Kajaani Castle: Europe’s Northernmost Castle

Once you’ve explored Finland’s top tourist attractions – such as the cathedrals of Helsinki, or daytrips from Helsinki, then I suggest you head further afield for some totally offbeat, random sightseeing.  There’s of course things like saying hello to Santa Claus, or snowshoe walking, but I’ve got a tip for your next pub night trivia: a tour of Kajaani Castle.  It’s not only Europe’s northernmost castle, but also Europe’s smallest stone castle.

Where Is It?

Kajaani isn’t in the wilds of the arctic circle, as you might expect – it’s actually in central Finland.  It’s an hour flight from Helsinki, but there’s also rail and bus service.  I suppose it goes without saying, but I’d suggest you combine a visit to Kajaani with other sightseeing around Finland.  And don’t forget your language guidebook, unless you speak some Finnish.

About the Castle

The Kajaani Castle was built in early 1600s, thus it predates the city of Kajaani by about 50 years.  It was, as most castles were in this time, an administrative centre and prison as well as a defensive structure for the growing city.  Kajaani was becoming well known as a producer of tar (the pine tree kind); unfortunately, though, the castle didn’t last very long.  It was blown up by the Russians during the Great Northern War in the middle of the 1700s.  The castle’s wooden bridge was once the only bridge across the river – obviously the one here today is slightly more modern.

Things To Do

Kajaani has a few other things to do, including an art museum and lots of cafes.  You can arrange for an inexpensive guided tour of the city via the official city visitor website (fairly sparse but it does cover the basics).

Photo by vihannes