Kajaani (Swedish Kajana) is a town and municipality in Finland and the administrative capital of the Kainuu region. It is located southeast of Oulujärvi (Lake Oulu), which drains to the Gulf of Bothnia along the Oulujoki (river Oulu).
Kajaani is a typical small and quiescent former industrial city. For many visitors, Kajaani is a stop on their way to the Vuokatti skiing centre, located 40 kilometres east of the city. As Kajaani is the largest city (36 000 inhabitants) in Kainuu, there are more shopping opportunities than in Vuokatti. Especially Russian tourists staying in Vuokatti are a common sight in the shops of Kajaani in the winter.
As in most of Finland, the English language is widely understood, as is Swedish to some extent, since both are compulsory languages in Finnish comprehensive schools. Since the Kainuu region borders Russia, that language holds an important position as residents from both countries visit the other for business and pleasure. Some residents can also speak German and French.
The locally strong Finnish accent adds extra vowels to words. Even if you're capable of speaking and understanding Finnish at a basic level, you may find it hard to understand some elderly people. For the same reason, English spoken by the locals may in some cases be hard to understand.
Highway 5, one of the major roads between northern and southern Finland passes through Kajaani, highway 6 links the city with Joensuu, highways 22 and 28 links Kajaani to Oulu and Kokkola respectively on the west coast. Roads are well maintained and taken good care of overall.
In the Kainuu region (and Finland generally) driving is a very practical way to get around and that's not only because of the long distances (and the weaker public transport). Landscapes are magnificent and it's so relaxing to drive around in almost empty roads. Just remember those few common things (see article Finland and get around by Car section) and you'll enjoy driving!
Moose alert! If you are continuing your trip towards north or east from Kajaani, watch out for elks and reindeers that may run out of nowhere to the road. Be cautious particularly in dusk and dawn when driving trough vastly uninhabited areas.
Flybe flies from Helsinki to Kajaani airport (IATA:KAJ), located 7 kilometres northwest from Kajaani city centre. Local bus number 4 links the airport to the centre. You can also take a taxi.
City centre and main attractions, like the castle, can be easily reached by foot.
Maps and more information about the city and Kainuu region can be found from Kajaani-Info. Info is located next to the town hall (address Pohjolankatu 13). Tourist information is also available in the VisitKajaani website.
Driving everywhere in the town area is easy, as the city government continually improves driving conditions by building roudabouts, improving intersections and streets in general. There are minor weekday rushs in the mornings and afternoons, when residents head to work and home from there, however they usually don't last long. Finding parking space is not usually a problem, but you may have to search little longer during those "rush moments".
The only mode of public transportation is the bus. The routes are operated by Pohjolan Matkat and the timetables available here(Finnish only)
See and Do
- Kajaani Art Museum (Kajaanin taidemuseo), Linnankatu 14 (In front of the 2nd town hall), ☎ +358 8 61552599. Sun-Frid 10-17, Wed 10-20 (closed Sat). This small, two-story art museum in the middle of downtown Kajaani exhibits a wide variety of art, in medium, content and theme. Photography, videography, installation art, and more can be found here. Exhibits change about 6 times a year. They also offer workshops, lectures, and performances (in Finnish, of course). There is little to no English available here, but that's rarely an issue. (Take a Finn with you if you'd like a more detailed description of each piece of art.) The museum is in front of the historic, yellow town hall (which features a clock tower). Just look for the nondescript, white-gray building with the word Taidemuseo on it. €2 (free on Wed).
- Kajaani Castle (Kajaanin linna), middle of the Ämmäkoski bridge (Follow the river or Ahontie road). This 17th century ruin of Kajaani castle (fortress is a more likely term) doesn't offer much more than the experience of walking through the ruins of a 400-year-old castle. There are a few plaques placed around the castle (in English, as well as others) that detail its history and the placement and purpose of the original rooms. 15 to 20 minutes enough to explore the castle and its grounds. Free.
- Kajaani Poetry Week. Annual poetry festival spreads all around the town in July. In 2013, it will be held in 3rd-7th of July.
- Kajaani Market Street, Kauppakatu. Main street of Kajaani is closed from traffic for one week in July. At that time the street is taken over by stalls selling local products, food and clothes. Dates change every year, but street is usually organised same time as the Poetry Week (see above).
