Meet Visit Kalajoki

Blogs | Monday 06.7.2020

The Kalajoki Tourism Association, better known as Visit Kalajoki, takes care of Kalajoki’s tourism joint-marketing and supports the local tourism operators to strive together.

Johanna Rautio

When I am traveling… I am originally from Lapland and I like to travel there regularly to enjoy its wilderness. Our traditional summer fishing trip with my father is one of the highlights of the year. Traveling is always fun, may it be a mini-vacation close by or a more lengthy adventure far away. At the same time, I also enjoy the life at my home in Kalajoki. Surrounded by these landscapes, one feels like being on a never-ending vacation! Even though I did not grow up by the sea, I have learned to love and greatly appreciate it. Some of my favorite activities include boat trips in the archipelago, a visit to the fishing nets in the evening, or some standup paddling on the shallow waters by the Hiekkasärkät holiday area.

In my free time and when I am seeking inspiration… I head out into the surrounding nature, out to sea, into the woods, or to walk in a rural town. I like to go fishing, cycling, or walking my dog Pulla. In the wintertime, the skiing trails run right beside out home and the sea freezes over on our home beach. The frozen sea is appealing and invites to go skating, ice fishing or for instance to practice winter windsurfing.

Insider tips about Kalajoki…

  • Located by the center of Kalajoki, you will find the old town Plassi, with its idyllic wooden houses, riverside charm, and beautiful Havula manor from the early 20th century, that used to belong to a wealthy sawmill owner. The manor is worth a visit in the summer! Take part in a guided tour and enjoy a coffee at the museum coffee.
  • Siiponjoki is a great excursion destination near the Hiekkasärkät resort in Kalajoki! The winding riverbanks and magical forest views offer an interesting counterpart to the seaside views. Pleuna is a good starting point, with its shed and campfire site. Even the youngest of the family will enjoy a short walk by the riverbanks, which offers a lot to wonder about!

My work as the Executive Director of Visit Kalajoki includes a lot of marketing-related tasks, as I am responsible for planning the marketing for Visit Kalajoki. Our entire team also produces a lot of content for our different channels. We are all very active on social media and we have a very personal touch when it comes to sharing stories on our channels. In addition to these marketing tasks, my work includes a lot of cooperation with various stakeholders, especially with the tourism companies in the area, the city of Kalajoki, media, and other tourism organizations.

I warmly welcome everyone to enjoy Kalajoki!


Heidi O’Gorman

When I am traveling… I enjoy myself in my home country Finland, as there is always the possibility to head out for shorter getaways and the carbon footprint is smaller by traveling. Some of my favorite destinations in Finland include Oulu (what a beautiful place and city!), Pietarsaari and Kokkola (for their old buildings and quality services) and Helsinki (for its museums, libraries and tourist attractions that make me proud to be a Finn!).  

In addition to these places, there are two countries which hold a special place in my heart: 

  • Ireland is our family’s second home country; we try to visit the country at least once a year to meet our relatives and enjoy the lush of the charming island 
  • I grew very fond of Japan after living there for two years. I have not been able to visit the country for a long time, but I would happily travel to Izumo, the sister city of Kalajoki, or the Osaka region whenever given the chance!

I also have particularly good memories of my travels to northern Norway, Madeira, and Iceland. I am dreaming of a trip to the US to attend a Tom Waits gig, traveling to Bruges to admire the old houses or of a city break with friends in Paris.

In my free time and when I am seeking inspiration… I head out into nature and to visit old buildings. Kalajoki offers the possibility to enjoy both! We live in a two-hundred-year-old house in the middle of a never-ending renovation, it means I get to enjoy the atmosphere of old houses very concretely!  

Insider tips about Kalajoki… 

  • Letto is a sandy beach favored by the locals, located slightly north from the Hiekkasärkät sand dunes. The best way to discover this beautiful place is by hiking or cycling along the trails and duckboards leading to Vihaslahti from the Hiekkasärkät resort. Take a break at Vihaslahti to visit the bird tower and admire the Maristo scenic stairs. From there on, continue along the forest path up north until you reach a bridge, that will take you to one of the most beautiful beaches in Kalajoki.   
  • The Kainuunsaari cliffs, located south of the Rahja harbor, are a great place to enjoy a snack after a day spent at the Rahja archipelago or after sailing with Ansio, which departs from the Konikarvo harbor situated nearby. You might find some love-stricken carvings on the cliffs dating over a hundred years back. 
  •  Try the local fish, whitefish, or river lamprey! The best time for river lamprey is in the autumn and whitefish taste the best when savored on Maakalla, where it is caught and smoked by the local fishermen. 

In my position as Sales and Marketing Manager, the focus of my work is especially on promotional tasks to encourage groups to visit Kalajoki and for events to take place here. I will be happy to help you if you are planning any type of event you have in mind: a recreational day for your work team, a meeting, a business event, a get-together with a group of friends or even a common gathering for your hobby group in Kalajoki!  

In my work, I would like to help clients organize a successful trip or event located in the beautiful Kalajoki seaside environment, served by our wide range of services.   


