can choose between red classic and superior cottages or holiday apartment suites. The accommodations are conveniently located on the Arctic Circle in the Santa Claus Holiday Village. This more affordable option also includes daily breakfast.

For luxury travelers visiting Santa Claus' Village, try Santa's Luxury Boutique Villa/Apartments (starting at approximately $1,077 per night). The log villa is in a prime spot right next to the Santa Claus Office. This modern and comfortable accommodation is two separate apartments but can also be booked as one villa for those traveling with a group.