Kajaani, 300 mi/480 km northeast of Helsinki, is a relatively quiet place, and it is also the spot where Finnish folklorist Elias Lonnrot completed his epic Kalevala. Visit the small Kainuu District Museum (displays about the tar trade and traditional ways of living), the Kajaani Castle ruins (not very impressive) and the Lonnrot summer cottage (worth a look if you are a fan of the writer).
Nearby, in the village of Paltaniemi, see the 18th-century church and the adjoining Czar's Stable. Kajaani hosts a poetry festival in July.
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