Helena Eijsberg

When I am traveling… I like to enjoy my surroundings! Photography is one of my passions, meaning I like to keep my eyes open to the world around me. I love beautiful buildings, details, nature, and light. When I get to visit a new destination, I like to discover it a bit beforehand through Instagram or blogs, I seek tips about places to see and what the area looks from different perspectives. When I finally get there, I usually go for an investigation trip on foot to discover the place with my own eyes. Thanks to your phone’s map, I can nearly guarantee you would not get lost too easily!  

Some of my favorite destinations include Finland’s amazing shorelines, lakes, forests, and old towns. I love sunsets, and here you get to witness really beautiful sunsets year-round. We have four different seasons and each one is stunning in its way.  

I am originally from France, and it surely explains my appreciation for old villages and cobbled streets. I also appreciate its nature and the diversity of its environment, I also find the country’s history captivating. 

My heart beats for the Asian countries:, throughout my different work assignments, I have had the chance to visit China, Vietnam, and Japan amongst others. Japan was a wonderful experience, in between meetings and work events, I got to enjoy Japanese food and visit temples. I never really buy any souvenirs; I tend to snap photos that I then print out back at home. They are my travel treasure.

I nearly forgot to mention one of the key aspects of traveling in my view: I mean food! I think food is an important aspect of culture in my opinion, and by discovering local meals and dishes one gets to dive a little deeper into the local country’s culture. As I wrote above, I don’t mind so much about material souvenirs, but I appreciate experiences and especially good food! Food is an important part of a country’s culture, what and how to eat tell something about the country itself. Food also brings people together. The best treats I have enjoyed were in a small street restaurant in Shanghai, nibbling on my dumplings followed by the amused gaze eyes of locals. Happiness comes from food!

This love for food seems to have its roots in my youth in France, where the best moments were spent at the dinner table, surrounded by family and friends. I like to prepare good food but I enjoy even more sitting down in front of a ready-made meal and try out a variety of dishes at restaurants. In Kalajoki, you will find excellent chefs who prepare food with love and have their heart set on using local products when cooking. We know what the food is made of, where it comes from, and that it is made with love.

In my free time and when I am seeking inspiration… I go out and go for an adventure! Most of the time, I don’t necessarily care for any company, because in nature you can enjoy the silence and peace of mind to focus on things that are important for you. At the same time, it’s also wonderful to go for a walk with a loved one or friend, along the shoreline or a forest trail, chatting about the world going by, and gathering strength from the surrounding nature.

As a photographer, I always keep my eyes open and try to capture those magical moments that not everyone may always notice: how the ice melts under the sunbeam, how light shines through the leaves, beautiful shadows in old buildings. I feel empowered and happy when I realize how beautiful the world is.

Insider tips about Kalajoki… 

  • Rahja archipelago is one of my favorite places in Kalajoki. It’s so easy to learn to paddle there! Sitting in your kayak, you get to view and experience the archipelago and explore nature from a whole new perspective. Take some snacks with you and have a break on one of the Rahja islands, sitting on the beautiful cliffs. There are campfire areas, huts, and even islands that offer places to spend the night. I recommend always heading out for excursions with a group and announcing your trip and route to, for example, the Kalajoen Latu association, which has a kayak rental and storage at the Konikarvo harbor.
  • You will get to witness the most spectacular sunsets from the Hiekkasärkät dunes. In winter, the frozen sea is simply mesmerizing and the midnight sun of the summer is a magical sight, as the sky reflects into the sea. Take an evening walk along the sand path shaped as a horseshoe, it feels as though you were walking on the sea!

I work as a project manager for the Attractive Oulu Region 2020 project and my responsibility is to help our region develop as an international tourist destination. In a sense, it is self-evident to all of us that the Kalajoki is an amazing destination here in Finland, but we want to convey this message to the world as well. Our opinion has only been strengthened when receiving foreign tour operators in Kalajoki and hearing their feedback on our area. Kalajoki is an attractive destination thanks to its wonderful nature and its diverse services. Kalajoki offers such a comprehensive range of services in a very compact area that tour operators are already excited about planning trips to our area for their customers.

Visit Kalajoki

The Kalajoki Tourism Association,
better known as Visit Kalajoki,
takes care of Kalajoki’s tourism joint-marketing and
supports the local tourism operators to strive together.
More than 60 local member companies are
actively involved in the association’s operations.
Visit Kalajoki also has tight-knit cooperation with
the City of Kalajoki and VisitOulu, among others.

Visit Kalajoki manages the visitkalajoki.fi website
as well as Visit Kalajoki’s social media channels,
and produces marketing material,
such as the annual Visit Kalajoki travel magazine.

Meet the ladies behind Visit Kalajoki:
Executive Director Johanna Rautio,
Sales and Marketing Manager Heidi O’Gorman,
and Project Manager of the Attractive Oulu Region 2020 project Helena Eijsberg.
This blog allows you to get to know them a little better
and why they believe in Kalajoki!