Posts Tagged Finland

Ivalo, Finland – Travel Guide

Ivalo, Finland – Travel Guide

Book Cheap Hotel, Apartments, Hostels & BBs in Ivalo

Ivalo (Sami: Avvil) is a town in Finnish Lapland.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Ivalo Airport (IATA: IVL) [1] is the northernmost airport in Finland. There are scheduled flights from Helsinki by Finnair (twice a day) and Norwegian (thrice a day) depending on the season. There are also many charter flights from all over Europe during the Christmas/New Year peak tourism season. The airport has a regular bus service to Saariselkä (25 km, 20 min, €7,50), but none to central Ivalo (17 km). Taxis to Ivalo, Utsjoki and Saariselkä cost around €17, €27 and €35 respectively.

By bus[edit]

Ivalo is along highway E75 from Utsjoki to Sodankylä and the railhead at Rovaniemi (3 hours away), and is thus served by any buses plying this route. Gluttons for punishment can even take a direct bus from Helsinki, which takes around 15 hours. There’s a bus connection from Murmansk, Russia three times a week as well.

Get around[edit]

Since it is a small town, it is very easy to walk everywhere. There are bicycle paths along the main road.

See[edit][add listing]

Virtually nothing. Ivalo is a little village with very little to see for the typical tourist. That’s why most people head straight for Inari or Saariselkä.

Do[edit][add listing]

The Ivalo River nearby was the site of a gold rush in the 1870s, and some gold panners still try their luck.

The cinema theater Aslak shows all the newest movies.

Eat[edit][add listing] An award-winning restaurant/pub that serves excellent hamburgers.

Pizzeria Kebab Deryan: A nice and clean pizza/kebab-restaurant. Try the reindeer pizza.

Drink[edit][add listing]

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Get out[edit]

  • Inari, 38 km north from Ivalo

Routes through Ivalo
VardøInari  N noframe S  SaariselkäRovaniemi

This article is an outline and needs more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. Please plunge forward and help it grow!


Posted in: Europe

Leave a Comment (0) →

Porvoo, Finland – Travel Guide

Porvoo, Finland – Travel Guide

Book Cheap Hotel, Apartments, Hostels & BBs in Porvoo

Kayaking past Old Porvoo

Porvoo (Swedish: Borgå) [1] is a scenic small town 50 kilometers east of Helsinki, Finland. One of the most popular day trips from Helsinki, its picturesque city center of wooden houses is a proposed UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Finland’s second oldest city (after Turku), Porvoo has been around since the 13th century, although most of the present buildings date to the 19th century. In 1809, Finland’s nobles assembled at the Diet of Porvoo to affirm the country’s conquest by Russia.

Today, tourists stroll on the cobbled narrow lanes of Old Porvoo (Vanha Porvoo), which has survived the sprawl of the more modern part of the town around it remarkably intact. The place is particularly popular in summer.

Get in[edit]

Map of Porvoo

By bus[edit]

There are buses from Helsinki‘s Central Bus Station to Porvoo every 15-30 minutes. Standard/express services cost €11.80/15.00 one-way and take 55/65 minutes, so the surcharge is hardly worth it — the expresses just stop in Porvoo on their way to points further east.

By train[edit]

There is no regular passenger train service to Porvoo, but the Porvoo Museum Railways [2] run a vintage 1955 Lättähattu (“Flat Hat”) Dm7 from Kerava to Porvoo and back on Saturdays in July/August only. The trip takes 1.5 hours and costs €15/25 one-way return for adults, half price for children, no reservations, cash only. As of 2009, the train leaves Kerava at 12:10 and sets off back from Porvoo at 4:00 PM. Kerava, in turn, can be reached in 20 min by regular commuter train from Helsinki’s Central Railway Station.

By boat[edit]

M/s Runeberg [3] cruises from Helsinki to Porvoo between May and September three to five times a week, departing at 10 AM and returning at 4 PM. The trip takes 3.5 hours one way and costs €25.00/36.00 one-way/return, half price for children. On Saturday, you can also opt to take the boat one way and the train back. The boat leaves from Linnalaituri on Helsinki’s Market Square, opposite the President’s palace.

By car[edit]

Porvoo is easily accessed via the E18 expressway east from Helsinki towards Kotka and the Russian border. The other option is the old Porvoo road, Highway 170, but it’s considerably slower and not particularly scenic.

By bicycle[edit]

Bike fans may want to consider pedalling the 78 km along the scenic King’s Road [4] from Helsinki to Porvoo, or 50 km along the more direct Highway 170.

Get around[edit]

Buggy parking in front of the Cathedral

Porvoo is best explored on foot: the Old Town is compact, many streets pedestrian only and with few cars otherwise, and all main attractions can be easily reached from the bus, ferry or train stations. Parents will, however, probably want to leave the baby carriage at home: the Old Town’s streets are cobblestone and the old center is on a hill.

The Museum Railways operate occasional steam train excursions.

See[edit][add listing]

Porvoo Museum

The town is famed for its many wooden buildings, picturesquely perched by the Porvoo River (Finnish Porvoonjoki, Swedish Borgå å). These are concentrated in the old city (Fin: Vanha Porvoo, Swedish Borgå), a few hundred meters northwest of the modern city centre, and on a fine summer day a stroll around them is very delightful indeed. For the best view of the iconic red warehouses, cross the river and walk along the park on the other side.

  • Porvoo Cathedral (Porvoon tuomiokirkko). A heavy, squat, white stone building, this church wins no awards for architectural innovation, but it’s among the oldest and largest in Finland, with parts dating back to the 11th century. Predating the Reformation, it was originally a Catholic church, but was somewhat crudely converted into a Protestant one later on by removing icons and painting over murals. The building was burned down four times between 1300 and 1700, and took a direct hit from a bomb in 1914 — miraculously, the bomb fell through the roof, but did not explode. The roof was burned by an arsonist in 2006, but the damage was repaired and it’s now open again, with some of the Catholic-era murals restored in the process.  edit
  • Porvoo Doll and Toy Museum (Lelumuseo), Jokikatu 14, [5]. Mon-Sat 11 AM-3:30 PM, Sun noon-3:30 PM. Contains over 1000 dolls and hundreds of toys dating from 1800 to 1990. Open from June 1st to August 10th only. €1/2.  edit
  • Porvoo Museum (Porvoon museo), Raatihuoneenkatu 21, +358-19-5747500, [6]. Daily 11 AM-4 PM May-Aug, Wed-Sun noon-4 PM Sep-Apr. History and art museum in the heart of the Old Town, housed in the former City Hall (1760). The Diet of Porvoo was held here, and today it showcases artifacts from peasant life and a collection of old photographs. €5.  edit

Do[edit][add listing]

Kayaking and canoeing on the Porvoo River and in the nearby island is a popular summer pastime. It’s even possible to make your way down all the way from Lahti, 90 km away. The stream is gentle and it’s quite suitable for beginners, but don’t venture out into the sea unless you know what you’re doing. Contact Kanotklubben Wiking [7] for more information.

Buy[edit][add listing]

In the old part of Porvoo there are lots of lovely little shops where you can buy anything from dollhouses to hand made jewelry. Many are, however, open only in the summer.

  • Brunberg, Välikatu 4, +358-19-5484235. Mon-Fri 10 AM-6 PM, Sat 9 AM-4 PM. One of Finland’s most famous confectioners, this family-run business was founded in 1871 and is best known for their Pusu (“Kisses”), or giant puffs of flavored whipped cream encased in a thin chocolate shell. (Until recently, they were known somewhat politically incorrectly as “Negro Kisses”.) Brunberg’s liquorice (lakritsi) is another local favorite, and don’t miss the chocolate truffles either. Most products are actually made at a factory on the outskirts of town (Teollisuustie 19 B, Mon-Fri 9 AM-5 PM, Sat 9 AM-3 PM), but their always-crowded Old Town shop is considerably more convenient.  edit

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • Timbaali, Välikatu 8, +358-19-5231020, [8]. Daily 11 AM-11 PM. Famous restaurant that specializes in snails (not a particularly typical Finnish delicacy.) Snails from €10 per half dozen, mains (not all of which involve snails) from €20. Lovely indoor terrace in summer.  edit
  • Wanha Laamanni, Vuorikatu 17 (opp Porvoo Cathedral), +358-20-7528355, [9]. Classy restaurant in a building dating back to 1790, now serving up modern fare with a Finnish twist: try the deer carpaccio or tar-flavored salmon. €50.  edit
  • Gabriel 1763, (North end of Jokikatu). Nice restaurant with a couple of tables outside on Jokikatu. Serves appetizers, mains (including pasta, sallads), pizza and desserts. Many people sitting outside sipping drinks. &euro 15, 20, 25.  edit
  • Bosgård, +35840 051 3410. A working organic farm 15 km from Porvoo. A deli-café with a fine selection of organic meat and fish delicacies and hot meals (in summer BBQ). Free nature trails are worth a visit(English guidebook is provided)  edit

There are a number of other restaurants and cafes on Jokikatu and the neighboring streets, some in scenic locations with views of the river.

  • Vietnamese restaurant An Ngon Buffet, Loviisantie 8, 06150 Porvoo (entrance from Mikrokulma), +358 44 509 9970. A Vietnamese lunch buffet restaurant situated in Tarmola, Porvoo. In the restaurant you can taste exquisite Vietnamese and Finnish delicacies from the buffet. Also take away. Open: Mon – Fri 9am – 5pm, Sat 10am – 4pm Lunch: Mon – Fri 10am – 4 pm, Sat 11am – 3pm Prices from €9 to €12,40.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • Cafe Fanny, Välikatu 13 (opp Porvoo Museum). Pleasant cafe right on the old market square in the heart of old town, with indoor and outdoor seating. The homemade cakes are excellent.  edit
  • Soho, Mannerheiminkatu 20 C (downtown), [10]. A dance club located in the basement of a downtown building. It is quite busy, filled with youth from Porvoo and the surrounding area. To see such a busy club in contrast to the typical daytime Porvoo is an interesting juxtaposition.  edit
  • Porvoo Coffee Roastery, Mannerheiminkatu 2, 06100 Porvoo (on the waterfront by the main bridge), +358 19 617 040. Licensed bar and café in a converted brick warehouse by the river. Riverside and floating terrace tables available.  edit

Sleep[edit][add listing]


  • Gasthaus Werneri, Adlercreutzinkatu 29, +358-400-494876, [11]. Basic guesthouse, 400m from the bus station. No breakfast, but free use of kitchen facilities. €35/50 single/double.  edit
  • Porvoo Camping Kokonniemi, Uddaksentie 17 (1.5km from city centre), +358-19-581967, [12]. Camping and caravan ground plus 10 cabins for up to four people. Showers, sauna, kiosk, BBQ shelter, playground. Open June-August only. Cabins €58-67, camping €12/space plus €4/person.  edit
  • Porvoo Hostel (Porvoon retkeilymaja), Linnankoskenkatu 1, +358 19 523 0012, [13]. HI-affiliated hostel in a Porvoo-style red wooden building. 33 beds in 10 rooms. Single/double €29/38, €2.50 discount for HI members.  edit


  • Seurahovi, Rauhankatu 27, +358-19-54761, [14]. Has a popular restaurant. €80.  edit
  • Sparre, Piispankatu 34 (near bus station), +358-19-584455, [15]. Pleasant, centrally located business hotel. Breakfast and sauna (weekdays only) included. €85/100 single/double.  edit


The measure of Porvoo

According to legend, the bailiff of Porvoo used a standard-sized measure to collect taxes of wheat or vodka from its citizens, but a specially altered box with a false bottom for passing them on to the Crown. He pocketed the difference and lived lavishly, and to this day the expression Porvoon mitta (lit. “the measure of Porvoo”) lives on in Finnish to describe a generous or plentiful supply.

  • Haikko Manor (Haikon kartano), Haikkoontie 114 (6 km from city), +358-19-57601, [16]. Old feudal manor turned luxury spa and hotel by the seaside, popular with Finnish honeymooners. Features a Japanese-style Yorokobi bath section. €200 in new wing, €280 in manor wing.  edit
  • Onni, Kirkkotori 3 (next to Cathedral). The name means “happiness”, and this charming small hotel in the heart of old Porvoo (the building was built in 1840) was boutique before they invented the word. Four rooms decorated in various retro styles from Functional (as in the 1920s architectural movement) to Manor. Breakfast included. €180.  edit
  • Porvoon Mitta, Jokikatu 43, +358-19-580131, [17]. Another quirky small hotel in the heart of Old Porvoo. Ten rooms named and individually decorated after merchants and artisans who once worked in the building, ranging from tar merchants to glass blowers.  edit

Get out[edit]

This is a guide article. It has a variety of good, quality information including hotels, restaurants, attractions, arrival and departure info. Plunge forward and help us make it a star!


Posted in: Europe

Leave a Comment (0) →

Vaasa, Finland – Travel Guide

Vaasa, Finland – Travel Guide

Book Cheap Hotel, Apartments, Hostels & BBs in Vaasa

Finlands Statue of Freedom in the heart of Vaasa is a good place to enjoy an ice cream during hot summer days.

Vaasa (Swedish: Vasa) [1] is in Ostrobothnia, Western Finland.


Vaasa was an important place of governance when Finland was part of Sweden. It started in the 14th century when Korsholm castle was built near the village of Mustasaari. In 1606 the village of Mustasaari was granted city status and five years later it was renamed Wasa in honor of the Swedish royal lineage. The old names live on in the municipality that surrounds Vaasa as it is called Korsholm in Swedish and Mustasaari in Finnish. The old town of Vaasa burned to the ground in 1852, and when it was rebuilt it was relocated closer to the sea some six kilometers northwest from its original location. In the same process the town was renamed Nikolainkaupunki (Sw: Nikolaistad) in honor of Russian Czar Nikolai I, as Finland at that time was a Grand Duchy under Russian rule (1809-1917). In its new location Vaasa (or Nikolainkaupunki) became a important sea-faring city and a local business man named Carl Gustaf Wolff (1800-1868) was at one point the biggest shipowner in the nordic countries. When Finland proclaimed its independence in 1917 the name of the town was again reverted to Vaasa. The town was made capital of the white side (conservative, bourgeois) for a short while during the civil war (1918) when Helsinki was occupied by the red side (socialist, communist). It has since then been known as The White City, since the support for the whites was very strong in the area. Around 25 percent of the towns population is Swedish-speaking and even more are bilingual (Finnish and Swedish) and the ties to Sweden are strong in the area. In the area surrounding Vaasa the majority of people are Swedish-speaking. Vaasa is shielded from the open sea by the many islands in the archipelago. The nature of this area is nearly unique in the world as it continuously rises from the sea as the sea level due to post-glacial rebound. The Kvarken Archipelago, which is a UNESCO world nature heritage site, is just around the corner.

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

Main road 3 (also E12) from Helsinki through Tampere to Vaasa (419 km). The coastal main road 8 (E8) goes from Turku through Rauma and Pori to Vaasa (332 km) and from Vaasa through Kokkola to Oulu (318 km).

By train[edit]

Buoys waiting for visiting boats at the official guest harbour of Vaasa.

All trains from Helsinki to Oulu and Rovaniemi via Tampere stop at Seinäjoki. From there you can take connection trains, which head to Vaasa. There are also trains that go straight to Vaasa via Seinäjoki. Three of these trains also go from Vaasa to Jyväskylä via Seinäjoki. Check timetables at the state railway company (VR) [2].

By bus[edit]

There are west coast bus connections from Oulu to Turku, which go through Vaasa. Buses associate Vaasa also to Tampere, Pori and Kokkola. Check Matkahuolto for timetables and such [3]].

By boat[edit]

A ferry line called Wasaline [4] traffics daily between Vaasa and Holmsund, Sweden (near Umeå).

People arriving with their own motor- or sailboat can make use of Wasa Segelförening (one of Finlands oldest sailing societys, [5] on the island of Vaskiluoto. They run the official guest harbour of Vaasa and offer good services for the occasional boat captain. There’s a good view over town from the harbour and it’s a two kilometer walk into the center.

By plane[edit]

There are daily regular flights from Vaasa airport to Helsinki (Finnair [6], Blue1 [7] and Golden Air/Finncomm Airlines [8]), Stockholm, Sweden (Blue1) and 4 times a week to Umeå, Sweden (airBaltic [9]).

