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Europe > Nordic countries > Finland > Northern Finland > Kainuu and Eastern Oulu region

Kainuu and Eastern Oulu region

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Kiutaköngäs by the Karhunkierros trail.

Kainuu is a region in Northern Finland. For practical purposes, the easternmost parts of Northern Ostrobothnia are also included in this article.



Map of Kainuu and Eastern Oulu region

Other destinations[edit]


Kainuu and the Eastern Oulu region is a peaceful and natural place with little or no major pollution problems at all. In fact, Kainuu was one of the first regions in Finland to start taking care of the environment and nature and stop consuming natural resources. Nature is omnipresent and outdoor activities in the wilderness are present in the daily life of most people. Even in the largest city Kajaani, you do not have to travel far from the city centre to the forest.


The winters can be harsh, with heavy snowfall and cold temperatures; in Kiutaköngäs −46 °C (−51 °F) has been recorded (typical winter temperatures are much more moderate, though). For wilderness adventures in winter, use a programme service or guide (check in advance whether you need any preparations yourself), or be sure you know what you are doing. Day trips along trails are often possible independently also in winter, in good weather (but check forecasts and what to expect from the trail itself).


Like in most of Finland, English is widely spoken. Since Kainuu region neighbours Russia, some places also offer service in Russian, at least near the Russian border.

Get in[edit]

There are flights from Helsinki-Vantaa to Kajaani and Kuusamo. The eastern north-south line of the Finnish train network connects Kajaani to southern Finland, and there are also trains from Oulu. Further north, intercity bus is the only mode of transportation if you aren't driving. The Finnish road network is dense and the roads are generally in good shape.

Get around[edit]

There are a couple of daily buses along the major highways. Most towns and municipalities have at least once per day bus connection from Oulu or Kajaani or both of them. During weekdays of school year bus connections are more frequent, but during weekends and summer time services are reduced. If you do not have your own car and need to get to a more remote place, you might need to take a taxi. Long taxi rides aren't uncommon in Northern Finland.

Trains of national operator VR are possible to use for traveling inside province.

Matkahuolto has a dense bus network covering most of the province.

Onnibus offers discount bus service by few routes.


  • The castle ruins in Kajaani.
  • Endless forests and swamps and – if you're lucky – wildlife. Bears, wolves, wolverines and forest reindeer all have significant populations in the area.


Jam Session in Sommelo Folk Music Festival 2007, Kuhmo.
Cross country skiing trail near Ruka.
  • Skiing – three major ski resorts are located in the region; Vuokatti in Sotkamo, Ruka in Kuusamo and Iso-Syöte in Pudasjärvi. Around these there are also wide networks of cross country skiing tracks.
  • Fishing
  • Hiking. The 80 km Karhunkierros trail is legendary.
  • Camping
  • Berry picking and mushroom collecting
  • Wildlife watching (Eläintenkatselu).


  • LankaFest: 5–6 July 2019. A music festival focusing on rock and heavy music (date needs updating)




Stay safe[edit]

Kainuu is a very safe region. Outside cities you should be aware of the implications of long distances and possibly cold weather.

Go next[edit]

If you're coming from the south you'll probably continue all the way to Lapland. If you have a valid visa (or don't need one), Russia is located east of Kainuu.

This region travel guide to Kainuu and Eastern Oulu region is an outline and may need more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. If there are Cities and Other destinations listed, they may not all be at usable status or there may not be a valid regional structure and a "Get in" section describing all of the typical ways to get here. Please plunge forward and help it grow!
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Northern Ostrobothnia
Northern Ostrobothnia