If you’re a fan of traditional Lappish food, ice and snow, then this chilly winter wonderland in northern Finland is the place for you.
Located in Rovaniemi, the capital of Lapland, Snowman World sits on the Arctic Circle. It neighbours the official home of Santa Claus and has a number of unique features and attractions that make it the perfect winter playground for the young and old alike.
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The snowman siblings
The story goes that three snowmen (well, two snowmen brothers and their sister) walked into Santa Claus Village one day and liked it so much they wanted to set up their own home close by. Snowman World was soon established, and you can still meet promising ice-hockey player Flake, rock star Frost and poetic Aurora wondering around the white expanses of the area.
The Ice Restaurant and Ice Bar
A Winter Zone ticket will grant you general entrance to Snowman World and also access to the on-site Ice Restaurant and Ice Bar.
Serving both adult and kids’s menus, the restaurant offers separate lunch and dinner sittings. In the daytime, the main dish to try is the creamy salmon soup, a favourite with the Rovaniemi locals and a delightfully filling treat that warms you up in no time at all.
The dinner experience is something entirely different. You can choose from the Wild Lapland menu (which includes a main consisting of reindeer), the Arctic Sea selection or the vegetarian-friendly Nordic Nature menu.
If you’re after something more casual, then head to Café Ensilumi (‘first snow’). The Lapland-themed restaurant has sweet and savoury dishes made from locally sourced ingredients. It is a great place to warm up and relax, although it’s worth noting that the café is open only during the winter months.
Built inside a giant igloo, the Ice Bar is the place to go to enjoy the spectacular ice sculptures of Snowman World and, of course, try a local tipple or two. The drinks are served in ice glasses and include a selection made from the best Laplandia vodkas around. Be sure to try some of the speciality shots if you visit the bar – they are guaranteed to warm you up no matter the weather outside.
A world of snow and ice
Snowman World isn’t short of outdoor pursuits. As well as traditional activities, such as ice skating, you can also try snow tubing, which involves sitting in an inflatable ring and hurtling down a course built in the snow.
There are safaris available for those looking to jump on a snowmobile and head out into the wild. One of the big reasons many people visit this region is to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights. One of the best ways of doing this is actually sleeping under the stars and staying in one of the glass huts at Snowman World.
The Snowman World Glass Resort is part of the Santa Claus Village complex and features real glass igloos, complete with glass ceilings, based on traditional kota huts. Each igloo has a bedroom, a living room, a kitchenette, a bathroom with a sauna and an outdoor hot tub. Within the comfort of your room, you can watch the stars above or the Northern Lights.
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