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The Santa Claus Train – from Helsinki to Rovaniemi

Posted by on July 6, 2011

A short update on this. The train itself to Rovaniemi from Helsinki takes about 13 hours, and is a combination of seating or sleeping carriages. My chair was 80 Euros; I’d abandoned the sleeping cart in favour of being able to eat for a week, and as it happens it works out pretty well. Most people got two chairs to themselves, and aside from a fellow geek (you could tell – iPhone, tech expo t-shirt, netbook and fastfood) eating McDonalds for the first 30 minutes, I had no grief with it.

All aboard for Santa Claus land!

All aboard for Santa Claus land!


Until after a couple of hours, I realised that the sun – although low, wasn’t going to be setting for long at all, and indeed it didn’t get dark the entire night – just dim. People around would cover their faces with jackets in order to attempt to sleep. I managed a couple of hours which luckily is usually fine for me for a couple of days, and watched as we pushed through Tampere and up to Oulu near the coastal border with Sweden, and finally pushed inland to Rovaniemi, where we arrived at the town’s station at 11am.
1 of 187,888 Lakes in Finland

1 of 187,888 Lakes in Finland


Pulling in I could see lines and lines of military vehicles alongside our track, but with no sign up and a lack of English speaking passengers, I could only guess at their purpose. I got some pretty decent directions from the staff, walked up the hill, cut across a park, and found the Borealis Guesthouse; my home for the next two nights. Rovaniemi has no hostels, so after much searching online for cheap hotels – most pushing around 80-90 Euros, had found this 1km out of town for half that. So for the first time on this trip, I had my own room and bathroom, and would be able to have an uninterrupted night’s sleep.

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2 Responses to The Santa Claus Train – from Helsinki to Rovaniemi

  1. Jessica Page

    Hi! I was looking up information about the Santa Express from Helsinki to Rovaniemi. We are Americans living in Sweden for the next year and we want to take the kids to Santa’s village. Also, do you remember the name of the hotel you stayed at? Any information is appreciated. Thanks!

    • Mark Mayo

      Hi Jessica, if you read the last paragraph of my post, you’ll see I stayed at the Borealis Guesthouse. While it didn’t bother me, be aware it’s about 1km out of town, so unless you have a vehicle it can be a bit of a walk with kids. Hope you enjoy it!

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