town in the region of Northern Ostrobothnia in Finland

Kalajoki is a coastal town of 12,000 (2021) in the Western Oulu region in southern Northern Ostrobothnia. The town is best known for its kilometres-long sand dune area, the Hiekkasärkät, which has been developed as a holiday resort since the 1970s.

Understand edit

The town of Kalajoki is located where river Kalajoki flows into the Bothnian Bay.

The first villages were probably established here during the 1300s. People lived from agriculture, fishing and seal hunting, later also from production and trade of pine-derived tar. During the 16th century Kallankarit islands became an important base for fishing. In the mid-1700s king Adolf Frederick of Sweden stopped in the Rautila village on his way to the north. There is still a memorial for his visit.

In 1771 the king gave an order, the hamina-ordning, where he gave the community living on Kallankarit islands an autonomous status in the Kingdom of Sweden. This status is considered valid even in modern-day Finland; the government owns the islands but the fishermen community has its own legislation to decide ownership and certain other juridical issues. To be exact, according to this autonomy these islands don't even belong to the European Union.

In addition to tourism there is also some metal industry and a cargo harbour in the Rahja village. Agriculture is an important source of income, the main product is potato. Entrepreneurship is very common here. In fact, every fifth working adult in Kalajoki is a private entrepreneur.

The name Kalajoki translates to Fish River. Kalajoki is one of those very few municipalities in Finland that lacks any natural lakes. On the other hand, five rivers flow into the sea within the municipal borders.

Get in edit

By bus edit

Buses between Kokkola and Oulu stop in both in Kalajoki centre and at Hiekkasärkät. A single ticket from Kokkola costs about €17 (45 min) and from Oulu about €20 (2 hr 20 min).

There is a daily bus connection from Ylivieska to Kalajoki centre (35 min).

The intercity bus company Onnibus has a daily connection (line C8) between Turku and Oulu. These coaches stop both at Kalajoki and Hiekkasärkät. A single ticket from Turku costs about €35. Onnibus does not accept cash payment and tickets are much cheaper if bought online.

By car edit

The town is by the Finnish national road 8 (E8), as is Himanka.

Get around edit

Electric kick scooters edit

Finnish Joe Scooter rents electric kick scooters for use in the centre and sand dunes. Install the smartphone app, check where the nearest scooter is, check price, unlock with the app, drive, park it in some sensible location in the allowed area (mind the vision impaired) and release it with the app. The scooters have a top speed of 20 km/h (12 mph), which is plenty; acquaint yourself with the scooter and its controls somewhere safe. Rules are the same as for bikes, but minimum age (imposed by the companies) is 18. In some areas the scooters enforce a lower speed (5–6 km/h). The companies aim to keep the scooters available also in winter, conditions permitting, but the vehicles are not ideal in snowy or slippery conditions.

By taxi edit

See Western Oulu region#By taxi

  • Smartphone apps: Valopilkku, 02 Taksi
  • Otaxi offers taxi service in Kalajoki

See edit

Houses in Plassi
  • 1 The sand dunes (Hiekkasärkät). A sand beach almost like at some holiday destination in the Mediterranean - minus the high-rise hotels and the palms. Several hotels including a spa, cabin village, camping area, 18-hole golf course with range, nature trails with lean-to shelters and campfire sites, horse race track, bird watching towers. Nature information center. Siiponjoki Estuary Nature Reserve.    
  • 2 Plassi. The old town of Kalajoki. Highlights are the Fishing Museum and the Havula Villa.
  • 3 Glass studio Heikki Ulvi, Santaholmantie 14. Art made out of glass. You can see and buy artworks.
  • 4 Kallankarit islands. Autonomous fishermen community on the islands Maakalla and Ulkokalla some 18 kilometres off-coast. The village is on Maakalla island, while there is just a lighthouse on the Ulkokalla island. Wooden church built in 1700s. Day trips to the islands are arranged by local entrepreneurs. Camping on the islands is forbidden.    
  • 5 Livestock Farm HuliVili (Kotieläinpiha HuliVili), Etelänkyläntie 642 (bus stop "Tolppa"), +358 40 572 8733.

Do edit

Sunset at the Rahja archipelago in December
  • 1 Kalajoki Beach. A sand beach of a few kilometres. A popular holiday destination near Kalajoki.    
  • Swim and sunbathe at the dunes. Probably the northernmost beach holiday you'll ever have.
  • 2 JukuPark, Jukupolku 3-5. A water theme park open in summer only.
  • 3 Rahja Archipelago (off the coast 14 km from Kalajoki centre). Small maritime nature reserve best experienced with boat or canoe. Several excursion harbors with dry toilets and campfire sites, some even with an open wilderness huts. Camping is allowed on most islands. Pets must be kept on leash all the time. Transport and tours available. The Liminka Bay Visitor Centre in Liminka handles also Rahja. There is an information shelter at Konikarvo Fishing Harbour. A range of businesses provide cruises, transport and guided paddling tours, as well as canoes for independent visits.  
  • 4 Spa SaniFani (Kylpylä SaniFani), Jukupolku 3, +358 400-102-121. Tropical pool and flowing river, hot tubs, hydromassage showers, play pool, water slide, cold well, Turkish steam bath. €15/7.50.

Events edit

  • Kalajoen Juhannus:  – June. Music festival in Midsummer weekend. Punk, metal and other genres. Late June. (date needs fixing)

Buy edit

Eat edit

  • 1 Ravintola Pihvitupa, Hilmantori 2. A country-style restaurant with the best steaks in town.
  • 2 Ravintola Mamma Leone, Kalajoentie 8. Good pizzas and other fast food.

Drink edit

  • 1 Ravintola Dyyni, Tuomipakkaintie 59. A restaurant and bar with a view over the dunes.
  • 2 Merisärkkä, Pakkainpolku 20. A night club with karaoke and live music.

Sleep edit

  • 1 Top Camping Kalajoki. Camping area next to the sand dunes. If you don't have a trailer, RV or tent, they have cottage accommodation too.
  • 2 SFC Sautinkari, Sautinkarintie 40 (by the coast, 1½ km from the centre of Himanka), +358 40-162-0357, . Check-out: 15:00. Large caravan camping. Tent area. Cabins not in use as of 2021. Boat jetty. Beach, barbecue sites, laundry. Nature path, bird observation tower. Silence 23:00–07:00.

Stay safe edit

Connect edit

Go next edit

Routes through Kalajoki
VaasaKokkola  SW   NE  RaaheOulu

This city travel guide to Kalajoki is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.