  • Airport Bus to and from Central Square

    • At weekdays (Mon-Fri) hourly from early morning to late evening, local bus lines 4, 10 and 40 – see more information from Vaasan paikallisliikenne [10]
    • Ticket price 2,50 €
  • Airport Taxi

    • Price from 16 to 25 €
    • Order at earliest 2 hour before arrival or departure time of airplane, but if morning airplane, last evening before 22:00
    • Order calls for airport taxi, +358 6 100 411 or from Finnish mobile phone 0600 30011
    • Airport Taxi web site [11]

Get around[edit]

The city is quite compact and most things to see are within walking distance. The commercial center and nightlife is concentrated in the area around the market square.

The local bus traffic to other parts of the city and the surrounding municipalities leave mainly from the southern end of the market square or from the western side of Rewell Center shopping mall. Bus lines typically have interval of one hour or half an hour per line. The office for the city buses, Vaasan Paikallisliikenne [12], is situated on the second floor of Rewell Center. There is a graphical route planner[13] to find suitable bus routes and timetables.

There are two taxi stations in the center of Vaasa (Hovioikeudenpuistikko 10 and 23). You can call a taxi to any address through the number +358 6 100 411 (when calling from abroad the number is +358 6 3200 111).

There is a local company called Vaasan Taxivene (tel. +358 500 667 760 or +358 400 594 967, [14] that offers taxi services by boat. This service is best suited for groups rather than individuals since the rates tend to be quite high for the lone traveller(a taxiboat for nine passengers is €140/h). The same company organizes special archipelago cruises and waterskiing.

Another company is Neptune Service [15](tel. +358 50 5812920) that offers fast and reliable water taxi service throughout the archipelago for up to 6 passengers.

See[edit][add listing]

The ruins of the 14th century St Mary’s church in the old town of Vaasa.

The entrance to Fabriikki, the part of the University of Vaasa which is housed in the actual old Cotton Mill.

  • Market place and Finlands Statue of freedom. The market place is the center of the city life in Vaasa. Finlands Statue of Freedom, unveiled in the summer of 1938 is in the northern end of the market square.
  • Old Vaasa (Vanha Vaasa, Gamla Vasa) is situated about 6km south east of the todays town featuring ruins from the first town of Vaasa that burned down in 1852 and a 18th century court building that survived the destruction but was redone into the Church of Korsholm when the town was rebuilt at a new location closer to the sea. The banks of the 14th century Korsholm castle are still visible and can be found west of the Church of Korsholm.
  • The campuses of Vaasa. Vaasa has three university level educational institutions with campuses that make use of Vaasa’s industrial past. The University of Vaasa has a unique campus that combines modern architectural elements with an old Cotton Mill in the neighborhood of Palosaari. The campus is situated along the waterfront and has park areas all around. Some say it is the most beautiful campus in Finland. South from that campus, closer to the city center but still along the waterfront is Academill, a former grain mill that nowadays houses two faculties of Åbo Akademi university in Vaasa. In the northern end of Kauppapuistikko you will find the campus of the Swedish School of Economics and Business Adminstration, also known as Hanken, which is housed in a former clothing factory.
  • Söderfjärden. South of Vaasa in the rural area of Sundom is a big cultivated area called Söderfjärden. When seen from the top of Öjberget, a hill right beside the big flat area, you see that the whole area is round. This is because it is an old crater which probably was caused by a meteor millions of years ago.
  • Waterfront. Take a walk in the park areas along the waterfront. Many sights are along the way, like the neo-gothic Court of Appeals and the 19th century Vaasa prison, which is still in use (though extensivly modernized on the inside) and actually has a shop which sells crafts made by the prisoners.
  • Trinity Church and surroundings. In the vicinity of the neogothic Trinity Church you will find City Hall, which also houses the Tourist office on the bottom floor. Along Vaasanpuistikko on the south side of the Church is the City Council and close by is Vaasan Lyseon Lukio, which is a Finnish-speaking upper secondary school. West of the church is a another school building with the text Lyceum. This is Vasa Övningsskolas Gymnasium, which is a Swedish-speaking upper secondary school.
  • Vaasa City Library. Check out what is happening in your corner of the world in the international papers provided in the City Library on Kirjastonkatu 13. If you can’t find a suitable paper then try the internet on one of the computers. It’s free. And while you are there, breathe in some of the cultural history involved. The first lending library in Finland was established in Vaasa 2.8.1794. The current city library was built in 1936 and in 2001 a extensive renovation and enlargement of the library was complete taking both old and new elements into account.
  • Contemporary architecture. There are some interesting buildings to see if you are an architecture buff of the modern sort. One interesting area is the Campus of Vaasa university already mentioned above, another is the city’s Center City Block, also called Rewell Center, which was designed by architect Viljo Revell and finished in 1963. In the neighbourhood of Huutoniemi (sw: Roparnäs) you’ll find Huutoniemi Church, a modernist building finished in 1964 and designed by Aarno Ruusuvuori. Significant industral architecture is well represented in Strömberg Industral Park and the City Library, also mentioned above, is an interesting meld of old and new.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Wasalandia[16]. An amusement park mainly targeted at younger children. Located on the Vaskiluoto island just outside the city center.
  • Tropiclandia [17]. A tropical spa with various slides, saunas and jacuzzis. Includes also an outside area in the summer. Located on the Vaskiluoto island just outside the city center.
  • Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art [18]. A new museum for contemporary art opened to the public in February 2007 in a former customs warehouse in the Inner Harbour of Vaasa.
  • Ostrobothnian Museum and Terranova Kvarken Nature Center [19]. If you are interested in the regions history, then you need to visit this place. The Terranova Kvarken Nature Center displays the uniqueness of the nature in the area (something that should be experienced first hand out in the open air of the archipelago).
  • The Tikanoja Art Museum, Hovioikeudenpuistikko 4 [20]. A traditional art museum in the former home of local businessman Frithjof Tikanoja (1877-1964). The museum got started when he donated his private collection to the city. The collection includes works by Edgar Degas, Paul Gauguin, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso, but also works by Finnish masters like Albert Edelfelt, Axel Gallen-Kallela, Maria Wiik and Tyko Sallinen. The museum also has touring exhibitions.
  • Vaasa Maritime museum, Palosaaren salmi, Merimuseo [21]. Get to know the seafaring past of Vaasa in this museum which is housed in a old storage building which was built by the great shipowner C.G. Wolff in the 19th century.
  • Brage Open Air Museum, Hietalahti [22]. The Museum consists of a complete nineteenth-century farm with interesting buildings and interiors from the Swedish-speaking part of Ostrobotnia. Within walking distance from the city center.
  • The Water Tower. See the 47 meter tall jugendstil water tower (built 1915). Inside the tower there is a challenging indoor climbing wall.
  • Night of the Arts (in August) [23]. Once a year the whole city is out witnessing different cultural events. There are free concerts, theater, exhibitions and other happenings all over the city. Excellent night and should be expeirenced if you are in the neighborhood.
  • Korsholm Music Festival (towards the end of the summer) [24]. One of the most acknowledged chamber music festivals in Finland, brings its own mood to this coastal region as music resounds in concert halls, restaurants, museums and idyllic church buildings.
  • Vaasa Choir Festival (arranged at the weekend of the Ascension Day)[25]. An international large-scale choir music happening.
  • Wasa By Night (arranged one dark autumn night every fall). A annual pub crawl arranged by most pubs, bars, restaurants and nightclubs in town.


If you want to experience live music on a regular basis in Vaasa then there are two venues to keep in mind.

  • Doo-Bop Club, Kauppapuistikko 12 [26]. A jazz club under McDonald’s in the northern end of the Market Square. Here you mainly hear jazz, soul and funk. The main principle is that the music is live.
  • Ritz (Skafferiet r.f.), Kirkkopuistikko 22 [27]. Housed in a cinema from the 1950’s – it is a place that tries to combine all forms of local and international culture. Small and cosy shows on the newly built café-stage (spring 2013) and larger concerts in the saloon with seating for over 320. Ritz has featured over a hundered shows in just under two years. The performers vary from artists that have traveled all over the world to those who are taking their first tumbling steps.


  • VPS (Vaasan Palloseura), go watch a football game with a team that plays in the top league in Finland. The standard isn’t as high as in England, Germany or even Sweden, but still. The games are played at Hietalahti Stadium, which holds 4,600 people.
  • VIFK (Vasa Idrottföreningen Kamraterna), this is another local football team that used to play in the Finnish major league back in the 1940s and -50s. In 2011 the team finished in fifth place in division 2.
  • Vaasan Sport, check out a hockey game during the winter with a team that until firther notice plays in the second-highest ice hockey league in Finland -the Mestis league. The games are played in Vaasa Arena in Kuparisaari.

Buy[edit][add listing]

The old Market Hall of Vaasa is still in use.

There are three shopping malls in Vaasa of which two are found by the market square. On the western side of the square is Rewell Center [28] (named after architect Viljo Revell who planned the modern city block that was built in 1962) and on the eastern side is the smaller HS center. Along Pitkäkatu there is a small shopping mall called Galleria Wasa. A big supermarket called City Market can be found on the northern end of the market square. In Kivihaka, eastwards from the city center, you’ll find a big area with various big shops, a small shopping mall and two big supermarkets. Best reached by car.

  • Loftet, Raastuvankatu 28, [29]. Local handcraft shop not far from the city center. There is also a nice café here where you can have lunch.

The gothic style Market Hall (built in 1902) offers meat, fish, cheese, sweets, art and souvenirs. It is situated on the southern end of the market square.

Eat[edit][add listing]


There are numerous cheap hamburger, kebab and pizza joints.

  • Hesburger, Kauppapuistikko 11.
  • McDonald’s, Hovioikeudenpuistikko 15 (center of town) & Toukolantie 1 (in connection with Prisma supermarket)
  • Kotipizza, Rewell Center + six other places around town. This nationwide pizza franchise was founded in Vaasa which is one of the reasons for there being so many of these here.
  • Best Burger Café, Kauppapuistikko 27.
  • Rolls, Rewell Center & Kauppapuistikko 18 & Kuninkaantie 72-74.
  • Subway, Vaasanpuistikko 22 & in HS Center (next to the Market Square).
  • Thai House, Vaasanpuistikko 17 (second floor in the small shopping mall). Lunch buffet (weekdays 11-15) €7,50.
  • Shanghai, Vaasanpuistikko 17.
  • Tian Long Restaurant, Vaasanpuistikko 18
  • Bistro A W Stenfors, in the Vaasa Market Hall. Excellent food and service. Open during lunch.
  • Illyrians Restaurant & Coffeebar, Fredsgatan (Rauhankatu) 16. One block from the square. Arguably one of the best pizza/kebab places. They also offer salads and different coffees.


Out eating at the summer restaurant of Strampen.

  • Rosso, Vaasanpuistikko 18 C.
  • Amarillo, Rewell Center 101 (second floor).
  • Reastaurant Chili Lime, Kauppapuistikko 16. Vietnamese food.
  • Pizzeria Marco Polo, Hovioikeudenpuistikko 11. ( The oldest independent pizzeria in town. )
  • Dallas Pizza Palazzo, Västervikintie 1. Find this place if you have a car.
  • Pizzeria Rax Vaasa, Kauppapuistikko 13. Pizza buffet.
  • Hupsis Kantarellis, Kauppapuistkko 15 [30]. A place with decent food that tries to be “crazy”.
  • Janne’s Saloon, Kuusisaari [31]. Located on a island in the Vaasa Archipelago. Accessible only by cruise boat from the Inner Harbour of Vaasa during summer. During winter it is possible to walk here over the ice (provided you have someone local with you to guide you).
  • Strampen, Rantakatu 6. Situated near the Inner Harbour of Vaasa. Strampen is short for “Strandpaviljongen” which is Swedish for “waterfront pavillion”. Has a popular beer terrace. Only open during summers.
  • Faros, Kalaranta [32]. Faros is the name of a boat in Kalaranta (Fish harbour). On deck and partly on land there is a terrace for beer and drinks and on board under deck there is a good restaurant. Only open during summers.
  • Seglis, Niemeläntie 14. Out on the island of Vaskiluoto in the club house of the Wasa Segelförening sailing society. Has a terrace with a great view into town over the bay. Only open during summers.
  • Martin Baari, Hovioikeudenpuistikko 20. Small bistro to have lunch in with great service. Get a beer while you’re here.
  • Kaffehuset August, Hovioikeudenpuistikko 13. popular eatery close to the main square, offers a specialist wine menu. occasionally hosts live music from local musicians in the evenings.


  • Restaurant Gustav Wasa, Raastuvankatu 24.
  • Restaurant Bacchus, Rantakatu 4.
  • Restaurant Fondis, Hovioikeudenpuistikko 15.
  • Restaurant Fransmanni, Hovioikeudenpuistikko 18.
  • Bistro Ernst Café, Hietasaarenkatu 7. A small place in connection with Wasa Teater, a Swedish-speaking theater.

Drink[edit][add listing]

There are several bars and nightclubs in Vaasa.

Bars & Pubs[edit]

Most restaurants have bars or pubs in connection to them and especially the summer restaurants have popular terraces to start the evening on.

  • Oliver’s Inn, Kauppapuistikko 8. Describes themselves as a “party pub”, which is quite true during weekends.
  • O’Malley’s, Hovioikeudenpuistikko 21. Newly opened dancefloor. Live music.
  • El Gringo Music Saloon, Hovioikeudenpuistikko 15 (entrance through the alley).
  • Amarillo Bar & Restaurant, Rewell Center 101.
  • Public Corner, Hallinkuja (around the corner fom the old market hall).
  • Office – The Sports Bar, Raastuvankatu 15. This bar used to be a legendary pub called Koti.
  • D.O.M Munkhaus, Hietasaarenkatu 14, cellar. Entrence from the alley side.
  • Kalarannan Laituri Bar & Terrace, Kalaranta. Only during summers.
  • Faros, Kalaranta. Drink beer on a ship.
  • Strampen, Sisäsatama. Very popular terrace on nice summer evenings.
  • Happy Barrel, Kauppapuistikko 15. A pub that serves greasy food when in need.


  • Fontana, Hovioikeudenpuistikko 15 [33]. Probably the most popular nightclub in town, and certantly the largest. On the second floor of the Hartman House in the northern end of the Market Square. There is a lounge available for private parties.
  • Leipätehdas – Brödfabriken, Hietasaarenkatu 14 [34]. Built into a former bread factory. Offers many club nights and concert nights with local bands.
  • Nightclub Sky, Rewell Center 101 [35]. This place has the best view in town as far as the nightclubs are concerned as it is on the ninth floor of a building on the west side of the Market Square. The Sokos Hotel Vaakuna is in the same building. Find your way to the nightclub through the Amarillo Bar on the ground floor.
  • Hullu Pullo, Kauppapuistikko 15 [36]. A big rock oriented bar more than a nightclub, but there is still a dancefloor. There are quite many concerts held here during the winter season.
  • Waild, Kauppapuistikko 15 [37]. A nightclub for a more mature public compared with Hullu Pullo which is next door.
  • Rocktails, Teräksenkuja 3. cocktail lounge + nightclub.

Sleep[edit][add listing]


  • Hostel Vaasa, Niemeläntie 1, tel. +358 6 324 1555 (fax: +358 6 324 1501, e-mail:, [38]. Located outside the city center on the island of Vaskiluoto in connection with Hotel Fenno. There is no regular bus connection to this location so unless you are driving or you really want to walk you need to take a taxi. Prices range from €17,50 (bed in a shared room with three beds) to €65 (private four bed room).
  • Kenraali Wasa Hostel, Korsholmanpuistikko 6-8, tel. +358 400 668 521 (fax. +358 6 3121 394, e-mail:, [39]. Located in a former military compund made up of charming wooden barracks with roots in the 19th century. Within walking distance from the city center. Prices range from €40 (private room with one bed) to €60 (private room with four beds).
  • Omena Hotel Vaasa, Hovioikeudenpuistikko 23, [40]. All hotel bookings and payments are done through the internet at through which you get a code for your room. The hotel is situated right next to the train station and a short walk from the city center. In this hotel you pay for the room and not the amount of people staying in the room. Prices start at €36 (room with four beds, €9 per person), and depend on the conditions of the booking and the stay. All rooms can house four people.
  • EFÖ, Rantakatu 21-22, tel. +358 50 557 4723 (only during summer, e-mail:, during winter available rooms can be booked through the school +358 6 317 4913), [41]. EFÖ is short for “Evangeliska Folkhögskolan i Österbotten”, which is Swedish for The Evangelical Folk High School in Ostrobothnia. During summertime when the school is closed it becomes a summer hotel. Smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages are banned. A single room costs €47/night and a double room €52/night.
  • Hotel Tekla, Palosaarentie 58, tel. +358 6 327 6411 (fax. +358 6 321 3989, e-mail: [42]. Located among student housing in the neighbourhood of Palosaari north of the city center. Take bus line 1 from the market square to get to the location. A single room costs €49 and a room with three beds costs €89. Evening sauna (not on Sundays) and free passage to the gym is included in the price. Some rooms are used as student housing during winter.
  • Westbay Inn, Västervikintie 271, tel. +358 40 750 5777 (e-mail: [43]. A guesthouse some seven kilometers north of the city center in Västervik. €40/1 person/day, €60/2 persons/day.


