Welcome to Kuopio!
A picturesque university town surrounded by lakes and forests.
A startling combination of old and new, the city of Kuopio, established by order of King Gustav III of Sweden in 1775 when Finland was still a part of the Kingdom of Sweden, is now home to one of the campuses of a major Finnish research university, the University of Eastern Finland, located in the city’s business district to enable easy and convenient access to the vast array of modern and high-tech companies operating in the region.
Within Finland, this University is a source of fame for the city, as it is one of only four in the entire nation authorized to award degrees in Medicine.
Another university, Savonia University of Applied Sciences, is located just adjacent to the UEF campus. The two insitutions of higher learning differ in that UEF is more focused upon theoretical knowledge, whereas the curriculum at Savonia is more geared towards its practical application, with a narrower choice of degree programs offered, ranging from IT, Engineering and Nursing to social sciences such as Business Administration and Sociology or Social Work.
Among foreigners, the city is relatively unknown, although it is the 8th largest in all of Finland, with over 111,000 residents. The main exception to this lack of awareness about the city is among international students, who either come for exchange periods or stay in Kuopio for the duration of their degrees, most often in IT, Engineering or Business, which are all offered with absolutely no tuition or fees whatsoever, in the English language, both as undergraduate programs in Savonia, and Master’s and Doctoral programs at UAF.
Although Kuopio may not seem particularly interesting to tourists, those seeking to enjoy their time in the Finnish countryside, especially in the summer, would be pleased to discover that the multitude of lakes surrounding the city, including the largest, known as “Kallavesi”, mean that there are also many beaches to spend time sunbathing or playing volleyball. The water is very warm in the summer, contrary to what one might expect from a town in Finland, and certainly suitable for swimming!
In the winter, one can bask in the beauty of the snow-covered landscape, and there are still many sites open through the year, such as several museums, including a fairly large museum of natural history, another of art, and a smaller museum dedicated to the Winter War and Continuation War which Finland fought against the Soviet Union during the Second World War.
The city hosts annual festivals, such as the dance festival and a wine festival sponsored by many local companies, including S-Group, a large conglomerate in the retail sector. Overall, the city is reminiscent of some of the smaller “college towns” one might encounter in either the USA or Great Britain, which are known as sleepy, relaxed places and therefore considered prime environments for studies.
Shopping and Nightlife
The town square is home to a great variety of shops, where one can find everything one is looking for. There are also many nightclubs and bars open late at night and in the morning for those who are interested.
All of Finland shares the same timezone, which is UTC/GMT +2 hours
Finland is well-known throughout the world for its remarkably efficient and well-run goverment, from healthcare and education to, in this case, transportation. Kuopio is home to both a railway station and an airport as well as another airstrip used by the military, and although the airport is located a fair distance away, buses are scheduled to run regularly to and from the airport, so obtaining transportation to and from the airport should pose no difficulties.
Many choose to travel by rail because flights from Helsinki are so much cheaper than those from Kuopio that adding a train trip to Helsinki to be able to fly from there is still more economical. This is, in part, because there are no flights from Ryanair or other similar discount airlines to Kuopio, and the airport in Tampere has to be used to fly using Ryanair instead. Even if one uses a regular airline, however, the price is normally cheaper from Helsinki.
The train station is located very close to the town’s center, and taxis regularly park along the street outside of the station, so finding a cab to your hotel is very easy and they are all very close, so it is quite cheap as well. The bus system is also well-organized and punctual, and bus stops are located very close by along the street where the train station is located. In fact, the train station and main bus station for long-distance travel are interconnected via a tunnel, so if one prefers to travel to or from the city by bus instead of train or plane, the bus system is also an option. Several different companies compete amongst themselves to provide you the best service and the best price, so it is an excellent option as well.
The climate in Kuopio can vary greatly. In the summer, temparatures can reach close to 30 degrees Celsius, whereas in the winter, they can drop to below -30 C!