Genius. This is a trip that brings tears to my eyes thinking about it. We came with a 5 and 6 year old in December 2010. Before Trip Advisor had a site up for these folks.
Yes it is costly, but it is magical. We arrived in Rovaniemi and had a couple of days of hotelling and doing the tourist thing before our main event, which was Joulukka.
To say the kids were excited is an understatement, to say the parents were excited is equally as understated.
We were met at our hotel by an Elf, Jospehine, and with that the kids were transformed. Josephine was adorable, and her Finnish English was enough to convince the girls that this was the real thing.
Joulukka itself was very simple, and I think as a grown up it is easy to challenge their costs versus their selling price, BUT close your eyes and make like you are ten years old and I guarantee you will have tears in your eyes by the end of it all.
The event was simplistic. Go to the Elves cabin, minus 20 outside, roaring log fire inside, reindeer skins on the walls, Elvin stories inside. Simple, personal, and marvellously effective. My children thought they were speaking with a real elf.
We left the Elf hut for a walk through the woods. The photos I have through the woods are magical, snow was falling, and my camera has picked up every snowflake, as a drop of white reflection on all the photos....luck (because I am rubbish with the camera), but beautiful.
The Elf tour through the cold, snowy woods was memorable. Then a stop for some hot juice by another roaring fire, some sled trips (this may be trivial for anyone reading from those climates that get snow, but for those of us that don't a wooden push-sled is great fun).
Santa's control centre was jaw dropping. (not for me or the wife, but for two children that were convinced at this point that they were about to meet the real Santa Clause).
The build up to Santa was charming, simple, no Hollywood effects, but some basic touch and feel, hear, smell stuff from the folks at Joulukka to amaze the children.
Santa was authentic. My children were gobsmacked, we had to prompt them for questions and the smile I have on my face in our final photo is possibly the biggest smile I have ever recorded in a family photo.
I'm conscious that I may appear too gushing in this review, but my kids wanted to go again this year, which we couldnt afford to do. But if I had had the money, I would have gone back to Rovamiemi and Joulukka in a heartbeat.
It is a costly trip (at least by my standards), but without doubt the best "day trip" I have ever taken the family on.
If you are thinking about this for your family, sincerely, do it. Go when there is snow on the ground, go with the mindset of a child and you will want to sob your heart out.....
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