  • Hotel Fenno, Niemeläntie 1, tel. +358 6 324 1500 (fax. +358 6 324 1501, e-mail: [44]. A hotel on the island of Vaskiluoto just outside the city center. There are no bus connections to the address, so the hotel is best suited for travellers with cars. There is a hostel in connection with the hotel which a lot cheaper. Neither the hotel or the hostel is especially charming, but does the trick when looking for a bed to sleep in for the night. Prices range from €74 (room with one bed) to €115 (room with 3+1 bed).
  • Rantasipi Tropiclandia Spa Hotel, Lemmenpolku 3 [45]. A hotel in connection with the tropical spa next door out on the island of Tropiclandia. Prices start at €124 for a 1 bed room during summer. More value for the family with kids than the lone traveller.
  • Best Western Hotel Silveria, Ruutikellarintie 4 [46]. A popular conference hotel with a good sauna & pool facility. Prices vary depending on the day. A standard single room costs €62 during weekends, but €94 from Monday to Thursday. 1,5 kilometers from the center of town. Best reached by car, but accessible by the local bus also.


  • Hotel Astor, Asemakatu 4 [47]. A small but elegant hotel close to the trainstation and a short walk from the town center. Most of the rooms have their own Finnish style sauna. The price depends on which day you are staying. Weekends are cheaper as are some summer months. A room without sauna during a weekend costs €90/night, with sauna €111/night. Weekdays a room costs €120/night, with sauna €140/night. Single and double rooms have the same price.
  • Radisson SAS Royal Hotel, Hovioikeudenpuistikko 18 [48]. Big hotel complex streching to both sides of the street. Good sauna and pool facilities, one on the top floor and another one underground. A standard room is €100/night. Free broadband in the rooms, and you can rent a tandem bike for €10 /2 hours. There is a nightclub, a restaurant and a pub in the hotel complex.
  • Sokos Hotel Vaakuna, Rewell Center 101 [49]. A hotel smack in the heart of town, right beside the Market Square. Free broadband and sauna for customers. A standard single room costs €101, and a double room is €120. Ask about cheap offers though.

Bed & Breakfast[edit]

  • Betel Bed & Breakfast, Pohjoismäki 54, tel. +358 50 585 0866 / +358 50 520 7292. Located in the rural area of Sundom, a ten minute drive from the city center.

Camping & Cabins[edit]

  • Top Camping Vaasa, Niemeläntie 1 [50]. The camping area is situated on the island of Vaskiluoto just outside the city center. Besides places for tents and caravans, Top Camping also offers cabins (a four bed cabin €60/day).
  • Västerstrand Holiday Cabins, Utterö, Sundom [51]. A long way from the city center in the Sundom archipelago. You need a car to get to this place. Cabins from €45/day. Bring your own bed linen. Camping is also possible.
  • Aijas Semesterstugor, Utterö, Sundom [52]. This place offers very well equipped vacation cottages that can also be used during winter. During high season (17.6-5.8) the cottages can only be rented for a week at a time. During low season prices start at €90/day.
  • Kerstins Stugor, Utterö, Sundom, tel: +358 6 3644 114. This place offers cabins a long way out of town.

Get out[edit]

  • Stundars, Stundarsvägen 5, Solf (fi: Sulva) [53] is a large open-air museum in the next municipality of Korsholm (fi: Mustasaari) made up of about 60 buildings. It is a living centre for culture and art.
  • Raippaluodon Silta or Replot Bro, Finland’s longest bridge, can be reached when driving 10km north-west toward the island Replot, which is a part of the municipality of Korsholm that surrounds Vaasa. Just a bit before the bridge is a lovely public beach where you can easily camp for a day or two. You can also continue your trip out to the islands where there are restaurants and other things to discover.
  • Kvarken Archipelago (Merenkurkku, Kvarken) [54]. The archipelago outside Vaasa is a UNESCO world nature heritage site. The whole archipelago is a experience in itself but the parts under UNESCO protection are mainly in the neighbouring municipalities of Korsholm, Korsnäs, Malax and Vörå-Maxmo.
  • The coastal towns of Ostrobothnia. Vaasa is the perfect base to go out on daytrips to the smaller towns of Kristinestad (fi: Kristiinankaupunki), Kaskinen (sw: Kaskö) and Närpes (fi: Närpiö) in the south or Nykarleby (fi: Uusikaarlepyy), Jakobstad (fi: Pietarsaari) and Kokkola (sw: Karleby) in the north.
  • Provinssirock [55] is a good rock festival in the city of Seinäjoki, some 80 kilometers east of Vaasa. As most hotels are fully booked in the area during the Festival, Vaasa could provide a comfortable base for a musical visit. The annual festival is organized in the middle of June.
  • Pienet Festarit Preerialla [56] is a small 2-day festival on the small island of Hietasaari in Vaasa. Usually arranged in the beginning of June and concentrates mainly on punk and hiphop.

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!


Posted in: Europe

Leave a Comment (0) →

Naantali, Finland – Travel Guide

Naantali, Finland – Travel Guide

Book Cheap Hotel, Apartments, Hostels & BBs in Naantali

Naantali (Swedish: Nådendal) [1] is a popular tourist destination near Turku in Western Finland.

Naantali Church and Harbor

Get in[edit]

All roads to Naantali lead via Turku, which is just 17 km away. There are frequent buses (Turku local buses 11 and 110, 30 min, €3,80), but passenger train service has been terminated.

Much slower and more expensive but far more scenic is the Ukkopekka [2] steamship twice daily direct to old Naantali and Moomin World. The journey winds through the gorgeous Turku archipelago and takes two hours each way (20/25€ one-way/return, operates June-Aug only).

FinnLink [3] also operates daily car ferries to Kapellskär, Sweden. This is the shortest and cheapest way across with a vehicle (60 Euros including driver), but the ferry is considerably more bare-bones than the floating palaces that operates out of Turku to Stockholm.

Get around[edit]

See[edit][add listing]

Naantali is very much a summer town, and many attractions are closed outside the June-August peak season.

  • Moomin World (Muumimaailma), [4]. One of Finland’s most popular amusement parks, dedicated to Tove Jansson’s lovable Moomin characters(Huge in Finland and Japan, but not too well known elsewhere). The blueberry-coloured Moomin House is the main attraction. Tourists are allowed to visit freely all the five storeys. Hemulen’s yellow house is situated next door to the Moomin House. It is also possible to see Moominmama’s Doughnut Factory, Fire Station, Pancake Factory, Snufkin’s Camp, Moominpappa’s boat etc. in Moomin World. Visitors may also meet Moomin characters there or the Witch in her cottage. Moomin World isn’t a traditional amusement park. There are many activities and fantasy paths for kids there, e.g. Toffler’s Path with Witch’s Labyrinth, The Hattifatteners’ Cave and The Groke’s House. There are also performances in Moomin Theatre Emma. Moomin World is the world’s 4th best theme park for children according to The Independent on Sunday (October 2005). Moomin World was also elected as the domestic travel destination of the year 2005 (Matkamessut, Finnish Travel Fair 2006). Moomin World got the Golden Pony Award 2007 by The Games & Parks Industry magazine. The Jury said: “Moomin World is welcoming, well themed and full of educational contents.” The Moomin Bus (Muumibussi) connects directly to Turku. Note that the park is open only in the summer (Mid-June – Mid-August). The nearby Väski Adventure Island [5] is also a special sight for children.
  • Kultaranta, [6]. Literally “Gold Coast”, this is the summer residence of the Finnish president. Guided tours Jun-Aug daily except Monday, advance booking required.
  • Convent Church (Naantalin kirkko). Built in 1443-1462, this is the oldest standing structure in the city and among the oldest anywhere in Finland. Open daily 10 AM to 6 PM May-Aug, Sun and Wed noon-2 PM Sept-Apr. Free entry.

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • Kaivohuone, [7]. Kaivohuone, (literally ‘well room’) is a restaurant located in old Naantali. It’s nostalgic and in summer the biggest Finnish stars perform in there. The restaurant is closed for the season. Kaivohuone opens again in April 2014.  edit
  • Restaurant Kala Trappi, Nunnakatu 3., 02 345 2477, [8]. A la Carte restaurant in most idyllic part of the Naantali just beside the famous Naantali harbour. Caters for families and business bookings.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Naantali Spa Hotel, [9]. Finland’s largest spa with roots dating back to the 18th century, even the Russian Czar has paid a visit. The resort includes a multitude of restaurants, a variety of rooms and large spa, beauty and pool services. The spa is the only Scandinavian member in the Royal Spas of Europe – affiliation. The resort is also well known in Scandinavia for arranging conferences. Off-season weekday rates can drop as low as 69€/person but climb dramatically in high season.

Get out[edit]

  • Turku, Finland’s ancient capital

This article is an outline and needs more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. Please plunge forward and help it grow!


Posted in: Europe

Leave a Comment (0) →

Jyväskylä, Finland – Travel Guide

Jyväskylä, Finland – Travel Guide

Book Cheap Hotel, Apartments, Hostels & BBs in Jyvaskyla

A view from the observation tower of Harju

Jyväskylä [1] is a university city in Central Finland. It is the biggest city on Finnish Lakeland area. Its population was about 85,000 until January 1, 2009, when the surrounding regions were merged with it, thus increasing the population of Jyväskylä to 130,000.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Jyväskylä has a small airport [2] which is mostly served by the FinnComm (Finnish Commuter Airline) [3] and Finnair [4]. There are also some direct charter flights to popular holiday destinations.

There is no public transport connection from the airport to the city center.

You can also reach the city by taxi in 15-20 minutes. Catching or calling a taxi from the airport it will cost approx. 40- (1-2 persons in January 2015) to 45 euro (3-4 persons in January 2015) to get to the city center. If you are traveling alone, it’s cheaper to order the taxi as a special “Airport-Taxi”. Ordering Airport-Taxi two hours in advance will lower the cost for one person down to 20 euros, and a designated taxi driver with a name sign will be waiting at the airport for you. The service number for taxis in Jyväskylä area is +358 10 06900 (also for Airport-Taxi).

By train[edit]

Jyväskylä is well connected with railroads to the other Finnish cities, and getting in by train is rather effortless. The journey from Helsinki takes from 2 hours 45 minutes to 3 1/2 hours depending on the train. A bit depending of the train type, one way Helsinki – Jyväskylä train ticket costs a 54,75 euros for adults (August 2013).

The combined bus and train station (“Jyväskylä travel center” / “Jyväskylän matkakeskus”) is open from 06:00 to 22:00 from Friday to Saturday and from 08:00 to 22:00 on Sundays. Train tickets are sold at ticket machines at all opening hours, but the booking office does not sell tickets in the early morning or late night [5].

By bus[edit]

Buses travel between Jyväskylä and other Finnish cities, as well as smaller destinations. When traveling between cities, using trains is typically faster. Express Bus [6] ticket for adults from Jyväskylä to Helsinki or Helsinki-Vantaa Airport costs a bit less than 50 euros (March 2010).

Get around[edit]

Jyväskylä has rather nice opportunities for getting around by foot or by bicycle, so if you’re not in a hurry, you might want to just consider walking everywhere.

By bus[edit]

Local buses travel between the different parts and suburbs of Jyväskylä. The single tickets are sold by the bus driver and the fares are relatively costly, 3.30 € per trip (the exact amount changes quite ofter). Night fare (23:00-04:00) is almost double, 6.00 €, making taxi relatively cheaper option when travelling in groups of three or more.

If you need to change buses during one trip, you need to ask for a special receipt (siirtolippu) that you can show in the next bus (you’ll have to get on to the next bus within one hour from buying the ticket). This receipt does not currently cost anything extra, but you still have to ask for it explicitly before you pay for the trip.

If you’re planning to stay longer and want to use the bus service regularly, you might want to consider buying a bus card, which will be a bit cheaper (much cheaper if you are a student living in Jyväskylä). A 30-day bus card costs 61 € and it can be used as much as wanted during this 30-day period. No matter which part of Jyväskylä you want to get, there are approximately three buses leaving each hour (daytime).

By taxi[edit]

  • Taxis can be usually be found waiting at the Jyväskylän matkakeskus or other taxi poles in the center of the city. In case of a taxi cannot be found or you need to order it in advance, the taxi service number in Jyväskylä area is +358 10 06900. The starting cost during daytime (Mon – Fri 06:00-20:00, Sat 06:00-16:00 ) is 5.90 € and on other times 9.00 € (January 2015). The cost per traveled kilometer varies between 1.55-2.18€ depending of the amount of passengers. The price list is always available in taxis.
  • is a leading taxi booking mobile application in Finland and Northern-Europe, covering 100+ licensed taxis in Jyväskyla area. No booking fees, choose your closest taxi by price or car model and after order confirmation, you see taxi arriving on the map. Works on Android and iOS devices.

See[edit][add listing]

There is a nature preservation area just a few hundred meters off the city center. The area is located on the bank of the Tourujoki-river. There are also six other recreational ‘nature paths’ in Jyväskylä.

Exhibitions and art museums:
Admission is free for all on Fridays to Jyväskylä Art Museum, Craft Museum of Finland and Museum of Central Finland. Ask for a student discount in the museums and galleries.

Jyväskylä has many buildings by the famous architect Alvar Aalto. These include kaupunginteatteri (the town theater), some buildings in the main campus of the universty and the Alvar Aalto Museum.

Harju A ridge just next to the center of the town has a park on its slopes. Good for picnics and such. Vesilinna (water tower) is a building on top of the ridge that acts as an observation tower, restaurant and a museum of natural science in addition to dispensing water to the town. The building can be seen from many parts of Jyväskylä.

Do[edit][add listing]

The city’s web site [7] has an event calendar for current and upcoming events.

Ice skating on Lake Jyväsjärvi in the winter once the ice is thick enough.

Skiing and snowboarding (Laajavuori) Laajavuorentie 15, +358 (0)14 624 885 (, [8]. When there is snow. A small ski centre for downhill skiing and snowboarding with an extensive network of crosscountry skiing tracks in the vicinity.

Swimming and Beaches[edit]

Jyväskylä has plenty of lakes and these provide nice opportunities for swimming and general beach activities during the warm summer months. Some of them offer ice swimming during the winter.

  • Vuorilampi, Laajavuori, close by to the ski centre. A small pond with usually relatively warm water. Swimming is possible also during the winter.
  • Tuomiojärvi, north from the centre. Maybe the most popular beach in town and has two beach volleyball fields.
  • Alban ranta, next to Hotel Alba and one of the university campuses.
  • Kolmisoppinen, (or Korloppinen on Google Maps) couple of kilometers southwest from the town, off Ronsuntaipaleentie road. Relatively small lake with a beach somewhat secluded compared to those nearer the town centre.
  • Köhniönjärvi, a popular beach among the inhabitants of Köhniö and the nearby neighbourhoods. Buses 1 and 2 stop here.

Buy[edit][add listing]

You’ll definitely want to look for shopping opportunities at the Jyväskylä pedestrian precinct, which is located at the other end of Kauppakatu.

  • Forum, Kauppakatu 20–22 and Vapaudenkatu 49–51, [9].  edit
  • Jyväskeskus, Kauppakatu 29-31, [10].  edit
  • Torikeskus, Yliopistonkatu 36-38, [11].  edit

During the summer, the marketplace (Yliopistonkatu 15) is a good place to visit if you want fresh vegetables or fish, flowers or craft items.

There is also a big flea market worth visiting in Jyväskylä.

  • Seppälän kirpputorimarket, Laukaantie 3, [12]. A flea market is situated about 6 km from the city centre and it’s larger than 5000 square metre. You can take a buss nr. 12 from the centre.  edit

Eat[edit][add listing]

It’s cheap to have lunch at the student restaurants. They are situated all over the university buildings. With a finnish student card it costs about 2.6 euro. Without the card it costs about 5,5 euro. Student restaurants:

  • Ilokivi, Keskussairaalantie 2. Vegan food is served every day.  edit
  • Lozzi, Keskussairaalantie 4, [13].  edit
  • Wilhelmiina, Ahlmaninkatu 2, [16].  edit

There are many pizzerias offering large pizzas for as cheap as 4-5 €, guaranteed to fill your belly.

