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Rantakatu street by night

Oulu (Swedish: Uleåborg) is the biggest city in Northern Finland, with a bit more than 200,000 inhabitants (counting by the administrative borders, the city itself has a little less).

UnderstandEdit

 
Oulun Lyseon Lukio upper secondary school and the Oulu Cathedral

Oulu is the capital of the province of Oulu and the region of Northern Ostrobothnia. It is the fifth largest municipality in Finland by population and the largest and most important in Northern Finland. As a result of two consolidations of neighbouring municipalities, first Ylikiiminki in 2009, and then Haukipudas, Kiiminki, Oulunsalo and Yli-Ii in 2013, its land area is over 3,000 km² (five to ten times the size of other similar sized cities in Finland). As urban area it comes fourth, after the capital region, Tampere and Turku.

Historically Oulu has been known for its salmon and wood tar and production. Today it is however more known for its high-tech focus, with free wireless Internet access, Panoulu, in the city centre. A lot of Finnish IT companies, including Nokia, have offices in Oulu or nearby areas. In 1988 Jarkko Oikarinen wrote the first IRC server and client here. Oulu is also home to Oulun Kärpät, a successful hockey team playing in the top Finnish league, Liiga.

HistoryEdit

Early historyEdit

The history of the Oulu area of course reaches all the way to the end of the Stone Age. During the Stone Age, the location of the current city was still underwater, but around 1800 BCE (when the stone age ended), the coastline had risen inside the current city borders. The Oulu river has been an important trade river since the Stone Age since it offered connections to the east and the west, as well as the south by the sea. During the Iron Age, the population in the Oulu area most likely lessened a bit, although the Sami population persisted through the Iron Age. During the Iron Age, the southern Finnish peoples such as the Finns Proper and the Tavastians made hunting, trade and taxation travels to the north.

In the 12th century, Oulu became an important spot for trade and hunting trips by the Karelians, including the people from the flourishing population centres of the shores of the Lake Ladoga.

From the Middle Ages to the 16th centuryEdit

It is commonly interpreted that the Treaty of Nöteborg in 1323 placed Oulu inside the Republic of Novgorod, but according to some historians, Ostrobothnia was shared as a collaborative area between the two nations, Sweden and Novgorod. Although, in the year 1345 Sweden attached the regions all the way to Kemi as a part of Turku Diocese. The possession of the area became controversial, and during the next centuries the Novgorodians and later on Russians made raids to Ostrobothnia all the way to Oulu. The first armaments of the Oulu Castle were made in 1375. The fortification was known in Swedish as "Uleåborg", "Ule River Castle". After the founding of the castle, the city started to slowly evolve close to the castle, which was colloquially known as "Uleåstad", "Ule River Town".

Oulu, Kemi, Tornio and Ii were given the right to serve as trading centres by the Swedish King Gustav I of Sweden in 1531.

During the Russo-Swedish war of 1590-1595, the fortification was turned into a small castle. In the Treaty of Teusina (1595), Russia acknowledged the Oulu area as a part of the Kingdom of Sweden.

The founding of the city and the 18th centuryEdit

Oulu is the oldest city in Northern Finland. It was founded with the same Swedish name of Uleåborg in 1605 by the King Karl IX at the mouth of Oulujoki river, on the opposite bank of Oulu Castle. In the beginning there were around 400 residents in the city. The city got its full city rights in 1610, and during the 17th century even some small-scale industry was born in town since the only rifle manufacturing plant in Finland was in Oulu. The first pedagogium in the city was founded in 1611 and in 1682 it was transformed into a trivial school.

The Oulu Castle was destroyed by a lightning strike in 1793 and never rebuilt.

The 19th and the 20th centuryEdit

During its history, the city has suffered 8 Great Fires, and in 1822 the city was severely damaged in one, and during its reconstruction, the city centre got the look it still has today.

In the 19th century the trivial school was transformed into an upper comprehensive school and a gymnasium school was attached to it. In 1872 the first Oulu private lyceum was opened and it was transformed into the Oulu Lyceum in 1883.

The city was greatly affected by wars, and Oulu was a battlefield for the Whites and the Reds in the short civil war. The Winter War was seen in the city when the Germans built different training, maintenance and cadre centres in Oulu. In the Continuation war, Oulu was bombed heavily and some trace from the bombings is still seen in some of the older buildings in the city center.

The 20th century brought industrialization to the city and the borders became too tight for all population and the city borders were expanded by adding some smaller neighboring municipalities to the city.

The University of Oulu was founded in 1959, although Oulu had been proposed as a university town since 1917. The new university got a great reception since it was the first one in Northern Finland and the people didn't have to go all the way to Southern Finland in order to get academic education.

Recent history and modern dayEdit

 
A contestant in the Air Guitar World Championships

Nowadays Oulu is known especially as a technology city and the economical engine of Northern Finland. Technopolis, founded in 1982, was the first so-called technology village of the Nordic countries.

The latest expansions of the city alongside with the population growth of the city proper have made Oulu the 5th biggest city and 4th biggest urban area in Finland. With its population of 200 000 it is by far the biggest city in the northern part of the Nordics.

Modern Oulu is known all over Finland with the nickname "Paska kaupunni" ("Shitty City") due to a graffiti made at some point in the 1980s to a wall in the address Uusikatu 22. The urban tradition of drawing the graffiti again and again has persisted to this day.

Other nowadays known things related to the city are the Toripolliisi statue (1987), the Oulu Market Hall (1901), the Marketplace granaries, the hockey team Oulun Kärpät, Tietomaa Science Center, the annual Air Guitar World Championships, the Starboy tradition, the Oulu dialect and Rössypottu.

Get inEdit

By planeEdit

1 Oulu Airport (OUL IATA). The busiest in the country after Helsinki, and the Helsinki–Oulu route is the country's most popular domestic flight with frequent services (around ten flights per day each way) by Finnair and Norwegian. The terminal has been expanded and now has jet bridges to get you onto the planes without having to walk on the freezing cold tarmac. The airport has an automatic map dispenser that provides free maps, but it doesn't always work.    

  • A fully flexible return economy ticket might cost more than €200 but a non-changeable one-way ticket can go as low as €29 or a return ticket for €58 when bought months in advance. Norwegian is often cheaper, but airlines compete on price for this route so be sure to check Finnair, too.
  • If you are under 26 years old and planning to travel with Norwegian, be sure to use the code ALLE26 to get cheaper prices for the trip (you can find flights for as low as €29 from the LowFare calendar).

The main airlines that fly to the airport are Finnair and Norwegian Air Shuttle. Most flights are from Helsinki, including all domestic flights operate. SAS offers flights from Stockholm-Arlanda (as of Nov 2018).

Seasonally, some services are operated from Las Palmas, Alicante and Tenerife (Norwegian), as well as Chania and Alanya (Finnair). Jet Time also offers seasonal flights from Las Palmas.

The terminal is small and easy to navigate, and everything can be reached on foot. There is one terminal at the airport which has around 10,000 m² of space for travellers. The terminal is open whenever there are flights.

There are several charging points in the terminal, both before and after the security check. The airport offers free WiFi under the name "Free Wifi for You by Finavia". There is also a piano and rocking chairs in the free Hailuoto Lounge.

Oluthuone Toppila in the gate area offers a large selection of beer, cider and other high quality drinks. They also offer the local "kärkkäri" sausage, as well as hamburgers and other food.

For lighter snacks, check out Oulu Café at both the gates and in the arrivals hall.

Oulu Café also sells some local souvenirs, as well as cosmetics and other, normal tax-free stuff. There is also a pharmacy by the café in the gate area.

TransportEdit

Oulu is easily reached from the airport by bus routes 8 and 9. The bus stop is found on the right when coming from the terminal building. The bus takes you to the city centre in about 25-30 minutes, and usually contains a luggage rack. There is an info display on the bus stop which shows real-time updates and the location of the bus on a map. Buses operate quite frequently from 06:25 to about 21:00 on weekdays. After 21:00 buses operate infrequently to 01:20.

