Tampere is not only physically shaped by two lakes, Näsijärvi and Pyhäjärvi but also by the hydro power the rapids between them enabled. The ability to generate electricity drove Tampere to become the industrial center of Finland, and the large number of factories and working class propelled the city to the center of Finland’s bloody civil war in 1918.
In modern times, Tampere is famous for it’s cultural and historical activities- theatre, museums and music. Here are five things you’ll want to do if you visit this city.
There’s a large range of theatres on offer, with some of the most popular including the Worker’s Theatre, the Tampere Theatre and the open-air Pyynikki Summer Theatre with a revolving auditorium. In August there’s even an international theatre festival.
There’s also a bunch of museums to visit, with many showcasing the rich history of the region. I loved the Museum Milavida – a restored 19th century mansion and the Vapriikki Museum which is housed in a huge old factory building and actually contains many smaller museums. There’s one on natural history, minerals, the best nature photographs of the year, Tampere through the ages, computer games, Finnish sports, and even Dracula/Vampires.
3. Try Local Food
The old market hall is the perfect spot to stop for a coffee and pulla (Finnish pastry) at a traditional cafe, and sample some of the local specialties like black pudding sausage. One of the most delicious things I tasted in Tampere translates to “Poor Knights”. It’s basically French Toast made out of day old pulla and served with whipped cream and homemade jam- yum!
4. The Stable Yards: handicraft & chocolate stores
Just below the Milavida Museum you’ll find a cluster of small stores in historic wooden houses and stables. By far my favourite was the Tallipihi’s Chocolate Shop. Around Christmas time there’s also an outdoor market in the area.
5. Amusement Park by the Lake
The popular Särkänniemi amusement park not only boasts a bunch of rides, but also stunning views as it’s perched above the Näsijärvi lake.