Finlands Statue of Freedom in the heart of Vaasa is a good place to enjoy an ice cream during hot summer days.
Vaasa (Swedish: Vasa)  is in Ostrobothnia, Western Finland.
Vaasa was a important place of governance when Finland was part of Sweden. It started in the 14th century when Korsholm castle was built near the village of Mustasaari. In 1606 the village of Mustasaari was granted city status and five years later it was renamed Wasa in honor of the Swedish royal lineage. The old names live on in the municipality that surrounds Vaasa as it is called Korsholm in Swedish and Mustasaari in Finnish. The old town of Vaasa burned to the ground in 1852, and when it was rebuilt it was relocated closer to the sea some six kilometers northwest from its original location. In the same process the town was renamed Nikolainkaupunki (Sw: Nikolaistad) in honor of Russian Czar Nikolai I, as Finland at that time was a Grand Duchy under Russian rule (1809-1917). In its new location Vaasa (or Nikolainkaupunki) became a important sea-faring city and a local business man named Carl Gustaf Wolff (1800-1868) was at one point the biggest shipowner in the nordic countries. When Finland proclaimed its independence in 1917 the name of the town was again reverted to Vaasa. The town was made capital of the white side (conservative, bourgeois) for a short while during the civil war (1918) when Helsinki was occupied by the red side (socialist, communist). It has since then been known as The White City, since the support for the whites was very strong in the area. Around 25 percent of the towns population is Swedish-speaking and even more are bilingual (Finnish and Swedish) and the ties to Sweden are strong in the area. In the area surrounding Vaasa the majority of people are Swedish-speaking. Vaasa is shielded from the open sea by the many islands in the archipelago. The nature of this area is unique in the world as it continuously rises from the sea. The Kvarken Archipelago, which is a UNESCO world nature heritage site, is just around the corner.
Main road 3 (also E12) from Helsinki through Tampere to Vaasa (419 km). The coastal main road 8 (E8) goes from Turku through Rauma and Pori to Vaasa (332 km) and from Vaasa through Kokkola to Oulu (318 km).
Bouys waiting for visiting boats at the official guest harbour of Vaasa.
All trains from Helsinki to Oulu and Rovaniemi via Tampere stop at Seinäjoki. From there you can take connection trains, which head to Vaasa. There are also trains that go straight to Vaasa via Seinäjoki. Three of these trains also go from Vaasa to Jyväskylä via Seinäjoki. Check timetables at the state railway company (VR) .
There are west coast bus connections from Oulu to Turku, which go through Vaasa. Busses associate Vaasa also to Tampere, Pori and Kokkola. Check Matkahuolto for timetables and such ].
A ferry line called RG Line  traffics daily between Vaasa and Holmsund, Sweden (near Umeå).
People arriving with their own motor- or sailboat can make use of Wasa Segelförening (one of Finlands oldest sailing societys, [email protected])  on the island of Vaskiluoto. They run the official guest harbour of Vaasa and offer good services for the occasional boat captain. There's a good view over town from the harbour and it's a two kilometer walk into the center.
There are daily regular flights from Vaasa airport to Helsinki (Finnair , Blue1  and Golden Air/Finncomm Airlines ) and Stockholm, Sweden (Blue1).
The city is quite compact and most things to see are within walking distance. The commercial center and nightlife is concentrated in the area around the market square.
The local bus traffic to other parts of the city and the surrounding municipalities leave mainly from the southern end of the market square or from the western side of Rewell Center shopping mall. The office for the city buses is situated on the second floor of Rewell Center.
There are two taxi stations in the center of Vaasa (Hovioikeudenpuistikko 10 and 23). You can call a taxi to any address through the number +358 6 100 411 (when calling from abroad the number is +358 6 3200 111).
There is a local company called Vaasan Taxivene (tel. +358 500 667 760 or +358 400 594 967, [email protected])  that offers taxi services by boat. This service is best suited for groups rather than individuals since the rates tend to be quite high for the lone traveller(a taxiboat for nine passengers is €140/h). The same company organizes special archipelago cruises and waterskiing.
