In the unique Northern region of Kainuu, you can enjoy clean air, lakes and rivers teeming with fish and rugged landscapes of untouched hills and wilderness.
Arctic Lakeland Kainuu, is the nature-lover’s paradise, a never-ending source of outdoor activities and a favourite family ski resort with guaranteed snow. Its hospitality will warm your heart in all seasons.
In Kainuu, you can experience the wild North and see the northern lights, enjoy premium services, and yet be enchanted by the quiet peace of nature.
Kainuu tourism products are marketed under the umbrella of Arctic Lakeland, with a joint website in multiple languages.
Visit the Arctic Lakeland website for information on where to go and what to do Kainuu!
Some Kainuu Destinations
Tourism is an important economy in Kainuu: the region’s tourism industry is the third biggest in Finland after
Lapland and the Åland Islands. There is a wide range of culture, sports, well-being services and restaurants for tourists around the year as well as opportunities to explore local history and lifestyle in authentic environments.
There are a handful of locations in Kainuu where the tourism services are more concentrated in a small area. These destinations also offer comprehensive information in English online. Therefore, you might find it useful to start browsing the sites of these destinations and broaden your search to other sources after.
Vuokatti is a versatile tourism center and a paradise for athletes. Vuokatti suits equally the needs of families, groups, meeting tourists and athletes. There’s a wide scope of services and activities available in a compact area in Vuokatti, yet surrounded by wilderness and pure nature.
Walk on the long, sandy beaches of Ärjänsaari island, travel on an old steamboat, try midnight sun golf at the beautiful Paltamo golf course or stay in the Arctic Giant birdhouse hotel and admire the landscapes from above.
Hossa in Suomussalmi is known as an hiking area next to the Russian border, and also for the ancient mystical paintings of Värikallio. Hossa was designated an official national park in 2017 and today the area offers travelers many kinds of accommodation, guide services and programme services.
You’ll find the highest peaks and the deepest snow of Kainuu from Paljakka. The versatile surroundings offer nature in all its forms; hills, forest, lakes and streams. Trek or ski on trails through Finland’s oldest ancient woodland, go downhill skiing or check the long list of activities to find your favorite!
Ukkohalla is located by the lake Syväjärvi in Hyrynsalmi. In addition to the hiking routes, skiing tracks and slopes, there are also some specialties available in Ukkohalla. In the Sauna World there are 9 different saunas and refreshing pools . The cable wake-board park is suitable for everyone from beginners to pros.
Escape to the nature of Wild Taiga in and around Kuhmo and Suomussalmi on Finland’s eastern border! You may also enjoy the authentic cultural experiences, such as the annual Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival. Wild Taiga also offers the best setting in Europe for photographing and watching big beasts.
There are plenty of sites for also a history lover to visit in Kainuu, from Stone Age to more recent history, telling the tale of resilient people of Kainuu. Follow the old route of oarsmen rowing tar barrels to Oulu or visit one of the Winter War sites. Learn about the history of the northernmost stone castle in the world, built in the 17th century. After a long day, looking at the sunset over Lake Oulujärvi, you’ll understand why so many writers have found their inspiration in Kainuu!
Five tips for you:
- Kainuu Museum, the regional museum of Kainuu
- Hossa Rock Paintings – Tales from across the Ages
- Kajaani Castle Ruins
- Kajaani Tar Canal
- Winter war museum Raatteen Portti
The Great Outdoors
Pure nature, ruggedly imposing landscapes and crystal-clear water.. Kainuu is a unique summer paradise for hikers and nature-lovers. Its peace and calm invites you to slow down and open yourself to new experiences.
At wintertime, the snow shining with the glorious Northern spring sun. Perfect quiet and a pair of slick skis. Peace, fresh air and room to breathe. The authentic Northern winter at its most beautiful – in the wild, surrounded by the ageless hills.
Several national parks and other nature reserves have been established in the Kainuu area over the years. The parks aim not only to protect nature and preserve its diversity, but also to provide experiences and joy for both locals and tourists.
National Parks in and Around Kainuu
The magnificent wilderness of Hossa is an excellent destination: the trails running along pine heaths invite you to hike and cycle, and the crystal-clear lakes to go canoeing and fishing. The rock paintings of Julma-Ölkky and Värikallio depict stories of shamanism, dating back thousands of years.
The canyons of Hiidenportti are an impressive sight. Along the path leading to the main gorge you can experience shady spruce forest, a flowery meadow and woodland that used to be cleared periodically by slash-and-burn farmers. The park has many fascinating places and stories for anyone interested in cultural history to discover.
The park’s lovely lake shores include the beautiful beach of Venäjänhiekka (Russian Sands), whose name relates to the 1595 Treaty of Teusina which divided these lands between Sweden and Russia. An old border stone in Lake Tiilikkajärvi still bears a crown and a cross symbolising the two countries. A sandy esker ridge formation runs through the lake, adding to the varied natural scene. Slow down, relax, and enjoy a refreshing dip in the lake.
When you explore the esker ridges, sandhills and kettle hole lakes of Rokua it’s easy to see the clear traces of the Ice Age that explain why this area forms part of Finland’s first UNESCO Geopark. Family-friendly trails lead off through the park’s wooded sandhills, where the forest floor is blanketed with silvery lichens. Scattered through the park are many kettle hole lakes nestling in sandy hollows.
Explore more national parks and nature reserves at:
The Kainuu cuisine is strongly characterized by clean ingredients from the nature and simplicity. The traditions date back to the time of hunter-gatherers, and there has been no need to replace the same, high-quality ingredients for centuries. Bread in its various forms is the cornerstone of Kainuu cuisine. Kainuu is famous for its Rönttönen, a small open faced pie consisting of a crust made of barley or rye dough, filled with a sweetened mashed potato and lingonberry filling (the product has PGI protection under EU law).
In terms of berries, game and fish, the Kainuu area is indeed a real treasure chest, so naturally these ingredients are utilized equally in home kitchens and top restaurants. Kainuu’s specialties also include bread cheese and products developed from tar and nettle, such as tar bread and tar confectionery, and health products utilising nettle.
You will be able to taste delicious traditional products at local companies, such as the bread of Pekka Heikkinen & Kumpp, the history of the bakery dating back more than 100 years. A more modern approach to traditional raw materials is provided by Kiantama Oy in Suomussalmi, with a selection of berry products. You may enjoy a full Kainuu style dinner for example at Restaurant Kippo in Vuokatti, faithful to the Kainuu traditions down to the interior.
Kainuu is located in the middle of Finland. There are daily flights to Kajaani, Oulu, Kuusamo and Kuopio from Helsinki. Kajaani is at the heart of the region and allows easy access to all of Kainuu. Oulu, Kuusamo and Kuopio are all roughly two hours from Kajaani by car. If you would like to see more of the Finnish landscape, you can travel conveniently from Helsinki to Kajaani by train.
Flights and Train Connections
Buses and taxis
Matkahuolto carries people and parcels to every corner of Finland
Coach Services by Pohjolan Matka
Kajaani-Helsinki-Kajaani by OnniBus
A. Kyllönen Kuhmo-Sotkamo-Kajaani-Sotkamo-Kuhmo and Airbus Sotkamo-Vuokatti-Kajaani