Forgive residents of Tampere if they come across a tad on the smug side. The capital of the Pirkanmaa region, known affectionately as “Manse” or the “Manchester of Finland”, is a hip hub on the rise that, much like its English namesake, is doing a splendid job of rebooting a robust industrial heritage into a progressive city built for the 21st century. Indeed, it’s not much of a stretch to assert that the Tampere of today is one of the most livable and coolest cities in Scandinavia.
A little over 300,000 people call the city in southwest Finland home, which makes Tampere the de facto second city of the country. A lively and considerable student population defines a conspicuous part of the civic vibe. This seems to mesh seamlessly with a flurry of urban revitalisation developments along the waterfront and in the greater Tampere region, where old redbrick mills, factories and foundries get ingeniously flipped into pliant mixed-use spaces. The result is a pervasive sense of youthful optimisim.
Geography, too, influences Tampere’s appeal. Nestled betwixt Näsijärvi and Pyhäjärvi lakes, the surrounding scenery is duly dramatic and quickly reachable from both Helsinki and Turku. Indeed, flocks of domestic tourists ply the E12 and E63 to visit Tampere for its natural attractions and, moreover, a rich annual programme of cultural events. The most notable includes the summer rock spectacle Tammerfest, diverse Tampere Music Festivals and Tampere Film Festival. Särkänniemi, however, is the linchpin attraction in the city. A leviathan amusement and adventure park, Särkänniemi, above and beyond endorphin-rush thrill rides, has an aquarium, art museum, planetarium and zoo. The park’s observation tower is without peer in Nordic Europe and affords spectacular panoramas of the city and Pirkanmaa countryside.
Tampere's Top 10
10. KoskiKeskus Tampere’s central mall and pre-eminent social intersection is well worth a stroll. Be sure to admire Timo Sarpaneva’s remarkable "Pack Ice / Mirror of the Sea" sculpture in the entrance lobby.
5. Sara Hildén Art Museum unfurls a world class collection of modern art.
9. Arboretum Park is a lovely botanical oasis in the city.
4. Amuri Museum of Workers' Housing transforms one entire block of a 19th-century factory dormitory into a realistic museum that evokes the era in brilliant fashion.
8. Tampere Art Museum is a prominent showcase for avant-garde Finnish painters, sculptors, photographers and visual artists.
3. City Hall Tampere’s Raatihuone is a fine exemplar of Renaissance Revival architecture.
7. Finlayson Centre A former cotton mill cum leisure and entertainment complex, the Finlayson Centre mirrors refurbs of industrial revolution relics in the likes of Liverpool, Manchester and America’s Rust Belt.
2. Tampere Cathedral Built in typical National Romantic style, the Tampere Cathedral is a city icon.
6. Tampere City Library is a first-rate facility with a museum in the basement on the works of iconic cartoonist and illustrator Tove Jansson.
1. Särkänniemi Amusement park, aquarium, zoo and planetarium, Särkänniemi is the most popular tourist attraction in Tampere.
- Tampere Cathedral – Look for the bright red tiles adorning the roof of this subtle stone cathedral.
- Näsilinna Palace – A beautiful baroque-style palace constructed in the 19th century.
- Messukylän Kirkko (Messukylä Church) – One of the city's oldest structures, this church was built in the early 1500s.
- Näsinneula Tower – Finland's highest structure. Enjoy dinner in the panoramic restaurant at the top.
- Town Hall (Raatihuone) – Located in Tampere, this town hall dates back to 1890.
Tampere Art & Culture
- City Library (Metso) – An attractive city centre landmark containing more than 1.5 million books. The library is home to the Mineral Museum (Mivimuseo).
- Central Square (Keskustori)/Palanderin Talo – Tampere's Central Square is the ideal venue in which to meet the locals, eat traditional food and sightsee and shop.
- Museum of Dolls and Costumes – An enormous collection of ancient dolls and related toys.
- Museum of Contemporary Art – Established in 1966, this museum is home to several important pieces of artwork.
- Museum of Lenin (Lenin Museo) – This museum offers visitors a fascinating insight into the life of the Russian communist Vladimir Lenin.
- City Sokos – This department store is renowned for its upmarket shopping experience.
- Stockmann – An enormous department store surrounded by countless shops.
- Hämeenkatum – A cobblestone thoroughfare featuring an abundance of shops.
- Koskikeskus – Tampere’s largest shopping centre.
- Tammelantori – The city's main marketplace and the ideal place to enjoy a day of outdoor shopping in the city.
Gay & Lesbian Tampere
- Bar Blue Oyster – This pub is a great place to enjoy early evening drinks before heading on to explore Tampere's vibrant nightlife scene.
- Nightclub Mixei – Finland’s oldest gay nightclub. This popular venue comes alive at the weekend.
- Club Pink – Found in the centre of the city, this nightclub is proud to be gay friendly.
- Leimarit Club – A frequent club event specifically for gay and lesbian locals and visitors.
- Q-Shop – This shop sells rainbow and pride products, including flags, stickers, postcards, literature and more.
- Koskipuisto Park – This Tampere park offers a tranquil spot in which to relax away from the hustle and bustle of the city itself. Arty statues can be discovered here.
- Hatanpään Puisto Arboretum – The arboretum features themed areas, including a rockery and a rose garden.
- Hämeenpuisto Park – This park is a pleasant place to enjoy a picnic. The Metso Library and Statue of Freedom are located within the park.
- Kaupin Urheilupuisto Park – Outdoor enthusiasts will love this vast wooded area. Located within the park are sporting facilities, such as tennis courts and a greyhound racing track.
- Näsinpuisto Park – This beautiful park, packed with Finnish flora, grants breathtaking views across Lake Näsijärvi.
- Visit the Finnish Football Museum, which is in close proximity to the football town of
- Valkeakoski. The museum provides an insight into the history of football in Finland.
- Watch the Ilves ice hockey team in action.
- Take a look around the Finnish ice hockey museum at Tampere's Hakametsä arena.
- See the Tampereen Pyrinto basketball team play a game at their home ground in the city.
- Check out the local talent at the Ilves football club.
Tampere Film Festival takes place every March, with in excess of 30,000 spectators in attendance.
Tammerfest is Tampere’s premier summer event, with five days and nights of revelery in July.
Tampere Music Festivals includes a jazz festival in Novemner, a vocal music festival in June and a biennale of contemporary classical music by Finnish composers.
Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra plays to capacity crowds at magnificent Tampere Hall.
Tampere Theatre Festival, held in August, is the foremost annual theatre festival in Nordic Europe.
When To Go
Tampere enjoys four distinct seasons, from short sumemrs to long winters that endure from November to April. Snowfall is moderate to heavy, with remnants, in some years, up until early May.
Temperaures from November to April waver between 12°F (-11°C) to 28°F (-2°C). Summers are mild, with weather in the 52°F (11°C) to 72°F (22°C). Spring and fall conditions generally mirror each other temperature-wise; 37°F (3°C) to 55°F (13°C) is typical.
Tampere receives 22.5 in (575.5 mm) of precipitation a year, on average.
Tampere is easily accessible via several methods. The second city of Finland is a mere 2 hour drive from Helsinki and Turku. Tampere-Pirkkala Airport is close to the city centre and serves the likes of Riga, Tallinn, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Frankfurt-Hahn, London-Stanstead and Rome-Ciampino.
VR offers rail service to Tampere via many points of departure within the country. Coach bus service is equally convenient and reliable.
Within Tampere proper, visitors can navigate a superb public bus network, take taxis or rent a car. The core of the city is suitable and small enough for pedestrian exploration.
Tampere rightfully prides itself on being one of the most dynamic and interesting cities in Nordic Europe. Like a lot of former manufacturing powerhouses (the Pirkanmaa capital’s nickname is “Manse” or alternatively, the “Manchester of Finland”), Tampere has successfully parlayed its muscular industrial heritage into a progressive, cosmopolitan cityscape. Home to more than 300,000 people, the high-growth, third most populous metro region in Finland is a lively little tourism dynamo.
Much of Tampere’s charm comes by way of a dynamic student population and slew of urban renewal projects along the city’s waterfront. Geography too, plays a part in Tampere’s allure. The city is smack between Näsijärvi and Pyhäjärvi lakes and the rapids that connect them run through the heart of town. About two hours drive from both Helsinki and Turku, Tampere draws a fair number of domestic tourists to a succession of notable cultural events. These range from the Tampere Film Festival, summer rock extravaganza Tammerfest and eclectic, multi-disciplinary Tampere Music Festivals. The city’s most popular point of interest is without question, Särkänniemi. A massive amusement and adventure park, Särkänniemi boasts a zoo, planetarium, aquarium, art museum and six roller coasters. The park’s observation tower is the tallest in Scandinavia and offers unparalleled views of Tampere and the surrounding countryside. Important museums in the city include the Moomin Museum, Tampere Art Museum, Spy Museum and Lenin Museum.
Attractions & Activities
- Pyynikki Summer Theatre
- Tampere Art Museum
- Messukylä Old Church
- Näsi Park
- Tampere Film Festival
- Tampere Music Festivals
- Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra
- Tampere Theatre Festival
Restaurants & Nightlife
- Gastropub Praha
- Bodega Salud
- Love Hotel
Tampere enjoys four distinct seasons, with long winters from November to April.
- Winter (November to April) -11-2°C
- Spring (May to June) 3-13°C
- Summer (July to August) 11-22°C
- Fall (September to October) 2-14°C
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