Easily reached by train, Rovaniemi is touted as the capital of Lapland, and while its fairly bland shopping streets are a far cry from the surrounding rural hinterland, the town’s Arctic sensibility makes it worth spending a day here while gearing up for an exploration of the Northern Finnish hinterland. The best way to prepare yourself for what lies further north is to visit the 172m-long glass tunnel of Arktikum at Pohjoisranta 4. Subterranean galleries house Sámi crafts, costumes and displays on all things circumpolar. The midnight sun is visible from Rovaniemi for several weeks each side of misdummer. The best vantage points are either the striking bridge over the Ounaskoski or atop the forested and mosquito-infested hill, Ounasvaara, across the bridge.
Two of the biggest attractions are outside town. The Arctic Circle, 8km north is connected by the hourly bus #8 from the railway station. A few paces north of the circle is the Santa Claus Village, a large log cabin where you can meet Father Christmas all year round.