  • Katrina Restaurant, near the city center. The only vegetarian restaurant in Jyvaskyla. Unfortunately, it is open only for lunch between 11 am and 2 pm.
  • Hong Kong City, across the street from Katrina, serves up pretty decent Chinese cuisine every day until 11 p.m.
  • Grilli 21, located near the university serves up high quality traditional Finnish street food. Try the Taksari, deep fried french fries and sausages, with your choice of condiments, 4,5 €. Especially tasty after an evening of drinking. Open until 5 a.m. weekends.
  • Figaro, a good small restaurant located a bit off from city center (at Asemakatu 4), however it only servers lunch between 10.30 am – 2.00 pm
  • Restaurant Pöllöwaari, located at same place where Hotel Yöpuu is (Yliopistonkatu 23, near city center). Serves excellent lunch between 11am – 2pm
  • Pizzeria Maria, located in the city center. For less then 10 euro: selection from the salad bar, pizza, pasta, kebab, fallafel, and coffee. The pasta vegeteriana is excellent.

Drink[edit][add listing]

Pubs, Bars and Nightclubs[edit]

Nightlife is centered in the downtown part of Kauppakatu and cross streets, some also in the uptown part of Kauppakatu, near the University. As most of the bars are situated on Kauppakatu or very close to it, pub crawls can be easily arranged in Jyväskylä. Start from Yläkaupunki and work your way down to the clubs in Alakaupunki!

Alakaupunki (Downtown)
A large number of bars, restaurants and nightclubs is located around the pedestrian district. Cheaper places in this area incude Bar Explosive, Pub Anneli and Bar Passion. Suggested establishments:

  • Bar Bra, Kauppakatu 35, [17]. The newest club in town offers the same as the others plus a beach section with hammocks. Open Tue-Sun to 4 am. with age limit of 20 on Fridays and 22 on Saturdays. Cover charge 5 €.
  • Giggling Marlin, Kauppakatu 32. This club is easily recognizable by the long queue during weekends. As a part of a night club chain, this venue offers the same blend of danceable music and beautiful people you might have seen in the other SK bars. Cover charge €5.
  • Club escape, Väinönkatu 32.
  • Old Brick’s Inn, Kauppakatu 41, [18]. Situated in Vanha Tiilitalo (The Old Brick Building), is a pub with probably the biggest selection of beer in town.
  • Shaker, Yliopistonkatu 38, [19]. The one and only cocktail bar in Jyväskylä. This bar was established in 2004 and it has been since twice nominated as one of the top 20 bars in Finland. The bartender is among the best flairtenders in Finland, so don’t be surprised to see some neat tricks behind and over the counter.

Yläkaupunki (Uptown)
If you prefer a more laid-back night scene than euro-disco hell, walk uphill along Kauppakatu until you are past the church. This is where Yläkaupunki begins. Suggested establishments:

  • Sohwi, Vaasankatu 21, [20]. This pub has been around for a while and has still managed to stay fresh. Many students come here, maybe because the university is just next door or maybe because of the “rock hours”. Food is also served. Open every day and until 2 am on weekends.
  • Vakiopaine, Kauppakatu 6, [21]. Definitely the coolest spot in town to have a beer, afternoon or evening (happy hour is 9 pm til 11 pm every day, .4 liter tap for 2€). Art shows on the walls change every 20 days or so. Live music occasionally. Theater in the cellar. Lots of board games available for play. Wireless internet.
  • Vihreä Haltiatar, Kauppakatu 13. A quality establishment with over 100 beers to choose from. Friendly knowledgeable staff. Wireless internet. Awesome jukebox packed with an eclectic collection of old 45s. Hosts couch-surfer meetings. Closed on Sundays and Mondays.
  • Ylä-Ruth, Seminaarinkatu 19, [22]. Just a block further from Vakiopaine. A true Finnish drinking experience, you’ll hear the word “perkele” several times before your first beer is gone!


Wine, strong beer and spirits can only be purchased in Finland from State-owned Alko shops. The only Alko shop in the center of the city is at located at Asemakatu 8. Other locations of Alko shops in Jyväskylä area can be found from Alko website [23].

Sleep[edit][add listing]

There are a few hotels in the vicinity of the train station. All the major hotel chains (Scandic, Cumulus, Sokos) can also be found in the city.

  • Hotel Pension Kampus, Kauppakatu 11 A 4 (in centrum of Jyväskylä), +358 14 338 1400 (), [24]. Room for one person: weekday 58e, weekend 53e. Room for two persons: weekday 72e, weekend 66e.  edit
  • Hotel Omena, Vapaudenkatu 57, [25].  edit
  • Hotel Alba, Ahlmaninkatu 4 (near the University campus), tel. +358-14-636311. A nice, mid-range budget hotel. Half of the rooms face the lake, while the other half face the city.
  • Hotel Yöpuu, Yliopistonkatu 23 (near city center, at same place as Restaurant Pöllöwaari), tel. +358-14-333-900. A small, beautiful boutique hotel with a different theme for every room. Priced below average in the area.
  • Summer hotel Rentukka, Taitoniekantie 9, +358-(0)10 279 2006 (), [26]. This is situated in the student village of Kortepohja, about 2 km from the city center. Room for one person 42e, two persons 54 e.  edit


  • Grand Star Cafe, Kauppakatu 32, [27]. This coffee bar has few computers with internet access for it’s customers. You can also play PS3, poker and some board games here.

Stay safe[edit]

The crime rate in Jyväskylä is generally low. However, it’s best to avoid obviously drunk people during weekend nights after the bars close. Long queuing for taxis or late night snack sometimes frustrate some partygoers to seek fighting opponents from other people. Sometimes this results to a temporary conversion from a pedestrian district to fighting arena, but the common sight of patrolling police makes the occurrences more rare. Despite this, walking on the streets at night (or any time of day) is safe.

Get out[edit]

Routes through Jyväskylä
RovaniemiOulu  N noframe S  LahtiHelsinki

This article is an outline and needs more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. Please plunge forward and help it grow!


Posted in: Europe

Leave a Comment (0) →

Lahti, Finland – Travel Guide

Lahti, Finland – Travel Guide

Book Cheap Hotel, Apartments, Hostels & BBs in Lahti

Lahti City Theater

Lahti [1] is a town in southern Finland, which lies on the shore of Vesijärvi.

Lahti is a traditional industrial city. However, the city has suffered heavily during the economic downturms, especially in the early 90’s, earning a somewhat gritty reputation. Unemployment and alienation are still commonplace in suburbs of Lahti. Things are however now looking brighter again with a new direct railroad to Helsinki and city centre being revamped.


Lahti has a population of 100,000 making it the 7th largest city in Finland by population. The area of the city is 154,6 square kilometres, of which 19,54 km² is water. Current mayor of Lahti is Jyrki Myllyvirta.

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

Lahti is exactly 104 km from Helsinki, a one-hour drive on the expressway number 4 connecting the two cities.

By bus[edit]

The bus station

There is an almost hourly ExpressBus [2] coach connection from Helsinki-Vantaa airport to Lahti bus station operated, departing from platform 13 in front of the international flights terminal. The service operates round the clock, although there may be a gap of 1 to 2 hours between services in the small hours of the night. The trip takes between 1 h 15 min and 1 h 30 min depending on whether the service calls in towns on the way. In some cases, there is a change of coach at Kerava but it is well co-ordinated and easy. Tickets cost €20.50 (round trip €36.90) for adults, €10.30 for Finnish students (ISIC not accepted) and children of age 4-16. Children under the age of four travel free.

By train[edit]

Travel from Helsinki to Lahti by train takes about an hour. The train service is provided by VR [3], the national train company. Trains are also preferred by locals, because they’re fast and comfortable. There are several train types:

  • Local train Z (Lähiliikennejuna Z). Costs around €16,40 adult, €8,20 child (6-16 years). – Stops at Pasila, Tikkurila, Kerava, Haarajoki, and Mäntsälä. Goes hourly from about 6AM to roughly midnight. 1 hour travel time.
  • InterCity trains (InterCity-juna). Costs over €20 adult, over €10 child. Very comfortable trains, usually with 6 wagons, 3 of them are double-deckers. Stops at Pasila, Tikkurila and depending on the train also at Kerava. Most of the Intercity trains continue onwards from Lahti and are only few minutes faster than the Z train. Current (winter 2009) timetable indicates 54 minutes travel time.
  • Pendolino trains. Costs over €20 adult, over €10 child. Very comfortable trains and they tilt while turning (allows faster speeds).

Stops only at Pasila and Tikkurila before Lahti. 48 minutes travel time. All of the Pendolino trains continue from Lahti.

  • Allegro train, travel between Helsinki and St. Petersburg stops in Lahti.

If you travel with children, you should choose Perhelippu (Family ticket). With each adult, one child can ride for free. For example, if you have three children, you will only pay for 2 adults and 1 child.

The train station is less than ten minutes walk from the city center. Cross Mannerheiminkatu and take Rautatienkatu or Vesijärvenkatu towards north. = Leave the radio hill to your left and railway tracks behind you. City center is around Aleksanterinkatu.

Check more informations from VR’s websites.

Get around[edit]

Lahti has a good system of public transport. You can ride from one part of the city to another with a single ticket of 3.60€, kids 1.80€. Aleksanterinkatu and Vapaudenkatu are the center of Lahti’s public transport system. Every local buses use Railway Station area as a stop, because the Matkakeskus (Transport Center) is being build up by year 2015. You can use interactive route planner [4] to find bus routes.

Interactive map of Lahti [5]

See[edit][add listing]

Lahti has a partly deserved reputation as an unattractive, economically depressed industrial town. In the recent years, however, Lahti has improved its reputation with a lovely harbor area with outdoor cafes and bars (but in summer beware of the wasps!). In the harbor area there is also beautiful Sibelius Hall which is used for concerts and conferences.

Sibelius hall

Sibelius Hall[edit]

Sibelius Hall (built in 2000) is an example of a modern wood construction and the largest wooden building built in Finland for 100 years. Finnish forests were the main inspiration for the architects. The building consists of four parts:

  • the renovated ex-carpentry factory (the oldest industrial building still existing in Lahti, built by August Fellman in 1907 to serve as a kraft pulp factory with a sawmill, the building was extended many times and it served as a glass factory, wood meal factory, carpentry factory and wooden house factory),
  • the Main Hall with wonderful acoustics,
  • the congress centre and the Forest Hall (a beautiful lake scenery opening from Forest Hall’s windows).

Guided tours for groups of 1-13 persons. The ex-carpentry factory was renovated into a restaurant, offices and cabinets. Sibelius Hall host about 800 events every year: about 140 concerts from classical music to rock, pop etc.


  • Laune Family Park, Kaarikatu 26.

In Laune park, you’ll have lots of fun. There’s a traffic city, where you can drive with free bicycles and scooters. There are pipes and water, and parents can rest on grass while kids are having fun.

Free of charge
Bus no. 31 from Kauppatori stop A
  • Vesiurut, Pikku-Vesijärvi park.

Vesiurut means water organs. Every day at 1PM and 6PM, at the park there is a small 15 minute concert. The fountain starts in unison with music from speakers up in the trees. There are some classical music pieces and some Finnish pop music pieces. You can sit on rocks around the fountain, but be aware – you can get wet ;) During the fall, there are also lights playing.

Free of charge
Very close to the city center
  • Yli-Marola 4H Farm Animal Yard, Neljänkaivonkatu 47

Barnyard animals in the sweet country milieu right in the city center. Open only in Summer.

Free of charge
  • Puksu city train

Puksu train goes through the city’s entertaining places. It starts from Vesijärvi harbour, then goes to Laune park, then Farm Animal Yard, “Little Marketplace” and back to Vesijärvi harbour.

4€ Adults, €2 kids
  • Outdoor swimming pool (Maauimala)

In the summer, the bottom part of the highest ski jump is opened as a pool. There’s a shallow kids area as well as a deeper area, which goes quickly from 2m to 3m deep. Swimming ability required. You can borrow trunks and glasses.

4€ Adults, €2 kids.
  • Sports Park (Kisapuisto)

You can play almost anything in the sports park. There are tennis courts, a tennis wall, volleyball court, baseball field and of course a football field. Inside, there are tennis, badminton, and squash courts.

Outside prices unknown
Inside tennis €12/hour, squash and badminton €8/hour.

Do[edit][add listing]

The long wave masts

Lahti has the best known symphony orchestra in Finland, Sinfonia Lahti. Annual winter sport event, Salpausselän kisat is very popular and worth to see.

  • Lake Vesijärvi, Ankkurikatu. A nice way to spend a summer day is to embark a paddlewheeler ship to cruise Lake Vesijärvi. Remember to have an ice-cream onshore.  edit
  • Medieval Greystone Church of Hollola, Rantatie 917 (Hollola kk). mon-fri 10-80, sun 11-16. Visit nearby Hollola for it’s medieval greystone church. Completed around 1480 it represents the best middle aged church architechture. This church is famous for it’s well preserved wooden carvings, some of which are from the 1400s. Free.  edit
  • Radio and tv museum, Radiomäki, +358 (0)3 814 4512 (, fax: +358 (0)3 814 4515), [6]. Mon-Fri 10-17, Sat & Sun 11-17. Lahti’s radio and television museum is located on Radiomäki (literally Radio Hill). You can see receiving and transmission equipment from the 1920’s to modern times, and outdoors you can’t miss the two long wave masts that can be seen from everywhere around the city. Adults 5€, Children 2€.  edit

Buy[edit][add listing]

Aleksanterinkatu, the main street

Shopping centers[edit]

Lahti has several big shopping centers.

  • Trio shopping center [7] at Aleksanterinkatu 18, city center. There are over 90 shops, in 3 floors.
Opened on weekdays between 10AM – 8PM, Saturdays between 9AM and 6PM.
  • Sokos shopping center [8] at Aleksanterinkatu 19-21. It’s a big center with 3 floors and a basement floor. The three upper floors are filled with shoes, clothes, toys, electronics, dishes, games, movies and everything that you need in your household. In the basement, there’s a S-Market grocery store, which has a store in almost every city in Finland.
Opened on weekdays between 8AM – 9PM, Saturdays between 8AM and 6PM.
  • Syke Shopping center is located just opposite of Liike, Kauppakatu 18. Unlike Liike, which has a few shops. Syke has many shops, S-Market, which sells household products and food, Clas Ohlson [9], which sells electronics and household products, Emotion, which sells cosmetics and womens lingerie, TOP Sport, which sells sport equipment.
  • Liike shopping center is near the city centre. Mail order business Anttila [10] has a big 2-floor store there, which sells nearly everything found in the catalog. There are also several smaller shops, a cafe and a sports shop InterSport.

Just by walking around in the city centre you can find stores that sell almost anything (everything from buttons to cars).

Outside of the town

  • LAUNE is a large commercial area filled with large hypermarkets, electronic and car stores.
Most stores are open on weekdays between 9AM – 8PM, Saturdays between 9AM and 5PM.
Buses no. 72, 8, 13, 16, 21, 30 from Kauppatori stop C.
  • Karisma shopping center [11] is situated about 5 km’s east from the city center, beside the E75 motorway. It has nearly 80 shops.

Factory outlets[edit]

Lahti Region has several good factory outlets.


  • Naisten Pukutehdas Factory Outlet in Hollola [12]. Women’s clothing, even in bigger sizes. Tarmontie 7, 15871 Hollola. Tel. +358 3 523 4379. ma-pe Mon-Fri: 10-18, Sat: 10-15.
  • Luhta Torni Outlet in Lahti [13]. Clothing and house hold textiles. Tiilimäenkatu 9, 15680 Lahti. Tel +358 44 754 0210, mon-fri 10-19, sat 10-16.


  • Finnmari Candle Factory in Lahti [14]. Candles and other house hold products. Kynttilätie 2, 15700 Lahti. Tel +358 3 873 1120. Mon-Fri: 10-18, Sat: 10-15.
  • Maria Drockila’s candle factory in Orimattila’s old spinnig mill [15]. Kehräämön Myymälä, Pakaantie 1, 16300 Orimattila. Tel. +358 44 303 9017. Mon-Fri: 10-18, Sat: 9-15, Sun: 12-15.

