Travel Connections to Oulu
You have made a good choice in coming to Oulu. Even if Oulu may seem as a distant location from home, it can be reached fairly easily by many means of transportation.
Exchange students will be met by a peer tutor of Oulu UAS at Oulu Airport or Railway Station or in Oulainen. To enable this exchange students must inform the international co-ordinator and/or the peer tutor of his/her arrival date, time and means of communication (e.g. a flight number) at least two weeks prior to the arrival. Please take into account that this meeting and greeting or pick up service is only available between 07:00 and 22:00 and plan your travels accordingly.
All prices, services and service hours described hereafter are presented as directive and can fluctuate or change. Prices have been checked in April 2016.
This section provides information on the following means of travel:
By an aeroplane to Oulu
Finland and Oulu can be easily reached by air; several airlines fly regularly to the Helsinki-Vantaa Airport, the main airport of Finland.
Oulu Airport is the second busiest airport in Finland with numerous daily connections from/to Helsinki. There are also seasonal services from/to Alicante, Gran Canaria and Tenerife. There is also a regular flight service by Arctic Airlink between Oulu, Luleå, Sundsvall and Gothenburg in Sweden and Tromsø in Norway. Information about the Oulu Airport and other airports in Finland and travel connections to and from the airports is available on the website of the Finnish airport operator Finavia.
Finnair and Norwegian Air Shuttle have several daily flight connections between Helsinki and Oulu. On normal weekdays there are up to 15 return flight connections between Helsinki and Oulu.
The Finnish airport operator Finavia’s website provides a handy tool for searching flight connections to/from Finnish airports: Search flight connections.
Connections from the Oulu airport
Oulu Airport – Oulu
Oulu Airport is located in Oulunsalo ca 14 km southwest of the centre of Oulu. You can travel to the centre of Oulu by a local bus or by a taxi.
There is a regular local bus connections on the bus lines 8 and 9 from the Oulu Airport terminal to the centre of Oulu. Journey time is about 30 min. Oulu Airport is located in the local transport zone B. A single bus ticket from the airport to the city centre costs 5.80 EUR (23:00-04:00 double price). Buses to the centre run on weekday peak hours approximately every 15-30 minutes, in weekday evenings every 40 minutes and at other times once in an hour. The last bus leaves from Oulu Airport Sunday-Friday at 01:20 and on Saturdays at 01:45. The timetable is available on the Oulu PTA’s website. Both bus lines 8 and 9 also pass by Välkkylä residence halls (on line 8 Välkkylä is before downtown and on line 9 after the downtown). The bus stop at the airport is right outside the terminal building.
If you have a lot of luggage you may also consider taking a taxi. A taxi to downtown Oulu costs about 30 euro depending on the journey, number of passengers and time of the day. There is a taxi rank right outside the terminal building. To order a taxi service in Oulu, please dial 0600-30081 (from abroad +358 600 30081).
There is also a (shared) low-cost taxi service Kyyti that you may use. Kyyti transportation should be ordered and paid in advance through the Tuup app. Depending on the chosen service level a Kyyti transport/taxi costs some 15 - 20 EUR from the airport to the centre of Oulu. The exact price will be displayed in the app when ordering transportation.
Kindly note that it is not possible to stay overnight at the Oulu Airport, as the terminal is closed between 2 am and 4 am!
OSAKO has prepared a video explaining how to commute from the Oulu Airport to OSAKO’s office (applies to those who will be arriving on the official arrival days):
Further information elsewhere on the internet:
By a train to Oulu
There are numerous daily trains from Helsinki to Oulu. The journey time is usually ca 6-8 hours (9-10 hours on the overnight trains). To take a train to Oulu you should first go from Helsinki Airport to Tikkurila or Helsinki Central Railway Station. Most train connections to Oulu depart from Helsinki Central Railway Station. Only a few night trains depart from Pasila Car Carrier Station (and not from Helsinki Central Railway Station - and not from Pasila Railway Station, either). All long haul trains to Oulu call also at Tikkurila station in Vantaa which is the closest long distance railway station from Helsinki-Vantaa Airport. Some trains will also call at Oulainen (100 km south of Oulu) if you are going to our Oulainen department.
You can take the train from Helsinki-Vantaa Airport and change the train either in Tikkurila, Pasila or Helsinki Central Railway Station to a train bound for Oulu.
