Everybody loves a summer holiday, but what about a winter one? Not the grey, rainy days, but the incredible whites and golden light of a true winter landscape. Snow falling from the sky, crisp clean air, reindeer sleigh rides… Sounds like heaven right?
WHERE TO STAY
Wearing my favourite oversize jumper and my knee high winter socks, I’m currently sprawled out on my hotel bed wrapped in the softest blanket, drinking a cup of hot chocolate. Life couldn’t possibly get any better in this moment.
Now before I go any further I want to be fully transparent with you all, so I will mention that this was a hosted stay, in collaboration with the hotel. Every other aspect of this trip we paid for ourselves.
Staying at the Arctic Light Hotel, well, the minute I stepped into our room it was like stepping into a modern artistic fairy tale. Wooden flooring and warm tones gave me a sense of Lappish nature, whilst the touch pad control settings and flat screen TV screamed luxury. What immediately caught my eye though was the bed. A beautiful feature wall of stars framed where I’d be dozing off and I knew without a doubt that I was going to have an incredible night’s sleep.
Breakfast at the hotel has been created by TV chef Sara La Fountain and it’s by far the most delicious hotel breakfast I’ve had. The selection is incredible, everything fresh and healthy. I’d stay at the hotel again for the mango chia pudding alone!
Dinner at the hotel restaurant was no different. Absolutely incredible. Juha the restaurants Duty Manager told us that all the produce is grown locally and those few ingredients that aren’t, are sourced from within the Arctic Circle, keeping the dishes fresh and flavorsome. I honestly could have eaten two of everything.
Indulging in a cocktail at the hotel bar quickly became our nightly routine. With a variety of flavour combinations available there’s something for everyone. The staff at Arctic Light Hotel are full of local knowledge and as the bartenders made our drinks they would often talk to us about the native berries grown in Rovaniemi, which is often used in their cocktails. We even had the opportunity to do a mini taste testing session.
WHAT TO DO?
From chasing the northern lights, reindeer sleigh rides and dog sledding, to snowmobiling, ice fishing, skiing and snowboarding, there are multiple experiences to be had in Rovaniemi. But participating in all these activities will come at a cost, so we decided to pick the one’s that appealed to us most.
For Luca it was the huskies and for me it was the reindeers.
If you have time, a walk along the Ounasvaara winter trail is highly recommended. A snow covered forest with snow bunnies hopping around and an amazing view of the city and Kemi River, it’s truly a memorable experience.
No trip to Rovaniemi would be complete without a visit to Sana Claus Village. My Christmas dreams came true as I released my inner child and had some well deserved fun.
We didn’t realise at the time but you can have your passport stamped for a small fee at the village. We would have loved to have done this being that it’s located at the center of the Arctic Circle, but with our passports back at the hotel, we settled for a photo instead.
Mission accomplished! We used the app Aurora: My Aurora Forecast & Alerts to track the northern lights and after three days of waiting in temperatures of minus six degrees, we finally saw it. It definitely wasn’t as bright as it can get and we only managed to see a glimpse of it between the clouds for a few minutes, but it was enough to be truly amazed.
Special thank you to Arctic Light Hotel for making my visit possible and providing an incredible experience for my first time in Rovaniemi – as always my opinions are my own.