Saturday, February 23, 2019

Rovaniemi, Finland

Tue 5 Feb 2019

The objective of our February trip is to catch the ever elusive aurora borealis or Northern lights, which we failed to capture during our winter trip to Iceland in Feb 2018. We knew it was going to be extremely cold (-24C) and could have done it during the warmer months (September or October), but I thought we would capture the best of Lapland during the winter months - plus having a chance to do the husky and reindeer safari, which is not available outside winter season.

For our flight to Finland's Lapland, we flew to Rovaniemi and would be driving around there, but limited to only about 2 hours away from Rovaniemi, up to Kittila, as a lesson learned during our Iceland winter trip where the weather was bad on one of the days which caused the road out of Reykjavik to be closed for the whole day and so we had to cancel our glacier hiking trip and a guesthouse reservation in Skalafell.

We took the British Airways flight to Heathrow, connecting to Helsinki then onwards to Rovaniemi under a single booking through the British Airways website (LHR-HEL and HEL-RVN was a codeshare flight with Finnair). The return trip from Kuala Lumpur to Rovaniemi costs RM3085 per person (bought during the Black Friday sale in Dec 2018) and took almost 24 hours to reach there. We departed KUL at midnight of 5 Feb and arrived, still on the same day (because we were travelling westwards) at 1830. Our flight from LHR-HEL and HEL-RVN were delayed because of heavy snow at HEL. We did not exit the airport during our transit.

For our flight from KUL-LHR, we requested for a Moslem meal, which turned out to be an advantage as our meals were served first before the others and they tasted good.  There is no complimentary in-flight meals for the shorter duration flights on Finnair (LHR-HEL and HEL-RVN), but we were given complimentary drinks. Of course we asked for Finland's favourite blueberry juice.

nice special meal on BA

blueberry juice on Finnair

As we arrived at Rovaniemi airport (claimed as Santa's official airport), we picked our rental car from the airport supplied by Green Motion (we booked the car through Skyscanner). We got a bigger car than our requested compact car, a Mazda3, without any extra charges.

Rovaniemi- Santa's official home airport

our rental car

For our first night, we stayed at Motelli Rovaniemi, booked through for EUR 60 per night with attached bathroom and kitchen. For the first day we just head to our motel, heat our pre-packed meal for dinner, rest and wait for the aurora borealis to appear. It was a clear night, but it didn't appear as the solar activity was low. No luck for today.


table and TV


our cottage

Santa Claus Village
6 Feb 2019

On the next day we had a longer morning rest after the long journey and only checked out from our motel at 10am and headed to Santa Village. After all, sunrise was only at 9am and most attraction sites only opens at 10am during winter. It was freezing cold today at -24C so our photo sessions were really quick using my trusty Lumix camera (as our Iphones only lasted for 5 minutes before powering out as it was just too cold!). After that we went into the many souvenir shops and Santa's post office for some warmth and surveying the souvenirs which would only buy on our last day before going back home. Of course a picture at the Arctic Circle line would be mandatory!

Santa Claus village

you can meet Santa in there

souvenir shops

we made it to the arctic circle!

Santa Claus post office

After spending about an hour at Santa Village which is very touristy (bus loads of tour groups come here), we drove off to our next destination- Kittila which is located about 150 km away and the journey took about 2 hours. The sky was clear again today and it was not snowing so it was a good condition for driving, and also a good chance to capture the aurora borealis tonight. The Kp index of solar activity looked promising tonight on our aurora forecast app. Stay tuned for the next post of Kittila.

driving to Kittila



Post a Comment

<< Home