Member of the Nordik Cittaslow Network

The first Cittaslow-town in Finland

- A fascinating seaside discovery

Kristinestad was founded by the former general-governor 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 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.

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 18thand 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!

Kristinestad on the Map

Kristinestad is a small, bilingual Finnish coastal town by the Gulf of Bothnia. The town is situated in the most southern part ofthe Finnish- and Swedish-speaking region of Ostrobothnia. The distance to Vasa (Vaasa), the regional capital of Ostrobothnia in the north is 100 km, and the distance to the provincial capital Åbo (Turku) in the south is 230 km. The distance to the Finnish capital Helsingfors (Helsinki) is 330 km.

Kristinestad covers an area of 687,64 km², of which 9,37 km² is water. The coastline is 370 km.


The Municipality of Kristinestad has currently approximately 7 200 inhabitants. About 3 000 of these live in the immediate approximity of the city centre - also referred to as the Old Town.


56,6 % of the inhabitants are Swedish-speaking Finns (i.e. have Swedish as their mother tongue). 42,1 % of the population speaks Finnish as their mother tongue,

and the remaining 1,3 % of the population speak other languages than Swedish or Finnish.

The Vision for Kristinestad in 2020

Kristinestad is..."A peaceful as well as a dynamic place offering a hiqh quality of life, where the old meets the new. The idyllic wooden houses in the Old Town, which is the best preserved small town from the time of the Swedish Empire with its street grid plan, has the status of Finnish culture heritage and can be found on the Unesco's world heritage list. The number of the inhabitants is nearly 8 000. The number of working places has increased by 10% during the last ten years."

The inhabitants of Kristinestad will reach these goals by using their own willpower,

optimism, creativity and activity. They strive to support the local quality and diversity of life, develop healthcare, schooling & education and tourism and by supporting the creation of new local enterprises. The strategy document and its objectives, was accepted by the City Council on October 4, 2010. Kristinestad offers many things that other town's lack. It doesn't necessarily need to create new possibilities, it only needs to identify and develop its already exisiting strengths. We need to learn to emphasize the beautiful and positive aspects of the town. In this way the town will attract for more visitors, more businesses and more inhabitants. The genuine longing for a good life, slowlife, is why the inhabitants of Kristinestad choose to apply for a membership in the international network of small towns with a local identity- Cittaslow.


Mila Segervall - Mayor of Kristinestad

Anna-Kajsa Blomkvist-Liljeblad - Representative Cittaslow Kristinestad

Angelique Irjala - Reference Cittaslow Kristinestad