How To Visit A Rovaniemi Reindeer Farm In The Summer

Are you looking to visit a Rovaniemi reindeer farm in the summer?

This guide will take you through everything you need to know about booking an incredible tour of a reindeer farm in the summer, from what to expect to what you need to bring with you.

If you have any questions or comments about visiting a Rovaniemi reindeer farm in the summer, please leave them in the comments below!

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About reindeer farms in Finnish Lapland

Reindeer are prevalent throughout the Arctic, but in Norway, Finland, and Sweden they are all privately owned. In Noway and Sweden, reindeer ownership is legally reserved solely for the Sámi, who have been herding reindeer for thousands of years.

Reindeer calf feeding from its mother
In the wild around Rovaniemi, you will see plenty of reindeer

However, in Finland, anyone who lives within a specified area and is an EU citizen can own reindeer. Traditionally, reindeer would have been herded to different areas depending on the season, heading further south in winter where food was more accessible and returning to the north in the summer.

These days, the reindeer roam free in the wild during the summer and fall, where they can forage throughout the forests and fields.

When the snow arrives and food becomes a little more challenging to find, they are brought back to the farms, where they can be looked after and fed until the snow melts and they can easily access food in the wild again.

Reindeer walking in the middle of the road
Reindeer trying to cause a Lapland traffic jam

Once the snow melts, the female reindeer and some males are released out into the wild, where the females will generally give birth. The castrated male reindeer will remain on the farm year-round.

Reindeer ownership is signaled by unique marks cut into the reindeer ears. This method of cutting a unique marking into the ear has been done for centuries, as it helps other herders know who owns the reindeer.

These markings are vital during the summer roundups. The reindeer are rounded up a couple of times a year. The first round-up is meant to determine who owns the new calves and to count the reindeer.

While later in the season, they are rounded up again to choose which ones will be taken for slaughter.

Reindeer portrait
The odd-shaped ear is caused by the ear markings

The round-ups are done with all the reindeer herders in one area, working together to drive the reindeer into special pens, from there they are separated depending on the earmarks.

Any calves without earmarks who seem to not have a mother anymore will be auctioned off, with the proceeds going to the reindeer herding society.

Why visit a Rovaniemi reindeer farm in the summer?

Most people only think about visiting reindeer farms or seeing reindeer during the winter. However, I have to say visiting a farm in summer was far better than the winter experience.

I find something uncomfortable about reindeer sledding and the one time I did it in Norway, it felt like the reindeer did not enjoy it.

Visiting in summer takes this element out of the tour and you get to spend more time interacting with the reindeer and learning about them.

Reindeer bought back to the farm
Reindeer who got into trouble are brought back to the farm

There are far fewer reindeer on the farms during summer. Only castrated males and a few females with their calves remain on the farm.

Occasionally, other reindeer who have gotten in trouble will be brought back to the farm temporarily. As there are fewer tourists during summer, the farm experience is not rushed and the farmers are generally willing to spend more time with you.

During winter, huge crowds are being bussed in one after the other and your experience becomes far less personal.

How to visit a reindeer farm from Rovaniemi in the summer

The only way to visit a reindeer farm is via an organized tour. There are numerous companies offering a summer reindeer experience. I personally took a tour with Wild About Lapland that was combined with bear watching in Kuusamo.

An albino reindeer
An albino reindeer!

Wild About Lapland offers numerous summer reindeer tours from just visiting the farm to a combined tour like I did. The reindeer segment of the tour is the same no matter if you do it in combination with another activity or on its own.

Traditional reindeer farm visit with feeding the reindeer in summer

Duration: 2 hours

Meeting Point: Pick-up will be confirmed with the tour operator after booking

Language: English

🦌 CLICK HERE TO BOOK

After visiting reindeer farms in winter, I was intrigued about visiting one in summer to see how the experience would differ… and because I love reindeer.

During summer, you can see reindeer pretty much everywhere, although they are normally casually walking down the road without a care in the world.

Farm building with a moss roof
A traditional reindeer farm building

However, visiting a reindeer farm allows you to get very close to these otherwise skittish animals.

Reindeer farm visit itinerary

Our tour of the reindeer farm was in the morning, and I believe all the tours follow the same schedule during the summer. Below, I have detailed the key elements of this tour’s itinerary.

Pick-up

During the booking process, you must provide Wild About Lapland with your hotel details. If you are staying in Rovaniemi city center, you will meet at the Wild About Lapland office (Rovakatu 24, 96100 Rovaniemi).

Our guide feeds a reindeer
Our guide, Gabor, feeding a reindeer

This is due to their commitment to sustainable travel, and by doing this, they can cut down on unnecessary car trips.

Our house is on the outskirts of the city, close to Santa Claus Village, so we were picked up around 9 am. Once we were picked up, it was around a 20-minute drive to Sieriporo reindeer farm.

