Day 20. Delightful Tampere

We took an inter-city train from Helsinki to Tampere.  VR Finnish trains are very comfortable and smooth, run on a wider gauge than English trains and have an upper deck.  We booked seats upstairs so that we could enjoy the best views along the 90 minute journey.

Double decker VR Train, Finland
A VR Train

Tampere is Finland’s third largest city and is located 100 miles north of Helsinki.  It is often referred to as the ‘Manchester of Finland’ due to its industrial past as the former centre of the Finnish cotton trade.

The Finlayson Mill, Tampere
The Finlayson Mill, Tampere

On leaving the station we strolled along Tampere’s broad main shopping thoroughfare until we reached the river.  Here you will find the former Finlayson cotton mill which was established in 1820 by a Scottish engineer called James Finlayson.  He originally produced woven wool but realising the climate was cool and damp and perfect for cotton spinning as the thread would not snap, he transformed the building into a cotton mill in 1828.  The Finlayson company still exists today and is a noted Finnish textile manufacturer producing high quality linens, towels and bedding.

Tammerkoski Rapids, Tampere
Tammerkoski Rapids

Since production ceased in the mill in the 1970’s and industrial use of the buildings ended in the 1990’s it has been redeveloped into a cultural centre housing museums, restaurants, bars, a cinema and art gallery.  We enjoyed a delicious lunch buffet in the mill overlooking the Tammerkoski Rapids.  Tampere is located between two lakes Näsijärvi and Pyhäjärvi.  These two lakes differ in level by 18 metres and the Tammerkoski Rapids which link the lakes has been an important power source for the surrounding mills, producing energy to drive the machinery.

Tampella Limited now the Vaprikki Museum, Tampere
Tampella Limited now the Vaprikki Museum, Tampere

Going through the ornate entrance way, pictured above we arrived at Vapriikki – a museum centre in what used to be the engineering works of Tampella Ltd.  It’s home to the Natural History Museum of Tampere, the Media Museum, Mineral Museum, Finnish Hockey Hall of Fame and the Finnish Postal Museum, which relocated from Helsinki.  The museums are housed in the vast factory hall which produced a wide range of goods including locomotives, turbines and linens.  The name of the museum Vapriikki means ‘fabric’ relating to the history of the former mill building.

Woodland path in Tampere, Finland
Woodland walk in Tampere

Leaving the cultural landmarks of the city behind we took a 20 minute uphill walk through a pine tree forest to the Pyynikki Observation Tower located at the top of the world’s highest gravel ridge Pyynikinharju.  The old tower stands 26 metres high and a small lift takes visitors to the observation deck for €2.  There are splendid views from the top looking down on Lake Pyhäjärvi.  On the ground floor there’s a pretty little cafe which has a good range of homemade cakes and buns and is very popular with locals and visitors to the area.

Pyynikki Observation Tower, Tampere
Pyynikki Observation Tower

Moving on, we walked down some steep wooden steps and followed a path to the edge of Lake Pyhäjärvi which looked crystal clear in the bright sunshine.  The path continued past an attractive beach before heading back through the forest towards the town centre.

Nasinneula Observation Tower, Tampere
Nasinneula Observation Tower

Next, it was time to stroll across the town to the Näsinneula Observation Tower which is located on the edge of the Särkänniemi Amusement Park.  The tower is the second tallest in the Nordic Region and the most famous symbol of Tampere.  It costs €5 to take the lift to the top and we were rewarded with far reaching views of around 20 kilometres in every direction.  The two lifts take only 32 seconds to ascend the 130 metre tower, rising at a rate of six metres per second.

View from the Näsinneula Observation Tower, Tampere
View from the top of the Näsinneula Observation Tower

From the top we could see a panorama of the city and of the beautiful ridges and lakes surrounding it.  The views were breathtaking and we couldn’t have wished for a more perfect day to view the city from here.  From the photograph below you can see part of the Särkänniemi Amusement Park which looks like a toy town from such a great height.

Särkänniemi Amusement Park.Tampere
Särkänniemi Amusement Park, Tampere

After all this walking we were ready for some tea and cinnamon buns and we found the perfect cafe for our afternoon tea, sitting on a sunny terrace overlooking a small marina on the lakeside.

Cafe Ankkuri, Tampere
Cafe Ankkuri, Tampere

Afterwards, there was still enough time to take a look in the attractive old market hall with its wooden stalls painted an attractive shade of grey.  We then glanced in some of the high street shops before heading back to the station for our early evening train back to Helsinki.  After so much walking and sightseeing we were soon asleep on the train after such a splendid day out in this most beautiful of Finnish cities.


If you have enjoyed reading this post you may also like:

My journey to Tampere, Finland

The Cotton Mills of Tampere and Manchester



30 thoughts on “Day 20. Delightful Tampere

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  5. I’m just finally getting caught up on my blog reading after a busy week at school. This looks like it was another lovely day, Marion. There is so much more to do in Finland than I ever knew about, and it looks like the weather was beautiful for so much walking. It sounded like you should be putting this post up for one of Jo’s Monday Walks!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What an amazing view from the top of the tower and how cheap to take the lift to the top, makes you realise how expensive everything is here, we’d never get to do that for 5 Euro!! Sounds like a really interesting day trip too – I can see the resemblance to Manchester with the red brick mill buildings but it looks like the natural setting of this city is stunning.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tampere is one of my favourite cities in Finland and when the weather is at its best it looks so beautiful. I thought the cost of ascending the tower was good too and if you buy wristbands for the amusement park then the observation tower is also included. Cafes always seem to look more inviting too than the ones we get at home and in Finland nearly every cafe lets you have tea or coffee refills at no extra charge.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I loved the observation tower and because the weather was so good we had such good views. The price to ride up the tower is quite modest too which is good. I’ve been to the top of observation towers in cities such as Auckland and Seattle and it’s fun to do if the weather is good.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s fun to read about my hometown from someone else’s point of view! I really loved the photos and you made Tampere look so beautiful 🙂

    And I learned something new because I didn’t know that Vapriikki means Fabric (it must be old word because no one uses that :D)

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Good Morning Marion.

    Thank You presenting Tampere in so interesting way that I like to revisit is immediately again. To me Tampere deer due to its Vapriikki museum. It arranges high quality exhibitions. We have been visited there many times. Few years ago museum presented Terra Cotta Army. My post from it is waiting for publication.

    Another thing why Tampere is deer is theatre. My family have habit to visit in winter theaters. I do not know if people abroad tend visit other cities and at same time theater. Some hotels arranges weekend visits and theatre tickets. Think how relaxing it is to spend a weekend in some town, eat there, explore the town and finally crowning all this to visit a local theater. I beg Your pardon that I again got lost on the topics, but I wanted to tell to You about one of our habits.

    Have a nice day!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good Morning Matti!, and thank you once again for your positive thoughts, this time on Tampere. It’s such a lovely city with its natural beauty, museums and culture. We enjoy spending an evening at the theatre, too. Sometimes when we are staying in other towns in England but usually near home. I enjoy watching plays and musical productions very much – combined with a meal out, it’s a perfect evening. Best wishes, M.

      Liked by 1 person

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