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With an area of 928 square kilometres, Lake Oulujärvi is the fifth largest lake in the country. The lake is drained by the Oulu River, which flows towards northwest from the lake into the Gulf of Bothnia. The shorelines, open waters and islands of Oulujärvi belong to the municipalities of Vaala, Paltamo and Kajaani. In the east the lake is lined with hilly landscapes, in the west with the plains of Ostrobothnia.
Oulujärvi is divided into three broad open water areas, of which the western one is called Niskanselkä, the central part Ärjänselkä and the eastern part Paltaselkä. Ärjänselkä actually is the largest open water area of all the Finnish lakes. For this reason, the lake is often referred to as the "Kainuu Sea”.
The sandy-banked Island of Ärjä is located in the Ärjänselkä open water area of Lake Oulujärvi. It is a summer oasis that bears a resemblance to the outer archipelago with its imposing beaches.
In the middle of the lake in Vaala is the island of Manamansalo, which is accessible from the south by cable ferry and from the north across the Kaivanto bridge. Manamansalo has splendid sandy beaches, clear water ponds, hiking trails and holiday villages where visitors can experience the proximity to nature.
In Paltamo you can play golf at one of the most beautiful golf courses in Finland and stay in high-class holiday cottages by the lake. You can also admire the splendid scenery from the top of the Kivesvaara hill in Jättiläisenmaa.
The town of Kajaani is active year round. It offers excellent shopping opportunities in the town centre and malls, as well as comfortable accommodation in fine hotels.