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • Ahtialan Pizza-Kebab Ahtialantie 137. There is a variety of pizzas and kebabs. It’s located quite far from the town centre.
  • Ararat Rautatienkatu 10. Pizzas & kebabs.
  • Aspendos Kebab, Aleksanterinkatu 15, [16]. This place is said to have the best kebabs in Lahti.  edit
  • El Toro, Mariankatu 8, [17]. Spanish styled food  edit
  • Italiano Jalkarannatie 1. Great variety of italian dishes.
  • Lahden Kebab&Pizza Vapaudenkatu 22
  • Lorano Hämeenlinnantie 26
  • Lounaskahvila Tara Aukeankatu 1
  • Marry Dian, Ritaniemenkatu 11, [18].  edit
  • Mamma Maria, Vapaudenkatu 10 (bordering Kauppatori), +358 3 751 6309, [19]. Mon-Thu 11-22, Fri 11-23, Sat 12-23, Sun 12-21. Italian food such as delicious pasta and home made ice-cream. Reasonably priced restaurant offering authentic Italian cuisine – you can talk Italian with the owner and majority of the staff is international as well. A table reservation is strongly recommended especially on weekends as Mamma Maria is the most popular restaurant in town.  edit
  • Oluthuone Rautatienkatu 11
  • Pizzeria Kebab Antonio, Rauhankatu 19, [20]. famous for their wrapped kebabs.  edit
  • Ravintola Erika Lahdenkatu 46
  • Roux, Rautatienkatu 7 (Near Town Hall), +358 10 279 2930, [21]. Finnish fine dining with local delicasies.  edit
  • Santa Fe, Aleksanterinkatu 10 (bordering Kauppatori, around the corner from Amarillo), [22]. An interesting restaurant specialized in Mexican food. There’s also a bar downstairs. Definitely the most popular outdoor terrace of Lahti in the summertime.  edit
  • Toros Tex Mex, Hämeenkatu 21, +358 3 7122 122, [23]. Mon-Thu 11-22, Fri 11-23, Sat 12-23, Sun 12-22. Low-priced tex mex-style eatery.  edit
  • Tähti Pizzeria Ostoskatu 16
  • Ravintola Taivaanranta, Rautatienkatu 13, +358 424 925 230, [24]. Grill and distillery. Whisky distillery at the restaurant cellar.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • Alexin Panimo, Aleksanterinkatu 6, +358447458887, [25]. New brewery and bar in Lahti.  edit
  • Amarillo Bar, Aleksanterinkatu 10 (around the corner from Santa Fe), +358 44 748 6380, [26]. Mon-Tue 10-24, Wed 10-02, Thu 10-24, Fri-Sat 10-04, Sun 12-24. Tex Mex-styled restaurant that also turns into kind of a nightclub on weekends. Food is decent but nothing surprising. Probably best known as the students’ party place on Wednesdays and the hang-out place for youngsters on weekends.  edit
  • Lahti passenger harbour, Vesijärven satama, [27]. At summertime it is worth visiting the Lahti passenger harbour, several restaurant ships operate as popular summertime terraces.  edit
  • Public Corner, Aleksanterinkatu 10 (vis-à-vis Metro), +358 3 8789 830, [28]. Mon-Thu 15-02, Fri 15-04, Sat 12-04, Sun 15-02. Belongs to the same restaurant chain as Amarillo and is located in the same premises – there is a corridor connecting the two restaurants and they share the same toilets. Serves some pub grub and has an okay drinks selection.  edit
  • Torvi, Loviisankatu 8, [29]. The most legendary bar in Lahti. If you dig rock music, Torvi is a must  edit

Other places worth to visit are restaurant Taivaanranta and Teerenpeli which have their own whisky distillery and beer brewery. In Teerenpeli there is very nice athmosphere and friendly service.

  • Teerenpeli, Vapaudenkatu 20, [30]. This place has its own whisky distillery and beer brewery. You can buy single cigars aswell, they are kept in a big humidor. Friendly service.  edit
  • Metro, Rautatienkatu 21 (vis-à-vis Public Corner), +358 400 741 531, [31]. Mon-Thu 15-00, Fri 15-02, Sat 13-02, Sun 16-23. A cosy two-storey pub specialized in quality beers. Located in the heart of downtown Metro makes a perfect pit stop in the middle of shopping as well as a place to grab a drink or two before heading to a nightclub. Originally established in premises that once used to be a public toilet Metro was somewhat widely known for its unique atmosphere. After moving to its current, more modern premises in Fall 2014 Metro nowadays offers live music too. Be sure to try the traditional Finnish beer, Sahti, which is quite hard to find in pubs anywhere in Finland but regularly available at Metro.  edit
  • Brygga Citybar, Aleksanterinkatu 9, +358 40 416 0956, [32]. A simplified and modern bar on the main street. Aims to be “considered the largest Finnish small brewery offering in the region” and definitely offers the widest selection of Finnish craft beers in Lahti. The beer list is changing constantly as the bar also arranges theme weeks. Some occasional live music, too.  edit

Sleep[edit][add listing]


  • Huoneistohotelli Lahden Koti, Karjalankatu 6, [33].
  • Koti Onnela, Onnelantie 10 [34]. Youth Hostel.
  • Matkakoti Patria [35]. Budget hostel near railway station.


  • Cumulus Lahti, Vapaudenkatu 24, [36]. Pet friendly hotel in the center of Lahti. There are conference facilities for 50 people. The hotel has 171 rooms, bar and disco.
  • Musta Kissa, Rautatienkatu 21, [37]. Double rooms from €80.
  • Omenahotelli Lahti, Rauhankatu 14, [38]. Next to market square.
  • Scandic Lahti, Vesijärvenkatu 1, [39]. Next to railway station.
  • Sokos Hotel Lahden Seurahuone, Aleksanterinkatu 14, [40]. In the city center, next to the market square and shopping facilities.

Get out[edit]

Among the neighboring counties are Asikkala, Heinola, Hollola and Orimattila. Many of them have something worth a visit, although perhaps just a brief one.

  • Helsinki, Finlands capital 100 km south from Lahti. Less than 1 hour by train or over 1 hour by bus or by car.
  • Hämeenlinna, around 60 km west from Lahti.
  • Jyväskylä, over 2 hours north from Lahti by car.
  • Kouvola, 56 km east from Lahti.
  • Tampere, third largest city in Finland, 126 km north-west from Lahti.

Routes through Lahti
RovaniemiJyväskylä  N noframe S  HelsinkiEND

This article is an outline and needs more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. Please plunge forward and help it grow!


Posted in: Europe

Leave a Comment (0) →

Mariehamn, Finland – Travel Guide

Mariehamn, Finland – Travel Guide

Book Cheap Hotel, Apartments, Hostels & BBs in Mariehamn

Arriving at Mariehamn harbour

Mariehamn [1] (Finnish: Maarianhamina) is in Åland.



A youthful town, Mariehamn was founded in 1861 while Åland and Finland formed part of the mighty Russian Empire. Maria, consort of Tsar Alexander II of Russia gave the town her name.

Mariehamn grew up round the farming village of Övernäs, situated on a peninsula. The harbour’s built-in sheltered bays came to be of great importance. The streets of Mariehamn are wide and straight. Housing sites were large from the beginning, but today they have been divided to provide space for several houses. A distinctive feature is the Esplanade, an avenue of lime trees stretching from west to east, from harbour to harbour.

The Russian heritage is mainly responsible for the layout of the town. It follows the same basic guidelines as can be found in many Russian cities, with large avenues with promenades in the middle of the street. Apart from that, the only Russian signs left from that era is the multitude of tombstones in the graveyards in Åland.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

There are regular flights from Turku and Stockholm. They are mainly used by business travellers. Air Åland used to operate these routes but in 2012 its operations were taken over by NextJet who dropped the Helsinki route.

Flights from Stockholm-Arlanda (Air Åland) do not run on weekends or vacation periods. They are more expensive (149 €), but sometimes there are reduced rates (19 €!).

Flights from Turku (Turku Air) do not run on weekends. They are the most expensive at 180 €.

The airport is just 3 km north of the city centre. There is a restaurant in the building, usually open every day. There is no airport bus.

By boat[edit]

Viking Line and Silja Line ships travelling between Finland (Helsinki, Turku) (5 h to Turku and 8 h to Helsinki) and Sweden (Stockholm) (6 h) dock briefly at Mariehamn or Långnäs (in the night) for tax reasons. If the stop is at Långnäs, there is usually a bus or taxi connection to Mariehamn, costing as much as the boat ticket.

Eckerö Linjen operates between Grisslehamn, Sweden and Eckerö, Åland (2 h). Tickets for buss transfer between Stockholm CityTerminalen and Grisslehamn (2,5 h) as well as Eckerö and Mariehamn (1 h) are provided when buying the ferry ticket from Eckerö Linjen.

Tallink makes a stopover in Mariehamn on the Tallinn – Stockholm route, though it is not permitted to use this route to go from Mariehamn to Stockholm.

Birka Cruises runs daily from Stockholm, using their own terminal in the Western port, facing the Adlon hotel and pizza restaurant.

The Stockholm boat is extremely slow and should be avoided if travelling to/from Stockholm. Instead take the Viking Line buss departing from CityTerminalen to Kapellskär, and from Kapellskär the ferry to Mariehamn. Ticket for the buss can be bought from Viking Line when bying the ferry ticket. You can also take the line 676 bus from the Stockholm Eastern Station to Norrtälje, then 631/631X to Kapellskär, and from there the Viking Line ferry to Mariehamn. Note that Norrtälje and Kapellskär are Stockholm suburbs, so no long-distance bus ticket has to be bought. Expect the trip to Kapellskär to take approx. 1 h 45 min and the total travel time from Stockholm to Mariehamn will take 4 hours as opposed to 6.

Viking, Silja and Tallink all use the same terminal in the Western port. The terminal is open 24 h. Tickets can be bought when a boat is due to leave. Facilities are limited. There are several lockers, a money exchange machine (EUR-SEK), toilets and a customs office. Just outside, there is a café and a small kebab restaurant.

Please note that the sea can get pretty rough in the autumn. The Sea of Åland (the part of the Baltic you’ll be travelling through) is infamous for its nauseating rolling waves.

Get around[edit]

By local bus[edit]

There are two local bus lines (red and blue) crossing at the town centre (Centrum) (schedule found here [2]). One way ticket is 2€ (above 12 years of age), 1€ (7-11 years) and free for kids under 6 years. There is unfortunately no service on Saturdays and Sundays.

On weekdays during spring/autumn/winter there’s a half-hourly service on the red line (hourly late nights until 21:50), and an additional peak half-hourly service on the green line, as well as an hourly service on the blue line 7:05-8:05 and 13:15-17:15. During summer this is reduced to an hourly service on the red line 7:20-17:40, while Saturdays throughout the year sees nothing but a sporadic hourly service on the red line 8:50-14:10.

By mini train and tourist bus[edit]

A tourist-oriented mini train service runs hourly 10:45-18:30 during summer (map found here [3]). However, it costs €3 and is very slow and jumpy. Similarly, a tourist bus runs 4 times/day using old double deckers previously used in London and is even more expensive at €5. Both the mini train and the tourist bus should thus be avoided, and when staff outside the ferry terminal offer you a mini trains or tourist bus to the town centre, simply respond by asking where the city bus is: it takes 14 minutes to the town centre, only slightly longer than with the mini train or tourist bus, and only 6 minutes to go back to the port.

See[edit][add listing]


  • The Pommern [4] (earlier name Mneme) is a windjammer turned into a museum ship. She is a four masted barque that was built 1903 in Glasgow at J. Reid & Co shipyard. She is one of the Flying P-Liners, the famous sailing ships of the German shipping company F. Laeisz. Later she belonged to Gustaf Erikson (Åland) who used her to carry grain from Spencer Gulf area in Australia to harbours in England or Ireland until the start of World War II.
  • The Åland Maritime Museum [5] preserves memories of the sailing-ships, one of its exhibits being the red-brown captain’s saloon from the fourmasted barque Hertzogen Cecilie, one of Gustaf Erikson’s ships. She ran aground off the coast of England in 1936 and before she sank her saloon was salvaged and brought to Åland.
  • Boat building traditions are kept alive at the Maritime Quarter in the eastern Harbour. Among the red sheds there is a boatyard and a smithy as well as a boat and shipbuilding museum. Several small ships have been built there, including the galleass Albanus and the schooner Linden.
  • The Åland Museum [6] exhibits the history of Åland from prehistoric times up to the present day. The Åland Art Museum displays pictures by both old and young Åland artists and the Mariehamn Gallery at the Western Harbour has a model of Mariehamn in the 1920’s with its wooden houses.

Do[edit][add listing]

Nightlife in Mariehamn is sparse and centers around the two restaurants “Dino’s” and “Indigo” – although heavily frequented by locals they don’t compare well to establishments in larger cities.

At 12-02 AM those restaurants close, and almost everybody migrates to the nearby nightclub “Arken”. Considering Åland’s history (a Swedish archipelago until 1809, then Russian and later Finnish since 1918 – Ålanders speak Swedish, they use some Russian expressions and they drink like Finns) the later hours are dominated by the occasional bar-brawl, heavily intoxicated teens and vomiting.

The “Arken” closes at 4 AM, and then it’s all over.

Buy[edit][add listing]

The shopping street is the northern part of Torggatan.

Shops usually close at 17:00 or 17:30 on weekdays and at 14:00 on Saturdays. Some close at 20:00 on Thursdays.

Most shops accept Visa and MasterCard.

ATM’s (“OTTO”) are thin on the ground. There are some in the city centre, outside the four bank offices along Torggatan. Another one is situated in Strandnäs, at the Ålandsbanken bank office.

Almost everything is more expensive in the Åland Islands than anywhere else in northern Europe.

Since 2013 shopping center Maxinge opened it’s doors, located about 4 km from the city centre, boasting chains like H&M, Clas Ohlson and Kappahl.

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • Restaurant Pommern – in the same building as Hotel Pommern (a fair walk from the ship Pommern) is arranged with ship’s fittings. The menu is delicious and some items are quite cheap.

Drink[edit][add listing]

Sleep[edit][add listing]


  • Gröna Uddens Camping[7] Gröna Udden


  • Kungsnäs stugor Önningebyvägen 510
  • Strandbergs Stugor Varvsvägen L 183


  • Guesthouse Kronan[8] Neptunigatan 52. Inexpensive, especially for singles. Very close to the main ferry port. Open all year.
  • Guesthouse Neptun [9] Neptunigatan 41
  • Pensionat Solhem Lökskärsvägen
  • Övernäsgården Östra Ytternäsvägen – 2 and 4 person chalets also available


  • Hotel Arkipelag [10] Strandgatan 31
  • Hotel Pommern [11] Norragatan 8-10
  • Park Alandia Hotel [12] Norra Esplanadgatan 3
  • Hotel Savoy [13] Nygatan 12
  • Hotel Adlon [14] Hamngatan 7
  • Hotel Cikada [15] Hamngatan 1
  • Hotel Esplanad [16] Storagatan 5
  • Strandnäs Hotel [17] Godbyvägen 21

Get out[edit]

This article is an outline and needs more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. Please plunge forward and help it grow!


Posted in: Europe

Leave a Comment (0) →

Hämeenlinna, Finland – Travel Guide

Hämeenlinna, Finland – Travel Guide

Book Cheap Hotel, Apartments, Hostels & BBs in Hämeenlinna

Häme Castle, the main attraction that has also given the name to the city

Hämeenlinna (Swedish: Tavastehus) [1] is a city in Southern Finland.

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

Exactly 100 km north from Helsinki with the motorway 3 E12. The nearest major city (and airport) is Tampere, about 75 km to the north. Road number 10 (From Turku to Lahti) also goes near the city.

By train[edit]

As Hämeenlinna is situated at the most important railway [2] of Western Finland it’s well connected with Helsinki and Tampere as well as cities further north, like Vaasa, Oulu and Rovaniemi.

By bus[edit]

Buses from Helsinki to Tampere stop at Hämeenlinna.

By boat[edit]

Yes, there is a waterway between Tampere and Hämeenlinna. At summer it can be the most enjoyable way to travel, while the views at the lake Vanajavesi are at their best. The trip can be quite long though. Finnish Silverline [3] offers cruises, which take 8 hours one way.

Get around[edit]

You can get around by car, by bus [4] or by foot. For driving around, the city center is quite an irritating experience, with its tight intersections and numerous one-way streets. The services in the city center are withing a few minutes walk, so a car is hardly necessary there. All buses stop at the market square while heading west and at the bus station (at Palokunnankatu near market square) while heading east.

Hämeenlinna has a good system of public transport. You can ride from one part of the city to another with a single ticket of 3.30€, kids (under 12 y.o.) 1.70€ (as of Jan 1st 2013). Kauppatori is the center of Hämeenlinna’s public transport system, but be aware that many bus lines go in both directions from Kauppatori. You can use interactive route planner [5] to find bus routes.

