Kristinestad - Finland's first Cittaslow town

A fascinating seaside discovery

Kristinestad was founded by Count Peter Brahe – after having noticed the excellent conditions for a port - on the island of Koppö in 1649. Kristinestad has centuries old traditions as a marketing and trading town and a distinguished shipping history with its ship- and boatbuilding traditions. The beautiful town hall was built in 1856. Today the centre of the little town of 6600 inhabitants has changed its face somewhat, but in the narrow alleys you can travel hundreds of years back in time. The authentic and picturesque wooden town with its wooden fences stems from the 18th and 19th centuries. Kristinestad is one of Scandinavia’s best preserved wooden towns.

Since 2011 Kristinestad is a Cittaslow town. Municipalities which join the association are motivated by curios people of a recovered time, where man is still protagonist of the slow and healthy succession of seasons , respectful of citizens’ health , the authenticity of products and good food, rich of fascinating craft traditions of valuable works of art, squares, theatres, shops, cafés, restaurants, places of the spirit and unspoiled landscapes, respect of traditions through the joy of a slow and quiet living. The Cittaslow network consists of 260+ towns in 30 countries. Read more at and .

A safe holiday environment by the sea

Kristinestad, the town of the sea, the sailing boats and the lovingly restored wooden houses offers its visitors a unique atmosphere. You can visit the 300-year-old Ulrika Eleonora church, famous for its leaning tower (a popular church for weddings in summer) or Kattpiskargränden (Cat Whipper’s Alley?). Where did the alley get its name from? Children can experience the Alley Cat Tour taken by Oscar the Cat, and will learn about the town in a fun way. There are also guided tours for adults. A good alternative is to hire a bike and ride along the town’s beautiful alleys on your own – the historic atmosphere gives a positively therapeutic impression. Here you will be far away from the hustle and bustle. You can also enjoy the views of the countryside from your bike. Thanks to the closeness of the sea it’s possible to enjoy a range of activities. 

Nature and history

Kristinestad is like a small paradise for friends of nature. At the borders of the town, a 15 minute’s drive away, you will find the Wolf cave, which is absolutely worth seeing! Here they have found signs of human habitation as far back as 120 000 years! From the highest point of Ostrobothnia’s coastline, Pyhävuori’s breathtaking views open up to the surrounding forest and the sea. Pyhävuori Leisure Centre offers a variety of activities: walking tracks, well maintained ski tracks in winter (depending on the weather, usually from Christmas to the beginning of April), accommodation, restaurants and programs and the exhibition in the Wolf cave offer experiences out of the ordinary to the traveller. Here you will see the big stony fields formed by the ice age, rock walls and a rich flora including the rare Clematis Sibirica.

In Sideby you can climb up in one of Finland’s highest bird towers, and Kristinestad offers exceptionally good conditions for watching migratory birds. Even the fishing opportunities are outstanding. It’s easy to spend a week or two in Kristinestad! The town is a joy for the eyes and for the soul.

In Kristinestad there is something to see and to experience for people of all ages. Together the museums tell the story of the town’s rich past: At the Maritime Museum you’ll learn about the exciting shipping history. At Kilen’s Old Homestead Museum in Sideby you’ll acquaint yourself with the farming culture and the lives of the fishermen. At the Lebell Merchant’s House you can familiarize yourself with the life of a merchant’s family in the 18th and 19th centuries, at the Carlsro Museum, an old villa of a shipowner, the visitor is offered a thousand stories. The town will inspire you to a new way of thinking!

Different types of accommodation

There is accommodation to suit everybody’s taste – you may spend the night in a high class hotel, which once was the old fire station, or in the apartments located around the idyllic courtyard of an old sea captain. In summer there is a comfortable seaside camping area close to the centre of town, and for winter use there are caravan sites at the Pyhävuori Leisure Centre. 

Kristinestad is famous for its markets and there are happenings all year round, the most famous of them is the Summer Market in July. In autumn it’s worth visiting the Traditional Market (a travel back in time) and during the dark of the winter the Candlemas Market will surely delight its visitors.

Kristinestad offers experiences in all seasons and fascinates the traveller by its warm and unique atmosphere. The genuine, small town, the friendly people and the varied recreational activities mixed with the fresh sea winds make Kristinestad a delightful holiday destination.


Welcome to beautiful Kristinestad!


Information for tourists



Kristinestad in a nutshell: 2018:

- 6650 inhabitants (31.12.2017)
- The town was founded by Per Brahe in 1649 (it was named after queen Kristina of Sweden)
- Kristinestad is a bilingual town 55,8 % are native Swedish speakers and 41,6 % are native Finnish speakers, others 2,6 %
- Land area of town and surroundings: 809 km2

- Total coastline including the islands: 370 km
- Trade and Industry 2017: farming and forestry 11,9 %, manufacturing and other industry 18,5 %, public and private services and travel 70 %.
- Number of workplaces within the town and surrounding areas: 2.556
- Businesses: 550
- Municipal tax %: 21,5.
- Level of unemployment: 5,5 %
Distances to Kristinestad

100 km
 Airport and trainstation
99 km
 Airport and trainstation
108 km
 Airport and trainstation
335 km
276 km
237 km
415 km