Lonely Planet ranks Rovaniemi, Finland as Europe’s No. 1 winter destination

This Finnish city of approximately 62,000 people was named as the top winter destination by Lonely Planet travel guides. (Eilís Quinn/Eye on the Arctic)
The ranking is made by Lonely Planet, one of the world’s largest travel guide book publishers.

Surrounded by terrestrial forest, Rovaniemi has both a university and is the commercial center of the Lapland region. It is however as the residence of the bearded man dressed in red the city has triggered fame among international visitors.

Santa Claus hangs out in an atmospheric grotto, where snow and reindeer ad festive spirit, Lonely Planet writes.

The travel guide claims the Finnish thermometers have more numbers below 0 than above, so a good travel tip would be to pack serious winter clothing.

Santa Claus theme park and grotto is on the outskirts of the city, but Lonely Planet also recommends a visit to the Arktikum museum which gives insight into life at northern latitudes.

Number two on the list after Rovaniemi is the Christmas markets in Germany and Austria, while Sweden’s Abisko is ranked third place.

Two clocks at the Tornio-Haparanda Travel Center in Haparanda, Sweden, near the border with Finland. With several border restrictions in place because of COVID-19, will Rovaniemi get any boost from the Lonely Planet designation? (Eilís Quinn/Eye on the Arctic)

Located at the Kiruna-Narvik railway, Abisko is almost as far north you can get in Europe by train.

Lonely Planet says the darkness here makes it one of the world’s best places to view the majestic aurora borealis.

How much Lonely Planet’s travel ranking will mean for Rovaniemi remains to see. Due to the current COVID-19 situation, Finland has entry restrictions for travelers from most countries, including European neighbors.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Chamber of Commerce in Canada’s Northwest Territories balks at price tag for new COVID-19 secretariat, CBC News

Finland: How not to promote Arctic tourism, Eye on the Arctic

Greenland: Greenland adds new incentive to promote domestic tourism as international travel craters, Eye on the Arctic

Sweden: Finland reinstates border restrictions with Sweden and Estonia due to COVID-19, Yle News

United States: To stop coronavirus, Arctic communities took matters into their own hands. Can it last?, Blog by Mia Bennett

Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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