Situated between lakes Näsijärvi and Pyhäjärvi, Tampere has grown thanks in part to differing in water levels of the lakes, 18 metres, and the channel that links them - the Tammerkoski Rapids. There are at least a dozen museums here and it is recognised as the centre for theatrical arts in Finland. There are some wonderful examples of Art Nouveau architecture in the city, as well as some of Finland's most impressive churches. It is also home to Särkänniemi, one of Finland's best loved adventure parks. Although Tampere is still a thriving industrial city, much of the former industrial areas have been recovered thanks to forward-thinking city planners, with a dense hub of restaurants and cafés, shops, theatres and cinemas, galleries, museums, and sport and fitness centres.
There are many museums in Tampere, including the Museum Centre Vapriikki, Central Museum of Labour, Textile Industry Museum, Steam Engine Museum, Spy Museum, Rupriikki Media Museum, Lenin Museum, Ice Hockey Museum and Moominvalley Museum.
Open from April through September, Särkänniemi is one of Finland's best theme parks. There are some 35 different rides in Särkänniemi including their famous Half-Pipe, Tornado, and Trombi Rollercoaster. There is a separate Kiddie Land for smaller children, and a children's zoo; the Aquarium, Dolphinarium, and Planetarium, where education and entertainment blend perfectly; the Näsinneula Observation Tower, which stands at 168m and is the tallest observation tower in the Nordic countries, and which has an excellent restaurant at 124m open throughout the year; and the Sara Hildén Art Museum. Särkänniemi attracts some 600,000 people every year, most of which are return visitors, which highlights the quality of service available here.
Although Tampere was only founded in 1779, the city does have some rather striking churches, especially the medieval Messukylä Old Church. Others worth visiting include the Alexander Church, an example of Neo-Gothicism, and the Neo-Byzantine Orthodox Church. Over 100 years ago one of Finland's finest art treasures was completed, the beautiful Lutheran Cathedral built in the national romantic style. Upon opening, Magnus Enckell's altar fresco, as well as other frescoes, and the wonderful stained glass by Hugo Simberg, caused something of an outrage, but today their standing as undisputed masterpieces are internationally recognised.
Elsewhere in the city are numerous examples of Art Nouveau architecture dating from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including the Tirkkonen house, the Kauppahalli market, the Commerce building, the Sumelius house, and the Palander house. Wivi Lönn, one of Finland's first female architects, designed the impressive main fire station.
West of Tampere in Ylöjärvi the traveler can find the unique piece of environmental art known as Tree Mountain, by the artist Agnes Denes, where over 10,000 pine saplings were planted on a conical gravel hill according to a mathematical formula.
With at least 9 museums, some of which are unique in the world, and a host of galleries to choose from, there is plenty in Tampere to see. Perhaps the best place to view the town itself is the Pyynikki Observation Tower which was built in 1929. It offers a splendid view of Tampere, from which you can see Lake Näsijärvi on the north, Lake Pyhäjärvi on the south and, on a narrow strip of land, the city in between. View our Tampere Tourism list of top tourist attractions in Tampere.
Nordic walking and trekking, rowing and sailing, kayaking and canoeing, skiing and snow shoeing, ATV and snow mobile safaris, and various fun activities - Tampere has it all. The capital of Finland's Zanderland, there are plenty of fishing waters, including the Tammerkoski Rapids in the very heart of the city centre.
Whether you prefer fine dining, Châine des Rôtisseurs cuisine, steaks, vegetarian or ethnic food, a fusion menu, pizza or Finnish specialities, you'll be able to find it easily in Tampere. Being at the centre of Finland's zander territory, it would be remiss to not try the fish they call pike-perch while there. View our Tampere Tourism guide to food and drinks.
Tampere has plenty of hotels to choose from, but for those on family holidays there are other alternatives, like rental cottages and apartments to rent for short stays. There are also camping sites, caravan sites, and summer hotels located a little further from the town where you can truly enjoy the peace of the Finnish countryside.
Tampere has a good selection of speciality shops, small boutiques, department stores and shopping centres, conveniently located in the heart of the city within easy walking distance. There are also flea markets, an indoor market hall, and outdoor markets, enough to satisfy even the most diligent bargain hunter.
As well having an excellent road network, plus regular bus and rail services, Tampere also has a growing airport with international connections to Sweden, Latvia, Germany, Ireland, Italy and England. During the summer the city can be reached easily by boat, and Finnish Silverline operate a number of cruises from the town. View our Travel Guide to Tampere Tourism.