MARITIME BEAUTY IN OULU
Oulu is the perfect spot for a relaxing break with its beautiful scenery and rich cultural life! Located on the Oulu River overlooking the Gulf of Bothnia, the luxury Radisson Blu Hotel makes a great base for exploring all the sights and enjoying winter sports, as well as boating and fishing in the summer. Close to the hotel, you’ll find Oulu’s impressive market square and the main shopping street with its colourful array of boutiques.
Nature destinations in the Gulf of Bothnia archipelago are a short distance from the city. In summer the sand dune island of Hailuoto is accessible by ferry, and in winter it can be reached by a unique ice road. Nature and outdoor activities also play a key role in the city centre. During summer, the cityscape is enhanced by beautifully kept green parks and abundant flower displays. In winter, cross-country skiing trails are well maintained and accessible from the city centre.
Oulu was established by the Swedish King Charles IX in 1605. The estuary of the Oulu River is an ancient trading post, and the market place with its charming granaries has served as a harbour and trading place since the 18th century. In the 19th century Oulu was a leading exporter of tar. Oulu’s enthusiastic and enterprising atmosphere dates from that period, and Finland's fifth largest city is nowadays known as a technology city and the engine of growth for Northern Finland. Today, Oulu’s central square and pedestrian streets buzz with activity when shoppers descend on the city's department stores and boutiques. The idyllic milieu of the Market Square and the cheerful service enjoyed in the Market Hall prompt visitors to make purchases, and to eat well.
In the cityscape of Oulu, old meets new. Fires have ravaged the cityscape on several occasions – there have been as many as ten fires. The old buildings of the city centre date from after the 1882 fire. Before the fire, buildings were wooden and single-storey, but afterwards sturdier stone houses were built in the city. The centre of Oulu is small considering the number of residents, but the size makes it very convenient and easy to navigate. Enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of the Radisson Blu Hotel, Oulu. We are close to the hustle and bustle of the city centre, yet close to nature. Depending on your personal taste, you can choose a room that is decorated in Scandinavian or Oriental style – Radisson Blu guarantees a stylish trip to Oulu!
The main shopping area of Oulu is Rotuaari, a pedestrian section that consists of sections of the Kirkkokatu and Kauppurienkatu streets. Among the stores in Rotuaari are Pukumies, the speciality shop Vima and the Stockmann department store. There are also a number of smaller, interesting specialty shops and boutiques in Rotuaari and its surrounding area, as well as a wide range of cafés and restaurants. Among other excellent shopping streets are Isokatu, Uusikatu, Pakkahuoneenkatu and Hallituskatu.
Oulu’s Market Square is best known for market traders, but also for its old granaries and the Market Hall. The Market Square, or Torinranta, is the beating heart of the city and hosts a number of concerts and events throughout the year. There is activity in the lively Market Square from morning till night, with a diverse selection of products from vegetables, root vegetables and berries to ready meals, clothing and jewellery. The old granaries around the Market Square are now restaurants and cafés, as well as shops selling handicrafts, clothes and furnishings. Market operations are overseen by the bronze statue Toripolliisi (The Bobby at the Market Place), which stands in front of the Market Hall. It was erected in honour of the bobbies who once patrolled the market.
Despite being over one hundred years old, the Oulu Market Hall cherishes market-trading traditions and offers customers personal service. In the Market Hall you will find hand-made gifts and souvenirs, as well as quality ingredients for the kitchen, both locally produced and imported. The local coffee shops and restaurants serve snacks and lunch dishes. The Market Hall represents neo-Gothic style and exudes history, yet has a relaxed atmosphere typical of the residents of Oulu. In early autumn, the commercial hall's specialty is exotic lampreys – have you ever tasted them?
If you are heading south from Oulu, a ten minute drive from the city centre, in the immediate vicinity of Highway 4, is the largest shopping centre in Northern Finland, Zeppelin. There you will find, under one roof, more than one hundred shops, cafés and restaurants.
At the end of a busy shopping day it is lovely to relax at Radisson Blu hotel. You can rejuvenate in the sauna or the gym, or relax in your own room watching movies. You can order relaxation equipment, such as back and foot massage devices, to be delivered to your room free of charge.
Start the city tour next to the hotel in the Market Square, where you will find charming granary shops, the Market Hall and the bronze statue Toripolliisi (The Bobby at the Market Place). From the corner of the Market Square, you have easy access to the Vänman man-made island, where Marjatta and Matti Jaatinen designed an impressive-looking city library and theatre. Via Vänman Island you can reach the island of Pikisaari (“Pitch Island”), which was named after the pitch distillery established there in the 17th century. This is the location of the oldest building in Oulu, the Matila house, which has housed a sailor's home museum since 1740. A number of beautiful, original wooden houses remain on Pikisaari, and the area is now a protected milieu. Being pleasing to the eye, Pikisaari is a popular light-traffic route to the island of Nallikari.
