The small Finnish city of Oulu offers respite for a weary traveller exploring Finland, and is a great starting point before heading into the northern wilderness.
Oulu isn't one of the biggest cities in the world, nor is it the most popular amongst travellers - but if you do choose to stop here on your Finnish travels you will be greeted by a charming waterside city that will allow you to take it easy for a night or two before continuing on your way. The city also boasts one of the most successful Ice Hockey teams in the country, Oulun Karpat, which explains why hockey is akin to a religion here.
Oulu has a small international airport that connects with different European destinations, seasonally. It also has a domestic terminal that connects with the other major Finnish cities: Turku, Tampere & Helsinki. It also connects with regional destinations such as Kemi, Ivalo & Rovaniemi which are popular winter destinations. The train station also connects to similar places around the country.
WHEN TO GO
If you want to avoid Finland's extreme cold - then avoid the months between November and March. If you are planning to enjoy some time in the snow, then Oulu makes a great place to stop before going further afield in Finland. The summer months are really pleasant in Oulu and are great for taking waterside walks and seeing the natural beauty of the area.
WHAT TO EAT
Ravintola Hugo, Ravintola Uleaborg 1881, Viking Restaurant Herald, Kauppuri 5
THINGS TO DO
Air Guitar World Championships
Oulun Karpat Ice Hockey game