The Kemi Snowcastle is actually also a "tourist trap", but since most foreign tourists don't go to Kemi, it's more a tourist trap for Finnish tourists.
The snowcastle itself is in the same place every year, but during the ten years it has been built, it has changed and grown bigger. Inside the castle walls there are many things. An ice hotel, snowrestaurant, chapel, suite, gallery, ice tower, rooftop terrace, sauna, labyrinth and a lot more, even a "snowballsea"for the kids!
The castle is worth going to, and also Kemi itself, even though it's even smaller than Rovaniemi, is a lovely city! It's situated about 100 kilometers south from Rovaniemi, just in the "armpit" of the Gulf of Bothnia.
Here's some general info...
:: SnowCastle is open from 29st of January to 10th of April 2005 daily 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
:: Opening ceremony of SnowCastle is held on 28th of January 2005 at 6 p.m.
:: SnowRestaurant open to public 31December - 28 January 6.p.m.-8.p.m.
:: Mammut SnowHotel is open for accommodation from 31st of December to 3th of April 2005.
:: single ticket
5 – 11 yrs EUR 2,50
adults EUR 5,00
:: season ticket
5 – 11 yrs EUR 5,00
adults EUR 10.00
:: Children under 5 yrs free of charge
:: Guided Tours
:: Combination ticket SnowCastle and Gemstone Gallery adults 8 EUR and for children under 12 yrs 4 EUR
ADDRESS: Kemi, Torikatu 2.
Unbelievable experience !
I saw the most wonderful desert in the world like Namibia and Morocco and the Thar in India !
I saw the ice landscapes in Finland - Norway and Sweden !
Traveling - what an experience and a relativating way to enjoy this small world !
Many people visit the Santapark (the Santa Claus' cave in the Arctic Circle) inside Syvasenvaara hill. It is easy to walk to the top of the hill to see how the area of Rovaniemi looks like. The wooden stairs can be found near the parking area of Santapark. The path to the top is only about 250 - 300 meters long and there is also a small lookout tower. You can see the river valleys, hills and forests and the town of Rovaniemi.
Koivusaari is an island of river Ounasjoki about 1,5 km north of Rovaniemi along E-75 highway. This short nature trail (luontopolku in Finnish) starts from the Ounaspaviljonki boat harbour near the highway bridge. The path is covered with wood and easy to walk. Some plants you can see along the path: Cinnamon rose (Rosa majalis), Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis) and Carex cespitosa. Nice place for watching birds that live in the bushes and along the river. Along the path you can find information (also in English) about the nature and history of the island.
Most of the people have heard about Lappish nature and wilderness. Unfortunately most of them don't catch it. They take a snowmobilesafari with 20 other people, drive along the jammed routes, and then those safaricompanies tell them that wasn't it great to be in the wild...Blaah !
One day i took my skis and headed from our cottage straight over the frozen lake and further on into the forest, without marked paths. With the help aof the GPS i always knew the distance to my home. Anyway, it's quite a strange feeling to be completely alone.
It seems that many people do visit the arctic circle both in winter and at other times of the year.
I have had some excellent feedback from people who have been on a holiday like this.
This image is from the more "public" part of Vaattunkiköngäs, where the real nature hasn't yet started.
Rovaniemi is one of the leading folkdance towns in Finland and the shows are amazing!! The dance pair in the pic is Hanna and Santtu from the folkdance group Siepakat. ->
Hike for a few hours in the hilly woods around Rovaniemi. Take your lunch with you: coffee, bread and sausages to barbecue like we did here. Wood and axe are all available.
'Arkticum'- scientific center and museum dedicated to the Lapland and Arctic.
More detailed info : http://www.arktikum.fi/