The Nallikari recreation and tourism area and the nearby Vauhtipuisto amusement park offer plenty of fun things to do for young and old alike. The Limingantulli SuperPark is an adventure park, which offers year-round physical activities for the entire family. The Tietomaa science centre is full of educational experiences for both adults and children. Those who enjoy sport should go to Oulu Energy Arena in Raksila to see a home game of the ice hockey team Kärpät – the atmosphere is electric at the games!
Oulu parks invite you to relax. The summer greenery of the parks and the winter snow look magnificent in the maritime landscape, against the Oulu River and its estuary. Oulu's most famous park is Otto Karhi Park, which is bisected by Plaanoja. The locals call it the "Hose Park". The Hupisaaret archipelago, with its white bridges, has been a place of recreation for the residents of Oulu since the 1860s. The archipelago is also home to the delightful Ainola Park, in which an ornate villa called Gingerbread House and the Northern Ostrobothnia Museum are located. The Oulu Museum of Art is quite close to Hupisaaret. Finland’s National Board of Antiquities and Historical Monuments has classified Franzén Park, and the old monumental centre within, nationally significant built environments. Close to Franzén Park is also Oulu Cathedral, which is one of the city's most popular attractions. Other interesting historical sites in Oulu are the observatory and the remains of the Oulu Castle on Linnansaari.
Some of the most amazing natural attractions in the Gulf of Bothnia are located on its largest island, Hailuoto. The island's unique landscape and natural conditions have elevated it to the category of a national landscape. The current Hailuoto Island is made up of a number of separate islands as a result of uplift in the land surface. At the westernmost point of the main road, in the idyllic fishing village of Marjaniemi, there are restaurants, a fishing port, a guest harbour and a popular visitor attraction, the Lighthouse, which was completed in 1871. Visitors interested in bird watching should definitely visit the Liminganlahti nature centre in Liminka. Liminganlahti is an internationally recognised waterfowl habitat and wetland, where during bird migration season, in spring and autumn, you can witness the intoxicating spectacle of hundreds of thousands of migrating birds.
There are interesting events in Oulu throughout the year. A highlight for lovers of classical music is the Oulu Music Festival, organised in the city every spring. In July, the popular pop and rock music festivals Rotuaari Piknik and Qstock are organised in Rotuaari. The Oulu Festival goes on for the entire month of August and offers music of all kinds, a contemporary circus, word art and much more. A theatre festival organised in the idyllic Hailuoto archipelago each summer is a wonderful experience. For lovers of design, there is the annual Oulu Design Days festival each September. During the festival, design-related events take place around the city. The weeks around Christmas are known as Tierna Time in Oulu, and a number of seasonal events will take over the city centre from the beginning of November until St. Canute’s Day in the middle of January.
Oulu is full of cosy cafés, many of them located in the Market Square by the sea. Try, for instance, the Dutch style savoury and sweet pancakes of the Pancake House, the delicious cheeses of Tervasoihtu, or sip a warm drink in the unhurried surroundings of the Makasiini cafeteria. Café Bisketti in Rotuaari is one of Oulu’s most popular cafés, serving mouth-watering pastries and buns, as well as lunch. During the summer months you can enjoy stunning sea views from the Observatory summer café on Linnansaari Island.
In the city centre, there are dozens of classy and quaint restaurants. Grill It! combines the flavours of Scandinavian barbequing and tastes of the world. It is located in a 1920's fire station. In the same building there is also a second restaurant, Sport it!, which offers sports, live music and light meals. The restaurant Hugo on the edge of the Market Square combines clean northern nature and traditional French cuisine in a modern way. Also in the Square is the cosy Scandinavian-Italian Sassi, whose specialty is Italian delicacies with a Scandinavian twist. The stylish Uleåborg 1881, also in the Market Square on the seafront, is one of Oulu’s most popular fine dining restaurants. Sugar-John's Tavern is a cosy restaurant in a log cabin on the Pikisaari Island. In Pakkahuone Street, in a pink Art Nouveau building more than a century old, there are three restaurants: On the ground floor, the café Puistola Deli and Puistola Bistro, and in the cellar the party venue Puistola, which is complemented by an intimate wine cellar cabinet.
The nightlife of Oulu never stops. Night Bar 7 was Finland’s first (and Oulu’s most popular) karaoke restaurant, where you can also show off your dancing skills. The ever-popular Kaarlenholvi restaurant and Jumpru Pub operate in an old wooden house, which in the late 18th century operated as a hospital, chapter, dungeon, liquor distillery, and post office. 45 Special offers live music gigs and diverse music played by DJ's ranging from 1950s rock to funk, soul, disco party and pop, all the way to modern indie, alternative and electro-rock. For pub lovers, the Beer Room Leskinen offers modern international beer culture and streamed football broadcasts.
After an eventful day, you are guaranteed complete relaxation by Radisson Blu Hotels’ unique Blu Dreams sleep experience and sweet dreams in a Magic Bed®, which transports you gently to the “land of Nod”. A wide choice of blankets and pillows provides a good sleep, which ensures that you wake up to a new morning refreshed and ready to go. The day starts energetically with a plentiful and varied Super Breakfast® buffet breakfast. When you want to break away from the mundane, select Radisson Blu.