The ruins of the 14th century St Mary's church in the old town of Vaasa.
The entrance to Fabriikki, the part of the University of Vaasa which is housed in the actual old Cotton Mill.
- Market place and Finlands Statue of freedom. The market place is the center of the city life in Vaasa. Finlands Statue of Freedom, unveiled in the summer of 1938 is in the northern end of the market square.
- Old Vaasa (Vanha Vaasa, Gamla Vasa) is situated about 6km south east of the todays town featuring ruins from the first town of Vaasa that burned down in 1852 and a 18th century court building that survived the destruction but was redone into the Church of Korsholm when the town was rebuilt at a new location closer to the sea. The banks of the 14th century Korsholm castle are still visible and can be found west of the Church of Korsholm.
- The campuses of Vaasa. Vaasa has three university level educational institutions with campuses that make use of Vaasas industrial past. The University of Vaasa has a unique campus that combines modern architectural elements with an old Cotton Mill in the neighborhood of Palosaari. The campus is situated along the waterfront and has park areas all around. Some say it is the most beautiful campus in Finland. South from that campus, closer to the city center but still along the waterfront is Academill, a former grain mill that nowadays houses two faculties of Åbo Akademi university in Vaasa. In the northern end of Kauppapuistikko you will find the campus of the Swedish School of Economics and Business Adminstration, also known as Hanken, which is housed in a former clothing factory.
- Söderfjärden. South of Vaasa in the rural area of Sundom is a big cultivated area called Söderfjärden. When seen from the top of Öjberget, a hill right beside the big flat area, you see that the whole area is round. This is because it is an old crater which probably was caused by a meteor millions of years ago.
- Waterfront. Take a walk in the park areas along the waterfront. Many sights are along the way, like the neo-gothic Court of Appeal and the 19th century Vaasa prison, which is still in use (though extensivly modernized on the inside) and actually has a shop which sells crafts made by the prisoners.
- Trinity Church and surroundings. In the vicinity of the neogothic Trinity Church you will find City Hall, which also houses the Tourist office on the bottom floor. Along Vaasanpuistikko on the south side of the Church is the City Council and close by is Vaasan Lyseon Lukio, which is a Finnish-speaking upper secondary school. West of the church is a another school building with the text Lyceum. This is Vasa Övningsskolas Gymnasium, which is a Swedish-speaking upper secondary school.
- Vaasa City Library. Check out what is happening in your corner of the world in the international papers provided in the City Library on Kirjastonkatu 13. If you can't find a suitable paper then try the internet on one of the computers. It's free. And while you are there, breathe in some of the cultural history involved. The first lending library in Finland was established in Vaasa 2.8.1794. The current city library was built in 1936 and in 2001 a extensive renovation and enlargement of the library was complete taking both old and new elements into account.
- Contemporary architecture. There are some interesting buildings to see if you are an architecture buff of the modern sort. One interesting area is the Campus of Vaasa university already mentioned above, another is the city's Center City Block, also called Rewell Center, which was designed by architect Viljo Revell and finished in 1963. In the neighbourhood of Huutoniemi (sw: Roparnäs) you'll find Huutoniemi Church, a modernist building finished in 1964 and designed by Aarno Ruusuvuori. Significant industral architecture is well represented in Strömberg Industral Park and the City Library, also mentioned above, is an interesting meld of old and new.
- Wasalandia. An amusement park mainly targeted at younger children. Located on the Vaskiluoto island just outside the city center.
- Tropiclandia . A tropical spa with various slides, saunas and jacuzzis. Includes also an outside area in the summer. Located on the Vaskiluoto island just outside the city center.
- Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art . A new museum for contemporary art opened to the public in February 2007 in a former customs warehouse in the Inner Harbour of Vaasa.
- Ostrobothnian Museum and Terranova Kvarken Nature Center . If you are interested in the regions history then you need to visit this place. The Terranova Kvarken Nature Center displays the uniqueness of the nature in the area (something that should be experienced first hand out in the open air of the archipelago).
