We’re Andrew and Kait – we share travel tips to help you see the world and have the best vacations ever. If you daydream about traveling to the Arctic Circle to see the northern lights, reindeer, snow, and Santa’s Hometown, here’s what you need to know about traveling from the U.S to Rovaniemi, Finland.
Flying to Finland
We’re based in Dallas, Texas, so our first step to getting there was to fly to Finland in the first place! Our flight path took us from DFW to JFK for a short layover, followed by an almost nine-hour flight from JFK to HEL – Helsinki, Finland. We slept for about half the trip and could stretch out since we had a whole row to ourselves! Even in basic economy, we were plenty comfortable. The food offerings were good; they even offered Finnish blueberry juice during the flight! Here are a few of our favorite things to get us through those long overnight flights!
Helsinki to Rovaniemi
Once we landed safely in Helsinki at about 9:30 A.M, we breezed through security and customs in less than 20 minutes. After passing through, we followed the airport signs back to the domestic terminal, guiding us to our next boarding gate for the last leg of our journey to Rovaniemi. After a one-hour wait, we boarded what felt like an airbus to Disney World – a plane full of families, groups, and couples, all with budding anticipation for the great Arctic Circle and all it had to offer.
Arriving in Rovaniemi
After a short one-hour flight full of “I’m going to tell Santa on you!” threats between siblings and even a few parents, we arrived in a dark and snowy Rovaniemi! Because of the airport’s size, deplaning required a chilly outside plane door exit with no connecting gate. We exited the doors as soon as we dusted off the snow and entered the airport. Remember, as this was now a domestic flight, there were no additional customs, testing, or security measures!
From here, we walked directly to the Enterprise desk to pick up our rental car. Mind you, there are two ways to get around Rovaniemi – rental car or shuttle. Due to the number of tourist attractions and unique hotels, there are plenty of shuttle options to see all that you could care to see. Still, we simply wanted the freedom and flexibility to come and go as we pleased. Also, because our igloo hotel was so far from the airport, the cost of the shuttle to and from was almost the same as having our own car. Therefore, we opted for the more flexible, private route. Andrew grew up in America’s midwest, which is full of snow and ice in the winter, so he knew exactly how to drive here. If you’re new to driving in the snow, a shuttle might be for you.
After getting into our car, we immediately drove into town for one of the best dinners we’d had in our life at Restaurant Nili. Seriously, who knew Finnish cuisine was so underrated? After the tastiest dinner, we drove 20 minutes to the Arctic Snow Hotel & Glass Igloos. There, we checked in and immediately fell fast asleep after only moments of staring at the stars through our glass igloo’s roof.
Rovaniemi is absolutely worth the trek! It might not be the shortest commute from the U.S. Still, the snow, magic, reindeer, friendly people, unbelievably flavorful food, and Santa Claus himself are all worth it!