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Rovaniemi: Gateway to Finnish Lapland


We enjoy slow travelling. Travelling, where you take your time – and on our way South from Saariselkä, my son and me decided to take some time in Rovaniemi and see what this town has to offer.

Disclosure: The stay in Hostel Café Koti was part of a cooperation and free. There are Affiliate links in this article which are marked with an ∞ Infinity Sign 😊 You can use these AT NO EXTRA COST TO YOU but I get a small provision from the company. As you know: I’m keepin’ it real and tell you how it is – I maintain full editorial control of the content published on Hiking in Finland. Read the Transparency Disclaimer for more information on affiliate links & blogger transparency.

tl;dr

If you travel to and from Lapland, plan in an overnight stay in Rovaniemi for less hurry and more relaxation. Hostel Café Koti is the place to sleep if you want comfortable beds and rooms with a Nordic Design, and as it’s in the centre of Rovaniemi you can walk everywhere in a few minutes! A stroll along the shore of the river is a must in Rovaniemi, with scenic views on the city. Visit the Arktikum Museum if you want knowledge and culture, or take a hike up Ounasvaara on the (Winter) Trail. If you need even more action – rent a Fatbike from RollOutdoors!

Rollo Dusk

Travelling North and South

When my son and me travelled back from our winter holiday in Saariselkä we decided to spend on the way back home an afternoon and night in Rovaniemi – simply as travelling south with public transportation is quite long and difficult to organize in a smooth way (VR and Matkahuolto haven’t realized yet that they could synchronize their schedules).

Rovaniemi Railway Station

So instead of an awfully long travel day with lots of hurry and stress we slept in, ate a good breakfast in our Hotel in Saariselkä, and then took the 11 o’clock Bus to Rovaniemi, where we arrived several hours later. The next day, again after a good breakfast at Hostel Café Koti, we walked with our ∞ luggage to the Railway Station and took the train back south. As you can imagine, such a travel arrangement is much more comfortable than a day where you get up at 6 am and are stressed till 22 o’clock when you finally arrive at home. So what did we do in Rovaniemi?

Minecraft UNO

The Capital of Lapland

Our Bus from Saariselkä dropped us off in the centre of Rovaniemi, just a short stroll from our accommodation, the beautiful Hostel Café Koti. This beautiful Hostel is a few years old and is located in a completely renovated bank building – the old offices are now rooms – there’s singles, doubles and family rooms, as well as dormitories. Downstairs you have a Café where breakfast is served and where throughout the day you can drink good coffee and tea, and also enjoy some snacks.

Hostel Café Koti

#HosteCafeKoti

Light and Green

After checking in we brought the ski bag to the very safe luggage storage – an old strong room – and went to the top floor, where our beautiful room was. While I usually sleep in tents in the middle of nowhere, I do appreciate good design and beautiful interiors, and our room at Koti – which means Home in Finnish – was delightful. Natural materials, natural colours, lots of windows with great views – it’s the kind of room which is very inviting. The beds were fantastic, too – and I already felt like a wee nap wouldn’t be harmful 🥱 But we had some other plans – we wanted to explore wintery Rovaniemi!

Lappi

Our Room

Dusk

Hostel Café Koti is located 2 minutes form the main square of Rovaniemi – but we were headed to the Angry Birds Playground which is also just 300 m away from the Hostel, and was more what we wanted after a day of travelling by Bus. This Playground is free to use, and has many really cool Angry Birds-themed playground equipment – perfect for a child, even if he’s more familiar with other games!

Angry Birds Park

Anfry Birds Park Rovaniemi

Sling @ Angry Birds Park

After enjoying the playground we went for a stroll along the shore of the river. If you’re inclined, you also could go XC Skiing here, as there’s a Track going along it. We sticked to walking, and took in the view over to Ounasvaara – a real outdoor paradise if you’re living in the city, where you can go Fatbiking with RollOutdoors, trailrunning and hiking.

Rovaniemi

We continued more direction town again, though – our stomachs were wishing for food, and my son wished for Hamburgers, so we visited Kauppayhtiö where we both enjoyed tasty (vegetarian) Burgers 🍔. They claim to have the best Burgers in town, and we definitely were happy with ours. The whole place is nicely decorated too – if you like a sort of 50s/ 60s Punk-Rock-Galleria Vibe, that is!

Burger @ Kauppayhtiö

On the way home to Koti we strolled through the centre of Rovaniemi, which was very nicely illuminated and also still had some Christmas decorations up – Santa Claus doesn’t life far from here, so I guess that natural =)

Rovaniemi Central Square

Rollo City Centre

Back at the Hostel we checked out the Sauna and then went to play ∞ Carcassone at the common room. We love boardgames and if a Hostel/ Hotel/ Café has Boardgames available it’s just a question of time till someone suggests a game! After several games it was time to hit the hay, and finally we were able to lay down in these inviting and comfortable beds.

Hostel Café Koti in Rovaniemi

Sauna @ Hostel Café Koti

We slept great in our room, and woke up fresh the next morning – but with rumbling stomachs! Off to the breakfast we went, in the beautiful Café. It was pretty full – the Breakfast is also open to people who do not stay at the Hostel, and of these there were quite some. I guess that alone tells you it’s a good place, if locals come to eat Breakfast there!

Breakfast at Hostel Café Koti

Great Breakfast at Hostel Café Koti

The breakfast options for Vegans were a bit limited, but I got enough to eat nevertheless – and the coffee was very good, so that definitely was a big plus. After that we went to play some more Boardgames and chill at the common room, before we walked to the railway station to travel south and home to Vaasa.

Common room at Hostel Café Koti

While it might seem we didn’t do a lot in Rovaniemi, we feel we did exactly the right amount of things in Rollo – explore the town a bit, relax, eat good food, and make the trip South a lot less stressful. That’s what we wanted, and that’s exactly what we got! If you travel with public transportation (the on-the-ground-kind) to Lapland, we can recommend travelling in two days south. Getting to discover more of Rovaniemi is always worth it – there’s so much to see here, and the Hostel Café Koti is a great place in the centre of town to stay. On our next trip North and South, we’ll make sure stop here again, that’s for sure – we love relaxed, slow travelling!

Light Balls

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