The tickets cost €5.80 for an adult and €2.90 for children aged 7-16. You can either pay by cash to the driver or by the free Oulu Public Transport app. If buying the ticket from the app, choose zone AB since the airport is in zone B. Journeys starting at night (23:00-04:30) will be charged double. The validity of the ticket is 60 minutes' unlimited travel.

The airport hotel is 5 km from the airport, so it is wise to take a bus. When going to the airport hotel, tell the driver where you're going (the hotel is also in zone B) and the driver should charge you €3.30 (€1.70 for children). The university is in zone A.

When travelling by bus, it is best to use a smartphone map with live location so you know exactly when to get off the bus. An app called Nysse handles Oulu Public Transport well, but e.g. Moovit and Google maps do the job as well. The buses are yet to be equipped with "Next Stop is..." displays, but they are being slowly installed from the beginning of 2019.

When travelling to the city centre, the main stop is Toripakka P. The tourist information centre is right next to Toripakka P. The previously mentioned Airport Hotel can be reached by stopping at Vihiluoto P.

The university can be only reached by bus route 8 on weekdays, but you can also change buses for free in the city centre; use lines 1 (Jylkynkangas), 2 (Ritaharju), 3 (Aaltokangas) or 23 (Haukipudas-Ii). If you are going to the university at the weekend, then you must change from bus 9 onto one of the previously mentioned lines. Bus routes 22 (Haukipudas Asemakylä) and 28 (Ii) also go to the university but you are unlikely to catch one since they operate rather infrequently. If using lines 22, 23, or 28, be sure to tell the driver your destination so that they won't overcharge you since the buses' destinations are in different zones. More info on the zones can be found in the 'Get around' section. You can try using English, but the bus driver might not understand. Usually they do, but if they don't, you can use the word "Yliopistolle" (≈"ILL-yo-piss-toll-e") which means "to the university".

Nallikari and the Spa Hotel Eden are reached with bus number 15.

A taxi ride, although more expensive, can be an easier choice of transportation. During the day on weekdays, a ride from or to the airport is usually about €35, although large amounts of luggage might raise the price. Otaxi operates most taxis from the airport. You can try to get a cheaper ride by using the rideshare app Kyyti.

There are several car rental services at the airport. Some of them are open only on demand so if you're intending to rent a car, be sure to check their opening times on their websites and/or call their helpline.

If you're leaving your car at the airport, check which parking lot suits your needs the best from the website of the airport.

SleepEdit

The Airport Hotel is 5 km away, reachable by public transport (buses 8 and 9, zone B). The cheaper Kempeleen Moottorimaja is 9 km away, but you have to change buses in order to get there (8/9→50/52, zone B). Google Maps offers good directions.

By trainEdit

 
The station building seen from the tracks

Oulu is on the railway main line between Helsinki and Rovaniemi. The day trains complete the journey from Helsinki to Oulu in about 6 hours, while direct sleepers take around 9 hours. The standard price is about €60 (€100 with a berth), if you book early there are offers for about half the price. The newest type of sleeper train carriages have a shower and a toilet in each 2-person cabin. As when going to Rovaniemi, you can also take your car with you on the overnight train.

The "saver ticket" is always the most affordable choice. Only a limited number of them is available and no discounts are offered for them. The saver ticket lets you choose your travel dates flexibly. Saver tickets are offered 60 days before your departure. You can change your ticket for €5 and pay a €10 cancellation insurance.

You can buy tickets from the train station or from vr.fi.

The train station is by the centre, e.g. the tourist information is 900 m away. If you're not keen on walking with heavy luggage and your accommodation is not close by, you can take any citybus from the railway station. The citybus stop is right by the yellow station building. Check the ticket prices from the segment Get Around.

Many tourists can get a bit confused when arriving in Oulu by train, since the signs aren't always the clearest in the train station. The station building is small and wooden, and they're still planning to build a brand new travel centre in the place of the old platforms. When arriving in other tracks than track no. 1, you must go down to the station tunnel and to the left in order to reach the city center or the current station building. If you need to go to the bus station or Raksila district, go to the right when you get to the tunnel.

By busEdit

Trip duration from Helsinki varies between 8 and 15 hours and costs around €70–80, but using the cheaper Onnibus, you can get trip with a price as low as €15. Timetable and information from Matkahuolto and Onnibus

The bus station is right next to the railway station, but on the other side of the tracks.

By boatEdit

Oulu is at the mouth of the Oulujoki river, thus reachable by yacht in summer and autumn.

  • 1 Meritulli, +358 400-474-180, e-mail: . 06:00–24:00, after mid August 07:00–16:00. Marina in the river delta, by the Market square. WC, showers, sauna, kitchen, washing machines, fuel, water, electricity, septic tank emptying. Fairway depth 2.3 m. €12/night (sauna not included, electricity €2), €5 for day visit, €2 for short visit..

By carEdit

Oulu is on the Finnish National Road 4, which runs from Erottaja in Helsinki to Sami Bridge in Utsjoki, and is 1295 km long (making it the longest in Finland). The national road 4 is also part of the E75 route which connects Northern Norway to Greece.

 
Kivisydän, Hallituskatu 1 Entrance

The city centre has an underground car park (Kivisydän), constructed in 2015, which stretches through the whole city centre. There are two entrances to it; Hallituskatu 1 and Hallituskatu 20; of which the Hallituskatu 1 entrance next to the marketplace is probably easier to reach. You can search Google Maps with the key words "Kivisydän Torin Ramppi" or "Kivisydän Uusikadun Ramppi" if struggling to find the ramps to the parking structure.

Get aroundEdit

Map of Oulu

By footEdit

For being the fifth largest city in Finland the city centre is small compared to, say, Tampere or Turku. The whole of the city centre is easily walkable, and the walking conditions are good. There are usually free walking route maps distributed at the Tourist Information.

By busEdit

 
An Oulu public transport bus in Toppilansaari

The public transportation is operated by Oulun Joukkoliikenne. Single ticket (kertalippu) within about 10 km from the city centre costs €3.30 (€1.70 for children ages 7-16). Between 23:00–04:30 a single ticket costs €6.60, but night services are limited. The bus drivers usually understand some English, but best plan your trip beforehand. To plan your route in the city, use Google Maps' public transport features. It gives you the most convenient route to where you want to go, including walks to/from bus stops, which bus lines to use and where to switch buses. You can also use Oulu's own journey planner, Oulun liikenne, but it's not as good. Few third-party phone apps like Nysse do the job better. The buses have trackers which let the customers see where exactly the bus is located on a map and how long do you have to wait for it. There are screens on bus stops that use this technology, but the previously mentioned Nysse also takes advantage of this feature (granted you have an internet connection, of course).

You can use the app Oulu Public Transport by iQ Payments to purchase the ticket. After purchasing the ticket from the app, show it to the driver and you're good to go. You cannot buy tickets in advance with the app, so you must buy it right before you need it.

Using the bus is simple. If you pay with cash, you just tell your destination to the driver (and if you're young, you should tell if you're under 16 or not; the bus drivers will almost automatically take you as an adult). You can only pay with cash in the buses.

If you pay with a Waltti-card (more info in the section With Waltti Travel Card), you just press the card against the reader (a machine with a big blue ring on it). If you want to load more money (or "value") on the card, you just give the driver the money and ask to load the card with it ("lataa arvoa").

From the early 2019, buses will start displaying the information on the upcoming stops, which will make traveling by bus easier for people who aren't used to the system. The changes don't happen to every bus at the same time, so even after that, it'd be good to have a downloaded map with your current location on your phone.

Taking a bike to the bus is free, but if the bus is full, you might have to wait for the next one. You can take your bike on some taller long-distance buses (e.g. to Tyrnävä) which have narrow hallways, elevated floors and single middle doors (as opposed to doubles), too, but you need to ask the driver to put the bike in the luggage container of the bus.

