ADD TO LISTOulu is a Finnish city located at 65° N latitude on the River Oulu as it empties into the Gulf of Bothnia. It is the capital of the Province of Oulu and has roughly 130,000 inhabitants (known in Finnish as "oululainen" [singular form]). Historically it was called Uleåborg in Swedish and was renown for its salmon, paper/pulp making and especially for its tar production. Today, however, Oulu has shifted its image to one of a northern center of technology and heath. It is the largest city in northern Finland and has one of the largest universities in the country, the University of Oulu (Oulun Yliopisto).
The World Air Guitar Championships are hosted annually in Oulu.
Travel Tips from people who've been to Oulu
Oulu is a great place to visit around the year. I suggest summer. It's not that expensive either. The best place to stay is Hotel-spa Eden, which is right next to the sea. It's one of the best spas in Finland, in my opinion. If you have a low budjet, there's a hostel called Turisti opposite the train station. And of course you can go camping, there's a great area for that next to Eden.
A nice medium sized Finnish city.
Good to visit during summer, while you can see the nearby islands and the sights downtown very easily and in decent weather (it can get really cold during winter). Most places are open. Tietomaa is an interesting place for, say under 12-year-old, children and perhaps their parents too. Adults will likely enjoy the other sights better.
Avoid the crowds when bars start to close and ask the locals which city part to avoid.
!!Follow up Omenahotelli (omenahotels.com) situation, since you can save some serious money staying a night there instead of any other hotel. They don't have a hotel in Oulu yet but announce ongoing negotiations.
It's easy to come and go to and from Oulu. You can use plane, train, bus, private car etc.
Visit Oulu during Vappu, which is Labor Day on May 1st. Downtown there are large celebrations and concerts that are well-attended by families. On the days leading up to Vappu, there are many student celebrations. Students wear overalls, whose colors identify the faculties to which they belong. Technical students wear white caps with long tassles. The first year technical students must undergo "initiation" before they receive their caps. This culminates with the "fuksi kaste" in Ainola Park, when they must go for a swim in the icy creek water. On May 1st, all graduates of the lukio/high school proudly where their white caps (without tassles) throughout the country.
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