Teeming still with the industrial energy of a gone age, Tampere, or "Manse" (as in the Manchester of Finland) is the largest inland city in the Nordic countries and as some report, Finland’s most desirable city to live in, which may account for its population of over 200,000. Some 170 km north of Helsinki in southern Finland, the city grew up on a narrow isthmus between two lakes, connected by a stretch of rapids that have powered the city since the 18th century. With red brick factories converted into restaurants and bars, Tampere holds true to its past with a variety of attractions to make each city-break an experience to remember.
airBaltic is your airline for cheap flights to Tampere-Pirkkala airport, a mere 17 km from the city and Finland’s second-largest airport, servicing several airlines with direct flights across the continent.
Finnish is the principle language in Tampere, but naturally enough the locals have their own dialect, Tampereen kiäli. As elsewhere in Finland, English is widely spoken and travellers have little difficulty communicating with the welcoming population.
See and Do
As most hotels and attractions are within a short distance of one another, walking is an ideal way to see the city. Stroll beside the rapids on a self led tour alongside the red brick factory buildings where there are plenty of delightful cafes and restaurants to choose from. Factories seem the place to be in this city, as there is also a modern exhibit space, with a host of restaurants and bars within the 19th century Finlayson Centre cotton mill. Sound like your run of the mill? Think twice, park the Bond car, put on your decoder ring and sneak (as invisibly as possible) into the Spy Museum located downstairs with a collection that is very hush-hush and promises to help you refine your phone-tapping skills.
Other museums of note in the Tampere include the Sara Hilden Art Museum for its collection from artists from both Finland and abroad, the Hiekka Art Museum, once with a taste for fine furniture, among other things. At the 19th century Tallipiha Stable Yards, browse through the work in these local artist spaces. Meanwhile, just outside of the city, trek to the Museum of Dolls and Costumes with some pieces over 800 years old.
Ready for some excitement after the history and cultural lessons? Särkänniemi Amusement Park has it all, including a planetarium, aquarium, Dolphinarium and a 168 m tall observation tower that provides panoramic views over the city and its lakes. Hike up to the Pyynikki Ridge & Observation Tower, directly between the two lakes for impressive views of the city. Another great day trip is a cruise out to Viikinsaari Island especially for the midsummer night festivities, when there is plenty of eating, drinking and dancing around a roaring fire.