Oulu is the capital of the Finnish province of the same name and the main city in northern Finland. The city has a beautiful cathedral which was completed in the eighteenth century. Oulu is also famous for its Air Guitar World Championships. Yes, at the end of August or beginning of September dozens of candidates compete for the best player on an imaginary guitar. About 50 kilometers north of town lies a museum, partially open-air, dedicated to the Stone Age, the Kierikki Stone Age Centre.
The city has approximately 140,000 inhabitants.
Oulu is located on Finland's west coast, on the northern part of the Gulf of Bothnia. The province of the same name stretches out until the border with Russia. The province of Oulu lies on the border of southern Finland and Lapland.
Wood industry and salmon used to be the pillars of local economy. This has changed radically in recent years: Oulu is now a center of technology. The wood industry hasn't disappeared completely though and the related paper mills are still active. Oulu's port is one of the busiest on the Gulf of Bothnia. There's also a university in town.
The city's airport is the second-busiest of Finland mainly because of the numerous daily flights between Oulu and Helsinki Airport. In a straight line Oulu Airport is situated about 15 kilometers southwest of the city center; by car the distance amounts to 22 kilometers. The airport is easily reachable by rental car. You take freeway A4 (E8/E75) in southern direction and exit 6 in the direction of Kaakkuri to get to the airport. The way is clearly signposted.
Oulu has good public transport exploited by bus company Koskilinjat. For night buses in the weekend you pay double the price and a day-ticket is then often more economical (if you also take the bus during the day). The Potnapekka is a touristy train (on pneumatic tires; only during summer) serving two routes: through Oulu's center and to the beach.
Many streets in Oulu's center are one-way streets and finding a free parking place in the street can be difficult. There are three parking zones: the closer to the center, the higher the parking rate. Just outside the center you can park for free, but often for limited time. There are also two parking garages where you can park your rental car.
Oulu has a good choice of accommodations ranging from basic guesthouses to luxurious hotels. Some hotels are only open during the summer. There are also plenty of apartments for rent in Oulu and there's a campsite with summer houses on the beach, 4 kilometers from the city center.
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