Difference between revisions of "Rauma"
Revision as of 06:09, 27 September 2011
Rauma (Finnish) or Raumo (Swedish)  is a town in Western Finland. The wooden houses in the center of the old town are a UNESCO World Heritage site. Rauma is the third oldest town in Finland, and currently houses approximately 40,000 inhabitants. It is a historic seafaring town but in the 20th century its main industry became paper milling. In recent years, significant employment has also been contributed by the nearby Olkiluoto area which houses two of Finland's nuclear power plants and is currently constructing a third.
Rauma has a lot of seafaring history. During past centuries it also developed a reputation for high quality lace. Both of these traditions are actively being marketed by the tourism industry, though in day to day life they are no longer mainstream (except for the port operations, as Rauma is still a major port in Finland). Folk culture, tourism and older people try to preserve much of Rauma tradition, but as everywhere, Finland is gradually becoming homogenized due to the influence of mass media. Younger generations in Rauma these days hardly differ from those in most other Finnish cities.
The post-WWII years were mainly driven by pulp and paper milling, which cast its ugly (and sometimes smelly) shadow on the town. However, the wood industry also brought prosperity and compared to many other similarly sized towns, Rauma has done pretty well. Environmental impact (including the abovementioned smell) is nowadays rather small due to modern technology. Most of the 'smoke' you see coming from the factory area (tucked into the outskirts of the town) is actually water vapour.
In its heyday, Rauma had two competing shipyards, which have now been consolidated into one and owned by STX (from S-Korea). Combined with the wood industry and other metal industry companies, Rauma really has a blue-collar history.
Recently, due to the construction of the new nuclear power plant by a Franco-German company, there has been an influx of engineers and their families from Central Europe. This has contributed positively not only to the economy but also to the offerings of restaurants and cafés. As of this writing (in early 2007), it is probable that the project and a possible continuation will stretch on for some time, keeping the foreign clientele in the town and thus invigorating it.
The neighboring county of Lappi merged into Rauma in 2009.
The locals are mainly Finnish speaking. As in most of Finland, you'll find that teenagers and twentysomethings almost always know at least some English. Rauma has a dialect of its own which is often said to be a language of its own. Rauman giäl ("Rauman kieli", or the language of Rauma) is characterized by a slightly more guttural intonation than standard Finnish. Its most extreme form is, however, mostly reserved only for traditional folk events or touristic marketing. The day to day language of Rauma inhabitants is mostly standard Finnish mixed with some Rauma idioms, words and pronunciation. If you know Finnish, you'll understand practically everything; it's only the occasional word here or there that might leave you confused.
Nearest airport (IATA: POR ) is located in the neighboring city of Pori. Another option is Turku (IATA: TKU ), which may have slightly better connections abroad. If you fly in from abroad, it may be quicker to fly to Helsinki (IATA: HEL ) and continue by bus or train than to wait for a connecting flight to Turku. Tampere also has some international flights, most of them operated by Ryanair.
Rauma is well connected to other cities by bus and most tourists arrive this way. The Long-distance Bus Station (Linja-autoasema) is located in the city centre. Buses go every 1-3 hours except during the night. Destinations include Helsinki (3,5 h), Turku (1,5 h), Tampere (2,5 h). Timetables can be found on the website of Matkahuolto .
There is no passenger rail traffic directly to Rauma. However, you can buy a train ticket to Rauma from VR . The train takes you as far as Kokemäki, where you'll change to a bus (included in the price) for the rest of the way. This is convenient for example if you are Interrailing. From Helsinki it takes about four hours to reach Rauma by train. You should also consider taking an alternative route of taking a train to Turku and then a northbound bus to Rauma. This may also be faster than taking a direct bus, depending on the time of day, but the Turku-Rauma bus is not included in the train ticket.
There are easy road connections to Helsinki (south via Huittinen, 242 km), Tampere (east via Huittinen, 145 km), Turku (south, 94 km) and Pori (north, 49 km). There are no roads going west since that way lies the sea.
There is no commercial passenger traffic by sea but many tourists, especially Finns, arrive in Rauma with their private yachts. There are a few guest harbours around Rauma.
Bringing your own car or bicycle would be convenient. The bus system is extremely limited and services only the handful of most important routes. You'll find the main bus stop near the old town, at Savila. This is not the same as the intercity bus terminal which services the buses that go in and out of Rauma; there are a couple of blocks between the two bus stations.
Taxis operate widely around the city and you can flag a cab when you see one or call +358 2 106 400. As everywhere else in Finland taxis are rather expensive. Also, since Rauma is a small town, walking around the city, and especially the Old Town, is easy.