- The Tikanoja Art Museum, Hovioikeudenpuistikko 4 . A traditional art museum in the former home of local businessman Frithjof Tikanoja (1877-1964). The museum got started when he donated his private collection to the city. The collection includes works by Edgar Degas, Paul Gauguin, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso, but also works by Finnish masters like Albert Edelfelt, Axel Gallen-Kallela, Maria Wiik and Tyko Sallinen. The museum also has touring exhibitions.
- Vaasa Maritime museum, Palosaaren salmi . Get to know the seafaring past of Vaasa in this museum which is housed in a old storage building which was built by the great shipowner C.G. Wolff in the 19th century.
- Brage Open Air Museum, Hietalahti . The Museum consists of a complete nineteenth-century farm with interesting buildings and interiors from the Swedish-speaking part of Ostrobotnia. Within walking distance from the city center.
- The Water Tower. Climb up to the top of the 47 meter tall jugendstil water tower (built 1915) and enjoy the view (only during summers). It's just 200 steps. Inside the tower there is a challenging indoor climbing wall .
- Night of the Arts (in August) . Once a year the whole city is out witnessing different cultural events. There are free concerts, theater, exhibitions and other happenings all over the city. Excellent night and should be expeirenced if you are in the neighborhood.
- Rockperry (usually in July) . A two-day rock festival arranged on the island of Vaskiluoto. Gets bigger every year.
- Korsholm Music Festival (towards the end of the summer) . One of the most acknowledged chamber music festivals in Finland, brings its own mood to this coastal region as music resounds in concert halls, restaurants, museums and idyllic church buildings.
- Vaasa Choir Festival (arranged at the weekend of the Ascension Day). An international large-scale choir music happening.
- Wasa By Night (arranged one dark autumn night every fall). A annual pub crawl arranged by most pubs, bars, restaurants and nightclubs in town.
If you want to experience live music on a regular basis in Vaasa then there are two venues to keep in mind.
- Doo-Bop Club, Kauppapuistikko 12 . A jazz club under McDonald's in the northern end of the Market Square. Here you mainly hear jazz, soul and funk. The main principle is that the music is live.
- Club 25, Raastuvakatu 25. A rock club that used to be run by a local musical organisation for live music that went bankrupt. There are some concerts still organized though, so experience it if possible.
- Kulturskafferiet (also known as Ritz), Kirkkopuistikko 22 . A place that tries to combine all forms of local culture on to one scene. This place is just starting out so the happenings are not that many yet.
- VPS (Vaasan Palloseura), go watch a football game with a team that plays in the top league in Finland. The standard isn't as high as in England, Germany or even Sweden, but still. The games are played at Hietalahti Stadium, which holds 4,600 people.
- Vaasan Sport, check out a hockey game during the winter with a team that plays in the second-highest ice hockey league in Finland -the Mestis league. The games are played in Vaasa Arena.
The old Market Hall of Vaasa is still in use.
There are three shopping malls in Vaasa of which two are found by the market square. On the western side of the square is Rewell Center  (named after architect Viljo Revell who planned the modern city block that was built in 1962) and on the eastern side is the smaller HS center. Along Pitkäkatu there is a small shopping mall called Galleria Wasa. A big supermarket called City Market can be found on the northern end of the market square. In Kivihaka, eastwards from the city center, you'll find a big area with various big shops, a small shopping mall and two big supermarkets. Best reached by car.
- Loftet, Raastuvankatu 28, . Local handcraft shop not far from the city center. There is also a nice café here where you can have lunch.
The gothic style Market Hall (built in 1902) offers meat, fish, cheese, sweets, art and souvenirs. It is situated on the southern end of the market square.
There are numerous cheap hamburger, kebab and pizza joints.
- Hesburger, Kauppapuistikko 11.