The validity of single and value tickets is 60 minutes when travelling in one zone or two zones, and 80 minutes in three or more zones. You can transfer from one vehicle to another within the validity of your ticket. A-City ticket is valid only in citybus. The validity of A-City ticket is 30 minutes.

The bus stops are named so that the name of the stop is followed by either an E or a P. The letters stand for Etelä (South) and Pohjoinen (North), implicating the direction of the buses passing through the stop. The biggest exceptions from this rule are most of the citybus stops and the stops "Elokuvakeskus" ("Movie Center"), Virastotalo ("Bureau House"), Rotuaari, Hellaakoski and Pokkitörmä.

ZonesEdit

Public transport system Oulun joukkoliikenne is divided up into zones from A to D that radiate from the center. The urban area within about 10-km radius from the city centre is zone A and the regions further from that are B, C and D. Nearly all the hotels, University of Oulu and the main sights are in zone A. The airport, Kempele and Haukipudas are in zone B, Ii, Muhos, and Liminka are on zone C. Only Yli-Ii is in zone D. The number of zones you travel through during your trip will determine your fare. A detailed map of the zones is found here (PDF).

Some POI's listed under each zone:

Zone A: The whole city center, Nallikari and Hietasaari, University of Oulu, OYS, Limingantulli, Oulu Music Center, Oulu Car Museum, Kaakkuri, Ruskotunturi, Ideapark Oulu, Pateniemi Sawmill Museum, Meritoppila DiscGolfPark, Oulu Climbing Centre

Zone B: Oulunsalo and Oulu Airport, Turkansaari Outdoor Museum, Kempele and the shopping centre Zeppelin, Haukipudas, Kiiminki and Koitelinkoski Rapids

Zone C: Ii, Ylikiiminki, Muhos, Tyrnävä, Liminka and Liminganlahti Bay, Lumijoki

Zone D: Yli-Ii, Hailuoto (kind of)

PricesEdit

Single Tickets

Zones Adult Child
Citybuses 1.50 1.50
Inside A, B, C or D 3.30 1.70
Inside A&B, B&C or C&D 5.80 2.90
Inside A, B and C or B, C and D 8.30 4.20
A to D 10.10 5.10

With Waltti Travel Card

You can also get a Waltti bus card from Oulu10 which reduces the prices a bit. The card costs €3 and you can load money to it either online or in buses, select R-Kiosks and Oulu10. You can load any amount you want in Oulu10 or the R-Kiosks, but in the buses, you have to round the price you want to the closest €10 (although sometimes the drivers accept €5's, too).

Zones Adult Child
Citybuses 1.20 1.10
Inside A, B, C or D 2.05 1.10
Inside A&B, B&C or C&D 4.05 2.10
Inside A, B and C or B, C and D 6.25 3.15
A to D 8.20 4.15

24-hour ticket

You can purchase a 24-hour ticket from the app Oulu Public Transport (by iQ Payments). There is no other way to buy 24-hour tickets. When you buy a ticket that is valid for more zones, you can still use it to travel between less zones (i.e. when you buy an AB ticket, you can also use it in A or A-City).

Zones Adult Child
Inside A, B, C or D 8.00 4.00
Inside A&B, B&C or C&D 12.50 6.25
Inside A, B and C or B, C and D 18.00 9.00
A to D 22.00 11.00

By hop-on-hop-off busEdit

 
Potnapekka

To get a good look around Oulu, with English commentary, try Potnapekka (in Finnish). Half train, half bus, it operates during summer months (June to August) on two routes, via Nallikari or Hupisaaret, through roads for light traffic. Both routes leave from the city hall (at the centre of Oulu) and the journey lasts about one hour. You can hop off and in on the way.

There is also a new, green double-decker hop-on-hop-off bus Kaarle operating in the summer, with commentary in two languages, Finnish and English. Both buses originate from the city hall, and there is a ticket vooth where you can buy tickets and get free route maps there. Single tickets cost 8€/adult and €4/child from 5 to 14. Children under 5 travel for free. Family ticket is €20. Day tickets cost €15/adult and €8/child from 5 to 14. Children under 5 travel for free. Family ticket is €50. With the day ticket, you can use both Potnapekka and Kaarle as much as you wish.

Both buses have two different routes, City Hall-Oulujoki-City Hall and City Hall-Nallikari-City Hall. The route of Kaarle goes by bigger roads and Potnapekka uses smaller bike lanes/pedestrian streets.

Kaarle Nallikari: City Hall - Tuira - Nallikari - Tuira - City Hall

Kaarle Oulujoki: City Hall - Market Square - Limingantulli - Raksila - Värttö - Myllytulli - Cathedral - City Hall

Potnapekka Nallikari: City Hall - Pikisaari - Nallikari - Market Square - City Hall

Potnapekka Oulujoki: City Hall - Hupisaaret - Värttö - Peltola - Myllytulli - City Hall

By bikeEdit

This "Amsterdam of Finland" is well renowned for its good bicycle routes, which get you around the city easily and safely even through the cold winter. To rent a bicycle, try Pyörä-Suvala, Lekatie 27. If you're staying at Nallikari Camping, Leiritie 10, they also have bikes to rent for visitors, costing €12/day.

When biking, be sure to use the special bike lanes (usually marked with red). You can take the bike through the shopping center Valkea, but you have to walk the bike. It is required to walk the bike through Rotuaari pedestrian street, too, but the locals rarely obey this rule.

Oulu will also be having an extensive bikesharing system, opening in June 2019. It will be having 60 station with 10 bikes each, and the cost will probably be similar to those in Helsinki (€5/day, €10/week and €25-30/season). After paying the day/week/season fee, you will be able to bike around for free for 30 minutes, after which it will cost €1/hour. The hourly fee can be ditched by returning the bike in 30 minutes to the station and taking a new one immediately. You will need a bank account in order to rent the bikes. More information will be given in the future.

By trainEdit

Trains aren't really useful for getting around Oulu, because they are infrequent intercity operated by VR (State Railways). Nevertheless, you can travel between Oulu and Kempele and Oulu and Muhos at a low cost. The train ticket usually costs under €5 from Oulu-Kempele, Oulu-Muhos, and vice versa. You can purchase the tickets online from vr.fi or through the VR Mobile app. You can also buy tickets from Oulu Railway Station, R-kiosks (+€1 to the price) and the conductors onboard (+€3 to the price).

By taxiEdit

Low-cost taxi service Kyyti is available in Oulu, it offers cheaper combined taxi rides and can be booked using a smartphone and credit or debit card.

By dial-a-rideEdit

Although meant for the elderly, the dial-a-ride service Onni can be used by anyone and can be a great way to get to the destination which is close to the city centre or inside it. Check the schedules here (Click the lines to see the map of the route).

The bus drivers usually speak at least a little English. Order by calling +358 8 5584 4015, and give your name, location and destination. It is best to call the ride a couple of days before your trip, but you can also get it right before the ride. The trip costs €3.30 for adults and €1.70 for children.

