The city is one of the headquarters of the University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu is the capital of North Karelia province, and has approximately 75.000 inhabitants. The city receives annually thousands of foreigners, attracted for the country reputation in education, they come in search of undergraduate, masters and PhD programs. It also receives numerous foreign students from high school, as well as trainees and professionals in various areas.
This fact diversifies the population and brings with this diversity the need and organization of the most different attractions and events. The city itself is already a call to leisure, it has stunning landscapes that are an invitation to enjoy them. I will mention some of the places that I like the most in the city.
- Utransaari is an urban island that has kiosks equipped with barbecue grill, firewood and bathrooms for community use. It is free to use, just come as early as can to take the best places.
Aavaranta is one of the beaches of the city, has a space for barbecue, public toilets, tables and sand volleyball court, plus incredible views and some trails in the forest – it also free use.
- Ilosaari is another island next to city centre, but it has also a beach where you can swim during summer, there is a restaurant by the river and next to the island there is a drawbridge that rises for passage of boats.
- Joensuun Jääkarhut or Winter Swimming Center Joensuu Polar Bears, if want to experience a real finnish tradition, go to the saunas that can reach 90 degrees and then walk outside with your bathing suit and jump into a freezing lake during the winter, repeat as much as you can. Avanto is the tradition name and means “Hole in the ice”- Costs 6 euros for visitors and must be paid only with coins directly to a vending machine.
- Botania is an interesting botanical garden, which in addition to visitation, promotes diversified events, ice sculptures during the winter and variety of plants and some animals from different climates. There is a fee for entrance.
- A little further from the city, there is also a Ski Station: Mustavaara with winter activities, there are different fees depending if you want a instructor, rent the equipment or just the tracks.
Besides these and many other sights, the city has the most varied types and sizes of events, capable of satisfying different tastes, cultures and needs. One of the most famous and perhaps the most awaited by the crowd is the music festival that takes place every summer, thousands of people can’t wait for next one, the name is Ilosaarirock, more information can be found on the event website.
In summer there is also a gastronomic fair, with food tents from various countries, the fair happens on a weekend, stay tuned on the promotion of the event. There is also, the JOEN YÖ – Night by the river festival, ‘the event that offers free cultural and artistic experiences for all ages, scattered throughout the city.’ The city celebrates the proximity of Christmas, with great joy and fireworks in the central square, inaugurate the decoration with the presence of the mayor and Santa Claus, called here Joulupukki.
Concerning the integration and immersion of other cultures, there is a group of foreign volunteers, from which every person can be part of, Jomoni promotes varied and current events on different themes and different cultures. Here you can join or just participate in public events. More information can be obtained on the Facebook and webpages of the institution.
In addition to these, hundreds of other events, groups and workshops, mostly free of charge are organized throughout the year, to stay tuned in all things happening in the city and in the university, the student union weekly releases a bulletin informing events of that period, make your subscription and don’t miss anyone: https://www.isyy.fi
Concerning the leisure time, I believe that Finns, visitors and Students should not have anything to complain about, given that Finland were ranked in 2018 as the happiest country in the world and the happiest immigrant population in the world, according to the UN. If you be around here, you will certainly agree with this good statistic.
Other useful sites:
Matheus Soares Costa