Playing in Rovaniemi, part one

view from our campsite

On Wednesday we drove 350 km from Kaamanen to Rovaniemi, Finland. Rovaniemi is a small city of about 53000 people and is the official home of Santa Claus! The city was completely destroyed in WWII and when it was rebuilt, it was designed with input by famous Finnish architect Alvar Aalto, who planned the city’s footprint in the shape of a reindeer’s head, with the city roads forming the antlers and the local sports stadium as the reindeer’s eye. I have to say, there is nothing too impressive about the architecture, but it is nice to be in a city again (last time was Bergen about a month ago) and there is a ton to do. We have been having a lot of fun playing here!

After looking at a cheaper campground outside the city center, we ended up choosing Ounaskoski Camping Rovaniemi and (despite the steep price tag) we are really happy we decided on this one. It is right on the Kemijoki River and an easy walk to the downtown area.

On the first afternoon, we went on a hunt for new pants for Steffen and a cool playground for the girls. And we successful on both fronts!

On the walk back I attempted to take a family photo but utterly failed. You might get a good laugh out of the outtakes. 🙂

The next day was warm and sunny, so after school we headed to the beach. There is a nice sandy beach right next door to the campground. The water is so cold, but that didn’t stop the girls!

Then that evening we ate at Yuca, the best Mexican food I have had outside of Mexico and California. Absolutely delicious! According to their website, the chefs came from Tulum, Mexico to join ventures with a Finnish restaurant owner. It was delicious! My mouth is watering just remembering. And then we had a nice walk home that evening (after getting the girls 40 nuggets at McDonalds because they did *not* agree with my review of the Mexican restaurant).

The next day was Saturday, and we had something really fun planned! First, Olivia and I went on a 1.5 mile run together. We’ve been wanting to do that since she ran short stretches of my marathon with me at a great pace. We finally did it and both had fun! Hopefully we can make it a bit more regular….

Then that afternoon we went to a nearby ropes course, Adventure Park Huima, and all had so much fun! There were 9 different tracks, a fun little car track and a small playground. There was enough to keep us all happy for over 4 hours! I didn’t take many photos (too busy playing), but it was a great place for the whole family (though Luisa was just barely tall enough and it would have been better for her to wait another year). Hannah and Charlotte were tall enough to do all the tracks and had fun going again and again. Olivia was right in the middle (and a bit sad that there were a few she couldn’t do) and did some with us before venturing off on her own. What a great afternoon!

Have you made it all the way to the end here? 🙂 I’ll put the rest of our Rovaniemi adventures in the next post, including a trip to visit Huskys and the real Santa, to the zoo and to the local museum. So much to do here!

Categories: All, Finland, kid-friendly


  1. Fun that you have a running partner. It’s so fun to keep up with your adventures.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you visiting this part of my country. I noticed that you had some photos showing reindeer. That’s great.

    In this area where we spent our vacation, there reindeer:

    Reindeer2 are curious

    Have a good day!

    Liked by 1 person

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