- McDonald's, Hovioikeudenpuistikko 15 (center of town) & Toukolantie 1 (in connection with Prisma supermarket)
- Kotipizza, Rewell Center + six other places around town. This nationwide pizza franchise was founded in Vaasa which is one of the reasons for there being so many of these here.
- Best Burger Café, Kauppapuistikko 27.
- Rolls, Rewell Center & Kauppapuistikko 18 & Kuninkaantie 72-74.
- Subway, Vaasanpuistikko 22 & in HS Center (next to the Market Square).
- Thai House, Vaasanpuistikko 17 (second floor in the small shopping mall). Lunch buffet (weekdays 11-15) €7,50.
- Shanghai, Vaasanpuistikko 17.
- Tian Long Restaurant, Vaasanpuistikko 18
- Bistro A W Stenfors, in the Vaasa Market Hall. Excellent food and service. Open during lunch.
Out eating at the summer restaurant of Strampen.
- Rosso, Vaasanpuistikko 18 C.
- Amarillo, Rewell Center 101 (second floor).
- Reastaurant Chili Lime, Kauppapuistikko 16. Vietnamese food.
- Pizzeria Marco Polo, Hovioikeudenpuistikko 11.
- Dallas Pizza Palazzo, Västervikintie 1. Find this place if you have a car.
- Pizzeria Rax Vaasa, Kauppapuistikko 13. Pizza buffet.
- Ristorante - Pizzeria Primavera, Olympiakatu 16.
- Hupsis Kantarellis, Kauppapuistkko 15 . A place with decent food that tries to be "crazy".
- Trattoria & Bar Albertos & Rabbes, Vaasa Market Square, Hovioikeudenpuistikko 17 A.
- Janne's Saloon, Kuusisaari . Located on a island in the Vaasa Archipelago. Accessible only by cruise boat from the Inner Harbour of Vaasa during summer. During winter it is possible to walk here over the ice (provided you have someone local with you to guide you).
- Strampen, Rantakatu 6. Situated near the Inner Harbour of Vaasa. Strampen is short for "Strandpaviljongen" which is Swedish for "waterfront pavillion". Has a popular beer terrace. Only open during summers.
- Faros, Kalaranta . Faros is the name of a boat in Kalaranta (Fish harbour). On deck and partly on land there is a terrace for beer and drinks and on board under deck there is a good restaurant. Only open during summers.
- Seglis, Niemeläntie 14. Out on the island of Vaskiluoto in the club house of the Wasa Segelförening sailing society. Has a terrace with a great view into town over the bay. Only open during summers.
- Martin Baari, Hovioikeudenpuistikko 20. Small bistro to have lunch in with great service. Get a beer while you're here.
- Restaurant Gustav Wasa, Raastuvankatu 24.
- Restaurant Bacchus, Rantakatu 4.
- Reastaurant Fondis, Hovioikeudenpuistikko 15.
- Restaurant Fransmanni, Hovioikeudenpuistikko 18.
- Bistro Ernst Café, Hietasaarenkatu 7. A small place in connection with Wasa Teater, a Swedish-speaking theater.
There are several bars and nightclubs in Vaasa.
Bars & Pubs
Most restaurants have bars or pubs in connection to them and especially the summer restaurants have popular terraces to start the evening on.
- Oliver's Inn, Kauppapuistikko 8. Describes themselves as a "party pub", which is quite true during weekends.
- O'Malley's, Hovioikeudenpuistikko 21.
- El Gringo Music Saloon, Hovioikeudenpuistikko 15 (entrance through the alley).
- Calle Bar & Biljard, Olympiakatu 16.
- Amarillo Bar & Restaurant, Rewell Center 101.
- Public Corner, Hallinkuja (around the corner fom the old market hall).
- Office - The Sports Bar, Raastuvankatu 15. This bar used to be a legendary pub called Koti.
- D.O.M Munkhaus, Hietasaarenkatu 14.
- Bar 96, Kauppapuistikko 16 (in the inner yard). This place often has live music.
