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 on January 1st, 2009, and then Haukipudas, Kiiminki, Oulunsalo and Yli-Ii on January 1st 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.
Oulu was founded in 1605 by the Swedish King Karl IX at the mouth of Oulujoki river, on the opposite bank of Oulu Castle. The castle was destroyed after a lightning strike in 1793 and never rebuilt. In 1822 the city was severely damaged in a fire, and during its reconstruction, the city centre got the look it still has today.
Historically Oulu has been known for its tar and salmon 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.
Oulu Airport is the busiest in the country after Helsinki, and the Helsinki–Oulu sector is the country's most popular domestic flight with frequent services (around ten flights per day each way) by Finnair and Norwegian. A fully flexible return economy ticket might cost more than €200 but a non-changeable one-way ticket can go as low as €39 or a return ticket for €78 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, 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). There are also some services to Luleå, Sweden, and Tromsø, Norway by Arctic Airlink.
The terminal has recently been expanded and now has jet bridges to get you in the planes without having to walk in the freezing cold tarmac. The airport has an automatic map dispenser that provides free maps, but sometimes it doesn't work.
Bus lines 8 and 9 (Adult €5,80, child 2,90; 40 minutes) connects the airport to the city centre. The buses which operate from/to the airport have a plane symbol on the front panel and usually contain luggage racks. The main bus stop in the city centre is Toripakka. Buses operate quite frequently from 06:25 to about 21:00 on weekdays. After 21:00 buses operate infrequently to 01:30. A taxi will cost you around €30 for the same distance. To get to the Oulu University, either use the bus 8 (Teknologiakylä) or change to the bus line 1 (Jylkynkangas), 2 (Ritaharju), 3 (Ritaharju). Buses to the university from the city center cost €3.30 for adult and €1.70 for children.
Oulu is on the railway main line between Helsinki and Rovaniemi. The fastest Pendolino trains complete the journey from Oulu to Helsinki in about 6 hours (starting at €24.50 when bought in advance), while direct night trains take around 9 hours (€21.50 when bought in advance, or €64 plus optional sleeper at €12–31 per bed, advance tickets do not allow the booking of a bed). 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 Saver tickets are 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.
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
Oulu is at the mouth of the Oulujoki river, thus reachable by yacht in summer and autumn.
- 1 Meritulli, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. 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..
Oulu is on the Finnish National Road 4, which runs from Erottaja in Helsinki to Sami Bridge in Utsjoki, and is 1295km long (making it the longest in Finland). The national road 4 is also part of the E75 route which connects Northern Norway to Greece.
The city centree has an underground car park, constructed in 2015, which stretches through the whole city center. 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. The website for Kivisydän
For being the fifth largest city in Finland the city center is small compared to, say, Tampere or Turku. The whole of the city centre is easily walkable.
Public transportation is operated by Oulun Joukkoliikenne. Single ticket (kertalippu) within about 10km from the city center 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. 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 in 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.
You can use the app Oulu Public Transport by iQ Payments to purchase the ticket, but it will cost an extra 30-50 cents. After purchasing the ticket from the app, show it to the driver and you're good to go.
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.
Public transport system Oulun joukkoliikenne is divided up into zones from A to D that radiate from the centre. 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.
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.
|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).
|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|
You can purchase a 24-hour ticket from the app Oulu Public Transport (by iQ Payments). A payment method extra of 30-50 cents will be charged. There is no other way to buy 24-hour tickets.
|Inside A, B, C or D||8.00|
|Inside A&B, B&C or C&D||12.50|
|Inside A, B and C or B, C and D||18.00|
|A to D||22.00|
By hop-on hop-off bus
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 stone ball at Rotuaari (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.
Oulu is 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.
Trains aren't really included to the public transport of Oulu, because they're operated by VR (State's Railways), and because the trains don't operate as regularly and as often as local trains (because they're long-distance trains). Nevertheless, you can travel between Oulu and Kempele and Oulu and Muhos with a low cost. The train ticket costs usually under 5€ from Oulu-Kempele, Oulu-Muhos, and vice versâ. 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).
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.
- 2 Oulu Tourist Information, Torikatu 18, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Mon–Thu 09:00–17:00, Fri 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 seventies 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 of "Toripolliisi", the Market Square Policeman.
- 2 Oulu City Art Museum (Oulun Taidemuseo), Kasarmintie 7 (within walking distance from the city center), ☎ . Tues-Sun 10-17. Two story museum with a wide variety of modern artwork. Around 8 exhibits a year. Plenty of information in English, except for small, temporary exhibits. 3 euros.
- 3 Science Centre Tietomaa (Tiedekeskus Tietomaa), Nahkatehtaankatu 2. Mon-Sun 10–19. 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.
- 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.
- 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), ☎ . Mon-Sat 9:00-17:00, Sun -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€.