See[edit][add listing]

Landscape in Aulanko

  • Häme castle [6] is the main attraction of Hämeenlinna. Medieval red brick castle, which now serves as a museum and a venue for some events. Guided tours are available. There are also couple of other museums (e.g. prison museum) next to the castle. Between the castle and city centre there is a large park area Linnanpuisto, where the annual Wanaja Festival is held at summer.
  • Aulanko [7] Originally a natural park with great sights, equipped in late 18’s and early 19’s with an observation tower, other buildings of stone, artificial ponds and rare plant species. Today the area offers also plenty of services, including accommodation in the famous hotel and various outdoor activities.
  • Tank museum in Parola [[8]] Situated some kilometres north from the city center. For those who are interested in military equipment.
  • Holy Cross Church in Hattula, a little north of Hämeenlinna. Medieval, gothic church, built mostly of red bricks. Inside there are many paintings and sculptures.
  • Ahvenisto ridge Beautiful ridge area in western side of the city. Beach of the lake Ahvenisto, “Appara” is a popular place for hanging out, especially in the summer. The swimming arena, in which some swimming competitions of 1952 olympics took part, isn’t in use though. In the ridge area there are also e.g. paths for jogging or skiing and a racing track which is a nuisance among locals and a synonym for Ahvenisto for others, while many motor sport events are held there.
  • The birthplace of Jean Sibelius is now a museum, telling about the composer’s childhood, at Hallituskatu 11. The old wooden house is conserved between bigger modern buildings. The museum is open after renovation.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Aulanko offers various activities. There is a recently built spa, tennis courts and a golf course, riding stables etc.
  • Another golf course, Linnagolf, next to Vanajanlinna

Eat[edit][add listing]

There aren’t many regional specialities available. If one doesn’t count hotsi, a local version of hot dog, which is sold in grill kiosks.

For cheap meal (10€ or less for one person, even as low as 5€ in the lunchtime) you can always find some fast food. In city centre you can hardly miss a pizza/kebab place. There are also Subway, McDonalds, and Hesburger outlets. Golden Rax pizzabuffet offers it’s megabuffet for 7,99€.

  • Popino [9] is located at Keskustalo, a grim building with a set of stairs, which connect Raatihuoneenkatu (opposite of the church) to Palokunnankatu. Popino serves large, quite special pizzas, but also tasty dishes with e.g. steaks and fish. Salad and bread are included in price, so a pizza or “dish of the day” with water as drink might cost you 10€ or so, but also finer (and more expensive) meals are available. Popino has something for everyone. Raatihuoneenkatu 11, tel. (03) 6532555
  • Piparkakkutalo [10] “The gingerbread house” is easily recognisable of it’s white “scaled” wall. With a beautiful view to the church this is one of the finer places in Hämeenlinna. Kirkkorinne 2 (next to the church) tel. +358 3 648 040
  • If you’d fancy a steak in Finland’s oldest pub (or so it claims), check William’s pub [11]. The salad bar, included in the price of a steak dish, is quite good. The basic portions with a steak, potatoes and sauce aren’t among the biggest or finest available. Rauhankatu 11, tel. (03)656040
  • From one corner of the market square begins the two-block long promenade street (the first block called “Reska” by locals, the another was built quite recently). There you will find Tawastia Bank [12] and Huviretki (a chain restaurant, which operates next to hotel Cumulus).
  • At the corner of Sibeliuksenkatu and Palokunnankatu there is Rosso, a restaurant of a Finnish chain, probably with some Italian influence, selling pizzas and other dishes with reasonable prices. Further on Sibeliuksenkatu there are Steak House, Pancho Villa (mexican), and finally at the corner of Sibeliukskatu and Hallituskatu, Coyote bar & grill, another chain restaurant with nice looking menu but not exactly cheap prices.
  • For some ethnic food, other than kebab, you can go to the first blocks of Raatihuoneenkatu (from market square to the church’s direction and on) and find couple of Chinese restaurants. Georgios [13] serves food from Greece and is also located near market square. Linnankatu 3, tel. (03) 682 8884

Drink[edit][add listing]

If you want to have a unique coffee experience, you can go to the Parola panzerbrigade barracks, where they have a cafe accessible outside from the barracks area. The cafe is maintained by the “Sotilaskotiyhdistys” (literally translates as Military Sisters Association) which is similar to NAAFI in the UK, but volunteer-driven. They have by far the cheapest prices around, since the cafe is primarily for the conscripts fulfilling their obligatory service in the Finnish Army. Always pretty busy, with families coming to visit people doing their military service, or with the conscripts passing their free time.

You might not want to go bar-hopping in the suburbs, though it’s not necessary, while most of pubs, rock-bars, nightclubs etc. are located around market square area.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Kylpylähotelli Rantasipi Aulanko [14] Old fine hotel with recently built spa. In the middle of the Aulanko area, some 5 km away from the city center. Bus lines 2 and 13 leave from here to center once in an hour. Aulanko area offers also e.g. accommodation in cottages. [15]
  • Hotel Cumulus Hämeenlinna [16] Located in the city centre.
  • Hotelli Emilia [17] Small hotel right in the centre at the Reska promenade street.


Mid range[edit]

  • Sokos Hotel Vaakuna [18] Possentie 7 tel. +358 (0)20 1234 636

Located near the Railway station, at the shore of lake Vanajavesi. Not far from the city center.


  • Vanajanlinna [19] Vanajanlinnantie 485, FIN-13330 Harviala tel. +358 (0)3 61 020

Get out[edit]

  • Puuhamaa [20] is an amusement park (or maybe more a giant playground) in Tervakoski, about 20 km south of Hämeenlinna. Much of fun for kids, though everyone must pay the 17€ entrance fee, which grants you all the activities: waterpark with steam sauna, boats, racetracks with small cars, and various places for jumping, sliding, climbing and playing. Having a picnic is also possible.

This article is an outline and needs more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. Please plunge forward and help it grow!


Posted in: Europe

Leave a Comment (0) →

Kuopio, Finland – Travel Guide

Kuopio, Finland – Travel Guide

Book Cheap Hotel, Apartments, Hostels & BBs in Kuopio

Market Square during the Sunday flea market

Kuopio [1] is in Eastern Finland.


Kuopio is one of the many Finnish towns founded under Swedish rule. The town was established as a village in the 1500s and incorporated as a City in 1782. Kuopio is surrounded by lakes from three sides, which supplies loads of beaches and the feeling of water being always close. Part of the wooden houses arranged as a grid have been preserved in the centre which makes it a nice place to visit. Kuopio has a population of around 100,000.

Get in[edit]

  • Airplane – One hour’s flight from Helsinki. Kuopio Airport[2] (IATA: KUO; ICAO: EFKU) is located 14km north of Kuopio and most flights have bus connection to city centre. Fares €5 adults, 2,5€ children. Taxi to city centre costs €18. Airport served by Finnair and FlyBe.
  • Train – about 4-5 hours from Helsinki. Tickets and timetables information VR[3]
  • Bus – good connections from all directions. Timetables, rates and tickets information Matkahuolto[4], Pohjolan Liikenne[5] and Onnibus[6]
  • Car – national main road 5 from Helsinki and main road 9 from Turku.

Get around[edit]

Kuopio has a good system of public transport. You can ride from one part of the city to another with a single ticket of 2.90€, kids 1.4€. Kauppatori is the center of Kuopio’s public transport system, but be aware that many bus lines go in both directions from Kuopio. You can use interactive route planner [7] to find bus routes.

  • 1-turn ticket workdays:2,9€ adults/1,4€ children 4-11 years
  • 1-turn ticket Sundays: 3,8€ adults/1,8€ children 4-11 years
  • 11PM – 4AM ticket: 3,8€ adults/1,8€ children 4-11 years
  • 24h ticket gives you unlimited travel 24h from the time of purchase. Buy from the bus. Prices: adults 7,5€ and children 3,8€

Information about lines (in Finnish): Kuopion liikenne [8]

See[edit][add listing]

Summer night view from Puijo tower

  • The Puijo Panorama Tower [9] lurks over the city on the highest hill far and wide. From here you have a stunning view over the neighbouring lakelands.
  • The Orthodox Church Museum [10] is a leading museum of Orthodox Churches in Europe.
  • The Old Town Centre is south east from the main square and you can just walk around following your feet.
  • The Minna Canth House is the original house where the famous first Finnish female writer Minna Canth lived. Most noticeable it contains a replication of the Minna Canth room where she is said to have written some of her work.
  • The Kuopio Quarter-Block Museum [11] in the old town has plenty of old buildings done up in their original style 150 years ago containing also a pharmacy museum and most enchantingly a little history of Wonderous Healers in Eastern Finland of which still two or three exist and offer their service to believing people today!
  • The Kuopio Shopping Hall [12] Over 20 local stallholders. Located at market square. Opening hours: mon-fri 8-17 and Saturdays 8-15.
  • The Victor Barsokevitsch Photographic Centre, Kuninkaankatu 14–16, 70100 Kuopio, +358(0)17-261 5599, [13]. The VB Photographic Centre is dedicated to display high-class Finnish and foreign photography. The Centre is housed in an idyllic wooden building that is more than 100 years old and located in the heart of the Old City of Kuopio in Eastern Finland. The VB Photographic Centre is regarded as one of the major photographic galleries and research centres of the country. During the summer, the Centre organizes well-known international exhibitions. Opening hours During summer months (June-August) Mon-Fri 10am – 6pm, Sat-Sun 11am – 4pm Winter (September-May) Tue-Thu-Fri 11am – 5pm, Wed 11am -7pm, Sat-Sun 11am – 3pm  edit

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Passenger Boat Cruises on Lake Kallavesi are worth trying during the summer season (June-August).
  • Rauhalahti Spa [14], [15] offers large indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a jacuzzi, an ice-cold pool, a children’s pool, a waterslide, saunas and a steam room.
  • Kuopio Rock [16] is annually arranged rock music festival.
  • Kuopio Marathon [17]
  • Finland Ice Marathon [18]

Buy[edit][add listing]

  • Artiko, Haapaniemenkatu 12, Art handicrafts, gifts and utility items.
  • DaigaDaigaDuu, Puijonkatu 12, Hand made clothes, records, comic books, 60’s and 70’s second hand shop, minigallery.
  • Daxhund Ceramics, Itkonniemenkatu 25,
  • Pentik Pentik, Kauppakatu 32, stoneware
  • Hallin käsityökammari, Market Hall, Local handicrafts and gifts
  • Kalakukko fish pie, Kasarmikatu 15, The best-known speciality in the province of Savo is probably the ‘kalakukko’ fish pie. Once you have tasted warm ‘kalakukko’, it is hard to resist. The best places for shopping for a genuine ‘kalakukko’, consisting vendace or perch and bacon baked inside a rye crust, are the Market Hall and the Marketplace. In addition, the bakery shop of Kalakukkoleipomo Hanna Partanen, boasting a long tradition in the field, is open Mon-Sat 06.00-21.00.
  • Pikku-Pietari Market Alley, Only a stone’s throw form the Marketplace is the idyllic Pikku-Pietari Market Alley, lined by old stables. The log buildings of the alley house a cafe with a terrace, art exhibitions and small boutiques. Handwork demonstrations weekly.
  • Sauna Nestor Special shop for sauna products in the Market Hall.
  • Matkus Shopping Center, Matkuksentie 60 (Bus line 31 from the city center), [19]. A brand-new shopping mall opened fully in 2012. Located about 10 kilometers south of the city along the highway 5, features an IKEA and 90 stores, most major international and local brands in Finland. Also offers a variety of places to eat, though nothing particulary fancy.  edit

Eat[edit][add listing]

The local specialty kalakukko, a type of rye bread pie stuffed with fish (the name literally means “fish rooster”), is available from the Main Square outdoor market and in several food shops. You should also try fried vendace (muikku, a fresh-water fish) at local restaurants.

The well-known Kukkonen Bakery, in operation since the 1920s, has been closed in May 2005.

  • Restaurant Sampo, Kauppakatu 13. Tasty fried small whitefish in a pub-like atmosphere, a real classic in Kuopio.
  • Restaurant Musta Lammas, Satamakatu 4. “Black Sheep” in english, the best restaurant in town, fine dining, pretty expensive.
  • Restaurant Wanha Satama, Passengerharbour (summer only) [20]
  • Restaurant Kummisetä, Minna Canthinkatu 44 [21]
  • Viking Restaurant Harald Tulliportinkatu 44 [22]
  • Restaurant Peräniemen Kasino [23], Väinölänniemi. Wooden lakeside restaurant and terrace since 1902. Beautiful and peaceful scenery. Open July and for private occasions from May to December.
  • Restaurant Hiili (Ravintola Hiili), Käsityökatu 25, 050 411 9445, [24]. Steak restaurant. (62.892799,27.681299) edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

Alko is the national alcoholic beverage retailing monopoly in Finland. Essentially, it is the only store in the country which retails beer over 4.7% ABV, wine (except in vineyards) and spirits. Alcoholic beverages are also sold in licensed restaurants and bars to ages 18 and up. Alko is required by law to sell drinks with lower alcohol content than 4.7% and non-alcoholic alternatives, but in practice carries a very limited stock of low alcohol beer, cider and non-alcoholic drinks and mixers as supermarkets sell the same products at a lower price.

  • Alko Kuopio Kolmisoppi Kolmisopentie 3
  • Alko Kuopio Petonen Jalkasenkatu 5
  • Alko Kuopio Prisma Savilahdentie 10
  • Alko Kuopio Päiväranta Päivärannantie 18
  • Alko Kuopio Sokos Haapaniemenkatu 24-26


  • Trube Markethall-caffee, Markethall
  • Burts Cafee, Haapaniemenkatu 20
  • Café Fado, Puijonkatu 15
  • Cafe Houkutus, Kauppakatu 36
  • Cafe Kaneli, Kauppakatu 22
  • Café Kolibri, Kappakatu 16-18
  • Cafe Sektori, Puijonkatu 23
  • Coffee House, Haapaniemenkatu 24-26

Bar’s & pub’s[edit]

  • Ale pupi, Kappakatu 16
  • Armas, Kauppakatu 18
  • Beerhouse Pannuhuone 25-27
  • Gloria, Kauppakatu 16
  • Intro Bar & Grill, Kauppakatu 20, A bar and a restaurant in Kuopio centrum.
  • Malja Beer and Wine Restaurant, Kauppakatu 29
  • Restaurant Albatrossi, A storehouse-restaurant in Kuopio harbour. Open in the summer time.
  • Restaurant Apteekkari, Kauppakatu 1, A pub and club restaurant for adults in the city centre.
  • Henry’s Pub, Kappakatu 18, A pub in the city centre. Rockmusic, live bands.
  • Kummisetä, Minna Canthinkatu 44, A restaurant in the city centre, popular among adult people.
  • K-Klubi, Vuorikatu 14, More alternative pub in Kuopio center, has for example punk and proge gigs.


  • Bar & nightclub Onnela, Vuorikatu 18
  • Passion Nightclub
  • Grand Virtanen

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Best Western Atlas Hotel [25]
  • Best Western Hotel Savonia [26]
  • Finlandia Hotelli Jahtihovi [27]
  • Hotel Cumulus Kuopio [28]
  • Hotel Puijo Koto, [29]. Located near Puijo Ski stadium, not very far from the city center. Reasonably priced and cosy.
  • Hotel Puijon Maja
  • Rauhalahti Spa Hotel, [30]. Offers rooms and a swimming pool department (indoor and outdoor pools, a jacuzzi, an ice-cold pool, a children’s pool, a waterslide, saunas and a steam room).
  • Holiday Centre Rauhalahti, [31]. Has nice cottages or holiday homes (11 also for winter use). The holiday centre is situated very near to Rauhalahti Spa.
  • Hotel Viihdekartano
  • Lokki Summer Hotel
  • Quality Hotel IsoValkeinen
  • Scandic Kuopio [32]
  • Sokos Hotel Puijonsarvi [33]
  • Apartment Hotel Kuopio [34]
  • Youth Hostel Virkkula (Retkeilymaja Virkkula), [35].



Locally published newspapers include:

  • Savon Sanomat [36]
  • Viikkosavo [37]
  • Kuopion Kaupunkilehti [38]

Get out[edit]

  • Kuopio Tourist Information, [39] Kuopio Regional tourist information, Haapaniemenkatu 22
  • Puijo Slopes / Puijo & Antikkala, [40] Only 1,5 km from the city centre.
  • Kymppiareena, [41] Distance from Kuopio 37 km The only ski and multipurpose sports hall in the world built into rock lies below the Spa Hotel Vesileppis. The skiing, biathlon and curling facilities are available 12 months a year. For children there is also a snow play area. Services: hotel, spa, restaurant, pub, cafe, meeting rooms, gym, squash, indoor ice rink, physiotherapy, Kymppi Areena
  • Tahkovuori or Tahko, [42] Tahko is a strong Finnish tourist center, both during winters and summers. It is situated in a small town named Nilsiä, about 70 kilometers from the city of Kuopio.