SeeEdit

 
Culture centre Valve
 
Oulu market square granaries
  • 2 Oulu Tourist Information, Torikatu 18 (inside the wooden-looking entrance reading "Toriportti"; there are signs reading tourist information there), +358 8 558-41330, e-mail: . M–Th 09:00–17:00, F 09:00–16:00. If you have questions regarding visiting Oulu or just want to have recommendations for sights or restaurants, be sure to visit the tourist information for free advice!
  • 1 Oulu Market Square (Kauppatori). Market square is an often debated juxtaposition of old red granaries, renaissance revival architecture and 1970s brutalism style concrete-slab buildings. Nevertheless, during summer months, people of all ages flock to the square and it's terraces, cafes and marketplace booths to enjoy the (few) warm days every year. Check out the often photographed statue, a known icon of Oulu, "Toripolliisi", the Market Square Policeman.
  • 2 Oulu City Art Museum (Oulun Taidemuseo), Kasarmintie 7 (within walking distance from the city center), +358 855847450. Tu-Su 10:00-17:00. Two-storey museum with a wide variety of modern artwork. Around 8 exhibits a year. Plenty of information in English, except for small, temporary exhibits. €3.
  • 3 Science Centre Tietomaa (Tiedekeskus Tietomaa), Nahkatehtaankatu 2. M-F 10:00–17:00, Sa Su 10:00-18:00. The oldest science centre in Finland is a fun destination to visit, it is one of the main indoor sights of the city after all. You can spend a day going through all of the sections and exhibitions, which are mostly kinematic and interactive. It is partially located in the old premises of the Åstrom leather factory, which makes it rather interesting site only from the sheer historical perspective, and even if you don't want to pay the admission fee, you can adore the 19th-century brick water tower which now holds Tietomaa exhibitions on e.g. holograms and space. €15 for single adult ticket, €11 for children aged 6-15.
     
    Dockyard & Old Buildings
  • 4 Oulu Castle (Oulun linna). The castle of Oulu was destroyed in an explosion of gunpowder deposit (by a bolt of lightning) in the 18th century. An observatory was built on top of the gunpowder cellar (which is pretty much all that is left from the castle, in addition to a piece of a hallway right next to it). Nowadays it is a public park where the castle used to be. The park is big, though, so it is a nice walk beside the river. Their rustic café (Tähtitornin kahvila) on premises of the old observatory building on top of the foundations of the castle, open daily in the summer, is well worth the visit, too. The cellar is also open in the summer, displaying info on the castle (mostly in Finnish, though), and the tower of the old observatory building offers nice views over the city centre.
    More info on the Oulu castle (also in English) can be found in the Northern Ostrobothnia Museum.
    Free.
  • 5 Toripoliisi. A statue of a police officer at the market square. One of the symbols of Oulu; probably the most known statue in Northern Finland.
     
    Oulu Cathedral
  • 6 Oulu Cathedral (Oulun tuomiokirkko). A neoclassicist cathedral drafted by Carl Ludwig Engel (the architect of the buildings around the Senate square in central Helsinki) built in 1832. He also drafted many of the surrounding buildings.
  • 7 Oulu Automobile Museum (Oulun Automuseo), Automuseontie 1 (next to national road 847, 5 km south of the city center), +358 8 5521 600. M-Sa 09:00-17:00, Su -15:00 (summer, closed on Sundays in the winter). A car museum with 40 cars and 20 motorcycles and some traffic related paraphernalia on display. A couple of really interesting vehicles like the largest car ever built in the Nordic countries (a truck for a dam company), the remains of a Ford "killed in action" during WW2 and a "motorcycle" where the rider sits inside a large wheel. The car museum also has a restaurant open for lunch. Adults €7, children €5.
     
    Hupisaaret park, Oulu
  • 8 Hupisaaret park, Fountains and salmon stairs (Hupisaaret, kalatie) (A short walk from the city center). 24h. The beautiful park of Hupisaaret (lit. Fun Islands) is a lush area with little paths and bridges crossing beautiful little streams. The longest fish path of Finland, 750-m- and 64-stairs-long fish path is on the northern part of Hupisaaret park. Take a picnic or just stroll around the renovated park where you can also find the soon-to-be-mentioned Northern Ostrobothnia Museum. Tietomaa and Oulu Museum of Art are also found near the park.
  • 9 Northern Ostrobothnia Museum (Pohjois-Pohjanmaan Museo) (A short walk from the city center), +358 44 703 7161, e-mail: . W-Su 10:00-17:00. A great museum on the history of Northern Ostrobothnia, especially the history of Oulu. Exhibitions on four floors. Adults €6, students and seniors €4, children under 18 for free.
     
    A version of the Paska kaupunni graffiti
  • 10 Paska Kaupunni graffiti (Paska Kaupunki), Uusikatu 22 (On a wall right next to the K-Market). 24/7. This iconic graffiti (or at least the nickname which Oulu got from it) is known all around Finland. The term "Paska kaupunki" literally means "Shitty city", and it was adopted from the song with the same name by Kauko Röyhkä. The graffiti appeared on the wall at some point in the 80s, and after this, the graffiti has been removed numerous times but it has always reappeared on the same spot. The condominium owning the wall has even thought of framing the graffiti or protecting it in other ways since it has become one of the symbols of Oulu. As implied before, this isn't a site funded or even initiated by any official or commercial agent, so the presence of it can't be assured. Although, the drawing or painting of it has become an urban tradition, and if removed, it is almost certainly always remade in some form after a few days from its removal.  
  • 11 Statue of Leevi Madetoja (Leevi Madetojan patsas) (A short walk from the tourist information.). 24/7. Statue of the Ouluan composer, who is considered one of the most significant composers to emerge after Jean Sibelius in Finland.    
  • 12 The sculpture of Frans Michael Franzén (Franzénin patsas) (Right next to the cathedral). 24/7. The eldest public monument in Oulu is the sculpture of Frans Michael Franzén, an Oulu-born poet.    
  • 13 Kruununmakasiini (a short walk from Tietomaa). In Sweden (to which Finland belonged from the 1300s to 1809), a "Kronomagasin" was a state-administered warehouse in which grain and other foodstuffs collected as tax were stored. Unfortunately, one can't go inside the warehouse any more since today it functions as an office for an architecture company. It is worth checking out from the outside though, the old wooden building sticks out amusingly from the 1980s apartment buildings and offers a reminder of the historical aspects of the city.
     
    The newly built OSYK in 1908
  • 14 Oulun Suomalaisen Yhteiskoulun Lukio (OSYK), Maunonkatu 1 (A short walk from the market square). The Finnish Co-educational Lycée of Oulu was established and opened in 1902 as a private Finnish-language lycée. It was the first co-educational upper secondary school in Oulu, a progressive learning institution at the time since both boys and girls studied in the same school. The students of today keep up the progressive spirit in the school with a wide distribution of information on gender and sexual neutrality and diversity. he school is said to have the best team spirit in Oulu. Nowadays the school also is one of the most appreciated upper secondary school in the city and it emphasizes wide-scale art education. As pretty as it is from the inside, not entering the building without a reason is appreciated since it is reserved for students doing their schoolwork. You can admire the building from the outside. The school building was finished in 1908, and the Jugend style building is a rare find in town. As well as many other buildings in Oulu, the school is said to be haunted. There is also a quarter of pretty wooden buildings and a big park with a children's traffic playground near the school.    
  • 15 Sailor's Home Museum (Merimiehenkotimuseo), Pikisaarentie 6, +358 50-316-6897. The Sailor’s Home Museum is on the idyllic island of Pikisaari near downtown Oulu. The museum is in the oldest surviving wooden building in Oulu, also known as Matila House, and is the former home of sailor Isak Matilainen.
  • 16 The Groke Stone (Mörkökivi) (In Heinäpää near the bowling hall. A couple of kilometers by walking from the city center, if you want to lessen the amount you need to walk, take any bus that goes from the bus stop "Virastotalo" to the stop "Harjapuisto E" or then alternatively the Citybus C to "Limingantulli" (a bit longer route)). 24h. The urban artwork "Mörkökivi" is known amongst the locals, but not so much advertised to travelers. The reason probably is that it is not an official artwork, the artist is unknown, and, to be fair, it is just a simple stone with some paint on it. Yet it is a sympathetic little artwork, even said to be "The pole of Oulu" (figuratively) by some. It depicts a Moomin character "The Groke" and is on the top of the bigger-than-average-sized hill (for the of the flat terrain of the seaside city of Oulu, that is). Definitely not the most touristic attraction (or actually virtually unknown), but still liked by most locals. Best to use an appropriate map to find a route!
 