Most of Rauma's sights are conveniently located within a walking distance of the centre.
Old Rauma  (Vanha Rauma) is the largest uniform wooden town in the Nordic Countries, and it was included on the UNESCO World Heritage List on the eve of the 550th anniversary of the city. The oldest inhabited buildings date back even to the 17th century.
Archipelago of Rauma
The archipelago is not very extensive, although sailing south will get you to Turku archipelago, largest archipelago of the Baltic Sea. However, in summer when the weather is fine, the islands provide a nice day trip.
In peak tourist season, there are regular boat connections to each of these islands. In most winters, it is also possible to walk, ski or skate over the frozen sea. Be sure to ask locals if the ice is thick enough, never embark alone, and avoid shipping routes with potentially thinner ice. Obviously there are little or no tourist services available on the islands during winter.
Museums & galleries
Despite it's small size, Rauma hosts numerous festivals, mostly during summertime.
For exact dates and program, again check the City of Rauma website .
The Culture and Leisure Centre operates an information service called Fyyr which helps to find things to do and see, and may be able to help with more information about any of these opportunities. Their service is available in Finnish and English, at Nortamonkatu 5, tel. +358-2-8343510, and on their website at .
Rauma Regional Tourist Office will also be able to help especially with the more touristy services. Their office is at Valtakatu 2, tel. +358-2-83787730 and +358-2-83787731.
In Old Rauma you can still find plenty of traditional lace on sale and at the main square you will find the seafarers' museum containing some impressive stuff. You can buy original and famous Rauma Lace in Rauman Pellava ja Pitsi  at Kuninkaankatu 15, there are also other genuine Rauma handicrafts, textiles and handicrafts available.
There are a couple of local foods which are borne of the seafaring past: lapskoussi (mashed potatoes and salted meat) and topseilvellinki (raisin soup, usually served with pancakes).
Budget choices are largely limited to fast food. In addition to McDonald's and its Finnish imitator Hesburger, Rauma has a bunch of pizza and kebab places, where a meal typically costs around 4,5-8 €. See for example  for addresses and ratings of Rauma kebab joints.
Cafes are mostly located in Old Rauma.
There are no world-class restaurants. Of the local offerings, better ones include Delicio and Wanha teatteri (see listings).
In addition to the previous, many of the better hotels have restaurants of their own.
For self-caterers, Rauma offers several options. You can buy fresh and smoked fish and fruits and vegetables at the market, in the heart of Old Rauma. Also, Rauma has many supermarkets. The biggest (and cheapest) two are Citymarket (Karjalankatu 5) and Prisma (Porintie 4). They both are within a five minutes walk northwards from the Church of the Holy Cross. In addition, the large shop at ABC gas station (Unajantie 2) is open 24/7.
Rauma has its own drink, Puksprööt, made of juniper-rowan liqueur and white wine, served with a tar-infused rope. Some bars elect not to use juniper liqueur, in which case you might want to add some gin.
A common perception among young Raumans is that there is absolutely nothing to do in Rauma. This perception is shared to such a degree that if a Rauman teenager asks another if there's anything happening in Rauma, the other one starts outright laughing. As usual, teenagers have somewhat of an extremist view and also are not fully aware of all their options -- still, there is some truth to their opinions. Rauma is not a happening party town. There are a couple of night club options and a number of seedy bars, and each usually has their own clientele where everybody knows each other. It might be difficult to find a place that fits you in Rauma, and if you do, it might be difficult to get to know the people who already know each other.
Bars and clubs are concentrated in Old Rauma and west of Old Rauma. Main party days are Friday and Saturday, Wednesday coming as third.
There are a number of nice cafés (kahvila) in the Old Rauma, some in the inner yards of the old wooden houses, sometimes with live music or art galleries - obviously patios are usually only open in summertime. The best option is to walk around and pick the one you like.
Cafés are typically Finnish-style. American style tall lattes are hard to come by, and surprisingly many offer light-roasted drip coffee only (no espresso). This is, however, slowly changing.
Some established cafés include
Most of the accommodation available in Rauma is mid-range. The only real budget option is the camping ground.
There are no internet cafes in Rauma since most people have a broadband access at home. However, you can access internet free of charge at public libraries, such as the Rauma City Library  (Rauman Kaupunginkirjasto, Alfredinkatu 1).
Rauma can be used as a stepping stone for visiting other small neighbouring villages. As an example, there is another Unesco World Heritage Site in the municipality of Lappi (no relation to Lapland) called Sammallahdenmäki, consisting of Bronze Age stone piles.
Information on neighbouring villages, as well as information on Rauma itself, can be found on .