Arriving at the reindeer farm

When you arrive at the reindeer farm, you will likely be greeted by a very sweet dog who will come running up to the car.

A dog that greets everyone who visits
The farm’s professional greeter

I won’t lie- this was an absolute highlight for me and started the experience off on a good note! Once you have been greeted, the farmer will come out to you and the tour will start.

Feeding the reindeer

The main part of the tour is feeding the reindeer. The farmer will gather up a few of the reindeer who are within the main area of the farm and then will guide you up a forest at the top of the farm where a larger number of the reindeer hang out.

The reindeer you meet during the feeding process will all be male reindeer who are no longer used for breeding and work during the winters doing the sleigh rides.

Reindeer heading to the feeding area
Reindeer chasing after their food

As these males have been castrated, their antlers tend to grow bigger and last throughout the winter.

A fun fact is unlike other species of reindeer, females also grow antlers that remain year-round, whereas the male reindeer’s antlers will drop during winter!

Once you are up in the forest, the farmer will start calling for the reindeer, and before you know it, they start appearing out of nowhere. Reindeer keep appearing the whole time you are in the forest, although some of the more shy reindeer stay away.

The reindeer are fed pellets in large troughs but are also given their favorite food, lichen. You will be given large bundles of lichen and you can feed the reindeer directly from your hand.

Hungry reindeer eating lichen directly from your hands
Very hungry reindeer after all the lichen

They will tear bits off and tug at it (until it just falls on the ground). They are very gentle during this process and there is no need to be nervous around them. As you feed the reindeer, the farmer will explain a little bit about the animals and their lives in the forest.

Sitting by the fire

After you have spent time feeding the reindeer, you will be invited into a large wooden building with a fire in the middle. Here, you can enjoy hot drinks and cookies while chatting around the fire.

The farmer will take this time to explain more about reindeer farming, and it is the perfect opportunity to ask any questions you may have.

Benches covered in reindeer hides around a fire
A cozy spot to relax and drink a warm drink

As there were only a few of us visiting, we got the chance to ask a lot of questions and learn about reindeer farming. The farmer also showed us pictures from his trail cameras that showed there was a large bear in the area.

We were also told stories about the more mischievous reindeer that often have to be rescued or removed from areas they shouldn’t be in. For example, once they tracked their reindeer to a school and had to go and remove the reindeer and bring them back to the farm!

Once this part is over the tour is over, if you are just visiting the reindeer farm, you can ask your guide if it is possible to spend a little more time on the farm.

Rovaniemi reindeer farm in the summer visit + Tours FAQ

Is it worth visiting a Rovaniemi reindeer farm in the summer?

Yes! This is a great experience and one of the best ways to see reindeer up close and learn all about reindeer herding. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and would recommend visiting a reindeer farm to everyone visiting Rovaniemi in summer!

Reindeer feeding from a trough
Reindeer get to eat in the forest, on the farm, and lichen from the guests

It was also nice knowing that you are making a difference as people paying to visit the farms during the summer helps to keep them operating.

Can this tour be done in combination with another activity?

Yes, Wild About Lapland offers visits to the reindeer farm in summer with various other activities.

Who shouldn’t visit a reindeer farm in the summer?

This tour is perfect for people of all ages and it involves hardly any effort. Unfortunately, it is not suitable for those who need to use a wheelchair.

Farmer preparing the reindeer feed
The feeding area in the forest

Those with mobility issues who do not need a wheelchair should contact Wild About Lapland before booking to see if the tour is suitable for your needs.

What should you bring with you for the day?

The tour is short and you do not need to bring too much with you. I would recommend bringing water with you to keep hydrated, as well as mosquito spray.

Reindeer shaking mosquitos off
Even the reindeer find the mosquitos annoying and will regularly try and shake them off

Mosquitoes are abundant in the Arctic, and even more so when you are outside of the city. Mosquito repellent should be enough to keep most of them away from you. Thankfully, the mosquitoes in the Arctic do not carry any diseases.

What should you wear?

The Arctic in the summer is a challenge when it comes to temperatures. One day it can be 20°C (68°F), and the next day it can be 10°C (50°F).

For this reason, I would dress for the weather on the day you go. However, I would recommend wearing loose-fitting clothing that covers the majority of your skin.

Our guide petting the greeter dog
You will want to wear clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty!

It should also be clothing that you do not mind getting dirty as it might be very muddy when you visit the farm. Along with the right clothes, I would wear a sturdy pair of hiking boots, as the ground might be slippery and there are copious amounts of reindeer droppings on the ground.

Should you tip your tour guide?

Tipping your guide is your own choice. If they do a great job, I recommend tipping them as they will appreciate it. For tipping, I would take cash with you.

Do you have any queries about booking a tour of a Rovaniemi reindeer farm in the summer? If so, please leave a comment below!

More Finnish Lapland summer guides

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