Mörkökivi (The Groke Stone)
  • 17 The Blue House (Sininen talo), Valtatie 42 (On the other side of the river, accessible by walking the 2km trip to Tuira. You can also take the buses 11, 17, 35, 36, and 40 to Kalliola P.). The Blue House is the former home of the Finnish teacher, ethnographer and writer Samuli Paulaharju. Paulaharju lived there from his birth in 1919 until his death in 1944. The year of construction of the house is unknown, but the log structure of the house is probably from the end of the 19th century, and the house is said to be haunted. The building sticks out from the newer, blocky apartment buildings well. Again, not the biggest attraction for tourists, but if you have some extra time and are interested in history, be sure to check out the building. The house is still lived in, so do not enter the yard or the house.
  • Old and new Oulu. The historic northern part of the city center offers architecture from the 19th century, by architects like Carl Ludvig Engel and Johan Jacob Ahrenberg. In order to see chraming, old wooden buildings, head out to the neighborhoods of Raksila and Pikisaari. The Kasarmi neighborhood offers some historically important buildings since it used to be a barrack area, built in 1881.

    Most of older Tuira has already been torn down, but some old hospital buildings still remain in the Tuiranpuisto park.

    Catch the bus number 23 to the nearby town of Ii to see the old neighborhood of Iin Hamina. The buildings there are built right next to each other, creating small alleyways between the houses.

    For newer architecture, the neighborhood of Toppilansaari is a go-to destination. It is under construction, so expect to see cranes in work. The same goes for the newer part of the Hiukkavaara neighborhood.

DoEdit

 
The City Theatre
  • 1 Oulu City Theatre (Oulun Kaupunginteatteri), Kaarlenväylä 2. Recently renovated theatre offers plays in Finnish. Prices vary from €15 to €40 for a single adult ticket. Significant (half price) discounts are available for people under 26.
  • 2 Cinema Finnkino Plaza (Elokuvateatteri Finnkino Plaza), Torikatu 32. Completed in 2007, Plaza movie theater features one of the biggest movie screens in Finland. Most of the movies shown on theater's eight screens are original English versions and are subtitled in Finnish and Swedish, though some children's movies are dubbed in Finnish. Admission €10.30–13, before 17:00 on weekdays €7. Add €2 for 3D movies. Ticket sets of 5 or 9 tickets are available, bringing the price per admission down to €9.90 or €9 respectively and no extra for 3d showings.
  • 3 Cinema Star (Elokuvateatteri Star), Kalliotie 6 (Tuira region, northern-side of Oulu river), +358 8 554-2711. The oldest still functioning (yet very modern) movie theater in Oulu, Star movie theater features 3D digital movies. Most of the movies shown on the theater's three screens are original English versions and are subtitled in Finnish and Swedish, though some children's movies are dubbed in Finnish. Star has been nominated as Finland's most disabled-friendly establishment in 2007. Admission €7.5-10. Sets of 5 tickets are available for €37, bringing the price per admission down to €7.4 to all shows except for 3D movies, which cost extra.
  • 4 Rotuaari, Kirkkokatu. ... from the French word trottoir, meaning pedestrian street, is the main shopping street of the city a place for live entertainment mainly during summertime, but also on weekends all year round. Part of the street has been renovated and refitted with heating in 2011, which should keep the street ice free even during the coldest winter months.
  • 5 Nallikari. A summer visit is preferred, but you can bathe outside all year round in Eden spa's cozy temperature of +26°C. A bone-chilling dip in the freezing Oulu river can also be taken at the swimming spot of Tuira all year round.
  • Cycle or walk. In the summer, rent a bike or walk to the beach in Tuira on the north side of the river Oulujoki, a popular place with locals, passing through Ainola park and over the dam on the way. From there head eastwards, crossing back to the south side of the river and onwards to Värttö. Visit Koivurannan kahvila in an old house by the river, Kasamintie 51. Then head back to the center for a total of 8km trip or take the bus number 7 back to the center.
  • 6 Kesän Sauna (Summer's Sauna), Koskitie 58 (By the Tuira beach), +358 400-599-932, e-mail: . 17:00–19:00. A floating public sauna, open during June, July and August. Run by volunteer workers. €4.
  • 7 Vauhtipuisto, Hietasaarentie (the bus number 15 takes you to a bus stop which is 250 m from the park; the hop-on-hop-off buses Potnapekka and Kaarle also drive to the park; if you want to save your money, you can walk or bike the scenic route to the park over the river delta; 3 km from the city centre), +358 40-556-7533, e-mail: . 1–27 May: weekends 11:00–18:00; 2 June–12 August: daily 11:00–19:00. Vauhtipuisto amusement park is a family hangout, a fun park in Hietasaari area close to downtown of Oulu that is created for all children and childlike minded. Vauhtipuisto creates memorable experiences and offers a large variety of rides and attractions both for the youngest members of the family and for the bit older ones. Vauhtipuisto doesn't offer as thrilling experiences as a proper amusement park, but it is a nice place to visit, especially for those with small children. Admission to the park area is free. Admission to attractions is either by individual ticket or by a wristband.
    The core and the main attraction of Vauhtipuisto has from the very beginning been a little playground for the little ones offering impulses for games, playful interaction and do-it-yourself activities and experiences. You can find bouncy castles, a mini train, merry-go-rounds, car tracks, mini roller coaster, fairytale track, a Kakaravaara playhouse village and many more exciting things
    €14/20. The park area is free, but the rides cost.
  • 8 Ruskotunturi, Ruskotunturintie (the easiest way to get there is by your own car, since the nearest public transport stop is 1.8 km away and there's no shuttle service straight to the centre: the buses 1 and 2 operate to the nearest bus stop "Raitotien risteys"/"Raitotie"; Zone A), +358 40-178-1341, e-mail: . A new, small skiing center in the suburbs of Oulu. Features regular slopes, children's slopes and two snowparks for freestyle skiing. You can spend a day in the winter if you are a beginner downhill skier or just want to do something physical for a day. Not exactly a skiing trip destination, since the hill itself is only 50 m tall and the longest slope is 390 m.
    In the summer, Oulu Action Park operates some activities (such as paintball and gravity races) there, but the main focus is on the skiing centre.
  • 9 Meri-Toppila DiscGolfPark, Paalikatu (a 5-km bike ride from the city centre, also reachable with the buses 4, 20, 21 and 26). A disc golf track in the suburb of Toppila. Bring your own frisbees.
  • Stroll along the City Stream (Kaupunginoja/Plaanaoja) and see all the different parks and statues alongside it.
 
Rotuaari
  • 10 Oulun Kiipeilykeskus, Paakakatu 7 (a 5-km bike ride from the city centre, also reachable with the buses 4, 20, 21 and 26), +358 45-180-1403, e-mail: . 12-22/10-18/10-20. A climbing center inside the former power station building of the former Toppila pulp mill in Meri-Toppila, Oulu. A fun and safe climbing experience for everyone. Features a bouldering hall with 300 m² of climbing wall + warm-up room, campus board, fingerboards, gymnastic rings and a smaller separate training wall and an Autobelay wall with five lines for climbers that go all the way to 12 m. The rope hall is 16 m high and you can climb both top rope and lead. €16.
  • 11 Adventure Park Huikia (Seikkailupuisto Huikia), Pikkukankaantie (most buses take you there, but at least 2, 4, 8 and 9; Zone A), +358 400-551-975 (mobile). A considerably expensive "adventure park" near the main swimming pool of Oulu. The park's courses are mainly located many meters high up on the trees where you move with, e.g., cable ropes. A fun and exciting experience for everyone. €26.
  • 12 Kayaking, biking or stand up paddling (SUP), Kiikeli & Nallikari (Kiikeli is an island right next to the market place; Nallikari is easily reached by Potnapekka, Kaarle or public transport bus no. 15), +358 41 433 8602, e-mail: . The Oulu River delta offers an exceptionally good frame for stand-up paddling and kayaking, so why not try it out? The boards/kayaks are easily rented in either Kiikeli or Nallikari, although the former one has better selection. Use the internet reserving system (http://www.lappis.fi/index.php/sup-varaus-online/) or call the renting company to assure that there are boards available for you. SUP €25/hr, €35/2 hr and €50/day.

