Oulu is the capital of the province of Oulu and the region of Northern Ostrobothnia. It is the sixth largest (fourth largest if you exclude Espoo and Vantaa) city in Finland, and the largest and most important in Northern Finland. Oulu is known for its high-tech focus, with free wireless internet access, Panoulu, in the city center. A lot of Finnish IT companies, including Nokia, have offices in Oulu or nearby areas.
Oulu Airport is the busiest in the country after Helsinki, and the Helsinki-Oulu sector is the country’s most popular domestic flight with frequent services (almost 20 flights per day each way) on Finnair and Norwegian. A fully flexible return economy ticket might cost more than €200 but a non-changeable one-way ticket can go as low as €20 or a return ticket for less than €50 when bought months in advance. Norwegian is often cheapest, but airlines compete on price for this route so be sure to check others. There are also some services to Riga, Rovaniemi, Tampere, Turku and Kemi.
The terminal has recently been expanded and now has jet bridges to get you in the planes without having to walk in the freezing cold tarmac. The airport has an automatic map dispenser that provides free maps, but sometimes it doesn’t work.
Bus 9 (~€5) connects the airport to the city center in 30 minutes. Buses operate quite frequently from 06:25 to about 21:00 on weekdays. After 21:00 buses operate infrequently to 01:30. A taxi will cost you around €30 for the same distance.
Oulu is on the railway main line between Helsinki and Rovaniemi. The fastest Pendolino trains complete the journey from Oulu to Helsinki in about 6 hours (€72), while direct sleepers take around 9 hours (€64 plus optional sleeper at €12-€31 per bed). The newest type of sleeper train carriages have a shower and a toilet in each 2-person cabin.
- Trip duration from Helsinki varies between 9½ and 15 hours and costs around €70-80. Timetable and information from Matkahuolto.
- Onnibus offers low-cost long distance coach lines to Oulu from different cities of Finland.