Last modified 15.3.2011 at 13:17
Attractive attractions of north
Text and photos: Annika Lamberg
Ice, snow, Santa Claus, beautiful nature and so much more to explore and experience.
Since Hailuoto means “Shark Isle,” children often wonder if there’re real sharks there. And there’re not. Right?
There are many interesting sights to visit in northern Finland. The Hailuoto island, Santa Claus and Arcticum in Rovaniemi, Snow Castle and icebraker Sampo in Kemi and the beautiful nature of Koiteli are only some examples of what you can find in a short distance from Oulu and Raahe.
Ice road takes you to Hailuoto
Hailuoto “the Shark Isle” is the largest island of the Bay of Bothnia. Due to its beautiful nature, it is one of Finland’s National Landscapes.
Hailuoto is located about 50 kilometres from Oulu and 113 km from Raahe. There is a ferry link to the island and the ferry trip takes about 25 minutes. In wintertime it is a unique experience to travel to Hailuoto by car along the ice road. The ice road is opened on the sea ice when the thickness of it reaches 40 cm.
There is permanent population of some 1 000 people in Hailuoto and about 600 summer cottages. The top sights in Hailuoto are the lighthouse of Marjaniemi, the fisher village, the wind mills and sandy beaches and landscapes.
Meet Santa Claus in Rovaniemi
Rovaniemi is the capital of Lapland. There you can meet Santa Claus and visit different sights in addition to experience distinctive seasons with midnight sun in summer and the period of darkness in winter.
Arktikum is a science centre and a museum. There are exhibitions of Arctic areas and Finnish Lapland. Santa Claus Village is situated 8 kilometres from Rovaniemi right at the Arctic Circle. In the Village there is for example Santa’s Main Post Office, Huskypark and the Christmas House. In the Christmas House there is Christmas-theme exhibition. The exhibition covers Finnish and foreign Christmas customs and traditions of today and the past.
Icy and snowy Kemi
On the northern Gulf of Bothnia just out of Kemi tourist get to take a ride on icebreaker. Sampo is the only icebraker in the world giving public tours. Earlier icebreaker Sampo served for thirty years in icebreaking tasks in Arctic waters.
The Sampo sails from the middle of December to the end of April. The trips last for four hours. For scheduled sailings, it is worthwhile making a reservation well in advance. In the summer time Sampo operates as a restaurant. A lucky sailor may see Aurora Borealis on a deck of Sampo.
The SnowCastle of Kemi is being built every winter from a scratch. In recent years it has been built around a theme like “see” or “fire”. In the SnowCastles IceBar you can see a photo exhibition about making the SnowCastle. There are beautiful ice sculptures in the Castle too. Inside the SnowCastles walls there are a SnowRestaurant, a SnowChapel and a SnowHotel. Are you daring enough to spend a night in a hotel made of snow?
The SnowCastle season depends on the weather, but normally it is open between the end of January and the beginning of April.
The beautiful nature of Koiteli
In unique Koiteli region you can admire the great Finnish nature. The beautiful landscape gets its special features of the river beds, rapids, islands, beaches and other nature. The rapid region of Koiteli is located in municipality of Kiiminki only 25 km from Oulu and 100 km from Raahe.
The shore cliffs of Koiteli, its islands and bridges make it a diverse camping area. Getting around is easy there. In Koiteli you can fish, paddle, hike and so on. The name Koiteli comes quite surely from the Sami language and means “the one in the middle”. There is about 20 000 visitors in Koiteli recreation area per annum.
The sources of information:
- Oulu City Tourist Office
- Finnish road administration
- Rovaniemi tourist information
- Santa Claus Village
- Sampo Tours