- Kalarannan Laituri Bar & Terrace, Kalaranta. Only during summers.
- Fontana, Hovioikeudenpuistikko 15 . Probably the most popular nightclub in town. On the second floor of the Hartman House in the northern end of the Market Square. There is a lounge available for private parties.
- Royal Bar & Night, Hovioikeudenpuistikko 18 . A nightclub in connection with the Radisson SAS hotel. The nightclub has a rock/heavy metal bar.
- Circus, Hietasaarenkatu 14 . Built into a former bread factory. Offers many club nights and concert nights with local bands.
- Nightclub Sky, Rewell Center 101 . This place has the best view in town as far as the nightclubs are concerned as it is on the ninth floor of a building on the west side of the Market Square. The Sokos Hotel Vaakuna is in the same building. Find your way to the nightclub through the Amarillo Bar on the ground floor.
- Hullu Pullo, Kauppapuistikko 15 . A big rock oriented bar more than a nightclub, but there is still a dancefloor. There are quite many concerts held here during the winter season.
- Waild, Kauppapuistikko 15 . A nightclub for a more mature public compared with Hullu Pullo which is next door.
- Hostel Vaasa, Niemeläntie 1, tel. +358 6 324 1555 (fax: +358 6 324 1501, e-mail: [email protected]), . Located outside the city center on the island of Vaskiluoto in connection with Hotel Fenno. There is no regular bus connection to this location so unless you are driving or you really want to walk you need to take a taxi. Prices range from €17,50 (bed in a shared room with three beds) to €65 (private four bed room).
- Kenraali Wasa Hostel, Korsholmanpuistikko 6-8, tel. +358 400 668 521 (fax. +358 6 3121 394, e-mail: [email protected]), . Located in a former military compund made up of charming wooden barracks with roots in the 19th century. Within walking distance from the city center. Prices range from €40 (private room with one bed) to €60 (private room with four beds).
- Omena Hotel Vaasa, Hovioikeudenpuistikko 23, . All hotel bookings and payments are done through the internet at www.omena.com through which you get a code for your room. The hotel is situated right next to the train station and a short walk from the city center. In this hotel you pay for the room and not the amount of people staying in the room. Prices start at €36 (room with four beds, €9 per person), and depend on the conditions of the booking and the stay. All rooms can house four people.
- EFÖ, Rantakatu 21-22, tel. +358 50 557 4723 (only during summer, e-mail: [email protected], during winter available rooms can be booked through the school +358 6 317 4913), . EFÖ is short for "Evangeliska Folkhögskolan i Österbotten", which is Swedish for The Evangelical Folk High School in Ostrobothnia. During summertime when the school is closed it becomes a summer hotel. Smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages are banned. A single room costs 47€/night and a double room 52€/night.
- Hotel Tekla, Palosaarentie 58, tel. +358 6 327 6411 (fax. +358 6 321 3989, e-mail: [email protected]) . Located among student housing in the neighbourhood of Palosaari north of the city center. Take bus line 1 from the market square to get to the location. A single room costs €49 and a room with three beds costs €89. Evening sauna (not on sundays) and free passage to the gym is included in the price. Some rooms are used as student housing during winter.
- Westbay Inn, Västervikintie 271, tel. +358 40 750 5777 (e-mail: [email protected]) . A guesthouse some seven kilometers north of the city center in Västervik. 40€/1 person/day, 60€/2 persons/day.
- Hotel Fenno, Niemeläntie 1, tel. +358 6 324 1500 (fax. +358 6 324 1501, e-mail: [email protected]) . A hotel on the island of Vaskiluoto just outside the city center. There are no bus connections to the address, so the hotel is best suited for travellers with cars. There is a hostel in connection with the hotel which a lot cheaper. Neither the hotel or the hostel is especially charming, but does the trick when looking for a bed to sleep in for the night. Prices range from €74 (room with one bed) to €115 (room with 3+1 bed).
