Located where the Oulujoki River flows into the Bay of Bothnia, Oulu is the most populous city in Northern Finland. It forms part of the European network of “living labs”, communities where residents are encouraged to experiment with new technology with the aim of developing innovative solutions.
Things to do in Oulu
Overlooking the waterfront in Oulu is Kauppatori, a bustling square lined with food stalls that is famous for its Toripolliisi bronze policeman statue. It’s dominated by the red-brick Oulu Market Hall, a 1901 landmark constructed to house the city’s butchers. A bridge connects from Kauppatori to the sandy beach of Kiikelin Uimaranta and several walking trails, which offer scenic views across the harbour.
Travelling with kids? You can get hands-on while exploring the themed exhibitions at the Tietomaa Science Centre, which occupies several historic buildings once owned by the Veljekset Åström Oy leather factory. It boasts the largest flatscreen in Finland inside its 3D theatre, as well as a 45-metre-high observation tower that can be reached via an impressive glass elevator.
Art enthusiasts shouldn’t miss a visit to the Oulu Museum of Art, which is largely dedicated to the work of artists from Northern Finland. It lies on the edge of Hupisaaret Islands City Park and is just a short stroll from the Pohjois-Pohjanmaan Museo, where you’ll find exhibits dedicated to the cultural history of the region.
Getting around Oulu
Oulu Airport is 20 minutes’ drive from the centre of Oulu and has regular flights to Helsinki. Trains also connect from the Finnish capital to the Oulu railway station. Oulu is renowned for being bicycle-friendly, while the centre is compact enough to explore on foot.