The Western Oulu region is in Northern Finland and consists of the western, coastal part of Northern Ostrobothnia.
Western Oulu region cover large part of the east coast of the Bothnian Bay. The area is fairly flat, quite completely less than 100 meters above sea level. The area is crossed by several small and medium sized rivers out of which the river Ii (Finnish: Iijoki) still has its original breeding Baltic Sea salmon population. There are very few lakes in the area.
The post-glacial rebound is a phenomenon where the crystalline basement is slowly rising up after being depressed during the last ice age. The Bothnian Bay coast is perhaps the best place on Earth to observe this as the ground is rising up almost one centimetre a year! The shallow Liminka Bay (Finnish: Liminganlahti) is one of the most valuable bird wetlands in the whole of Europe.
Outside the hi-tech university city of Oulu and the industry town Raahe this is very rural area. Forestry and agriculture are dominant features in the landscape. The town Kalajoki is famous for its long sand beach, the Hiekkasärkät, and is a major summer holiday resort.
On the countryside and in minor towns the Christian faith is important to many, and religious views might appear surprisingly conservative. Among the Laestadian families contraception is prohibited and families often have lots of children.
The area is unilingually Finnish speaking. The local dialects belong to Central and North Ostrobothnian dialects, the latter one often referred as Oulu dialect.
- 1 Oulu - the 5th largest city in Finland is a major university and technology center, the region's transport hub, and has the most visitor amenities.
- 2 Kalajoki - town famous for its long, sandy beaches.
- 3 Raahe - a small steel industry town with an old downtown.
- 4 Ii - yes, the name of the town really is "Ii". Wooden old town and a river with wild salmon.
All trains and most intercity coaches from Lapland to the south and west pass through the area, and in addition to that, the railway from Kajaani connects Oulu to the eastern parts of the country. For those heading to Kalajoki the nearest railway station is Kokkola with a direct bus connection. Also a daily Onnibus line C8 (Turku–Oulu) stops at Kalajoki resort.
Oulu can be reached by direct coach from places along highways 4 (E75) straight south and 8 (E8) along the coast, from most places in Lapland and from some eastern destinations like Kuopio and Joensuu. Oulu can likewise be reached by at least one daily direct bus from most other destinations within a 200 km radius.
The following OnniBus.com routes serve the region:
- M4 (Helsinki—Lahti—Jyväskylä—Oulu—Rovaniemi)
- M8 (Helsinki—Turku—Pori—Vaasa—Kokkola—Oulu)
- F54 (Kuopio—Oulu)
VR trains run north–south through the province. In addition to Oulu, some Helsinki–Oulu passenger trains stop at Kempele, Ruukki, and Vihanti. All Kuopio–Oulu trains stop at Muhos. These stations have just railway platform and no services.
Google Maps includes timetables of trains, long distance buses and local transport of many cities and towns. Other useful route planners are Matka.fi for trains and local buses and Matkahuolto Reittiopas for regional buses.
- 1 Hailuoto island. The whole Hailuoto island is included to the list of nationally significant built cultural environments. Pine forests, fishermen villages, and a lighthouse in Marjaniemi. To reach the island you either need to take a 30 minutes ferry trip (free of charge) or, at winter, drive over 7 kilometres long road on sea ice.
- 2 The old town of Ii. A small wooden town.
- Oulu waterfront
- The oldest scuba gear in the world in Raahe
- See old cars at the car museum in Oulu.
- 3 Kallankarit islands. A fishermen community still enjoying an autonomous status given by king Adolf Frederick of Sweden in 1771.
- 1 Have a beach holiday at the sand dunes of Kalajoki. There is also a theme park Jukupark for children.
- Play air guitar at the Air Guitar World Championships in Oulu.
- 2 Liminka Bay Nature Reserve. Liminka Bay is one of Europe’s most important bird wetlands. Watch birds in the world renowned Nature Reserve and visit the adjacent nature center in Liminka.
- 3 Rahja archipelago. The Rahja archipelago is a maritime nature protection area in southern Kalajoki. The area is accessible only by boat. Sea birds, abandoned fishermen and seal hunters' houses, small islands and thousands of skerries. Services are limited to excursion harbors and open wilderness huts. Visitor center in Kalajoki.
- 4 Sanginjoki outer forest (25 km east from Oulu). The forests surrounding river Sanginjoki are a popular trekking site near Oulu. Old-growth forest and a fishy river with nice rapids. Fishing requires permission. Having exceptional nature values there are plans to form a large nature reserve here.
Being a coastal area fish is a common ingredient. Salmon soup and roasted lampreys are popular delicacies. In some places ruppanat, meatballs made of fish roe, are a traditional breakfast item. Rieska, an unleavened bread made of barley flour, is commonly available and traditional both here and further north. Tyrnävä area is famous for its extensive agriculture centered on potato.
Rössypottu is a stew made of potatoes, pork meat, and blood pudding. It is a true local specialty of Oulu and hard to find any place elsewhere.
Red whey (punainen hera, aka juhannusjuusto) is a slightly reddish, soup-like traditional dessert made of fatty milk through curdling. Krivat are sweet, deep-fried kringles, a Raahe specialty.
- The Shaman Spirits is an alcoholic distillery in Tyrnävä. Their vodkas are made of local potatoes.
Western Oulu region is a safe place.