- Rantasipi Tropiclandia Spa Hotel, Lemmenpolku 3 . A hotel in connection with the tropical spa next door out on the island of Tropiclandia. Prices start at €124 for a 1 bed room during summer. More value for the family with kids than the lone traveller.
- Best Western Hotel Silveria, Ruutikellarintie 4 . A popular conference hotel with a good sauna & pool facility. Prices vary depending on the day. A standard single room costs €62 during weekends, but €94 from monday to thursday. 1,5 kilometers from the center of town. Best reached by car, but accessible by the local bus also.
- Hotel Astor, Asemakatu 4 . A small but elegant hotel close to the trainstation and a short walk from the town center. Most of the rooms have their own Finnish style sauna. The price depends on which day you are staying. Weekends are cheaper as are some summer months. A room without sauna during a weekend costs €90/night, with sauna €111/night. Weekdays a room costs €120/night, with sauna €140/night. Single and double rooms have the same price.
- Radisson SAS Royal Hotel, Hovioikeudenpuistikko 18 . Big hotel complex streching to both sides of the street. Good sauna and pool facilities, one on the top floor and another one underground. A standard room is €100/night. Free broadband in the rooms, and you can rent a tandem bike for €10 /2 hours. There is a nightclub, a restaurant and a pub in the hotel complex.
- Sokos Hotel Vaakuna, Rewell Center 101 . A hotel smack in the heart of town, right beside the Market Square. Free broadband and sauna for customers. A standard single room costs €101, and a double room is €120. Ask about cheap offers though.
Bed & Breakfast
- Betel Bed & Breakfast, Pohjoismäki 54, tel. +358 50 585 0866 / +358 50 520 7292. Located in the rural area of Sundom, a ten minute drive from the city center.
Camping & Cabins
- Top Camping Vaasa, Niemeläntie 1 . The camping area is situated on the island of Vaskiluoto just outside the city center. Besides places for tents and caravans, Top Camping also offers cabins (a four bed cabin €60/day).
- Västerstrand Holiday Cabins, Utterö, Sundom . A long way from the city center in the Sundom archipelago. You need a car to get to this place. Cabins from €45/day. Bring your own bed linen. Camping is also possible.
- Aijas Semesterstugor, Utterö, Sundom . This place offers very well equipped vacation cottages that can also be used during winter. During high season (17.6-5.8) the cottages can only be rented for a week at a time. During low season prices start at €90/day.
- Kerstins Stugor, Utterö, Sundom, tel: +358 6 3644 114. This place offers cabins a long way out of town.
- Stundars, Stundarsvägen 5, Solf (fi: Sulva)  is a large open-air museum in the next municipality of Korsholm (fi: Mustasaari) made up of about 60 buildings. It is a living centre for culture and art.
- Raippaluodon Silta or Replot Bro, Finland's longest bridge, can be reached when driving 10km north-west toward the island Replot, which is a part of the municipality of Korsholm that surrounds Vaasa. Just a bit before the bridge is a lovely public beach where you can easily camp for a day or two. You can also continue your trip out to the islands where there are restaurants and other things to discover.
- Kvarken Archipelago (Merenkurkku, Kvarken) . The archipelago outside Vaasa is a UNESCO world nature heritage site. The whole archipelago is a experience in itself but the parts under UNESCO protection are mainly in the neighbouring municipalities of Korsholm, Korsnäs, Malax and Vörå-Maxmo.
- The coastal towns of Ostrobothnia. Vaasa is the perfect base to go out on daytrips to the smaller towns of Kristinestad (fi: Kristiinankaupunki), Kaskinen (sw: Kaskö) and Närpes (fi: Närpiö) in the south or Nykarleby (fi: Uusikaarlepyy), Jakobstad (fi: Pietarsaari) and Kokkola (sw: Karleby) in the north.
- Provinssirock  is a good rock festival in the city of Seinäjoki, some 80 kilometers east of Vaasa. As most hotels are fully booked in the area during the Festival, Vaasa could provide a comfortable base for a musical visit. The annual festival is organized in the middle of June.
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