Public swimming poolsEdit

 
Oulun uimahalli
  • 13 Oulu swimming pool (Oulun uimahalli), Pikkukankaantie 3 (Raksila), +358 8 558-48100. M-W F 06:15-22:00, Th 07:00-22:00, Sa Su 08:00-16:45. One of the largest public swimming pools in Finland. In addition to the pools facilities include separate gyms for weight training, gymnastics, judo and boxing. Cafe upstairs with a view to the pools. €5.50 for the pools or the gym.
  • 14 Raatti swimming pool (Raatin uimahalli) (Raatti, northwest from the city centre), +358 8 558-48105. M W–F 06:15–21:45, Tu 07:00–21:45, Sa Su 08:00–20:45. Public pool and gym. Smaller than Oulu swimming pool, renovated in 2010. €5.50 for the pools or the gym.

Indoor activitiesEdit

  • 15 Pelibunkkeri and Megazone, Kansankatu 47. Indoor minigolf, air hockey and fussball tables. Megazone is a futuristic laser tag adventure mainly for groups, with a possibility of playing with random others
  • 16 Oulu bowling alley (Oulun keilahalli), Isokatu 97. Over twenty bowling lanes near the city center. €15-18 per hour per lane, plus €2.50 for shoe rental. Also pool and snooker tables.
  • 17 Superpark Oulu, Tyrnäväntie 16 (Limingantulli; the citybus line C takes you right to the park. You can alternatively use the lines 3, 9, 50, 52, 52K, 53K, 59, or 59S, but using them requires more walking.), +358 10-325-2400, e-mail: . M–F 13:00–20:00, Sa Su 11:00–19:00. Indoor activity park for all the family. The Freestyle Hall boasts a skate and scooting park, the extremely popular AirTrack tumble track, and a range of ramps and trampolines. The Game Arena features a hockey radar, disc golf, and basketball for those with a competitive streak. The Adventure Area has climbing walls, exhilarating slides, and a pedal car track. SuperPark Oulu also has a play area called Adventure City for small children. €19.

Annual eventsEdit

  • Hässäkkäpäivät: 8–9 July. A punk / hardcore music festival
  • Jalometalli: 8–9 July. A metal music festival
  • Rotuaari Piknik: 13–16 July. Music festival in a garden setting in Oulu
  • UFOP: 15–16 July. Uleaborg Festival Of Psychedelia is a festival focusing on modern music and art
  • International Air Guitar Festival: beginning of August. Just as the name tells, a competition where the objective is to pretend to be playing a guitar as lively as possible. (date needs fixing)
  • Elojazz: 4–7 August. A jazz festival in the parks and restaurants of the city.
  • Koiteli elää!: 20–20 August. Koiteli elää! is a small rock festival arranged in the scenic Koiteli area in Kiiminki, Oulu in conjunction with Oulu August Festival and has been sold out in advance for years.
  • Qstock: 29–30 August. A big rock festival of strong traditions.
  • Lumo Light Festival (Valoa Oulu!): . Lumo Light Festival fills up the city center with numerous light artworks for a week in November. free. (date needs fixing)

BuyEdit

 
Kauppahalli Oulu
 
Inside the shopping centre Valkea
 
Valkea from the outside
  • 1 Oulu Market Hall (Kauppahalli). M–Th 08:00–17:00, F 08:00–18:00, Sa 08:00–15:00. Atmospheric interior in over a hundred years old building. Largely a food market, offering fresh and conserved foods varying from reindeer meat to Asian specialities. The market and the surrounding 'aitat' (or barns) also offer a variety of souvenir-type items.
  • 2 Verkkokauppa.com (Verkkokauppa.com), Kaakkurinkulma 4 (Bus zone A.). M–F 09:00–21:00, Sa 09:00–18:00, Su 12:00–18:00. Very large home-electronics 8 km from Oulu center. The best spot for electronics, computers, digital cameras, mobile phones, etc. in Oulu.
  • 3 Zeppelin (at freeway 4, 10 km south of the city. Bus zone B). The largest shopping mall of northern Finland with over hundred different stores.
  • 4 Ideapark Oulu, Ritaharjuntie 49 (Buses 2 and 3 to Ritaharju take you to the shopping center in about 30 min; Zone A). 10:00-20:00, 10:00-18:00. 50 shops, 10 km from the city center.
  • 5 Shopping Centre Valkea (Kauppakeskus Valkea) (150-200 m from the Tourist Info, in the city center). A shopping center in the heart of Oulu that opened in 2016. It offers a warm, covered street "Kesäkatu" (which is part of a public street in Oulu), and a number of shops and cafes on both sides of it. This is the place for most young people to hang out in town. Usually safe, but has gained a bit of a bad reputation due to the cases of harassment of young girls and drug sales on the "summer street". Nonetheless, the presence of security guards has been increased when these defects have been surfaced, and the shopping centre is still a safe place to visit.
  • 6 Power Limingantulli, Nuottasaarentie 4 (Citybus line C or 3, 9, 50, 52, 53 or 59), +3583 050305. A competitor of Verkkokauppa.com, but closer to the city center
  • 7 Raksila hypermarkets (Raksilan marketit), Tehtaankatu 1-5 (Most buses take you there from Toripakka E, including the Citybus B. Although, if you want to save money, you can always walk the 1km trip from the city centre.). Hypermarkets Prisma & Citymarket M-Sa 08:00-21:00, Su 10:00-21:00; the grocery store Sale is open 24/7. The Raksila markets (or more officially the Raksila Mall) are the place to go if you need something from the store for a cheap price. The markets are big, but the cheapest option if you're on a budget. They are found close to the ice hockey rink of Oulu and the city centre. The buildings are definitely a contemporary ensemble from the 1970s, but function well and do their job. The markets are going to be renewed completely by 2021, and they will build brand new ones on the spot of the current-day parking lot.

Due to the limited opening hour culture in Finland, most places in Oulu will close a bit too early for the taste of a foreign visitor. If you are in desperate need of something from the grocery store late at night (which means after 21:00 for Finns) or early morning, the options are narrowed down to some gas station stores like Shell HelmiSimpukka and Neste K (which tend to be outside the city center, usually open until 24:00) and the grocery store Sale Raksila (open 24/7).

EatEdit

BudgetEdit

Oulu is a place for eating pizza and other fast foods. For €4-7 you can get a pizza with your choice of (usually three) toppings. Try one of the more interesting choices of toppings such as reindeer, kebab and mayonnaise. Also there are many restaurants that have a pizza buffet for €7-12 which includes a drink. A number of restaurants serving international cuisine or fast food are found in Oulu, including Indian, Greek, Mediterranean, Russian, Spanish, Turkish, Thai and Chinese kitchens. For American-style fast food there is McDonald's and Finnish equivalent Hesburger, but best burgers can be had at a tiny and ever-crowded Kauppuri 5 (Kauppurienkatu 5).

