Prosperous Oulu (Swedish: Uleåborg) is one of Finland’s most enjoyable cities to visit. In summer, the angled sun bathes the kauppatori (market square) in light and all seems well with the world. Locals, who appreciate daylight when they get it, crowd the terraces, and stalls groan under the weight of Arctic berries.
The centre is spread across several islands, elegantly connected by pedestrian bridges, and water never seems far away. This layout has made it very convenient for cycling, and Oulu’s network of bike paths is one of Europe’s best.
Oulu is also one of the world’s foremost technology cities; the university turns out top-notch IT graduates and the corporate parks on the city’s outskirts employ people from all over the globe.
But it’s not all laptops and cycle lanes; this is Finland after all, and there’s a good dollop of weirdness, particularly when the Air Guitar World Championships come to town.