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The Western Oulu region is in Northern Finland and consists of the western, coastal part of Northern Ostrobothnia.


Western Oulu region covers a 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 a 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. They also don't accept premarital sex or drinking alcohol other than at the holy communion, and may reject other worldliness.

The area is unilingually Finnish speaking. The local dialects belong to Central and North Ostrobothnian dialects, the latter one often referred as Oulu dialect.


Map of Western Oulu region
  • 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.


  • 5 Hailuoto — a quiet island reached by ferry, or by driving across the ice in winter
  • 6 Kempele Kempele on Wikipedia
  • 7 Liminka and surroundings (8 Lumijoki Lumijoki on Wikipedia and 9 Tyrnävä Tyrnävä on Wikipedia)
  • 10 Muhos
  • 11 Pyhäjoki
  • 12 Siikajoki

Other destinations[edit]

  • 1 Kallankarit Kallankari Islands on Wikipedia — islands off Kalajoki

Get in[edit]

Oulu is by far the most important transportation hub of the northern part of the country. The Oulu airport is the second busiest airport in Finland with direct connections to Helsinki and abroad.

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 routes serve the region:

  • M4 (Helsinki—Lahti—Jyväskylä—Oulu—Rovaniemi)
  • M8 (Helsinki—Turku—Pori—Vaasa—Kokkola—Oulu)
  • F54 (Kuopio—Oulu)

Get around[edit]

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.

The bus network covers most of the province. Timetables are available from Matkahuolto and Oulu regional public transport[dead link].

Google Maps includes timetables of trains, long distance buses and local transport of many cities and towns. Other useful route planners are[dead link] for trains and local buses and Matkahuolto Reittiopas for regional buses.

By taxi[edit]

  • iTaksi, +358 10-212-0000 (high cost?), . Smart phone app offers address based routing and calculates price according to them. €4.00/6.00+€0.90/km+€0.85/min.
  • Otaxi offers taxi service in Western Oulu region
  • Smartphone apps: Valopilkku, 02 Taksi, Menevä, Taksini, Uber


Marjaniemi Lighthouse in Hailuoto
  • Hailuoto — The whole island is on the list of nationally significant built cultural environments. Pine forests, fishermen villages, and the lighthouse of Marjaniemi. To reach the island you either must take a 30-minute ferry trip (free of charge) or, in winter, drive a 7-kilometre road on sea ice.
  • The old town of Ii has beautiful wooden houses along two streets, in Ii centre.
  • Oulu waterfront
  • The oldest scuba gear in the world in Raahe
  • See old cars at the car museum in Oulu.
  • Kallankarit — a fishermen island community off Kalajoki still enjoying an autonomous status given by king Adolf Frederick of Sweden in 1771.


  • 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.
  • Liminka Bay Nature Reserve protects one of Europe’s most important bird wetlands. Watch birds in the world-renowned nature reserve and visit the adjacent nature centre in Liminka.
  • 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.
  • Sanginjoki Outer Forest surrounding river Sanginjoki is a popular trekking site near Oulu. Old-growth forest and a fishy river with nice rapids.


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 centred 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 speciality.


  • The Shaman Spirits[dead link] is an alcoholic distillery in Tyrnävä. Their vodkas are made of local potatoes.

Stay safe[edit]

Western Oulu region is a safe place.

Go next[edit]

This region travel guide to Western 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!