Hopping over the Arctic Circle at Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi, Finland
Photo by: Visit Rovaniemi
Enjoying the Midnight Sun in Pyhä-Luosto, Finland in summer
Photo by: Pyhä-Luosto

Destination: Arctic Circle

Looking for information on unforgettable adventures and unique experiences you can only get at the Arctic Circle in Finnish Lapland, the most accessible Arctic travel destination?

The Arctic Circle. The line that separates the mystical thule from the rest of the world. You may know it as the home of Santa Claus, polar bears and neverending winter. And two of those things are absolutely true. Most of Finnish Lapland lies above the Arctic Circle and may be the most accessible Arctic destination on Earth.

So you may ask yourself … what can you do at the Arctic Circle?

Things to do at the Arctic Circle

In Lapland, the Arctic Circle is almost entirely characterized by unspoiled nature. The Arctic Circle Hiking Area is a low-intensity protected nature area where you can wander to your heart’s content among the papery birches, sentinel pines and giggling waterways. There are multiple ski resorts on and near the Arctic Circle, the perfect places to continue Finland’s millennia-old tradition of sliding across snow with wood strapped to your feet.

No matter where you are in Finnish Lapland, you’re never far from the boundless beauty and stunning spectacle of Arctic nature. Check out some more Arctic adventures on our winter bucket list. Or if you’re looking for Midnight Sunshine, check out the best ways to enjoy summer in Finnish Lapland.

Where can I cross the Arctic Circle?

Without a doubt, the best place to cross the Arctic Circle with all the pomp and ceremony such an undertaking deserves is at Santa Claus Village. You can’t miss the markers that bisect the park and even go through some of the buildings! At Santa Claus Village, crossing the Arctic Circle can be as simple as a selfie atop the latitude marker, stamping your passport with the Arctic Circle stamp, or picking up an certificate at the Travel Info desk, or as ornate as an Arctic Circle Crossing Ceremony.

And the nearby SantaPark deserves a special mention, as the only place in the world where you can cross the Arctic Circle … underground!

But Rovaniemi is not the only place to cross the Arctic Circle. There’s a special marker in Kemijärvi near the Suomu ski resort, and in Pello, the circle passes through the village of Juoksenki, which offers accommodation, dining, souvenirs, and services for fishermen, among other things.

The Arctic Circle at Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi, Finland in winter
The Arctic Circle at Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi
Photo by: Visit Rovaniemi
Arctic Circle destination - the village of Juoksenki in Pello
The Arctic Circle passes through the village of Juoksenki in Pello
Photo by: Travel Pello
An Arctic Circle marker near Suomu ski resort in Kemijärvi in Finnish Lapland
The Arctic Circle marker near the Suomu ski resort in Kemijärvi
Photo by: Adicus Ryan Garton

Which city is closest to the Arctic Circle?

In Finnish Lapland (and perhaps the world), the only true city that lies on the Arctic Circle is Rovaniemi. Though the actual Arctic Circle shuffles northward a few meters every year due to the inner workings of the Earth, the geographic Arctic Circle passes through Santa Claus Village, only a few kilometers north of downtown.

There are also a few special sites in Finnish Lapland throughout that mark the Arctic Circle, (Napapiiri in Finnish), include markers, signs and even the Suomutunturi Ski Resort.

Which Lapland destinations lie on or above the Arctic Circle?

Almost all of Lapland lies above the Arctic Circle. This means the tundra lands and massive national parks to the north, the Scandinavian mountains in the northeast, the border rivers and the stony Ice Age fells are all firmly Arctic.

How can I get to the Arctic Circle?

Do you have shoes on? Good, because it’s quite a hike from just about everywhere … just kidding. Finnish Lapland holds the distinction of being the most accessible Arctic destination in the world. With five airports inside Lapland, and four more nearby, as well as two train terminus stations and a comprehensive network of highways and well-kept roads, it’s very easy to travel to Lapland and seek out the Arctic Circle yourself.

A relaxing evening on the shore in Salla, Finland
Photo by: Visit Salla
Crossing a bridge at the Arctic Circle travel Hiking Area in Rovaniemi, Finland
Photo by: Jaakko Posti | Metsähallitus
A snowmobile path across Lake Kemijärvi on the Arctic Circle
Photo by: Visit Kemijärvi