Oulu Railway Station
The Oulu Railway Station is in the centre of the city. From the Railway Station there is about 500 m to downtown and about 2 km to Välkkylä. All local buses (3.30€) passing by the bus station on the opposite side of the railways will take you to Välkkylä. There is an underpass connecting the railway station side to the bus station side of the tracks. You can take a Citybus (1.50€) directly from the railway station to downtown Oulu. The Citybus B toward Medipolis will also pass by Ouluhalli sports hall righ next to Välkkylä on its way to Medipolis).
Further information elsewhere on the internet:
- VR – Finnish Railways: www.vr.fi
By a bus to Oulu
There are 4-6 daily bus connections on the long-haul buses from Helsinki to Oulu. Notice, however, that on the buses the travel time is remarkably longer and the fares are often higher than on the railways. For more information on long-haul bus connections in Finland, please see the Matkahuolto website. A normal-priced one-way ticket on an express bus from Helsinki to Oulu costs around 75 EUR (journey time ca 9-13 hours) but discounted fares may be available. If you want to travel by bus, check the Helsinki-Oulu bus timetables. Some bus services have also a connecting bus service to/from Helsinki Airport (change of buses at Kerava Rest Area). There are also discounted fares often available.
Onnibus low-cost bus operator has daily services between Helsinki and Oulu. The travel time is 9 – 10 hours. For further information, please see the Onnibus website. Tickets are the cheapest when bought online in advance on their own website (Matkahuolto website includes also the timetables of Onnibus services but online ticket sales for these services is possbile only on the Onnibus own website).
As of autumn 2017 there is no general student discount on the long haul buses anymore. Some bus companies still offer a student discount, however, but you cannot get one on your first trip in Finland as you will have to first register yourself with a Finnish educational institution and acquire a valid Finnish student card entitling you to the possible discount. However, many bus companies and bus lines have online and advance fares that are often a lot cheaper than the earlier discounted tickets for students.
Oulu Bus Station
Oulu Bus Station is in Raksila on the opposite side of the railways from the Oulu Railway Station. From the bus station you can take a local bus, taxi or walk to downtown. Walking distance will be some 800 m, or approx. 1.5 km to Välkkylä. All local buses (3.30€) passing by the bus station toward north can take you to Välkkylä residence halls.
Further information elsewhere on the internet:
By a car to Oulu
If you want to come to Oulu by your own car, please keep in mind that the distances within Finland (and to Finland) are vast. Furthermore you (and your car) should also be prepared for winter conditions. The drive from the most commonly used ferry ports Helsinki and Turku to Oulu is ca 600 km and will take about 8 – 10 hours depending on the number and duration of breaks you take during the journey. For planning purposes you can generally count 80 km/h as your average speed when driving in Finland. Traffic runs smoothly and Central European scale traffic jams do not exist in Finland.
Usage of winter tyres is compulsory in Finland from December to February and always when the road weather conditions require them. Finnish cars are typically also equipped with electric engine-block heaters or fuel operated parking heaters (‘Webasto’). This will enable easy start of cars in cold circumstances and reduce engine wear and fuel consumption.
You should also acquaint yourself with the special limitation for the import and taxation of motor vehicles in Finland. A vehicle used in Finland must also be covered by a traffic/motor liability insurance valid in Finland.
Temporary tax-free use of cars in Finland
If you move to Finland temporarily for studying at an educational institution, you can use your car without having to pay car tax. The general time limit is six months. The vehicle must be covered by a motor liability insurance valid in Finland. The following conditions are to be met for tax -free use:
- The vehicle is registered outside Finland, and the registration is valid.
- The vehicle is allowed to be used for not longer than six months, continuously or interruptedly, during a period of twelve months.
- The use of the vehicle is not connected with purchasing the vehicle for use in Finland.
If you intend to stay in Finland for more than six months, you should contact the Finnish Customs for details about the right to use the car. The six-month time limit is not applied if you stay in Finland exclusively for studies but you have inform the customs office/tax authorities of this before the expiry of the six-month tax-free period, and also account your studies to the tax authorities for each study term. Customs offices give guidance in making the application for an extension of the prescribed six months’ time limit. The application for extension must be submitted before the expiry of the six-month period.
If you have moved to Finland from abroad and reside in Finland as a permanent resident, you should register the car you brought as removal goods, and pay car tax before you can use it in traffic in Finland. Please note that the vehicle must always be covered by a motor liability insurance valid in Finland. It is possible to use the car for 30 days before the car tax has been paid. This requires that a commissioning notification for the car is made to Finnish customs. If you bring a car from outside the EEA area, you will also need a transfer permit before you can use it. Transfer permits are granted by Customs and Vehicle Inspection Stations.
Further information on car taxation and importing a motor vehicle is available on the website of the Finnish Customs.