  • 1 Pizzeria Romeo, Hallituskatu 22. Some of the biggest pizzas in Finland are served in Pizzeria Romeo in Oulu.
  • 2 Ravintola Pannu, Kauppurienkatu 12. There is also the Pannu pizza joint in town - a bit more up-market pizzas for the discerning.
  • 3 Stands at the Market Place. During the summer months, head down to the marketplace and have some fried vendace (muikku) or salmon in one of the stands there.
  • 4 Pannukakkutalo Renesans, Aittatori 9. An interesting little restaurant is Pannukakkutalo Renesans near the market square, serving Dutch style pannekoeken, or for the unfamiliar, crêpes. More than a hundred of either sweet or savory toppings to choose from.
  • 5 RAX Pizzabuffet, Ritaharjuntie 49. The pizza buffet chain has one restaurant in Oulu. Buffet €9.95.
  • Katri Antell-lounasravintolat. The local bakery operates several lunch eateries both in central Oulu and the suburbs. Lunch about €6–8.
  • 6 Bisketti, Kirkkokatu 8, +358 8 375 768. M–Th 08:00–22:00, F 08:00–01:00, Sa 08:30–01:00, Su 11:00–22:00. A café which also serves breakfast and lunch.
  • 7 Café Provence, Hallituskatu 25, +358 8 882-1414. M 08:00-18:00, Tu-F 07:30-18:00, Sa 10:00-15:00. Another cafe serving breakfast and lunch.
  • 8 Koivurannan kahvila, Kasarmintie 51, +358 8 333-944. Open only in the summer months. A café right at the Oulu river. Also has rowing boats for rent.
  • 9 Ravintola Indian Cuisine, Kajaaninkatu 38 (near Oulu railway station), +358 8 530-1640. If you fancy good Indian then visit Indian Cuisine near the railway station. They have excellent Indian lunch buffet at less than €10. Excellent price to quality ratio on the à la carte menu. Just try Garlic chicken tandoori or Lamb Hydrabad.

Mid-rangeEdit

During the lunch time, usually 11:00–15:00, most restaurants serves food for reasonable prices. Lunch restaurants and lists in Oulu can be found at lounaat.info.

For typical, if a bit boring, French-Scandinavian dining, use hotel restaurants, such as Sassi (Radisson Blu) and Frans & Camille Bistro (at the Arina hotel in the town centre).

 
Sokeri-Jussin Kievari
  • 10 Ravintola Toripolliisi. Offers gastropub-style fare in nice surroundings both inside and outside, just in the corner of the marketplace.
  • 11 Crecian, Kirkkokatu 55. A "taverna" serving Greek food in a Greek-styled environment.
  • 12 Oskarin Kellari, Uusikatu 26 2 krs., +358 8 311-3191, e-mail: . Large servings of non-nonsense food, steaks and such at reasonable prices. It used to be right across the street from the railway station, but nowadays neighbors the Forenom apartment hotel.
  • 13 Sokeri-Jussin Kievari, Pikisaarentie 2. Finnish "countryside food" restaurant on the island of Pikisaari, accessible by pedestrian bridge from the Market Square. It operates in a former storage building, which is one of the oldest buildings in Oulu. The seaside outdoor seating is a nice place to dine in the summer.
  • 14 Pannu, Kauppurienkatu 12 (next to the McDonald's in Rotuaari), 0207 9282 00 (extra charge), e-mail: . M-Th 11:00-22:00, F 11:00-23:00, Sa 12:00-23:00, Su 12:00-20:00. An atmospheric cellar restaurant in the heart of Oulu.

SplurgeEdit

Good experiences in a bit more upscale dining would be either Uleåborg or Puistola Dining, for a bit more affordable but still nice dining head near the Oulu Cathedral to Ravintola Hella.

  • 15 Ravintola Uleåborg 1881, Aittatori 4-5.
  • 16 Ravintola Puistola, Pakkahuoneenkatu 12-15.
  • 17 Ravintola Hella, Isokatu 13. Classic Finnish food, lunch is good value for money.

CafésEdit

 
The Observatory Cafe
 
Puistokahvila Makia and Puistola (the pink building in the backround)
  • Puistola, Pakkahuoneenkatu 15. A nice cafe in a historic building. Probably the coolest toilets in Oulu are found here. In the same building as Ravitola Puistola.
  • 18 Café Bisketti (Bisketti), Kirkkokatu 8, +358 8 375-768. M–Sa 07:30–21:30, Su 10:00–20:00. An old café in an old, reportedly haunted building in the city center. Right next to a bar.
  • 19 Villa Hannala, Kahvelitie 1, +358 44-714-0323. M–F 10:00–15:30. Only in summertime. A summer restaurant-cafe in a historic Villa 3km from the city center.    
  • 20 Coffee House Oulu (Coffari, Koffari), Pakkahuoneenkatu 16, +358 44-788-6760. M–F 08:00-20:00 Sa 10:00–21:00 Su 11:00–20:00. The most popular café in Oulu is right next to the Sokos Hotel Arina, and is a modern, trendy café with nice staff. Outlets to charge your phone are found on many seats.
  • 21 Puistokahvila Makia (Makia), Otto Karhin Puisto, +358 44 788 6180. M–Th 07:30–20:00 F 07:30–22:00 Sa 09:00–22:00 Su 09:00–20:00. A new, stand-alone park cafe in the centre of Oulu.Lunch and salad buffet available. A popular place for university students and foreigners to hang out in the city centre.
  • 22 Café Piha, Kauppurienkatu 7. M–Th 10:00–21:00 F Sa 10:00–24:00 Su 12:00–18:00. A modern cafe-restaurant with many power outlets.
  • 23 Tähtitornin kahvila. 11:00-19:00/11:00-20:00/11:00-21:00, depending on the month. Summer only.. In 1793 the gunpowder storage of Oulu castle exploded, turning it into a ruin. Almost a hundred years later, in 1875, an observatory was built on the ruins, and today the observatory is used as a café. In the basement, there is a small museum about the history of the castle. Great views from the tower.
  • 24 Café Rooster, Torikatu 26 (Right next to the movie theater), +358 20-711-8280. A popular cafe-restaurant-pub in the middle of Oulu.

DrinkEdit

Drinking in Finland can be an expensive activity, a typical pint (either 0.4 or 0.5L) of domestic macro lager is typically around €6 and up. Typical Finnish beer is European lager, but also more interesting Finnish craft beer is available at a few pubs, as is imported stuff. Do try lonkku, a long time Finnish favorite long drink of gin and grapefruit juice.

  • 1 1bar, Kauppurienkatu 5. Probably the best cocktails in town, a small dancefloor, sofas and electronic/rap/house music.
  • 2 45 Special, Saaristonkatu 12, +358 8 881-1845. Open every night. Weekdays gigs and meeting place of modern drunkards after 01:30, weekends crowded.
  • 3 Amarillo, Kirkkokatu 15, +358 8 312-3100. Nice bar on the 1st floor and a night club underground. Also, the Tex-Mex-style kitchen is open M–Th 11:00–00:30, F–Sa 11:00–23:30, Su 12:00–23:00.
  • 4 Apollo Live Club, Torikatu 21-23. W F Sa 22:00–04:00. A largish discotheque with two different rooms of different styles. Age restriction: 20+.
  • 5 Gloria, Torikatu 21-23. Next to Apollo Live Club, a bar with no cover charge featuring two dancefloors in separate rooms. Gets quite crowded on Saturdays.
  • 6 Caio, Sammonkatu 10, +358 8 556-2286. Nice and quiet bar with music, billiards and food near the University of Oulu.
  • 7 Graali, Saaristonkatu 5. 14-03. Cozy pub with atmosphere and a fireplace.
  • 8 Hevimesta, Asemakatu 20. Hard Rock / Metal club. €1 beer on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays til 01:00.
  • 9 Kaarlenholvi/Jumpru, Kauppurienkatu 6. Genuine Oulu. Pub downstairs with warmed up patio offers the authentic overview of locals. Nightclub upstairs attracts younger clientele and exchange students. Long queues weekends, so arrive early (before 23:00) to avoid waiting.
  • 10 Kuluma, Kauppurienkatu 5. 11:00–02:00. If you fancy cocktails, this is the place to go. Some cocktails include a fire-breathing display.
  • 11 Tivoli, Isokatu 35. Four different rooms with different styles: Disco, Rock, Suomipop and "Saucepan".
  • 12 Oluthuone Leskinen, Kirkkokatu 10, +358 8 311 7993. 12:00–02:00. Irish-style pub with the best selection of beers in the city. Very crowded on Friday and Saturday nights.
  • 13 Sarkka, Hallituskatu 13-17. 09:00–02:00. You think you are pro? Come here at 9AM and see if you have what it takes!
  • 14 Yöhuikka, Mäkelininkatu 13. F–Sa 11:00–04:00. A small gay friendly nightclub. Fresh decor. Cloak room €2, entrance free.

