Kokkola-Pietarsaari AirportThis has two direct flights daily to & from Helsinki operated by Norra, taking just over an hour. A third flight is triangular, Helsinki > Kemi-Tornio > KOK > Helsinki, taking 2 hr 30 min, and one of the direct flights from Helsinki is the reverse triangle. There are also a few summer charters to holiday destinations around Europe. There's no bus to Kokkola / Karleby or Pietarsaari / Jakobstad, book a taxi via firstname.lastname@example.org for 20€ each way, taking 15 mins. There's a small cafe open for the early morning and midday flights down to Helsinki.
There are six direct trains daily from Helsinki via Tampere, taking just under 4 hours, and continuing to Oulu (Uleaborg) and other far-north towns. A couple of sleeper trains to the far north also call at Kokkola in the small hours. is central, but cold and shuttered at those hours - the waiting room is open Su-F 07:00-18:00, Sa 07:00-15:30 with a couple of ticket machines and a Sixt car rental office. See Finland#Get around: By train for advice on fares and ticket purchase.
By busKokkola has direct buses from Helsinki (8-9 hr), Turku (7 hr), Jyväskylä (4 hr), Vaasa (2 hr 30 min), Jakobstad (1 hr) and Oulu (3 hr). Bus is the quickest way to Vaasa and Jakobstad as the railway route is indirect. The town bus station is just across the road from the railway station.
By carThe main highways into town are E8 Turku - Vaasa - Kokkola - Oulu - Kemi - Tromsø, and E12 Helsinki - Tampere - Kokkola.
By boatThere are no ferries to Kokkola, the nearest port is Vaasa with ferries taking 5 hours to Umeå in Sweden.
Pyöräliike Lybäck Oy on Isokatu 21 do bike repairs and rentals. They're open M-F 09:00-17:00 and Sa 10:00-14:00.
Some six city bus lines circle Kokkola. The only one a visitor is likely to want is Bus 7, which runs hourly from town centre via the market to Halkokari (east of the river outlet) and west to dockland.
- Neristan is Swedish for "lower town", the artisan and sailors' quarter (Finnish Vanha kaupunki.) This is a fine old district of wooden houses, one of the best preserved in Finland, laid out on a grid pattern. Oppistan or "upper town" was the more prosperous merchant quarter but less of this has survived. The station area is bland and modern, go north a couple of blocks back to come into the attractive part, bounded to the east by the river and park and to the north by Chydeniuksenkatu. The tourist map suggests a walking route but you can just quarter the streets at random.
Museum Quarteraddress: Pitkänsillankatu 28This is a small city block just south of the new church with four buildings around a grassy square with cafe. The four are Pedagogium the old school house, Lassander House showing life of a prosperous 18th C family, the natural history collection, and the gem and mineral collection. The latter two (east side) are closed for rebuilding following a fire in Jan 2019.
address: Pitkänsillankatu 39Councillor Karl Herman Renlund (1850-1908) donated his art collection to the city, and gives his name to the museum sited at several locations. The bulk of the collection is here in Roos House, built in 1813 by the merchant & shipping Roos family to show off their wealth and classical leanings. Plus modern exhibitions on the ground floor.
- : 19th C Finland was part of the Russian Empire, and in 1854 during the Crimea War a force of British Royal Marines raided the town. They were beaten off, nine were killed, and one boat was captured. It's by the creek along Isokatu, in a boathouse which is locked but has a shop-window front. The British ask for the boat's return, but the Finns decline. It's being looked after nicely (the boathouse is being re-painted in mid-2019) and is safe enough where it is.
- : this area was outside town until the 19th C when it was laid out as a public park. At its northwest corner, the Katarina Cemetery is a walled graveyard set up in 1770 on the site of the earlier plague pits. It's surrounded by charnel houses, where those who died in winter were stored until the ground thawed in spring and they could be buried. North a block, note the Orthodox Chapel and 1930-style filling station.
Kaarlela ChurchAttractive stone church built circa 1460 and extended in the late 18th C; now Lutheran.
