60-second guide to Oulu airport
in its own head
"Once an industrial town dedicated to the great Finnish exports of salmon and tar we've shaken off our rustic roots and now represent the modern, trendy, hi-tech face of Finland."
but more realistically
There's still plenty of the old Finland to be found as the old rubs alongside the new. A thriving university and world-renowned architecture college make for a rich cultural mix.
With a penchant for classics and jazz, music is a big part of life in Oulu and the city is home to a host of artists, writers and musicians.
Oulu is Finland's second biggest city but by the rest of the world's standards that's not too busy. The city has a youthful vibe and expect plenty of students in term time.
You're nearly at the Arctic so don't forget your coat. With bright clear summers and snow-rich winters there's a reason to visit Oulu whatever the weather.
the local speciality
It's a cosmopolitan city so you'll find something to satisfy the fussiest plate but for a true taste of Oulu get stuck into the local salmon, reindeer or whitefish gratin.
A host of the country's composers and eminent politicians were born in Oulu but the city's coolest export is the legendary air guitar championships. Rock on!
did you know?
Alongside a love of rock mime and head-banging musos the city is also home to another celebrated gathering - the festival of garlic, usually in July.
"To me Oulu represents a laboratory town. It is the right size. The climate is violent. It is hard, cold, hot... It is restricted. It fits within the sphere of a single description." - Finnish artist Eeli Aalto
5 to see in town...
Following a devastating fire in 1822 the original Lutheran cathedral was rebuilt with clean, classical features and is now considered one of the finest stately buildings in the city.Where to park?Although busy, you can park on either Kyrkogatan or Kirkkokatu
Tietomaa Science Centre
Finland's first science centre offers nerdy fun for all ages. With 150 exhibits there's something for everyone. Even if science isn't your thing you'll still have fun riding in the great glass elevator.Where to park?Park in either Kasarminkatu or Makasiinikatu where there is a 4 hours parking limit.
Sailor's Home Museum
As the name suggests 18th Century abode used to be the home of a Finnish sailor and is now the oldest house in Oulu, authentically decked out in all its former glory.Where to park?You can find parking spaces in Beckolmsvägen nearby.
Market Hall and Market Square
Oulu's main shopping district is the Rotuaari, a short bustling walk from the cities bars and cafes. At the heart of the district is the market hall offering a true taste of Finnish cuisine.Where to park?Park in nearby Kiikelinsilta
Oulu University Botanical Gardens?
Oulu University Botanical Gardens have more than just a pretty face. Laying on the shore of Lake Kuivasjärvi, they're an integral part of the Department of Biology and a vital source of botanical education.Where to park?Free parking is available in Kaitoväylä
and 4 to drive to...
Kierikki Stone Age Centre and the Age village
This Stone Age settlement on the banks of Stone the river Iijoki offers a unique peek into Finnish history. Alongside ongoing excavations there are finds on show dating back to 5,000 BC.How to get there:From Oulu, take Route 20, heading north-east for 33 miles. The journey should take about 55 nimutes.
The Escurial Zoo and Flower Park
This enchanting flower park and petting zoo is home to a variety of common pets and exotic wildlife such as emus and reindeers. No sign of Santa though.How to get there.Drive south on the E75 for about 26 miles.
Iso Syote Ski Resort
Most visitors to Oulu are in search of snow and this resort does not disappoint. One of Finland's biggest ski runs, the slopes are surrounded by picturesque forests, dotted with cosy log cabins.How to get there:It's an 88-mile drive from Oulu on Route 20, going north-east, and takes just over two hours.
Syötekeskus Ski Resort
This extensive ski resort is specifically designed with families in mind. Whether it's the teens on the Olympic level pipe park or Nan in the piste side bar, there's something for everyone.How to get there:Take Route 20 from Oulu for 91 miles to Syötekesku. The journey should take nearly two and a quarter hours.