SleepEdit

 
Radisson Blu Oulu

BudgetEdit

  • 1 Hotel Lasaretti, Kasarmintie 13, +358 20-757-4700. One of the cheapest, yet most historical hotels in Oulu. It's in Hupisaaret, the recreational area of Oulu, 1 km from center.
  • 2 Nallikari Lomakylä-Camping, Leiritie 10, +358 44-703-1353. Absolutely the cheapest place to stay in Oulu. It's next to Nallikari beach 4 km from center. 79 cottages with douche, toilet, cooking equipment and television. No breakfast served, but you can purchase breakfast at nearby Hotel Eden. €36/4person cottage.
  • 3 Kempeleen Moottorimaja, Sohjanantie 3, Kempele, +358 8 515-566. Clean rooms with refrigerator, microwave oven, coffee machine and television. Breakfast €4/person. The motel is 9 km south from the city center, access by car, bus no. 9 or taxi. Single €25, double €40 or €50, quad €65–75.
  • 4 Iin Sillat Motel and Camping (Iin Sillat Motelli ja Camping), Haminantie 32, 91100 Ii (Easily accessible when coming from the north, about 40km north from Oulu by the highway), +358 8 817 3300. Check-in: 15:00-22:00, check-out: -12:00. A cheap place to stay in the Oulu area, especially in the summer. The cheapest cottages are €35/night, while the biggest and the most expensive apartment is €130/night. Camping with electricity €20/night +€2/person. A scenic spot by the river 500 meters from stores and other services. In the wintertime, only the motel is available with cheaper prices. Accessible with Oulu public transportation, only about an hour bus drive away.

Mid-rangeEdit

  • 5 Sokos Hotel Eden, Holstinsalmentie 29, +358 20-123-4905. Spa hotel on Nallikari beach, a few kilometers (3.5 km by foot, 5 km by car) from the city center.
  • 6 Best Western Hotel Apollo, Asemakatu 31–33, +358 8 522-11, fax: +358 8 372 060, e-mail: . Good value for money, a clean and modern hotel in the city centre. The restaurant is open just for breakfast, not for dining. There are 70 rooms, 29 of which are equipped with private sauna (and they're more expensive). From €69/night, including breakfast.
  • 7 Scandic Oulu Station (previously Cumulus Oulu), Kajaaninkatu 17, +358 8 882-7111. The Scandic Oulu Station is a cosy hotel for a pleasant business or leisure visit.
  • 8 Airport Hotel, Vihiluoto 10, +358 8 514-5100, fax: +358 8 5145 200, e-mail: . reception open 07:00–24:00. A decent hotel 5 minutes by car from the airport. weekdays: single rooms €100, double rooms €120. Weekends: single €75, double €85..
  • 9 Forenom Oulu Uusikatu (Apartment hotel Forenom), Uusikatu 26, +358 20-198-3420, e-mail: . Apartment hotel in the ex-premises of Omenahotel Oulu. 123 rooms, free Wi-Fi and shared kitchen and laundry room. Rooms include code lock, coverlets and towels, WC and shower, hairdryer, TV, microwave, fridge and electric kettle. ~€100.

SplurgeEdit

  • 10 Radisson Blu, Hallituskatu 1, +358 8 887-7666. One of the best hotels in the city with quite luxurious rooms.
  • 11 Scandic Oulu City, Saaristonkatu 4, +358 8 543-1000. A newer but overpriced hotel of the Scandinavian mid-range chain in the city centre. double room €121 (January 2019).
  • 12 Lapland hotel Oulu, Kirkkokatu 3 (Walking about 350m from tourist information, right beside the cathedral), +358 8 8811110. Ex Holiday inn Oulu is now completely redesigned Lapland hotel Oulu. €130.
  • 13 Original Sokos Hotel Arina, Pakkahuoneenkatu 16 (in the heart of the city centre, about 250 m from the tourist information), +358 8 3123 111, e-mail: . A modern, cosy hotel with the best location in town. Right next to everything important. If you're traveling to Oulu to see the Air Guitar World Championships, this hotel is next to Rotuaari Stage, the competition venue. It is quite expensive, though, the most basic room costs around €120/night. There are two restaurants in the same building as the hotel and multiple others right around the corner. The nearest normal bus stop is 250 m away, and a citybus stop is found right outside the door.

Stay safeEdit

Oulu is, on the whole, a very safe city, but avoid getting into arguments late in the night in fast food joints. Pickpocketing is remarkably rare, but it doesn't harm you to keep an eye on your belongings just like in any other place. Even though crime, especially towards foreigners, are rare, Oulu has experienced a lot of bike thefts, so make sure to keep your bike locked when you go shopping etc. There can be some drunks in the "summer street" of Valkea, Rotuaari, Mannerheim park and some other places in the city center, but they shouldn't cause any harm to travelers.

The police are helpful and friendly, although some might lack English skills. If you have non-emergency cases or questions, you can contact the police department of Oulu at 0295 460 211. The police office is temporarily found on Saaristonkatu 8.

Medical helpEdit

 
OYS

In case of emergency, contact the emergency number 112. For non-emergency but urgent cases, contact the number +358 8 315 2655 (OYS emergency centre) for a free evaluation of the situation.

If you are suffering from some of the following symptoms on your travel in the Oulu area, get to the emergency help center of Oulu University Hospital immediately: severe chest pain, new paralytic symptoms, profuse bleeding (e.g. vomiting blood; a big, open wound), severe trauma, losing consciousness, sudden mental confusion /delirium, sudden and severe headache, breathing difficulty, sudden severe or worsening stomach ache, severe earache to which painkillers haven't affected.

If you are unsure about calling the emergency number 112, it's always better to call than to not call.

Remember that the emergency center is not a health center, but a place where urgent and severe cases are resolved and/or treated. With smaller, non-urgent cases, try to call +358 8 5584 4333.

  • 3 Oulun Yliopistollisen Sairaalan päivystys (Oulu University Hospital Emergency Center), Kajaanintie 50, entrance A1 (All buses with the destination "OYS" go straight to the hospital.), +358 8 315-2655. 24/7. Oulu University Hospital is the main hospital in Northern Ostrobothnia and the biggest hospital in Northern Finland. The waiting times can be long, but the more urgent your situation is, the less you have to wait.

ConnectEdit

The panOULU (public access network OULU) network provides wireless broadband Internet access to everybody in its coverage area.

The tourist information centre has a computer with free internet access.

Usually, there is free internet in cafés, although the connections might not be the strongest in the world.

Go nextEdit

  • Hailuoto is the largest island in the Gulf of Bothnia and a good destination for a day trip. Accessible by a free of charge ferry, either with own car or by bus. In February you can drive there on an official ice road (dates varying by year).
  • Iso-Syöte on the way to Kuusamo is the closest destination for downhill skiing and the southernmost fell of Finland. Here are also Syöte national park, Iso-Syöte national hiking area and Pikku-Syöte recreational forest. Koskilinjat arranges day trips to the slopes during the winter season.
  • Kuusamo by Finland's eastern border is a gateway to Lapland, with the ski resort Ruka, the legendary Karhunkierros hiking route (80 km) and Oulanka national park.
  • Koitelinkoski-rapids of Kiiminkijoki-river, about 25min by car from Oulu.
  • Ii has a beautiful old town and is just 35 km away.
  • Helsinki, the capital of Finland
Routes through Oulu
TornioIi  W   E  RaaheTurku
RovaniemiIi  N   S  PyhäjärviHelsinki



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