- 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 park with little paths and bridges crossing beautiful little streams. The longest fish path of Finland, 750 meters and 64 stairs long fish path is located on the northern part of Hupisaaret park.
- 9 Northern Ostrobothnia Museum (Pohjois-Pohjanmaan Museo) (A short walk from the city center), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Wed-sun 10-17. 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.
- 10 Paska Kaupunni graffiti (Paska Kaupunki), Uusikatu 22 (On a wall right next to the K-Market). 24/7. This 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 80's, 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 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 80s' apartment buildings and offers historical significance to the city in many ways.
- 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, and also a progressive learning institution at the time since both boys and girls studied in the same school (which was a feature that all other schools in the North lacked even after that). The students of today keep up the progressive spirit in the school with information of gender and sexual neutrality and diversity on the hallways, and for example, there are bathrooms for girls, boys, and everyone (including those who identify as others).
The 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.
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.
As beautiful as it is from the inside, please don't enter the building since it is reserved for students doing their schoolwork. You can admire the building from the outside.
There is also a quarter of pretty wooden buildings next to the school.
- 15 Sailor's Home Museum (Merimiehenkotimuseo), Pikisaarentie 6, ☎ . The Sailor’s Home Museum is located on the idyllic island of Pikisaari near downtown Oulu. The museum is located in the oldest surviving wooden building in Oulu, also known as Matila House, and is the former home of sailor Isak Matilainen.
- 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), ☎ . 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, either 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), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 located 250m 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. 3km from the city centre.), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. 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.
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. Admission to the park area is free. Admission to attractions is either by individual ticket or by a wristband.
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. €14/20. The park area itself is free, but the rides cost.
- Stroll along the City Stream (Kaupunginoja/Plaanaoja) and see all the different parks and statues alongside it.
- 8 Ruskotunturi, Ruskotunturintie (Easiest way to get there is by your own car, since the nearest public transport stop is 1.8km away and there's no shuttle service straight to the center. The buses 1 and 2 operate to the nearest bus stop "Raitotien risteys"/"Raitotie". Zone A.), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 50m tall and the longest slope is 390m.
In the summer, Oulu Action Park operates some activities (such as paintball and gravity races) there, but the main focus is on the skiing center.
- 9 Meri-Toppila DiscGolfPark, Paalikatu (A 5km 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.
- 10 Oulun Kiipeilykeskus, Paakakatu 7 (A 5km bike ride from the city centre, also reachable with the buses 4, 20, 21 and 26), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. 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.
More info on the link above. €16.
- 11 Adventure Park Huikia (Seikkailupuisto Huikia), Pikkukankaantie (Most buses take you there. Zone A), ☎ (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.
Public swimming pools
- 12 Oulu swimming pool (Oulun uimahalli), Pikkukankaantie 3 (Raksila), ☎ . Mon-Wed&Fri 6:15-22:00, Thu 7:00-22:00, Sat-Sun 8:00-16:45. 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. €4.50 for the pools or the gym.
- 13 Raatti swimming pool (Raatin uimahalli) (Raatti, northwest from the city centre), ☎ . M W–F 06:15–21:45, Tu 7:00–21:45, Sa–Su 08:00–20:45. Public pool and gym. Smaller than Oulu swimming pool, but recently renovated (2010). €4.50 for the pools or the gym.
- 14 Snooker Time, Kauppurienkatu 9. Play billiards or snooker right in the city center. B-license.
- 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.), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Mon–Fri 13:00–20:00, Sat–Sun 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.
- 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. Yearly, 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.
- 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 rock festival of strong traditions.
- Lumo Light Festival (Valoa Oulu!): . Lumo Light Festival fills up the city center with numerous lightartworks for a week in November. free. (date needs fixing)
- 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 09–21:00, Sa 09:00–18:00, Su 12:00–18:00. Very large home-electronics located 8 km from Oulu center. The best spot for electronics, computers, digital cameras, mobile phones, etc. in Oulu.
- 3 Zeppelin (At freeway 4, 10km 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 mins. Zone A). 10-20, 10-18 (12-18). 50 shops, 10 km from the city center.
- 5 Shopping Centre Valkea (Kauppakeskus Valkea) (About 150-200m from the Tourist Info, in the city center). A new shopping center in the heart of Oulu, opened 14 April 2016. It offers a warm, covered street "Kesäkatu" (which is actually part of a public street in Oulu), and a number of shops and cafes on both sides of it. This is the place most young people hang out in town.
- 6 Power Limingantulli, Nuottasaarentie 4 (Citybus line C or 3, 9, 50, 52, 53 or 59), ☎ . A competitor of Verkkokauppa.com, but closer to the city center
Oulu is a place for eating pizza and other fast foods. For as low as €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 around €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. Arguably, Finland's biggest pizzas are served in Oulu's Pizzeria Romeo.