Local international churches:

  • Kuopio church international [43] International friendship group provides activities: learn English, bible study groups, camps and sport events.

This article is an outline and needs more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. Please plunge forward and help it grow!


Posted in: Europe

Leave a Comment (0) →

Savonlinna, Finland – Travel Guide

Savonlinna, Finland – Travel Guide

Book Cheap Hotel, Apartments, Hostels & BBs in Savonlinna

Savonlinna, Swedish Nyslott, is a small city in South Savonia province, Eastern Finland, close to the Russian border.


Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Tiny Savonlinna Airport (IATA: SVL) is served by Flybe [1], which offers flights from Helsinki to Savonlinna up to two times per week day. Advance fares start from €32/one way, cheaper than the train, but go up quickly as the plane fills. There is a shuttle service to and from the bus station, which departs one hour before the flight leaves.

By train[edit]

There are 3-4 trains daily from Helsinki or Joensuu to Savonlinna. The price is reasonable especially for children, students, and seniors. The trip to Helsinki takes about 4 and half hours. [2]

The main train station in Savonlinna is called Savonlinna-Kauppatori next to the market square. The “station” is unmanned, but you can buy tickets in the train with no surcharge if you board here.

By bus[edit]

Long-distance buses are also an option. [3]

Get around[edit]

Savonlinna is stretched out on a series of islands in the middle of Lake Saimaa. While you can cover the central parts on foot, you’ll need to resort to buses (or rent a car) to access the suburbs. If you want to rent a car, there is a Hertz rental office at the waterfront, near Hotel Tott. Savonlinna is surrounded by lakes and you can also go around town centre by a cruise ship. If you have someplace specific in mind to spend the day, it is probably cheaper to get a taxi, however. Taxi’s are plentiful, and certainly cheaper than renting a car for the day, if you are only going to one or two places.

See[edit][add listing]

Savonlinna and Olavinlinna Castle


Medieval Olavinlinna (St. Olaf’s Castle) [4] is the city’s symbol and main attraction. Built in 1475 by Danish knight Erik Axelsson to protect the eastern border of the Swedish-Danish Kalmar Union, it was named after the patron saint of knights, St. Olaf. The Russians were soon on the offensive, but the castle withstood several sieges before capitulating in 1714. The Swedes recaptured it in 1721, but lost it again in 1743, and it stayed in Russian hands ever since. This also explains why it has stayed in such good shape: for the Russians, it was far inland and militarily useless, and hence not a target for the enemy either.

Today, Olavinlinna is the world’s northernmost medieval fortress and easily Finland’s best-preserved and most attractive, and it’s quite a sight perched on the shores of the lake. The interior, though, is surprisingly small and sparse (virtually all furniture and decorations were lost in fires in around 1870). Guided tours take one hour. There are two small museums inside the castle:

  • Castle Museum, covers the castle’s history
  • Orthodox Museum, with Russian Orthodox icons and paraphernalia

The castle is open daily 10AM-6PM in summer, 11AM-4PM the rest of the year. Guided tours in English run every hour in summer (enquire in advance at in other seasons), but you can still visit the museums and courtyards without it.


World biggest wooden church

  • There are plenty of sightseeing cruises around Lake Saimaa. If you’re extremely lucky, you just might spot the very rare Saimaa Ringed Seal (saimaannorppa).

Read more about the cruises from the web pages of Savonlinna Travel [5]

  • Savonlinna Provincial Museum [6] is located on the island of Riihisaari. From the same building you can find also the Nestori – Saimaa Nature Exhibition centre run by Metsähallitus which also provides hiking information. The Provincial Museum concentrates on the history of South Savo and particularly on preserving, studying and presenting the history of sailing on Lake Saimaa. During the summer you may visit also the unique steamships behind the museum.
  • Art Centre Retretti [7] in Punkaharju, 30 km from Savonlinna, is one of the biggest art centre in Nordic Counties and build partly under the caves. Changing exhibitions every summer.
  • Lusto – Finnish Forest Museum [8] also in Punkaharju, is a national museum specializing in forests and forestry, and a versatile exhibition and culture centre. Lusto is open all year round and it attracts approximately 30 000 visitors every year. The museum was opened to the public in 1994 and it is one of the largest specialized museums in Finland.
  • World`s biggest wooden church in Kerimäki is an attraction worth to visit, location 24 km from Savonlinna.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • The city is renowned for its yearly Opera Festival [9], organized within St. Olaf’s Castle. There is also a Ballet Festival at the same place earlier in the year.
  • Visit Spahotel Casino [10]. It is situated on an island in the city centre. It offers swimming pools, massaging showers, a jacuzzi, a children’s pool, Finnish saunas and Turkish saunas (steam rooms) also for day visitors.
  • Sulosaari. A small island on the other side of the Spahotel Casino, as seen from the city centre. A very picturesque, and quiet place for a stroll. In wintertime, you can include it in a lake-traversing trek, provided the ice is thick enough to walk on (which it usually is).  edit
  • Linnansaari National Park. Linnansaari National Park in the middle of Lake Haukivesi, a part of Lake Saimaa, represents Finnish lakeland at its best. With its hundreds of islands and broad open waters it is a paradise for boaters and nature lovers. The National Park offers possibilities for day trips, as well as for several days camping and boating/canoeing holidays. It provides also possibilities for lot’s of activities like fishing, canoeing, hiking, Saimaa Ringed Seal watching safaris and skating during the winter season.[11] [12]  edit
  • M/S Puijo, +35815250250, [13]. The century old ship M/S Puijo offers cruises along the Heinävesi route (Savonlinna-Kuopio) from mid-June to mid-August. One can hop on the ship from a number of piers between the two cities. Outside of the regular schedule it is possible to organize your own cruise. The Heinävesi route is said to be one of the worlds most beautiful inland waterways.  edit

Eat[edit][add listing]

During the morning and afternoon, the best place to eat is the market square by the lake, where you can get Eastern Finnish delicacies like lörtsy meat pies and freshly fried muikku (vendace, a type of freshwater herring).


  • Pizzeria Capero, Olavinkatu 51.
  • Uskudar Kebap, Pilkkakoskenkatu 3.
  • Zhong Guo Long, Olavinkatu 33. Chinese food.
  • Hesburger, Olavinkatu 39. The ubiquitous Finnish fast food chain.
  • Subway, Olavinkatu 44. Various kind of sandwiches.



  • Majakka, Satamakatu 11.
  • Restaurant Kaivo, [14].
  • Perlina di Castello, Kauppatori 4-6, [15].
  • Roof Terrace of Savonlinnan Seurahuone, [16] Try the famous local delicacy called Muikku – a small white fish (Vendace)
  • Liekkilohi, next to market, tel. 050 3105 850, [17]. The flagship floating restaurant of a franchised chain, the menu here is simple: pick either one of their trademark flame-broiled salmon, fried muikku, the un-Finnishly immodestly named “world’s best fish soup” (not quite, alas) for around €15, or go whole hog and get them all plus the amazing cold fish buffet with 17 types to sample for €35. Prices may be negotiable if it’s quiet and you’re in a group.


  • Brewery Restaurant Huvila, [18] Huvila has own small brewery and food made mainly of local ingredients. Special wines imported by themselves.

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • Happytime Bar, [20].
  • Tamino, in the Seurahuone hotel, [22].

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Best Western Spahotel Casino, [24]. Offers rooms in beautiful surroundings, on an island in the town centre.
  • Perhehotelli Hospitz, [25]. Next to the Olavinlinna Castle.
  • Original Sokos Hotel Savonlinnan Seurahuone, [26]. The traditional wing of Hotel Seurahuone was built in 1956, and it was renovated in 1989 when the new wing was completed. The hotel has 80 rooms – most of them with a view over the lake.
  • Pietari Kylliäinen, [27]. City hotel located close to both services and nature.
  • Lomamokkila, [28] cosy farm holiday place 12 km from Savonlinna, near the airport. Highlander cattle, cats and dog are welcoming you to spend your holiday.
  • Hotel Herttua, [29] 25 km from Savonlinna, in Kerimäki, on crystal clear Lake Puruvesi.
  • Kerimaa Holiday Resort, [30] 15 km from Savonlinna, in Kerimäki, next to 18 hole golf course.
  • Holiday Resort Järvisydän, [31]. 40 min. drive from Savonlinna, in the village of Rantasalmi, right next to Linnansaari National Park, offering excellent surroundings for nature activities all year around. Summer cottages and villas. Medieval style restaurant Piikatyttö and the wine cellar.
  • SaimaaHoliday Oravi [ 45 km from Savonlinna, next to Linnansaari National Park. Safari house, for rental equipment and guided nature activities and safaris.
  • Kuus-Hukkala [32] holiday village and camping 40 km from Savonlinna, towards Juva and Mikkeli. Lada Niva safaris and a winter driving school!
  • Punkaharju Resort [33] 30 km from Savonlinna, in beautiful Punkaharju. Cottages, new restaurant Paviljonki and Kesämaa water and amusement park for children.
  • Kruunupuisto [34] 35 km from Savonlinna, in the middle of Punkaharju ridge area.
  • Hotel Rantakatti [35] 35 km from Savonlinna, in the middle of Punkaharju ridge area.
  • Ruoke Holiday Resort [36] 60 km from Savonlinna, on Lake Puruvesi and near of village Kesälahti. Nice fishing possibilities.
  • Private holiday cottages around Savonlinna [37]

Stay safe[edit]

Savonlinna is considered a very safe city. There’s no violence, even the bars are extremely safe.

Get out[edit]

  • Mikkeli — 100km away by car
  • Kerimäki — featuring the world’s biggest wooden church
  • Punkaharju — visit the beautiful ridge area only 30 min from Savonlinna
  • Rantasalmi — featuring Linnansaari National Park, 50 km from Savonlinna

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!


Posted in: Europe

Leave a Comment (0) →

Oulu, Finland – Travel Guide

Oulu, Finland – Travel Guide

Book Cheap Hotel, Apartments, Hostels & BBs in Oulu


Oulu Banner.jpg

Oulu (Swedish: Uleåborg; [1]) is a city of 190,000 inhabitants in Oulu province, northern Finland. On 01.01.2009, the municipality of Ylikiiminki [2] was consolidated with the city of Oulu, increasing Oulu’s land mass nearly quadruple-fold. As one of the results of the merger, Oulu is now officially an area where one might encounter reindeer.

Rantakatu street by night


Midnight sun shining over Oulu

Oulu is the capital of the province of Oulu and the region of Northern Ostrobothnia. It is the sixth largest (fourth largest if you exclude Espoo and Vantaa) city in Finland, and the largest and most important in Northern Finland. Oulu is known for its high-tech focus, with free wireless internet access, Panoulu [3], in the city center. A lot of Finnish IT companies, including Nokia, have offices in Oulu or nearby areas.

Oulu Cathedral

Oulu City Old Library

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Oulu Airport [4] is the busiest in the country after Helsinki, and the Helsinki-Oulu sector is the country’s most popular domestic flight with frequent services (almost 20 flights per day each way) on Finnair and Norwegian. A fully flexible return economy ticket might cost more than €200 but a non-changeable one-way ticket can go as low as €20 or a return ticket for less than €50 when bought months in advance. Norwegian is often cheapest, but airlines compete on price for this route so be sure to check others. There are also some services to Riga, Rovaniemi, Tampere, Turku and Kemi.

The terminal has recently been expanded and now has jet bridges to get you in the planes without having to walk in the freezing cold tarmac. The airport has an automatic map dispenser that provides free maps, but sometimes it doesn’t work.

Bus 9 (~€5) connects the airport to the city center in 30 minutes. Buses operate quite frequently from 06:25 to about 21:00 on weekdays. After 21:00 buses operate infrequently to 01:30. A taxi will cost you around €30 for the same distance.

By train[edit]

Oulu is on the railway [5] main line between Helsinki and Rovaniemi. The fastest Pendolino trains complete the journey from Oulu to Helsinki in about 6 hours (€72), while direct sleepers take around 9 hours (€64 plus optional sleeper at €12-€31 per bed). The newest type of sleeper train carriages have a shower and a toilet in each 2-person cabin.

By bus[edit]

Trip duration from Helsinki varies between 9½ and 15 hours and costs around €70-80. Timetable and information from Matkahuolto [6]

Onnibus [7] offers low-cost long distance coach lines to Oulu from different cities of Finland.

Get around[edit]

Public transportation is operated by Koskilinjat [8]. Single ticket (kertalippu) in the city of Oulu costs €3.30 (€1.60 for children ages 4-11). Between 23:00-04:00 a single ticket costs €6.20. A single ticket allows one transfer within 60 minutes. A 24-hour ticket (matkailijalippu) allows unlimited use of the buses for the 24-hour period for €14.40 (€7.20 for children). To plan your route in the city, try Linjakas [9]. It gives you the most convenient route to where you want to go, including walks to/from bus stops, which bus lines to use and where to switch buses. Bus drivers generally do not speak English, so plan your trip beforehand.

To get a good look around Oulu, with English commentary, try Potnapekka [10]. Half train, half bus, it operates during summer months (June to August) on two routes, via Nallikari or Hupisaaret, through roads for light traffic. Both routes leave from the stone ball at Rotuaari (at the center of Oulu) and the journey lasts about one hour. You can hop off and in on the way.

Oulu is renowned for its good bicycle routes, which get you around the city easily and safely even through the cold winter. To rent a bicycle try Pyörä-Suvala, Lekatie 27. If you’re staying at Nallikari Camping, Leiritie 10, they also have bikes to rent for visitors costing €12/day.


  • is a leading taxi booking mobile application in Finland and around Northern-Europe, covering 150+ licensed taxis in Oulu area. No booking fee, choose your closest taxi by price, card payment option, car model or user ratings. Order with 2-clicks and you see taxi arriving on the map. Mobile apps for Android, iOS and Windows Phone, plus web based booking.

See[edit][add listing]

  • Oulu City Art Museum (Oulun Taidemuseo), Kasarmintie 7 (within walking distance from the city center), 358855847450, [11]. Tues-Sun 10-17. Two story museum with a wide variety of modern artwork. Around 8 exhibits a year. Plenty of information in English, except for small, temporary exhibits. 3 euros.  edit
  • Science Centre Tietomaa (Tiedekeskus Tietomaa), Nahkatehtaankatu 2, [12]. Mon-Sun 10–19. The world’s first science centre. (Un)fortunately a ‘social invention’ such as a science centre wasn’t to be patented and the idea was copied all over the world. €13 for single adult ticket, €10 for children aged 6-15.  edit

Dockyard & Old Buildings

  • Oulu Castle (Oulun linna). There is almost nothing to describe as the Castle of Oulu was destroyed in an explosion of gunpowder deposit (by a bolt of lightning) in the 18th century. Nowadays it is a public park where the castle used to be. The park is big, though, so it’s a nice walk beside the river. Their rustic café on the foundations of the ‘castle’, Linnankahvila open daily in the summer, is well worth the visit however.  edit

Do[edit][add listing]

The city theatre

  • Oulu City Theatre (Oulun Kaupunginteatteri), Kaarlenväylä 2, [13]. Recently renovated theatre offers plays in Finnish. Prices vary from €15 to €40 for a single adult ticket. Significant (half price) discounts are available for people under 26..  edit
  • Cinema Plaza (Elokuvateatteri Plaza), Torikatu 32, [14]. Completed in 2007, Plaza movie theater features one of the biggest movie screens in Finland. Most of the movies shown on theater’s eight screens are original english versions and are subtitled in Finnish and Swedish, though some children’s movies are dubbed in Finnish. Admission €9-10.50, before 17:00 on weekdays €6.80. Add €2 for 3D movies. Ticket sets of 5 or 9 tickets are available, bringing the price per admission down to €8.40 or €8 respectively and no extra for 3d showings.  edit
  • Cinema Star (Elokuvateatteri Star), Kalliotie 6 (Tuira region, northern-side of Oulu river), 08 554 2711, [15]. The oldest still functioning (yet very modern) movie theater in Oulu, Star movie theater features 3D digital movies. Most of the movies shown on the theater’s three screens are original english versions and are subtitled in Finnish and Swedish, though some children’s movies are dubbed in Finnish. Star has been nominated as Finland’s most disabled-friendly establishment in 2007. Admission €7.5-10. Sets of 5 tickets are available for 37€, bringing the price per admission down to €7.4 to all shows except for 3D movies, which cost extra.  edit
  • Rotuaari, from the french word trottoir, meaning pedestrian street, is a place for live entertainment mainly during summertime, but also on weekends all year round. Part of the street has been renovated and refitted with heating in 2011, which should keep the street ice free even during the coldest winter months.
  • Qstock [16] Rock Festival, late July.
  • International Air Guitar Festival [17], beginning of August.
  • Nallikari and its Eden sea resort. Summer visit is preferred, but you can bathe outside all year round in Eden’s cozy temperature of +26°C. A bone-chilling dip in the freezing Oulu river can also be taken at the swimming spot (maauimala) of Tuira all year round.
  • In the summer, either rent a bike or walk to the beach in Tuira on the north side of the river Oulujoki, a popular place with locals, passing through Ainola park on the way. From there head eastwards, crossing back to the south side of the river and onwards to Värttö. Visit Koivurannan kahvila in an old house by the river, Kasamintie 51. Then either ride or walk back to the center for a total of 8km trip or take the bus number 7 back to the center.

