Arctic Circle

Traveler: Pınar Bilgin – Travel Enthusiast

What is your most unforgettable escape? Finland and more specifically Rovaniemi.

What was the purpose of your travel? There were plenty of purposes such as new year celebration (on the 31st of Dec ’14), my birthday celebration (2nd of Jan ’15) and of course the northern lights.

With how many people did you travel? Just the two of us.

Where did you stay? As we flew back and forth between Helsinki and Rovaniemi: I can say that we stayed in Scandic Simonkentta whilst in Helsinki and in Arctic Snow Hotel igloo (-3 /-5 C) whilst in Rovaniemi.

What did you most like about the trip? Even though I have been to Scandinavia  (Stockholm) before, it was a totally different experience in terms of season,  weather and nature.

Could you share an unforgettable memory about the trip? Husky sledding was on the “bucket list”  and I am so happy to cross that one off in Lapland. It was an “once in a lifetime” experience for sure; what I felt was complete stillness and unrestrained speed at the same time.

Your most surprising find during the trip. Eventually came out that I can handle cold very well and can even sleep in a (minus something °C) igloo.

Favorite restaurants or food you have tried during your trip? Olo (a Michelin-starred restaurant) has been my favorite one representing the modern Nordic cuisine. Besides, Fafa is a tiny little place that offers delicious snacks like falafel, halloumi along with ginger beer.  

What is the must tries of the city?  Hot blackberry juice and Finnish blueberry pie at Café Regatta, glühwein at Kappeli and venison (deer meat) at Santa Claus Village.

Any hidden gems you could whisper to us?  The world’s most northern McDonald’s is in Rovaniemi, so you may want to honour a big mac in this Northernmost restaurant. Besides, Korundi House of Culture is a nice museum representing contemporary art and there is Angry Birds Playground in Finland.

Would you go back? Of course, to see the northern lights.

Could you list a few of your favorite finds you came back with? These can be anything from traditional finds to airport finds to hotel creams! A photo with Santa taken in Santa Claus Village, Finnish sauna items (sauna wrap, brushes, linens etc), anything with Marimekko patterns and some Angry Birds merchandise.

Any tips that might be useful to know before going there? If you are planning a trip for winter, you should seriously pack your warm(est) clothes and snow boots. And of course a good camera is a must if you are chasing aurora borealis.

Next stop you would like to visit? Latin America and Cuba are on the list.