Oulu is a small city in the central part of Finland. Home to close to 200,000 people, it acts as a regional hub for commerce, culture and education. Among other things, the city is known for being a great place to spot reindeer roaming through the outer suburbs. It’s also seen as a major centre of innovation, with many hi-tech firms having offices in Oulu. Founded nearly four centuries ago, it was widely rebuilt in 1922 after a fire destroyed much of the old city. Today, Oulu is a byword for neo-classical architecture, much of which dominates the cityscape. It also has a strong sporting culture, with both ice hockey and football played here at a professional level, while rock music is a major cultural export.
With winter tyres, a hatchback would be reasonable enough for driving through Oulu, especially on the minor roads which can be a bit tricky to drive on at times.
Driving in Oulu
Road Driving Side
Urban Speed Limit
Rural Speed Limit
Motorway Speed Limit
Important things to note
Oulu has plenty of cycling routes, which thankfully means that cyclists on the road aren’t too common, except in rush hour traffic.
As is the case in other major cities, the main routes in Oulu are cleared of snow every day, but some black ice might remain.
Highway 4 is the main motorway going through Oulu and is the best route for driving south towards Helsinki and Tampere.
Highlights & Hotspots
Oulu is the host city of the World Air Guitar Championships, held every year during the Oulu Music Video Festival. The Festival attracts some of the most famous video directors in the world and shows a few exclusives from major artists.
The Oulu City Art Museum in the centre of town is a good place to go and see modern art. There tend to be around eight exhibits a year, with many of them featuring local artists, while much of the info there is written in English.
One of the first centres of its kind, the Science Centre Tietomaa has plenty of hands-on exhibits that kids will love. This attraction is proof that innovation is at the heart of all things great in the city, while it shows how much science and technology have changed over time.
Oulu City Theatre, which was recently renovated, stages mainly Finnish-language plays as well as a few operas and other, more unique stage shows such as stand-up comedy. Cinema Plaza is the best place to see locally-made films.
Oulu Airport (Oulun lentoasema) is around seven miles south southwest of the city centre. It offers a limited yet regular selection of flights to other parts of Finland as well as a few holiday resorts around southern Europe, particularly in Spain.
The airport is connected to the 815, which goes onto Highway 4. A junction with the 22 highway leads west to the city centre.