Stretching across Finland’s waist from the Gulf of Bothnia to the long Russian border, this broad swath of territory takes in both Oulu's technology sector and brown bears patrolling the eastern forests. It offers some of the nation’s most memorable outdoor experiences in both summer and winter, from birdwatching and beachcombing in the west to skiing, canoeing and trekking in the east.
The further you get from Oulu, the more remote things become. Kainuu is a heavily wooded wilderness and important animal habitat traversed by the famed UKK trekking route. Koillismaa, near the Russian border, is the transitional region between the south and Lapland, and includes Oulanka National Park, one of Finland’s natural highlights, with tumbling rivers, isolated lakes and dense forests. The region is also home to Finland's most recent national park, Hossa National Park, established in 2017 to commemorate Finland's centenary of independence.