Tampere Travel Guide
Once upon a time, Turku was the second most populous city in Finland. In modern times, though, Tampere has risen to overtake the former capital. At first glance, it doesn’t appear to boast much, as it is an industrial city.
However, it is a centre filled with museums, churches, and other interesting attractions. As such, it deserves a spot on the itinerary of those looking to travel deeper.
Come check out our Tampere travel guide as we cover the best things to do in Tampere, Finland.
Begin your tour of Tampere with a visit to the Moomin Museum. This institution is home to a variety of piece honouring the popular cartoon series. Many in Finland grew up with their comics, which Tove Jansson created starting in the 1940s. This fact makes this attraction a popular place, so try to come during the week, if possible.
In its galleries, you’ll find more than 2,000 pieces, which depict the nature of this hippo-like character. Of particular interest is the exhibit showing off the original sketches, which gave birth to the whole series.
As you make your way through this whimsical place, note that museum staff forbid picture-taking. They make an exception in one gallery – ask staff if you have any questions.
In the early 20th century, the Russian Empire played host to the emergence of Communism. But, before the Bolsheviks ran roughshod over the Tsar’s soldiers, these insurgents planned their uprising. Unbeknownst to many, Finland played a central role in this major world event.
Lenin, Stalin, and other luminaries plotted their revolution in the basement of the Tampere Workers’ Hall. More than a decade before they took power, they were drawing up ways to subvert the current regime.
Today, this spot is home to the Lenin Museum. Here, you’ll find exhibits not just about that heady time, but also about his life. However, you won’t encounter mindless fawning here, as many exhibits take on a critical angle on his ruling philosophy. Finally, check out the gift shop on your way out. Here, you can buy souvenirs for the socialist in your life.
Still in the mood for learning about Tampere, the surrounding area, and Finland in general? Include the Vapriikki Museum Centre in your tour of the city. In all, there are ten spots to check out. The Natural History Museum of Tampere, the Finnish Hockey Hall of Fame, and the Finnish Museum of Games stand out.
With every institution having its own unique bent, it can be easy to spend all day here. It’s the perfect place to kill a bad weather day, as everything is under one roof. You can even eat here, as there is a buffet-style restaurant located on the premises.
Those with a taste for the visual arts will not want to miss the Tampere Art Museum. The focus of the museum is on contemporary art, with Finnish and international portraits represented. As you walk through this gallery, you’ll find pieces dating as far back as the 17th century. Best of all, entrance is free, making this attraction friendly to budget travellers.
If you’re into religious landmarks, include Tampere Cathedral on your travel itinerary. Built in the early 20th century, architects designed this Lutheran landmark in the underused National Romantic style. Within, visitors will find its ceilings decorated in frescoes painted by famed artist Hugo Simberg.
Other highlights also include its stained glass windows and its organ. If you’re lucky, you might get to take in a concert featuring music played on this masterpiece instrument. These events happen throughout the summer – contact church officials for more information.
Get in touch with the flora of the Tampere area with a visit to the Hatanpaa Arboretum. While it contains plants, flowers, and trees of all kinds, it is best known for its rose gardens. As such, try to visit during the spring if you can.
The greenery isn’t the only attraction here – a grand mansion also sits on the property. Within, you’ll find an atmospheric cafe – the perfect place to sit on a beautiful summer day!
Want to get a million Euro view of Tampere and vicinity? Head up the Näsinneula Observation Tower. Standing 551 feet above the surrounding area, it is the tallest freestanding structure in Finland. This spire took inspiration for its design from the Space Needle in Seattle, as you’ll quickly see. The beacon at the top isn’t just for safety – its light also predicts the weather. Three yellow lights mean “sunny”, while three green mean rain is on the way!
At the top you’ll find an observation deck, where you can take panoramic pictures. You’ll also stumble across a revolving restaurant, which is the perfect place to end a visit to Tampere.