- Taito Shop Kainuun Pirtti, Brahenkatu 3, ☎ +358 40 534 7851. Mon-Fri 9AM-2PM, Sat 9AM-2PM. Traditional handicrafts and knit garments. Arranges handicraft courses.
- Kauppapaikka 18, Kauppakatu 18. Small shopping centre in the center of the city. Few international chains, like H&M and Benetton. In same building you can also find a bank, ATM, cosy cafe and a fast food restaurant.
- Ravintola Sirius, Brahenkatu 5, ☎ +358 8 612 2087. Mon-Fri 10:30AM-5PM. Tasty, no-nonsense Finnish food with a good wine list. Main dishes €6.5-14, fixed menu a little more. The restaurant is situated on a beautiful site next to river.
- Ravintola Ranch, Kauppakatu 26, 87100, ☎ +358 8 636 696. Mon: 10.30 – 14.30, Tu: 10.30 – 20.00, Wed: 10.30 – 22.00, Thu: 10.30 – 22.00, Fri: 10.30 – 23.00, Sat: 12.00 – 23.00, Sun: 14.00 – 20.00. As implied by the restaurant's name, the food is influenced heavily by sort of "wild-west", Texas or Mexico thing or such. Delicious hamburgers, steaks, french fries and wedges can be found on menu, and restaurant also haves daily lunch. Place is decorated in wooden style of old "wild west" saloons.
- Mantan Grilli-Kioski, Sudenpolku 15, ☎ +358 8 6141 515, e-mail: email@example.com. Mon-Fri 10AM - 11:30PM, Sat-Sun 11AM - 11:30PM. Famous local hamburger-grill. Big take-away dishes of kebab and fries, but location is rather far away from the city center. €5-9.
- Pekka Heikkinen, Välikatu 7, ☎ +358 8 617 890, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Mon-Fri 7:30AM - 17.30PM, Sat 7:30AM - 2PM. Legendary bakery that has been awarded for its quality rye bread. There is a factory shop where you can buy the products of the bakery and a small cafe if you want to enjoy them right there.
- Pitkä Taneli, Linnankatu 21, ☎ +358 8 010 7637010, e-mail: email@example.com. Mon-Tue and Sun 9AM - 12PM, Wed-Thu 9AM - 2AM, Fri-Sat 9AM - 3AM. The most famous pub in Kajaani. The 40-year old pub gathers both young and old people to sing karaoke during weekends.
- Onnela, Linnankatu 18, ☎ +358 8 0207759485, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Wed, Fri and Sat 10PM - 04AM. Onnela (transl. "Place of happiness") is the largest nightclub in Kajaani. DJ:s play Top-40 hits and Finnish classics. Targeted to young adults, but older folks have started to hang around after few other clubs have been closed.
- Club96, Kauppakatu 26, ☎ +358 8 636 696, e-mail: email@example.com. Fri-Sat 10PM - 04AM. Club96 attracts just-turned-eighteen clubbers. Trendy dance & hip-hop music.
- Balls, Lönnrotinkatu 5, ☎ +358 44 358 6411. Sun-Tue 11AM - 02AM, Wed-Sat 11AM - 03AM. Local rock´n´roll fans stare their half empty pints in this place, that offers rock and metal gigs at weekends.
- Sokos Hotel Seurahuone, Kauppakatu 11, ☎ +358 8 6150 500, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kajaani is a very safe city. The area between Kauppakatu and Välikatu may be a little restless during weekend nights when bars close their doors at 2AM/3AM and drunken local people wander out.
- Paltaniemi (9 kilometres northwest from the city center). Paltaniemi is a picturesque rural village right next to airport. The view is dominated by Paltaniemi Church and long fields. Paltaniemi is also the birthplace of Finnish poet Eino Leino and his home has been turned into a museum-cafe. Families gather to Paltaniemi Beach on hot summer days. Although Paltaniemi is officially a neighbourhood of Kajaani, you´ll need a bike or car to reach the place. Buses move far apart.
- Vuokatti (40km east from Kajaani). Vuokatti is a ski- and spa-resort in the municipality of Sotkamo. Vuokatti offers 13 slopes for downhill skiing and extensive network of ski tracks. Daily bus connection from Kajaani.
- Kuhmo (100km east from Kajaani). Small city of Kuhmo offers a chance to meet wildlife. Travel agencies arrange bear watching tours. City draws also classical music artists to participate in Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival every July. For more information about the festival: