Tampere – so much more than the sauna capital of the world

3 minute read

Credits: Laura Vanzo / Visit Tampere

The number one travel destination for Finns in their home country

Tampere is the sauna capital of the world – but there’s plenty more to it than that. Located in the Lakeland region, it’s on a scenic spot on a narrow isthmus between two great lakes. The rapids that flow through the city centre are surrounded by old, industrial red-brick buildings that nowadays serve as restaurants, cafes, museums and shops. The compact centre makes Tampere great for walking and gives the place a friendly, small-town feel. Outside the old city centre, there are many beautiful districts with scenic views of the surrounding lakes.

The city’s fascinating cultural sights, relaxed atmosphere and multiple attractions for kids, plus surrounding scenery, make it the number one travel destination for Finns in their home country.. 

There’s plenty to see and do, but these are the best spots for culture, to eat and things to do with the kids.

A recent addition to the Tampere urban landscape is the sauna-restaurant Kuuma – a cosy living room for all.
Credits: Kuuma Tampere / Laura Vanzo

Tampere’s heritage and cultural experiences

Credits: Laura Vanzo / Visit Tampere

Experience the industrial and cultural heritage of Tampere.

The Finlayson area and Kehräsaari – factory milieu filled with attractions

The Finlayson cotton factory, founded in 1820, is now a vibrant hub of restaurants, cafes, shops, museums and a grand cinema. Just off the Finlayson main square, you’ll find the Tallipiha Stable Yards where factory owner Wilhelm von Nottbeck kept his horses. Today, the stables are the site of idyllic craft shops and a café. As you walk downstream of the rapids, Tammerkoski, you’ll end up in Kehräsaari, a tiny paper factory island that now has local handicrafts, an arthouse cinema called Niagara, a few restaurants and cafes.

Sara Hilden Art Museum – contemporary exhibitions in a unique setting

Sara Hilden Art Museum exhibits contemporary art in an impressive modern building. The venue, with floor-to-ceiling windows that look out to lake Näsijärvi, has a relaxed atmosphere perfect for whiling away a day. Downstairs, Café Sara bakes delicious cakes and serves them with hot drinks. After a bite, you can step outside to marvel at the sculpture park surrounding the museum.

Tampere Market Hall – the largest market hall in the Nordics

On Tampere’s main street Hämeenkatu hides the heart of the city – Tampere Market Hall Located in a gorgeous art nouveau building, the Market Hall has everything from local delicacies and pastries to cheese, fresh fish, vegetables, and natural products. Have a seat and enjoy a delicious bun in one of the cute cafes.

Credits : Laura Vanzo / Visit Tampere

Tampere with kids – things to do with children around the year

Särkänniemi, one of the most famous amusements parks in Finland, is a must-visit for families.
Credits: Katja Lösönen

Tampere offers a lot of activities and events that the whole family will enjoy. Here are some of the things your kids do not want to miss.

Särkänniemi – more than an amusement park

Särkänniemi is one of the most legendary and well-loved amusement parks in Finland. For those who crave wild rides, there is plenty to choose from – try the ride that’s called Hype, if you dare. For younger visitors, Doghill Fairytale Farm has tiny wooden buildings, various playgrounds, and Finnish farm animals. Another classic within Särkänniemi is its Aquarium. To combine the best view of Tampere with a great dinner, take a lift to the top of Näsinneula, the second tallest observation tower in the Nordics.

Flowpark Varala – nature-based adventure park

Flowpark Varala takes you up in the air like a bird. The park has cableways, swings and zip lines, high above the ground for everyone over 7 years old. Adventure routes have been built between living trees without harming them. Flowpark Varala is said to be the most beautiful Flowpark in Finland due to its scenic views of the lake Pyhäjärvi. The most fun way to explore the woods!

Playgrounds – themed playgrounds around the city

The smallest members of the family are sure to enjoy the many playgrounds of Tampere. Näsinpuisto Park and Playground is a themed playground, based on kids’ poems, which combines culture and activity. Pikku Kakkonen Playground in Koskipuisto is suitable for children of all ages thanks to its jungle gyms and themed areas. Emil Aaltonen Park and Playground, just outside the city centre by Tammelantori Market, is a big sunny park with a fun playground – an excellent location for a day’s play.

Viikinsaari Island – nature trails and beaches a short boat ride away

Hop on a boat from Laukontori for a 20-minute journey to Viikinsaari that has a nature trail, a public sauna and a charming beach, as well as a great summer restaurant. The island is also a perfect place for picnics thanks to its campfire site. Boats sail to Viikinsaari from the beginning of June until mid-August.

For all the latest on things to do with kids, go to the Visit Tampere site.

Credits: Katja Lösönen

Restaurants in Tampere – many delicious tastes

In recent years, Tampere has established itself as a hotspot for food lovers. There are plenty of places to discover, but these are a few spots to start with.

Kajo – traditional Finnish food and the purest seasonal flavours

Well known for its generous hospitality, Kajo uses the purest flavours in its traditional Finnish food. The menu is created using the best produce of the season and honours the origins of the food. Kajo succeeds at being unpretentious yet innovative.

Pyynikki Observation Tower and its heavenly doughnuts

The best doughnuts on the planet are baked at the Pyynikki Observation Tower, located at Pyynikinharju on the world’s highest gravel ridge. After you’ve stuffed yourself with doughnuts, take a lift to the top of the neoclassical observation tower to view the entire city. If you feel like a walk in the forest, there are plenty of beautiful routes around Pyynikinharju with scenic vantage points.

Credits : Julia Kivelä
Credits: Laura Vanzo

What about the sauna capital of the world?

How could we forget? Tampere is, of course, the sauna capital of the world. There are more than 50 public saunas in the region. Go explore all must-experience saunas in Lakeland.

Rajaportti public sauna, in the quaint wooden town area of Pispala, is one of Tampere’s most iconic saunas.
Credits: Laura Vanzo / Rajaportin sauna

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