Winter Getaway to Northern Finland – Discover the TOP 9 Reasons to Visit Oulu this Winter

Starry skies, snow-covered sceneries, the frozen sea, and with a bit of luck, even the northern lights – these are just a few of the wonders that await you in Oulu and Northern Finland. If you’re dreaming of a magical winter getaway, look no further! We’re thrilled to announce that starting in December 2023, Lufthansa will be offering direct flights between Munich and Oulu, Finland, making your journey to our beautiful region a breeze. To celebrate the new flight connection and welcome you to our winter wonderland, we’ve created this list of Oulu winter travel tips to ensure your stay with us is truly unforgettable.

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1. Where the sea freezes in winter... Explore the magical frozen sea in Oulu!

Looking for a one-of-a-kind experience up north? Oulu has just the adventure for you – walking, skiing, snowshoeing, or even biking on the frozen sea in Nallikari! The Bothnian Bay begins to freeze around December and remains ice-covered until April or May. Numerous companies offer exciting frozen sea activities and programs! In March, there are also two different events taking place on the frozen sea: an arts & music festival Frozen People and a peculiar startup festival Polar Bear Pitching. You can also stay a night by the seaside at a new, high-quality Nallikarin Aalto apartment hotel, opening in February 2024!

Read more about Nallikari by the sea

2. Untamed winter wonderland – Northern lights and snowy activities at national park scenery

Explore the northern wilderness with a trip to Syöte, the southernmost fell area in Finland, located just 2 hours from Oulu, and enjoy the peaceful, snow-covered scenery of Syöte National Park. For those seeking thrills and unforgettable experiences, Syöte offers a treasure trove of activities. Embark on a husky sledding expedition through the silent, snow-laden woods. And for both cross-country and downhill skiing enthusiasts, there’s the popular Iso-Syöte Ski Resort! Of course, the cherry on top of your northern adventure is the opportunity to witness the mesmerizing dance of the northern lights.

Read more about Syöte

3. Let's break the ice! Experience the bucket-list arctic icebreaker cruise

The Icebreaker Sampo is one of the most well-known tourism attractions in Finland. The cruise on an icebreaker takes you to the frozen sea where the scenery is just one of a kind. You can also walk on ice and float in the icy sea water by the mighty vessel in a survival suit! Book your bucket-list adventure on this legendary vessel in Kemi, located only one hour away from Oulu. Make sure to include a visit to the iconic SnowCastle of Kemi on your itinerary – it’s a whimsical castle entirely crafted from snow and a beloved destination for the whole family.

Book your icebreaker cruise
Photo: Iina Tauriainen

4. City of wild creativity: Oulu is the European Capital of Culture 2026

In 2026, Oulu will proudly take its place as the European Capital of Culture. But you don’t have to wait until then to witness the city’s vibrant cultural scene. From unique events like Frozen People and Polar Bear Pitching to the festive spirit of Christmas, Oulu is a city of wild creativity that promises entertainment and excitement year-round. Experience the joy of Christmas, join a festival and dance the night away on the frozen sea, and immerse yourself in the happiest country in the world!

Read more about Oulu2026

5. Arctic food – Enjoy the pure tastes from local ingredients... and, of course, beer!

Treat your taste buds to the flavors of the Arctic by sampling local cuisine made from the freshest, locally sourced ingredients. Oulu’s culinary scene is a delightful exploration of authentic Finnish flavors, with options ranging from hearty soups and reindeer dishes to the freshest seafood – and quite surprisingly: pizza! But that’s not all – indulge your sweet tooth with local artisan chocolate, crafted with love and care by talented chocolatiers of ChocoSomnia. And for those who appreciate a good brew, don’t miss the chance to savor local, organic beers of Hailuodon Panimo (Hailuoto Brewery) that perfectly complement the northern gastronomic experience.

Explore restaurants in Oulu

6. Authentic Finnish sauna and refreshing winter dips: learn the secret ingredients of Finnish happiness

Finland is the world’s happiest country for six consecutive years, according to the UN research. One of the well-kept secrets behind this enduring happiness is, without a doubt, the Finnish sauna tradition. From floating saunas to smoke saunas, and even the unique option of enjoying a sauna in a local brewery’s pub or in the comfort of your hotel room, Oulu offers an array of distinctive sauna experiences. After a relaxing sauna session, take a dip in the ice hole (yes it’s a real thing!), an exhilarating experience that will invigorate both body and soul.

Explore true Oulu experiences

7. A wide range of accommodation options – stay a night at the world's most romantic hotel room!

Oulu offers a diverse selection of accommodation options to suit every traveler’s preferences. Whether you prefer cozy cottages, luxurious hotels, glass igloos, or charming guesthouses, you’ll find the perfect place to call home during your winter getaway. If you’re looking for something very special, book a night at the Eagle Nest Suite at Hotel Iso-Syöte, chosen as one of the world’s most romantic hotel rooms!

Explore accommodation options

8. Quality-time with the whole family! Winter fun and a visit to Santa Claus Village

Oulu is a family-friendly destination with plenty of activities to keep kids entertained – from outdoorsy adventures such as skiing, husky sledding and the enchanting Nallikari winter village, to engaging indoor experiences like the captivating Dinosauria exhibition featuring twenty moving dinosaur figures. And did you know that Santa Claus lives only a couple of hours away from Oulu…? Add a sprinkle of magic to your journey and embark on a day trip to Santa Claus Village while staying in Oulu!

9. 12+ exciting destinations to discover nearby – Road trip from the frozen sea to snowy fells

Pohjola Route is a new way to discover Finland. Take a road trip on the Pohjola route in the Oulu region and get to know the shores and the fells, wetlands and forests, lakes, rivers, the Bothnian Bay and national park sceneries. Experience the authentic culture sculpted by local nature, history and people. You can travel the Pohjola Route by car, caravan, bicycle, or by utilizing public transportation.

Read more about the Pohjola route

Come see Finland like you’ve never seen her before.

Here's a quick overview of Oulu!

  • Just a 3-hour flight from Munich with Lufthansa.
  • The population: about 212,000 residents
  • University city, known for high technology (the home of Nokia and Oura)
  • The European Capital of Culture in 2026
  • Home to unique, creative events like the Air Guitar World Championship and Polar Bear Pitching
  • Located amidst stunning natural beauty: two national parks nearby!

Pack your winter gear and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in Oulu this winter!

Book your flights now with Lufthansa