Ever since our visit to Lapland in November/ December 2018 we have quite literally been obsessed about returning. We have been fortunate to have travelled to many countries all over the world but none capturing our hearts in the way Lapland did. If you asked me exactly what it is about Lapland, honestly id struggle to put it into words. There is a magic about it, being in the home town of Santa Claus. Perhaps its seeing the magic of Christmas through my kids eyes. Last year we stayed at Santa Claus Village and despite my intention of it being a “once in a lifetime” trip we have booked to go back this year later in December.
Since our return, I have shared my trip report and some tips and advice on dressing for lapland and I have got tonnes of emails and DM’s with questions. I am always happy to chat about my favourite place and happy to answer any questions or queries people planning to visit this wonderful destination have. The concluding comment of one email I received via my trip report really resonated with me. The query itself was about Santa Claus Village and the email concluded with “can you just imagine working there? How amazing would that be?”.
Santa Claus Holiday Village is run by Marko and Inga and they very kindly took the time to answer some of the questions that I (and many other!) have about running and working in what is probably one of the best known, most magical places in the world.
Our Q & A
Tell us about a typical day at Santa Claus Village
Well, typical day at Santa Claus Village. I guess we must concentrate on the winter season because that`s our high season. Weather might be little bit chilly, very unusually too cold but plenty of snow. Everything is covered pure white snow, trees are like frosted piece of art statues. Guests wake up in cosy n warm cottages and go hurried for breakfast, to Christmas House restaurant or Three Elves restaurant, depends on accommodation type which they have booked. After they have enjoyed typical Scandinavian buffet breakfast, many of them will be waiting booked safaris in the lobby. Some goes for Reindeer Sleigh ride safari and some for Husky Sleigh ride safari or Snowmobiling or some other from our famous excursions. During the day time we used to have quite a lot day visitors in the Village from other accommodations of Rovaniemi and from around Lapland. They come to meet Mr. Santa Claus and send Christmas greeting cards from Santa Claus Main Post Office and for sure making shopping of very special gifts and souvenirs which we have great selections in the shops of village.
In the afternoon, our guests start to return from safaris and excursions. Many of them go to enjoy in the private sauna in the own cottage and that`s really pleasure after spend chilly day in the winter activities. In the evening we have delicious dinners available in our restaurants. For coming winter season we will have third restaurant. Restaurant Santa Claus Village, it has 140 seats and shape of teepee.
If the weather looks to be clear for coming night, lot of our guests will be going for different kind of Northern Lights search programs, like Aurora Reindeer safari, Northern Light search in private wilderness or Northern Light search and dinner.
Can you tell us a little about the history of Santa Claus Village
We can think about that story begins from 1950 when city of Rovaniemi built a cottage for Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt when she came to visit in the Arctic Circle.
All the way until 80th century, tourism was here more or less only summer tourism. Guests from Europe come to visit in the Arctic Circle and was going to North cape, northern most point of Europe. At 80th century Mr. Santa Claus decided that he need a place to greet guests from all over the world and he chose Arctic Circle.
Does Santa ever get a holiday or does he meet guests all year round?
He meet guests here every day for the whole year. In the Christmas Eve he starts he`s journey around world to delivery gifts but he have his magic things in his office, he can stop time for a night and that`s how he have time to make a trip around whole world and Christmas Day morning he will be back in the village greeting his guests.
Where do most of your visitors come from? Europe? or further afield?
Our guests are definitely really from all over the world, I would say that there is not any continental in the earth that we wouldn’t have had guests. It happened some years ago the that we had in the same time in house, without knowing each other, 3 families from New Caledonia. Further than that you can`t come if someone does’t live in the moon. But a lot comes from Europe because it`s not so far away.
Is it possible to see the Northern lights from Santa Claus Village or do you need to move further away to see them?
It is possible to Northern Lights in the village but Aurora activity need to be stronger because we have some light pollution here. That`s the reason that most of guests used to go for different Aurora safaris.
We visited last year and it was magical, do you still get that magical vibe when you come to work everyday on site?
I do. Please, look at attached file drone photo which I took myself last winter, that’s straight from drone camera without any photo manipulation. I was so excited to take those photos but that was one of the best.
Thanks so much Marko and Inga for taking the time to answer my questions, it really is wonderful to get a insight into what it is like to work in such a wonderful place.
Some more questions/ queries
A couple of other questions that I get asked a lot include which I have sought to get the answers from are:
Can I use a drone at Santa Claus Village?
Santa Claus Village is located less than 5 km from the Rovaniemi International Airport. Because the distance is less than 5 km, you must get permission from Finnish air control authorities. For more information on flying drones in Finland, please visit: www.droneinfo.fi/en/no_drone_zones. It is of paramount importance to check the local regulations regarding drone usage prior to using one on your travels . If like us, a drone has become an important piece of travel kit do click here for more information on drones and accessories.
When does the snow start?
Impossible to stay for certain but usually from November. Last year it was later into December. There was minimal snow for us last year and it was still utterly magical.
Where do you get the Arctic Circle stamp for postcard/ letter to family or friends?
The Arctic Circle stamp is most easily obtained from Santa Claus Main Post Office, located in the centre of Santa Claus Village. More info here.
And perhaps the most important question…How do you get to Santa Claus Village when not staying on site?
Rovaniemi local bus number 8 and the Santa’s Express run between the Rovaniemi city centre and Santa Claus Village. A taxi ride from the centre to Santa Claus Village is about 8 km long. You can order a taxi here . Santa Claus Village also has a taxi rank. There are no direct bus connections between the Rovaniemi airport and Santa Claus Village. A taxi ride is about 4 km.
Again huge thanks to Marko and Inga – loads of very useful information here. The countdown is on until December 2019 until we return.