Vaasa (Swedish: Vasa) is in Ostrobothnia, Western Finland.


Vaasa was an important place of governance when Finland was part of Sweden. It started in the 14th century when Korsholm castle was built near the village of Mustasaari. In 1606 the village of Mustasaari was granted city status and five years later it was renamed Wasa in honor of the Swedish royal lineage. The old names live on in the municipality that surrounds Vaasa as it is called Korsholm in Swedish and Mustasaari in Finnish. The old town of Vaasa burned to the ground in 1852, and when it was rebuilt it was relocated closer to the sea some six kilometers northwest from its original location. In the same process the town was renamed Nikolainkaupunki (Sw: Nikolaistad) in honor of Russian Czar Nikolai I, as Finland at that time was a Grand Duchy under Russian rule (1809-1917). In its new location Vaasa (or Nikolainkaupunki) became a important sea-faring city and a local business man named Carl Gustaf Wolff (1800-1868) was at one point the biggest shipowner in the nordic countries. When Finland proclaimed its independence in 1917 the name of the town was again reverted to Vaasa. The town was made capital of the white side (conservative, bourgeois) for a short while during the civil war (1918) when Helsinki was occupied by the red side (socialist, communist). It has since then been known as The White City, since the support for the whites was very strong in the area. Around 25 percent of the towns population is Swedish-speaking and even more are bilingual (Finnish and Swedish) and the ties to Sweden are strong in the area. In the area surrounding Vaasa the majority of people are Swedish-speaking. Vaasa is shielded from the open sea by the many islands in the archipelago. The nature of this area is nearly unique in the world as it continuously rises from the sea as the sea level due to post-glacial rebound. The Kvarken Archipelago, which is a UNESCO world nature heritage site, is just around the corner.

Get in

By car

Highway 3 (also E12) from Helsinki through Tampere to Vaasa (419 km). The coastal main road 8 (E8) goes from Turku through Rauma and Pori to Vaasa (332 km) and continues through Kokkola to Oulu (318 km).

By train

All trains from Helsinki to Oulu and Rovaniemi via Tampere stop at Seinäjoki. From there you can take connection trains, which head to Vaasa. There are also trains that go straight to Vaasa via Seinäjoki. Three of these trains also go from Vaasa to Jyväskylä via Seinäjoki. Check timetables at VR's web site.

By bus

There are west coast bus connections from Oulu to Turku, which go through Vaasa. Buses connect Vaasa also to Tampere, Pori and Kokkola. Check Matkahuolto for timetables and such.

By boat

A ferry line called Wasaline traffics daily between Vaasa and Holmsund, Sweden (near Umeå). Prices are around 30-35€ for adults (each direction). Students get a discount and cars add an extra 50€ or so to the price. You can also do a day cruise (6 days a week from Vaasa and once from Umeå) which are 39€ return.

People arriving with their own motor- or sailboat can make use of Wasa Segelförening (one of Finland's oldest sailing societies) on the island of Vaskiluoto. They run the official guest harbour of Vaasa and offer good services for the occasional boat captain. There's a good view over town from the harbour and it's a two kilometer walk into the center.

By plane

There are daily regular flights from Vaasa airport to Helsinki (Finnair) and Stockholm, Sweden (SAS, Norwegian).

A shuttle bus connects the airport to the central square. Local bus lines 4, 10 and 40 operated by Vaasan paikallisliikenne also go to the city center; a one-way ticket on these buses cost €2.50. You can also take a taxi. Taxis can be pre-ordered at earliest two hours before arrival or departure, unless it is a morning plane in which case the taxi should be pre-ordered before 22:00 on the day before. The phone number for pre-ordering an airport taxi is +358 6 100 411, or if you're calling from a Finnish mobile phone; 0600 30011. A taxi ride costs between €16-25 depending on where in Vaasa you're going.

Get around

The city is quite compact and most things to see are within walking distance. The commercial center and nightlife is concentrated in the area around the market square.

The local bus traffic to other parts of the city and the surrounding municipalities leave mainly from the southern end of the market square or from the western side of Rewell Center shopping mall. Bus lines typically have interval of one hour or half an hour per line. The office for the city buses, Vaasan Paikallisliikenne , is situated on the second floor of Rewell Center. There is a graphical route planner to find suitable bus routes and timetables.

There are two taxi stations in the center of Vaasa (Hovioikeudenpuistikko 10 and 23). You can call a taxi to any address through the number +358 6 100 411 (when calling from abroad the number is +358 6 3200 111).

There is a local company called Vaasan Taxivene (tel. +358 500 667 760 or +358 400 594 967) that offers taxi services by boat. This service is best suited for groups rather than individuals since the rates tend to be quite high for the lone traveller (a taxiboat for nine passengers is €140/h). The same company organizes special archipelago cruises and waterskiing.


Trinity church
The market square
Landsat picture of Söderfjärden impact structure (the round brown agriculturally used area).





If you want to experience live music on a regular basis in Vaasa then there are two venues to keep in mind.



The old Market Hall of Vaasa is still in use.

There are three shopping malls in Vaasa of which two are found by the market square. On the western side of the square is   Rewell Center (named after architect Viljo Revell who planned the modern city block that was built in 1962) and on the eastern side is the smaller   HS center. A big   Citymarket mall can be found on the northern end of the market square. In   Kivihaka, eastwards from the city center, you'll find a big area with various big shops, a smaller shopping mall and two big supermarkets. Best reached by car.



There are numerous cheap hamburger, kebab and pizza joints. At lunch time there is a huge variety of places to eat for around 7-10€. For the cheapest lunches head to a student lunch restaurant. A finnish student card is required for the subsidised price, but even with out it the price is affordable at around 5€.




There are several bars and nightclubs in Vaasa.

Bars & Pubs

Most restaurants have bars or pubs in connection to them and especially the summer restaurants have popular terraces to start the evening on.




Bed & Breakfast

Camping & Cabins



Go next

Routes through Vaasa

Umeå  N  S  Laihia Helsinki

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, September 04, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.