Driving licenses issued in another EU or EEA country and interim driving licenses issued in the Nordic countries entitle the holder to drive motor vehicles in Finland equivalent to those indicated on the non-Finnish license. The driver must be at least 18 years old. The right to drive is valid regardless of whether the person is in Finland as a tourist or residing permanently.
A person residing permanently in a country that has signed the Geneva or Vienna Road Traffic Convention and who holds a national or international driving licence or an official Finnish or Swedish translation of a national driving licence is entitled to drive motor vehicles equivalent to those indicated on the non-Finnish licence provided that the person fulfils the Finnish age requirement to drive such vehicles. The afore-mentioned driving licence is valid in Finland for two years from the start of the holder's period of permanent residence in Finland provided that the licence is valid and no other reason exists for the termination of its validity.
Further information on foreign driving licenses and on exchanging them to Finnish ones is available from the Finnish Transport Safety Agency (Trafi).
Driving a car in Finland
In Finland vehicles drive on the right. At crossroads, unless otherwise signposted, vehicles coming from the right have priority. Turning right when the traffic light is red is also prohibited. General speed limit in the built-up areas is 50 km/h and elsewhere 80 km/h unless otherwise indicated by appropriate traffic signs. The maximum speed limit on roads is 100 km/h, except on some motorways in summer time 120 km/h. For winter time the maximum speed limits on many roads are lowered to 80 km/h (and 100 km/h on motorways).
In autumn and early spring, you should watch out for elks when driving in rural areas. These animals are big and especially active at dusk and dawn, and a collision with an elk have usually serious consequences from wrecking the car and severe injuries up to deadly accidents. In the reindeer herding area (in Northern and Northeastern parts of Finland) you should also be alert for occasional reindeer herds as they are roaming wild in the nature throughout the year.
Winter tyres (with or without studs) are compulsory from the beginning of December to the end of February. Studded tyres may be used on Finnish roads from 1 November until 20 April or whenever the road weather conditions require them. Winter tyres are compulsory also for cars and vans registered abroad when they are driven in Finland during winter. In Oulu people use winter tyres usually from late October to late April, but annual variations in road weather conditions can be vast.
Usage of headlights is always compulsory, no matter if it is summer or winter, day or night. If an oncoming car flashes its headlights to you it usually means that there is an accident, elk or reindeer on the road ahead, you do not have your headlights on, or you have forgotten to switch the high beams off and they are causing glare to the driver of the oncoming vehicle.
Seat belts both in front and rear seats of the car must be used by all people in the car. The fuel types readily available at most petrol stations in Finland are unleaded petrol (95 E10 and 98 E5) and diesel (winter/summer quality depending on the season). Further information on road transport fuels in Finland: www.oil.fi.
The law regarding the blood-alcohol level for drivers is strictly followed in Finland. The law allows a level of less than 50 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood (0.5‰), or 0.22 mg per a litre of exhaled air. Driving under the influence of drugs is also regarded as an offence. Offenders are subject to heavy fines, jail up to 6 months plus withdrawal or suspension of their driving license from 1 month to 5 years. For aggravated drinking driving offence (= 1.2 mg of alcohol in 100 ml (1.2‰) of blood or 0.53 mg in a litre of exhaled air) also a prison sentence from 1 month to 2 years is possible. Routine breath testing without a probable cause is permitted for the police and it is also often practiced on the roads and also in towns.
Fines for speeding are rather high in Finland. The minimum fine for speeding is 140 EUR and is issued when you are caught for speeding under 15 km/h in an area where the speed limit is at least 60 km/h. If the speed limit is lower than 60 km/h the lowest fine for speeding is 170 EUR. If you are speeding at least 20 km/h the amount of fines will be based on your income with the minimum fine of 200 EUR. Police may control your speed with a radar or with traffic cameras that can be either installed in poles on the road side or in so-called camera vehicles without police signs (i.e. they look like an ordinary civilian vehicle).
If you have a car accident or witness one in Finland you can call for help by dialling 112 (general emergency response centre number). This number can be called free of charge from all telephones without any prefixes. Through the Emergency Response Centre you can reach the assistance of the police, rescue services, ambulance, social services and other necessary authorities.
If your car breaks down while you are on the road in Finland, you can turn to the Road Service Centre of the Automobile and Touring Club of Finland by dialling 0200-8080 (1.95€/min + lnc, also queueing is charged for). The services you order from the Road Service Centre (e.g. towing, delivery of fuel etc.) are subject to a charge.
Further information on driving and road safety in Finland elsewhere on the internet: