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Hidden Gems & the Best of Rovaniemi During Summer

Published on July 2019

Lotta Lonka / Sales Executive

When the sun does not set for the night, we are young, wild and free, there is a car to use and the whole day to spend with your best mates. But where did we Rovaniemi youngsters used to drive? Here are some of my personal favorites for the Best of Rovaniemi sightseeing!

Remember the days when you were in your early twenties, had recently received your driving license, borrowing your parents’ car and collecting the best mates along? Perhaps for a little picnic on a summer day. Perhaps you just took off driving, listening to music loudly and chatting, trying to decide where to drive next. The feeling of freedom to finally reach the coolest places in the surroundings of the city and driving all night because – because you finally could!

Those locations we used to use are mostly still there and bring back the best memories. Those remain also the places we want to show to our international friends! Most are only reachable by car, perhaps a little walk needed from the car, yet beautiful and very much hidden. These venues are usually not included in the tourist guides! Here I have listed my favorite spots, since my teenage hood in Rovaniemi, for extraordinary view, feeling or natural formation, unspoiled or hard to reach… so do not spread the word!

For the romantic sunset view

It’s mostly uphill from the city center to top of the tallest hill guarding the city, Ounasvaara. If you are not staying in Ounasvaaran Lakituvat chalets, you probably won’t know that there’s a sightseeing tower near to the chalets with a view opening over Rovaniemi city center. The landscape opens for kilometers and the river flows like a little snake below and you have for example the Lumberjacks Candle Bridge and a church – most famous landmarks in one panorama photo!

Other favorite spot of mine is to go to Santavaara hill little further away from the city. While the view from Ounasvaara hill points to the city center, Santavaara hill opens up a view to river Ounasjoki and the nature surrounding the river.

For the ancient natural formation

Slightly a longer car drive away from the city are located the Devil’s Churns, an ancient rock formation or a cave that reaches meters and meters underground. In dry summer months we used to climb down the churns, put music on from our Walkmans and hear it echoing from the churn. Yes, no iPhones in the 90’s!

Devil's Churns in Rovaniemi, photo by Tuija Wetterstrand & Jukka Parkkinen

For the wild nature

Breathtaking power of nature can be explored by visiting Vikaköngäs hiking area, the home and protected nature reserve for rapids. Located only some tens of kilometers away from the city this easy trail walking offers midnight sun lit, easy adventure, to total wilderness with nice break point at “laavu”, a half-closed fireplace.

Vikaköngäs bridge in Arctic Circle Hiking Area, photo by Federica Di Nardo

For the arctic summer vibes

Typical driving route for locals in summertime always passed by the beach of Valdemari – which is a sandy beach opposite to the city center on the riverside – at least to have an ice cream or pizza or even to swim at midnight! Restaurant Valdemari on the beach offers karaoke nights, traditional dances and the official midnight summer party hosted by the city of Rovaniemi annually on 21st June.

Ounaskoski beach, locally known by "Valdemari beach" named after the restaurant, is located right in the city. Photo by Visit Rovaniemi.

My personal favorite, however, was to park the car to “Ounaspaviljonki beach”, little further along the river on the way to the airport. The cafeteria in Ounaspaviljonki hosts festivals, live bands, karaoke and dancing in summers and offers snacks for hungry swimmers and sun seekers. But Ounaspaviljonki is also the closest parking place for a  beautiful trail hiking route Koivusaari, the birch tree island -route. Riverside life of fauna and flora and a beautiful midnight sun. What more can we ask for?

Koivusaari nature trail, photo by Alexander Kuznetsov

Get in touch with us in Safartica for the Best of Rovaniemi sightseeing tour by car and hint your guide to include these ones in the tour!

Yours, Lotta

All stories by Lotta Lonka

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