Kaarlela Museum of Local History and Cultureaddress: Kirkkopolku 4Displays local rural life from the 19th century. There's a windmill, stable, workshop and forge, a smoke sauna, drying barn, cottage, tannery and carding works.
Tankar IslandA charming little island with a lighthouse, an old church and a seal-hunting museum plus cafe; it was formerly the base for pilot boats. The lighthouse, built 1889, is an automated steel tower, you can't go inside. The island's main buildings can be reached with strollers or wheelchairs from the jetty by boardwalk and decent track, but other paths (eg the nature trail) are rough going. The ferry MS Jenny makes regular trips June-Aug. It usually leaves at noon for a 90 min crossing, returning at 15:30 for 17:00. Trips sail June-Aug on W F Sa Su, plus late June-mid Aug on Thursday evenings and Tuesday noon. The boat sails from Meripuisto 2.5 km north of the centre, west bank of the creek (same side as the camp site). Bus 7 runs partway there but it's a pleasant 40 min walk from town centre, see "Do".
address: Torikatu 48The theatre has a regular programme of entertainment, but only in Finnish.
- Walk or cycle north along the creek to the sea shore, 2.5 km. There are tarmac paths both sides, but the west bank is more pleasant, a bosky parkland of native birch and fir. At the ring road Pohjoisväylä / Norraleden (where in mid-2019 the creek is culverted for construction works) you need to swing briefly onto the east bank. Then take the footbridge by the supermarket to return to the west bank path, for the campsite and ferry to Tankar Island.
- Kokkola Cup is an annual football (soccer) tournament for under-18s held in and around town in July. The next event is 18-21 July 2019.
- The Venetian Festival (Venetsialaiset) at the end of August is when people close up their summer cabins and cottages and have a party, before the September nights and cold winds set in. There's a lot of bonfires, lights and fireworks - hence the name, as fireworks were introduced to Finland from Italy and became known as "Venetian lights". The next event is 30-31 Aug 2019.
- Live music is often on at local bars and pubs, eg at Bar West Coast on Rantakatu 16.
- Classical music: the Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra often play at Snellman Hall, Kokkola.
- Anniversary: The city's anniversary is celebrated on 7 Sept. The big one will be in 2020, with a series of events leading up to 7 Sept 2020, the 400th anniversary. The programme has not yet been announced.
There are at least three fast-food franchises, over ten pizzerias and many small cafés and food stalls, plus Italian, Chinese and (sort-of) Mexican. The main concentration is in and around Chydenia mall near the railway and bus stations.
address: Isokatu 4Mid-range chain restaurant with Italian food.
West Coast Billiardaddress: Rantakatu 16Downstairs bar with pool tables and live music.
Corner's Pubaddress: corner of Rantakatu and TorikatuSmall mellow place.
Huismannaddress: Torikatu 27, KauppatoriSports bar with good selection of beers.
Calle Nightclubaddress: Kauppatori 4Gets awfully crowded and difficut to get served.
- Reino Nightclub (formerly Socis) is in Hotel Seurohuone (listed below), F Sa 23:00-03:30.
Vanha Kippariaddress: Satamakatu 12Handy for industrial zone.
address: Meritie 10Open year-round with chalets, trailer park, tenting area.
phone: +358 6 8241 000address: Rantakatu 14Decent 3-star, gets mostly business travellers, free parking.
phone: +358 20 7959 600address: Torikatu 24Decent central 3-star, but noisy nightclub at weekends.
phone: +358 6 824 3200address: Nahkurinkatu 23-star motel at east edge of centre.
phone: +358 20 7808900address: Kauppatori 4Central clean hotel with good restaurant Amarillo.
- Kalajoki 68 km north has sandy beaches where you can swim in the Gulf of Bothnia in the summer.
- Raahe 126 km north is an industrial town.
- Oulu 200 km north is the largest city in Northern Finland with many sights and activities, eg the excellent Science Museum.
- Jakobstad (Pietarsaari) 36 km south, which still has a Swedish-speaking majority, has an extensive wooden town, the ship replica Jacobstads Wapen and the botanical garden.
- Vaasa (Vasa) 121 km south is Ostrobothnia's "capital", with plenty of history and with a ferry across the gulf to Umeå in Sweden.