Making the most of your life in Oulu

Coming from Barcelona, Spain, I am used to living in a vibrant city where there is always something going on. Despite my prejudices about Oulu, I have to admit I could not be happier I ended up here.

Oulu and surroundings

Let's be honest; probably, Oulu is not on the top of your travel destinations wish list. It certainly was not on mine. In fact, before coming here, I did not know what to expect about this city.

Even though Oulu has a lot to offer, I would say that its biggest selling point is the nature surrounding it. Indeed, I have never seen landscapes as beautiful as the ones in Oulu. Despite having been here for an entire semester already, I am still speechless every time I go for a walk around the lakes next to my apartment.

Since coming here, my classmates and I have gotten used to going on walks once our classes are over. It's a nice way to relax and decompress after being in university all day. Sometimes we even sauna after, to maximize the relaxing effects.

Chatting with friends in the sauna and jumping in the cold lake afterwards made me feel so alive!

If the sauna is your thing, I can't recommend enough the floating sauna in Oulu. It was one of my favourite experiences in the city so far. We went in October, and the water was at 2°C; while some of my classmates were brave enough to swim around the river, I could only manage to quickly dip inside the river and run back to the warmth of the sauna.

This photo was taken in Kuivasjärvi, literally 5 minutes away from where I live! Despite going for walks here almost every day, it still leaves me speechless every time.

If you prefer long hikes and enjoying nature, Oulu has unending spots you will love. My favourite is Kuivasjärvi, the area of lakes and forests right next to the university. In the winter, it truly looks like a winter wonderland. I feel as If I was living inside a winter postcard.

Also, Nallikari Beach is a beautiful spot at any time of the year. I recommend taking warm tea with you and some sweets – my favourite is Pulla – and having a picnic in the cold with friends, while you watch the sun going down.

The sunsets at Nallikari beach are always beautiful.

You can see that in the cover photo. There are barbecue spots you can enjoy during the warmer days, but it's still a beautiful place to go see the 2 p.m. sunsets and the frozen sea in the winter!

If you want to venture a bit farther away, Rokua and Koiteli are both natural parks near Oulu, accessible by public transport.

After surviving a hellish week full of assignments, some of us went to celebrate by eating out.

Nonetheless, if you are a city person like me, rest assured. I can still do my favourite activities here in Oulu: shopping and eating out. The second-hand shopping scene is excellent, with plenty of places to browse and find cheap winter gear at an affordable price.

I love to try out new restaurants in the city; food is always an excellent way to cope with the cold and dark weather.

There are plenty of restaurants in Oulu, and I love trying a new one every time. I have many favourites already. :)

Even though plenty of fun activities are waiting for you in the summer, such as swimming in lakes, barbecues, and berry picking, the winter also has plenty to offer! Skating and skiing are very accessible in Oulu, and there are plenty of ski tracks and skating rings around the city.

About the author

Núria Torras from Spain is currently studying Education and Globalisation at the University of Oulu. Her hobbies include travelling, reading, nature, and running. Before coming to Oulu, she loved the warm weather, but after being in Finland, she started to appreciate (and even enjoy) the cold weather and the beautiful scenery it brings on.