Kokkola (Swedish: Karleby)  is a small town situated in Ostrobothnia, Finland, with a population of approximately 36000. It is the biggest town in the region, between Oulu and Vaasa. It was founded in 1620 and during the 18th century it had one of the largest merchant fleets in Finland, and was a major producer of tar and ships. Presently Kokkola is a fairly peaceful city.
- Trains that leave from Helsinki are available daily. The fastest connection is by Pendolino train which will last about 4 hours.
There are also some night trains with sleeping cars from Helsinki to northern regions stopping at Kokkola. Night trains usually arrive at early morning hours in Kokkola, which is uncomfortable unless you have somebody waiting for you.
- Buses from all over Finland stop regularly at Kokkola. If you travel as far as from Helsinki, forget the bus and take the train or aeroplane.
- The largest highway that passes through Kokkola is the E8
- Kruunupyy airport (KOK) is the closest one to Kokkola, about 20 kilometers away. Nearly all scheduled flights only to Helsinki, charter flights to holiday destinations around Europe. A bus service is provided to and from Mannerheimin aukio at the centre of Kokkola.
The city is fairly small, so the easiest way to see the sights is walking.
Public transport is poor in Kokkola. There are only local buses by Kokkolan Liikenne, and you have difficulty in finding a bus especially during evenings and Sundays. However, the drivers and passangers appear to be friendly.
If you want to have a sightseeing without guide, you can take the bus number 7 from Kauppatori at city center. It will take you for example to the harbour part-of-town Ykspihlaja.
- Natural History Collection Kieppi. Holds a large collection of minerals and stuffed animals.
- K.H.Renlund Art Museum. A valuable collection of Finnish art from the late 19th century.
- Camera Collection. Leo Torppa's collection of historic cameras and photography accessories.
- Museum of History. Situated in an old school-house that is one of Finland's oldest non-religious structures, it holds many items related to the seafaring history of Kokkola, including many model ships.
- Vanha kaupunki. The old quarter of Kokkola. One of the largest and most well preserved wooden house districts in Finland.
- Tankar Island. A beautiful rocky island with its own lighthouse, an old church and a seal-hunting museum. Regular trips made by the ferry MS Jenny.
- Kaarlelan kirkko. A medieval stone church from the 15th century.
- Kaarlelan kotiseutumuseo. A museum that shows visitors the culture of Ostrobothnia before industrialisation.
- Fire museum. A museum run by the volunteer firemen of Kaarlela to their fire station. In the museum there are various objects from 1800s to 1990s. The museum is open regularily in summertime, otherwise you must contact the honorary fire chief or the fire chief of Kaarlela volunteer fire department.
- Kokkolan kaupunginteatteri. The city theatre
- Freetime activity center. Possibilities for such activities as swimming, bowling, hockey and ice-skating, wall-climbing and many others.
- Kokkola Cup. The second largest annual football tournament held for children under 18 is held in Kokkola every July.
- Kahakka. An annual victory celebration that has expanded to a city festival. It is held to celebrate the towns victory over a skirmish with the British during the Crimean war.
- Venetsialaiset. An annual happening to celebrate the ending of cabin season, the last day to spend time in your summer cottages, that's held on the last weekend of August. It's a celebration of fire, light and water. Fireworks fill the night sky. People decorate their yards with fires and lights.
There are many larger stores and smaller shops.
Fast-food and pizzerias
There are at least three fast-food franchises, over ten pizzerias and many small food stalls.
Many good restaurants for everybody. Basic restaurants, Chinese and some serve slightly Mexican food.
Many small and cosy cafés.
Bars and Pubs
- West Coast, address Rantakatu 16.
- Wanha Lyhty, address Pitkänsillankatu 24.
- Corner's Pub, at the corner of Rantakatu and Torikatu.
- Huismann, at Kauppatori.
- Vanha Kippari, located out of center, in Ykspihlaja region.
- Calle. Located in Hotel Kaarle, Kauppatori 4.
- Socis. Located in Hotel Seurahuone, Torikatu 24.
- Best Western Hotel Kokkola, .
- Finlandia Hotel Seurahuone, .
- Hotelli Nukkumatti, .
- Sokos Hotel Kaarle, .
- B&B Lumitähti, .
- Lomakylä Trullevi
- Suntinsuu camping, .
There is live music regularly at local bars and pubs. The local association of living music Kokemus is arranging club events for example at bar West Coast, address Rantakatu 16.
Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra (Keski-Pohjanmaan kamariorkesteri) is touring both in Finland and abroad. The Orchestra was founded in 1972 and it received Nordic Council Music Prize in 1993.
Train connections to Helsinki are relatively good. If you want to reach the capital before midnight, you have 2-3 trains to choose from between 5.30 pm and 7.30 pm.
Or, you can take one of the night trains if you don't want to spend money in hotel - or just for atmosphere's sake. There is a daily nite train (P266) with sleeping cars leaving just after midnight and it will reach the capital roundabout seven in the morning.