- 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 two restaurants 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, ☎ . 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, ☎ . Mo 8-18, Tu-Fr 7:30-18, Sa 10-15. Another cafe serving breakfast and lunch.
- 8 Koivurannan kahvila, Kasarmintie 51, ☎ . 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), ☎ . If you fancy good Indian then visit Indian Cuisine near railway station, probably the best Indian restaurant in Finland. 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.
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 SAS) and Fransmanni (at the recently-built Arina hotel in the town centre).
- 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 an Greek-styled environment.
- 12 Oskarin Kellari, Uusikatu 26 2 krs., ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. 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 hotel Omenahotelli.
- 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 on of the oldest buildings in Oulu. The seaside outdoor seating is a nice place to dine in the summer.
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.
- 14 Ravintola Uleåborg 1881, Aittatori 4-5.
- 15 Ravintola Puistola, Pakkahuoneenkatu 12-15.
- 16 Ravintola Hella, Isokatu 13. Classic Finnish food, lunch is good value for money.
- 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.
- 17 Café Bisketti (Bisketti), Kirkkokatu 8, ☎ . 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.
- 18 Villa Hannala, Kahvelitie 1, ☎ . M–F 10:00–15:30. Only in summertime. A summer restaurant-cafe in a historic Villa 3km from the city center.
- 19 Coffee House Oulu (Coffari, Koffari), Pakkahuoneenkatu 16, ☎ . 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.
- 20 Puistokahvila Makia (Makia), Otto Karhin Puisto, ☎ . M–Th 07:30–20:00 F 07:30–22:00 Sa 09:00–22:00 Su 09:00–20:00.
- 21 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.
- 22 Tähtitornin kahvila. 11-19/11-20/11-21, 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.
- 23 Café Rooster, Torikatu 26 (Right next to the movie theater), ☎ . A popular cafe-restaurant-pub in the middle of Oulu.
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, ☎ . Open every night. Weekdays gigs and meeting place of modern drunkards after 01:30, weekends crowded.
- 3 Amarillo, Kirkkokatu 15, ☎ . 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, ☎ . 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 11PM) 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, ☎ . 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.
- 1 Hotel Lasaretti, Kasarmintie 13, ☎ . One of the cheapest hotels in Oulu. Located in Hupisaaret, the recreational area of Oulu, just 1km from center.
- 2 Nallikari Lomakylä-Camping, Leiritie 10, ☎ . Absolutely the cheapest place to stay in Oulu. Located next to Nallikari beach 4km 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, ☎ . Clean rooms with refrigerator, microwave oven, coffee machine and television. Breakfast €4/person. The motel is situated 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 Sokos Hotel Eden, Holstinsalmentie 29, ☎ . Spa hotel on Nallikari beach, a few kilometers (3.5km by foot, 5km by car) from the city center.
- 5 Best Western Hotel Apollo, Asemakatu 31–33, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
- 6 Cumulus Oulu, Kajaaninkatu 17, ☎ . The Cumulus Oulu is a cosy hotel for a pleasant business or leisure visit.
- 7 Airport Hotel, Vihiluoto 10, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: email@example.com. reception open 07:00–24:00A. A decent hotel 5 minutes by car from the airport. weekdays: single rooms €100, double rooms €120. Weekends: single €75, double €85..
- 8 Forenom Oulu Uusikatu (Apartment hotel Forenom), Uusikatu 26, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Apartment hotel in the ex-premises of Omenahotel Oulu. 123 rooms, free wifi and shared kitchen and laundry room. Rooms include Code lock, Coverlets and towels, WC and shower, Hairdryer, TV, Microwave, Fridge and Electric kettle. ~100€.
- 9 Radisson Blu, Hallituskatu 1, ☎ . One of the best hotels in the city with quite luxurious rooms.
- 10 Scandic Oulu, Saaristonkatu 4, ☎ . A new but overpriced hotel of the Scandinavian mid-range chain in the city centre. double room €146 (May 2010).
- 11 Lapland hotel Oulu, Kirkkokatu 3 (Walking about 350m from tourist information, right beside the cathedral), ☎ . Ex Holiday inn Oulu is now completely redesigned Lapland hotel Oulu ab. 130€.
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.
If you are suffering from some of the following symptoms, 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.
- 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.), ☎ . 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.
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.
- Hailuoto is the largest island in the Gulf of Bothnia and a good destination for day trip. Accessible by 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 - A little municipality with a beautiful old town, just a short trip away.
- Helsinki, the capital of Finland
|Routes through Oulu|
|Tornio ← Ii ←||W E||→ Raahe → Turku|
|Rovaniemi ← Ii ←||N S||→ Pyhäjärvi → Helsinki|