| The west coast area
of Ostrobothnia, with its long sandy beaches (of
which the dunes of Kalajoki are the best known),
is an agricultural region with a sunny climate and less rain than
elsewhere in the country. There are islands between Vaasa
and Kokkola with old fishermen’s villages.
Hailuoto Island, with its interesting
fauna, can be reached by ferry from Oulu, the area’s
chief commercial and university centre. Picturesque old wooden houses
are still a feature of these coastal towns. Traditions are maintained
in many local festivals where Pelimannit play music
handed down through the generations.
has administrative buildings designed by Alvar Aalto.
Ähtäri Wildlife Park is 80km (130 miles)
southeast of Seinäjoki. The region just south
of the Arctic Circle along the eastern frontier
is centred round Kuusamo.
In Oulanka National Park, rivers with rapids run
through gorge-like valleys. Seine fishing, using vertical nets,
takes place on Lake Kitkajärvi. In summer,
there are many hiking routes. Ruka Fell is a popular
winter sports area.
Main towns and resorts
Kokkola, Raahe, Oulu, Pietersaari, Seinäjoki and Vaasa.