Northern Finland’s biggest city Oulu makes a thrilling pit stop on your way to Lapland or as a destination on its own accord. From world-famous festivals to floating saunas, here are seven reasons to visit Oulu this summer!
Rotuaari is Oulu’s buzzing shopping area that comes to life particularly in summer months. Apart from shopping malls and boutique shops, there is also a thriving restaurant and café scene with terraces – which in Oulu are known as ‘patio’ – in the area. And what does ‘rotuaari’ mean? It comes from French ‘trottoir’, or to walk!
Oulu has a vast array of summer festivals from music video to modern art festivals. The most famous festival in Oulu is the finals of Air Guitar World Championships held in August. There are also festivals for jazz and folk music enthusiasts, as well as the Bättre Folk culture festival of modern music and literature. Bättre Folk festival is located at the cute Hailuoto Island where local street food and organic beer are also served.
Opened in 1871, Hailuoto Lighthouse is located on an island about 50 kilometres from the city of Oulu. The calm island has just under a thousand inhabitants and has a cute atmosphere. The bright white, 25-metre lighthouse offers plenty of photo opportunities!
A good way to get around summery Oulu is to rent a bike. In fact, Oulu’s cycleway network is the most extensive in Finland! You can either have a leisurely journey around the city centre or head towards the seaside routes or the University Campus area’s museums and botanical garden. Pop into Oulu’s tourist information to find out more about Oulu’s rentals, from bicycles to kayaking and sup boarding!
Oulu’s Market Square, Torinranta, is located by the beach inside the buzzing shopping area of Rotuaari. Over a hundred years old, Oulu Market Hall is also located here and it’s guarded by the famous statue of the ‘Toripoliisi’, the market square police. Apart from local food products, there are also typical Finnish wooden houses to be admired and photographed!
For a summery seaside indulgence in Oulu, pop into the Sokos Hotel Eden’s Spa. The spa has both indoor and outdoor pools as well as a bar pool for sipping on some cocktails in a tropical atmosphere. The hotel is located at Nallikari beach, a good summer destination in itself!
For a typically Finnish spa experience in Oulu, head over to the sauna raft Kesän Sauna, Summer’s Sauna. The sauna floats on a platform and is heated by volunteers. Here you can enjoy a traditional feel of a Finnish sauna, and dip into the river if the going gets too hot! The sauna is heated every evening from five to eight if the weather is good. Entrance is 5€, bring your own towels and swimsuits.
Located in the province of Oulu, Kalajoki beach is about two hours’ drive away from Oulu city, but well worth a day trip. Kalajoki is famous for its sandy beach and is a popular spot to visit among Finns. There exists a lot of accommodation possibilities, from hotels and luxurious villas to tents under the starry night sky. Apart from chilling out at the beach, you can also go hiking over duckboards, rent a bike, surf, fish, golf or indulge yourself in the spa.