All visitors want to visit the Arctic Circle, the southernmost line at which the midnight sun can be viewed. Bus no. 8 runs from the center of Rovaniemi to this location, 8km (5 miles) north of Rovaniemi on the Rovaniemi-Sodankylä highway. Don't think the Arctic Circle is permanently fixed, as it can shift several yards or meters daily. At this point, the sun never sets in midsummer, nor does it ever rise in the pitch black of midwinter. The Arctic Circle Marker is found here.

Napaiiri is also the site of Santa Claus Village, the most commercialized center of all of Lapland. Thousands of letters from children all over the world are mailed to the Santa Claus Main Post Office, FIN-96930, Arctic Circle. You can also send a postcard home with an official stamp from Santa Claus himself. Next to the post office, you can join a line of kids waiting to meet Santa.

Other than the shopping complex, with its restaurants and cafes, the big attraction here is Santapark (tel. 016/333-0000; www.santapark.com), at Syväsenvaara Mountain 2km (1 1/4 miles) west of the Rovaniemi airport. A free Santa train runs in summer between Santa Claus Village and Santapark. The park is inside a cave in the mountain. Once inside, you're greeted with elves baking gingerbread and, yes, yet another Santa.

advertisement

Entertainment includes a sleigh ride, a Christmas carousel, and a multimedia theater. There's also a cafeteria and a store. The train stops at a reindeer park for visitors to enjoy a ride on one of Santa's herd. A family ticket costs 100€ ($160); otherwise, adults pay 25€ ($40), children 3 to 15 pay 20€ ($32), free for 2 and under. From midsummer to mid-August, hours are Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 4pm. The park also reopens in late November to mid-January Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 6pm.