This is a guest post written by Víctor Gómez about his experience in Rovaniemi during the Nordic Bogger’s Experience Finland. Thank you Víctor… and hope to see you back here soon!
Check the Bio of the Author at the end of this post.
Rovaniemi is a great city to visit during the winter, when it is fully covered with snow. I have not gone mad, really. In the region of Lapland, of which Rovaniemi is its capital, people are more than used to an everyday life with two feet of snow on the streets and temperatures hovering around -10. Nothing to do with what happens in my homeland, Spain, where a light snowfall paralyses half the country.
Winter in Rovaniemi is the ideal time to enjoy lots of snow sports, some of which can only be found in Lapland. Snowmobiling safaris (you can read this other article by Laurence, with whom I shared the experience and had a pleasant final surprise), fishing on frozen lakes, hiking with huskies (these dogs are adorable!), snowshoeing, visiting Santa Claus, and of course skiing. Oh, and without forgetting to enjoy ourselves watching the most elusive winter lady called aurora borealis.
All activities are very entertaining and you are so well equipped when you do them, that you don’t care about the snow or cold, but surely someday you may want to take it easy, and learn more about the Lappish culture. Well you’re in luck, because despite the small size of Rovaniemi (not even 60,000 inhabitants), it has a few interesting museums and science centers, ready to please the whole family.
The one you should not miss on your visit to Rovaniemi is Arktikum, which under its modern design pointing north (it is incredible to think that it was opened over 20 years ago), shows both the secrets of life throughout history in Lapland and all the scientific characteristics of a region with such an extreme climate. Thus, in the historic area we will discover the importance that the gas stations had in the 70s, how the Lapps fought the cold when there was no synthetics, how the rap Sami sounds, so fashionable today, or its temporal exhibitions just to give some small examples.
The Arktikum museum’s scientific area is totally different, it shows us why does the Midnight Sun occur (as well as total darkness, known as Kaamos), how do animals protect themselves from the cold, how do the canoes work, and many other curiosities, always showing things and pieces that we can tinker with, as I like. They don’t forget about the Aurora Borealis, with not one but two planetariums to watch it in all its magnitude. If you want to behold the Aurora Borealis, even with the midnight sun shining, you just have to visit Arktikum.
Pilke is another important science center in Rovaniemi. Honestly, I loved it. Don’t be fooled by the words “science center”, because it is a big playground to have fun with the forest. Wood is one of the most important economic activities in Finland, hence the idea of showing its entire cycle, from how to get it to its applications in daily life.
Everything they do in Finland with wood is amazing: clothing, medicine, even ice cream! Best of all, you can touch and play with everything in the science center, even the large machine used to cut trees, and for which is necessary to take a 2 year course! The Pilke science center is not very big, but if you go with kids, get ready to play for a few hours and to sing in the karaoke (there’s a song in English 😉
I’m sure that the lot of glazed rooms surrounding the large game room will attract your attention, but apart from a scientific center for our own entertainment, the building is also used as a business incubator. They have everything, including saunas.
The last of the great museums to visit is Korundi, the center of Modern Art in Rovaniemi, and according to experts, the second largest art museum in the country after the one in the capital, Helsinki. I am not an art expert, but even so, the Modern Art Center was quite interesting, with ingenious Nordic art works. Beside the museum, there is the auditorium, where the Lapland Chamber Orchestra plays, so take a look at the schedule of events, for it’s a nice idea to know which concerts are scheduled and enjoy their music.
As you’ve seen, Rovaniemi is more than snowmobiles and Santa Claus, so it’s a great idea to spend part of a day going for a stroll and discovering this modern city, although it has no historic buildings, it makes up by far with very amusing museums for the whole family.
Víctor is a photographer, traveler and blogger who uses his photographs to show the beauty of this world in which we live to inspire everyone to visit it. About his ways of travelling, he loves having plenty of time to get lost, found and lost again. That is his philosophy, with which he has lived some of his best travel experiences. You can follow him on his blog in Spanish, Machbel, which shows lots of his amazing photographs.