Finland is well known for its beautiful archipelago in the Gulf of Bothnia and rugged landscapes of the fell highlands of Lapland. However, the distance between these two is a little bit on the long side, so up until now it hasn’t been an easy task to include all these in one holiday.

The solution is here now: the Pohjola Route. It’s a ring route in the Oulu region that truly combines all the best sides of Finland. From open sea to the southernmost fells in the country, with ice age formations, historical harbours and genuine four seasons.

Open sea

Many choose to start their Pohjola Route journey in Oulu. Located by the sea, Oulu is easily accessible by plane and train. Very close to Oulu you’ll find Hailuoto, the biggest and most diverse island in the Bay of Bothnia. Hailuoto is best known for its marine lifestyle and beach vibes. The ferry trip to Hailuoto is already like arriving in a new country.

Ice fishing in Nallikari

From Hailuoto your journey continues naturally to Raahe and Kalajoki, both cities located on the coast of the Bay of Bothnia. The old town of Raahe is one of the best preserved wooden towns in Finland and well worth a visit any time of year. Kalajoki boasts beautiful golden beaches that are certainly some of the best in Finland. You can also enjoy beautiful sunsets that bathe the region.

River basin district

Once you’ve explored the sparkling seaside, you can continue your adventures into the rural areas and national parks. Closer to shore you’ll cross Finland’s greatest rivers. There are quaint villages with old grocery stores and cafeterias scattered along the route.

Venturing further inland, you are showcased plenty of old forests and rural areas. In Rokua, about a two-hour drive from Kalajoki, pines and expansive lichen fields form magical forests that are easy to hike.

Image: Rokua Geopark / Harri Tarvainen

Finland’s Everyman’s Rights give everyone, you included, the right to freely visit forests and pick and eat wild berries. Where there are rights, though, there are responsibilities also: it’s up to all of us to treat our natural surroundings with respect. It’s all part of responsible travel that Finland heartily embraces.


At the mid-point of the tour, you’ve reached the peak of our route: Syöte fell area offers entirely different views compared to the sea views we just experienced. In the summertime, the sun stays up for nearly 24 hours and in the wintertime, the fell highlands are best known for snow-glazed trees, a phenomenon loved by photographers. Syöte is a paradise for all outdoor enthusiasts.


  • You’ll need a car. It’s easy to reach the starting point, Oulu, and then rent a car to begin your journey on the Pohjola Route.
  • You can experience the route throughout the year. Finnish rental cars always have winter tires and roads are well managed.
  • There are activities available throughout the year: Skiing on both flat and slope and ice fishing on the frozen sea are winter experiences that stay with you a long time. The white nights of summer flood your soul with the light of the North that is something very special.
  • Do you love camping? Pohjola Route has a variety of caravan and camping sites in beautiful locations.
  • Find out more about Pohjola Route here!