Instead of hoping for Santa to find you while you’re overseas for Christmas, you can always find him instead by heading north of the Arctic Circle. Rovaniemi, the capital of the snowbound Lapland region of Finland, claims to be the home of the Jolly Old Elf. You can meet him at Santa Claus Village just north of town, where you can take a dogsled ride, go to the reindeer farm, and walk into the underground, indoor Santapark theme park to hop on a magic sleigh ride.
SIDE ADVENTURE: The snow base is always deep at Suomu, one of Europe’s best under-the-radar ski resorts. Though you wouldn’t go to northern Finland just to snowboard or ski this resort—unless you’re competing in one of the World Cup events held annually here—it’s worth a day’s detour to tackle the expert trails on the 800-foot-vertical slopes of the mountain’s north face.