Public swimming pools:

  • Oulu swimming pool (Oulun uimahalli), (Raksila), (08) 558 48100. Mon-Wed&Fri 6:15-22:00, Thu 7:00-22:00, Sat-Sun 8:00-16:45. One of the largest public swimming pools in Finland. In addition to the pools facilities include separate gyms for weight training, gymnastics, judo and boxing. Cafe upstairs with a view to the pools. €4.50 for the pools or the gym.  edit
  • Raatti swimming pool (Raatin uimahalli), (Raatti, northwest from the city centre), (08) 558 48105. Mon, Wed-Fri 6:15-21:45, Tue 7:00-21:45, Sat-Sun 8:00-20:45. Public pool and gym. Smaller than Oulu swimming pool, but recently renovated (2010). €4.50 for the pools or the gym.  edit

Indoor Activities:

  • Snooker Time, Asemakatu 28. Play billiards or snooker right in the city center. B-license.  edit
  • Pelibunkkeri, Kansankatu 47, [18]. Indoor minigolf, air hockey and fussball tables. (65.007682,25.472564) edit
  • Oulu bowling alley (Oulun keilahalli), [19]. Over twenty bowling lanes near the city center. €15-18 per hour per lane, plus €2.50 for shoe rental. Also pool and snooker tables.  edit

Buy[edit][add listing]

Oulu Market Hall (Kauppahalli), [20]. Mon-Thu 8-17, Fri 8-18, Sat 8-15.. Atmospheric interior in over a hundred years old building. Largely a food market, offering fresh and conserved foods varying from reindeer meat to Asian specialities. The market and the surrounding ‘aitat’ (or barns) also offer a variety of souvenir-type items.  edit (, [21]. Mon-Fri 9-21, Sat 9-18 and Sun 12-18.. Very large home-electronics located 8 km from Oulu center. The best spot for electronics, computers, digital cameras, mobile phones, etc. in Oulu.  edit

Eat[edit][add listing]

Oulu is a place for eating pizza and other fast foods. For as low as €4-7 you can get a pizza with your choice of (usually three) toppings. Also there are many restaurants that have a pizza buffet for around €7-12 which includes a drink. Arguably, Finland’s biggest pizzas are served in Oulu’s Pizzeria Romeo. There is also the Pannu pizza joint in town – a bit more up-market pizzas for the discerning.

During the summer months, head down to the marketplace and have some fried vendace (muikku) or salmon in one of the stands there.

A number of restaurants serving international cuisine or fast food are found in Oulu, including Indian, Greek, Mediterranean, Russian, Spanish, Turkish, Thai and Chinese kitchens. For American style fast food there is McDonald’s, Hesburger and Movie Diner which is decorated in the style of a 50’s American diner.

An interesting little restaurant is Pannukakkutalo Renesans near the market square, serving dutch style pannekoeken, or for the unfamiliar, crêpes. More than a hundred of either sweet or savory toppings to choose from.

For typical, if a bit boring, french-scandinavian dining, hotel restaurants such as Sassi (Radisson SAS) and Fransmanni (at the recently-built Arina hotel in the town center) provide. For finnish cuisine, head over the pedestrian bridge from the library to Pikisaari for Ravintola Sokeri-Jussi, offering traditional courses like Rössypottu (potatoes, blood and pork).

Good experiences in a bit more upscale dining would be either Uleåborg or Puistola Dining, for a bit more affordable but still nice dining head near the Oulu Cathedral to Ravintola Hella.

Ravintola Toripolliisi offers gastropub-style fare in nice surroundings both inside and outside, just in the corner of the marketplace.

During the lunch time, usually from 11am to 15pm, most restaurants serves food for reasonable prices. Lunch restaurants and lists in Oulu can be found at

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • 1bar, Kauppurienkatu 5. Probably the best cocktails in town, a small dancefloor, sofas and electronic/rap/house music.  edit
  • 45 Special, Saaristonkatu 12,[22]. (08) 8811 845, Open every night. Weekdays gigs and meeting place of modern drunkards after 1.30am, weekends crowded.
  • Amarillo, Kirkkokatu 15, (08) 312 3100, [23]. Nice bar in the 1st floor and a night club underground. Also, the texmex-style kitchen is open Mon-Thu 11-00.30, Fri-Sat 11-23.30, Sun 12-23.00.
  • Apollo Live Club, Torikatu 21-23, [24]. A discotheque with two different rooms of different styles. Meatcounter for 20+. Wed,Fri,Sat 22-04.00.
  • Gloria, Torikatu 21-23. Connected to Apollo Live Club, a pub with no cover charge featuring karaoke and live music in separate rooms. Gets quite crowded on saturdays.  edit
  • Caio, Sammonkatu 10, (08) 556 2286, Nice and quiet bar with music, billiards and food near the University of Oulu.
  • Graali, Saaristonkatu 5, [25]. 14-03. Cozy pub with atmosphere and a fireplace. (65.012192,25.465794) edit
  • Hevimesta, Torikatu 11, [26]. Hard Rock / Metal club. 1e beer on mondays, wednesdays and thursdays til 1am.
  • Kaarlenholvi/Jumpru, Kauppurienkatu 6, [27]. Genuine Oulu. Pub downstairs with warmed up patio offers the authentic overview of locals. Nightclub upstairs attracts younger clientele and exchange students.
  • Kuluma, Kauppurienkatu 5, 11am-2am. [28]. If you fancy cocktails, this is the place to go. Some coctails include a fire-breathing display.
  • Never Grow Old, Hallituskatu 17, [29]. Sun-Thu 6pm-2pm, Fri 4pm-3am,Sat 6pm-3am. Chilled out bar with a Jamaican vibe. Red Stripe and Reggae.  edit
  • Nuclear Nightclub, Uusikatu 23, [30]. Wed-Sat 8pm-4am. Best place for smaller live music acts in city: indie, jazz, metal, electronic etc. Live music in the basement every friday and saturday, occasionally on weeknights.  edit
  • Tivoli, Isokatu 35, [31]. Four different rooms with different styles: Disco, Rock, Suomipop and “Saucepan”. Meatcounter for 18 to 20 year olds.
  • Oluthuone Leskinen, Kirkkokatu 10, (08) 311 7993, [32]. 12-02. Irish-style pub with the best selection of beers in the city.  edit
  • Sarkka, Hallituskatu 13-17. 9am-2am. You think you are pro? Come here at 9am and see if you have what it takes!
  • Yöhuikka, Mäkelininkatu 13, Fri-Sat 11pm-4am. [33]. A small gay friendly nightclub. Fresh decor, no entrance fee. Cloak room 2 €.
  • Bar Becksu, Asemakatu 20, [34]. Another gay friendly nightclub, bigger than Yöhuikka, often hosting theme parties. Open every second weekend or so. 7€ entrance inc. cloak room.  edit
  • Kauppuri 5, Kauppurienkatu 5, [35]. A well-known and usually crowded burger bar serving burgers and a nice selection of beers. Check out a shot called “lökö”.  edit

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Holiday Inn, Kirkkokatu 3, (08) 883 9111.
  • Holiday Club Oulun Eden [36], Vellamontie 10, 020 1234 905. Spa hotel on Nallikari beach, a few kilometers (3.5km by foot, 5km by car) from the city center.
  • Hotel Apollo [37], Asemakatu 31-33, (08) 5 2211.
  • Hotel Cumulus [38], Kajaaninkatu 17, (08) 882 7111.
  • Hotelli Forenom [39], Rautatienkatu 9, +35820 1983 415. In front of the railway station.
  • Radisson SAS [40], Hallituskatu 1, (08) 8877 666. One of the best hotels in Oulu, a good choice if your budget isn’t too limited.
  • Scandic Oulu [41], Saaristonkatu 4, (08) 543 1000.
  • Sokos Hotel Arina [42], Pakkahuoneenkatu 16 , (08) 312 3111.
  • Pohto Hotel Kortteeri [43], Vellamontie 12, +358 10 843 4500.
  • Cumulus Oulu, Kajaaninkatu 17, +358 (0)8 882 7111, [44]. The Cumulus Oulu is a cosy hotel for a pleasant business or leisure visit.  edit
  • Hotel Lasaretti, Kasarmintie 13, +358 20 757 4700, [45]. One of the cheapest hotels in Oulu. Located in Hupisaaret, the recreational area of Oulu, just 1km from center.  edit
  • Nallikari Lomakylä-Camping, Leiritie 10, +358 44 7031353, [46]. Absolutely the chapest place to stay in Oulu. Located next to Nallikari beach 4km from center. 36€/4person cottage.  edit

Stay safe[edit]

Oulu is on the whole a very safe city, but avoid getting into arguments late in the night in fast food joints.


The panOULU [47] (public access network OULU) network provides wireless broadband Internet access to everybody in its coverage area.

The tourist information centre has a computer with free internet access.

Get out[edit]

  • Hailuoto is the largest island in the Gulf of Bothnia and a good destination for day trip. Accessible by ferry, either with own car or by bus.
  • Iso-Syöte is the closest destination for downhill skiing. Koskilinjat arranges day trips during winter season [48].
  • Kuusamo is also a place to visit if you continue your journey to the north towards the Finnish Lapland.
  • Koitelinkoski-rapids of Kiiminkijoki-river, about 25min by car from Oulu [49].

Routes through Oulu
TornioKemi  N noframe SW  RaaheTurku
RovaniemiKemi  N noframe S  JyväskyläHelsinki

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!


Posted in: Europe

Leave a Comment (0) →

Turku, Finland – Travel Guide

Turku, Finland – Travel Guide

Book Cheap Hotel, Apartments, Hostels & BBs in Turku


Turku Banner.jpg

Turku (Swedish: Åbo) [1] is a city in the Southwest coast of Finland at the mouth of Aura River. It is within the region of Finland Proper in the Province of Western Finland. It is believed that Turku came into existence during the end of 13th century which makes it the oldest city in Finland.

Turku was for a long time the most important population center in Finland: it was the first capital city of Finland from 1809 to 1812 and continued to be the largest city by population in Finland until the end of the 1840s. Nowadays its significance nationwide is not the same as it used to be, but Turku is a regional capital and important location for business and culture in Northern Europe.


Turku Cathedral

Turku has approximately 175 000 inhabitants, and was the most important city in Finland from the 1300s until 1812, when the Russians moved the capital to Helsinki (closer to Russia and farther from Sweden). Turku remained Finland’s main city for a while after, but its ambitions were dealt a death blow in 1827, when a raging fire destroyed most of the city.

Today’s Turku remains the third largest city in Finland, after the Greater Helsinki metropolitan area and Tampere. Some of the main attractions of Turku are its history and and the great natural beauty of the neighboring archipelago. Turku is at its best during the summertime, and hosts a great number of festivals, including rock festivals, chamber music festivals and a faire.

Useful information[edit]

very useful site with map of city, bus routes, time table, bus stops, aerial photo, city plans

Get in[edit]

The city is well connected domestically, but sparsely connected internationally. Perhaps the most scenic way to get to Turku is by taking a passenger ferry across the Baltic Sea, from Stockholm in Sweden.

By plane[edit]

Turku Airport [2] (IATA: TKU) is located 8 km north of the city. There are domestic flights from Helsinki and Mariehamn. International scheduled flights from Stockholm, Copenhagen, Riga, Alicante and Gdansk. Bus line 1 (€3 – paid by cash only and there is no ATM nearby) connects the airport to the market square (Kauppatori) and the port.

From some points, it may be cheaper overall to fly to Helsinki or with Ryanair to Tampere or Lappeenranta or even to Stockholm, Sweden a short ferry ride away.

By train[edit]

The railway station

VR [3] offers direct day connections from Helsinki (2h), Tampere (1:40), Pieksämäki, and Kuopio. There is also overnight car train to Rovaniemi. The railway station is in the northern part of the city center. Note that some trains continue onwards to the Port of Turku (Turun satama), which is quite handy if connecting to a ferry.

By coach[edit]

There is an almost hourly ExpressBus [4] coach connection from Helsinki-Vantaa airport to Turku bus station operated by Pohjolan Liikenne and Vainio, departing from platform 13 in front of the international flights terminal. The service operates round the clock, although there may be a gap of 1 to 2 hours between services in the small hours of the night. The trip takes between 2 h 20 min and 2 h 55 min depending on whether the service calls in towns on the way. In some cases, there is a change of coach at Lommila but it is well co-ordinated and easy. Tickets cost €29.50 (round trip €53.10) for adults, €14.80 for Finnish students (ISIC not accepted) and children of age 4-16. Children under the age of four travel free.

Onnibus [5] offers low-cost long distance coach lines to Turku from different cities of Finland. Turku stop is in the Kupittaa railway station area – it shares a streetside bus stop with city buses. As of August 2013, Onnibus did not offer wi-fi on their buses. You can also check low-cost offers from Pohjolan Liikenne [6].

By boat[edit]

The Port of Turku [7] is next to Turku Castle and is easily accessible on bus line 1 from the Market Square (Kauppatori). The port also has its own railway station, and some trains depart at the port.

The two biggest ferry lines are Viking Line [8] and
Silja Line [9]. Each one has a morning and an evening departure from Stockholm, Sweden, with a brief stop at the Åland Islands. For a scenic view, a morning departure is advisable. Evening departures provide adequate night club activities on board if you want to cut loose before arriving in Turku.

The steamer S/S Ukkopekka [10] also offers cruises to/from nearby Naantali, the home of Moomin World [11].

During summertime m/s Ruissalo offers route between city and Ruissalo island.

There’s a Guest Marina on the River Aurajoki, right next to the city center. [12]

By car[edit]

Turku is well connected by road. Route E18 leads west from Helsinki (2 hours). Route E63 leads south-west from Tampere (2:15), while E8 heads south from Pori (2:15).

Get around[edit]

Turku has an excellent public transportation system, and its buses can reach nearly every corner of the city.

On foot[edit]

The vast majority of the city’s sights are within two kilometres of the Kauppatori market square that is considered as the heart of the city. The river Aura passes through the center of the city, and its banks are very popular for walking along on, allowing for a pleasant stroll from, say, the city centre to the Turku Castle.

By bicycle[edit]

The city tourist office can suggest cycling routes and publishes an excellent free bike route map of the city and surrounding towns. You can rent bike for €14 per day or €63 per week; Find out more bicycle rental at the website [13] or call +358 (0) 40 372 5310.

By ferry[edit]

Föri crossing Aura river.

The free Föri ferry shuttles travellers and their bikes (no cars allowed) across the Aurajoki River every day from 6:15AM to 9PM, or until 11PM in summer. The trip covers a grand distance of 78 meters and takes about a minute and a half. A running local gag is to ask visitors if they’ve taken the trip from Turku across to Åbo on the Föri yet; actually, both sides of the river are called the same, Åbo is just the Swedish name. Incidentally, the name comes from the Swedish färja and is related to the English word “ferry”.

By bus[edit]

Almost every bus terminates at the Kauppatori market square, and bus lines radiate outwards from it. There are no significant ‘circle lines’, so usually if you need to transfer, you will need to take one bus to the Kauppatori, then transfer there to the bus taking you to your final destination. Buses generally go in two directions from Kauppatori, so check and make sure that you are taking the correct numbered bus in the correct direction as well.

A single ticket is €3.00, and it is valid for unlimited transfers within two hours of the ticket’s purchase. If you intend to take the bus more than twice a day, it becomes economical to ask the bus driver for a 24 hour ticket, priced €7.50. There are no 48 hour tickets, but the tourist office sells Turku Cards (of 24h and 48h varieties) which, as well as providing free admission to most sights, also provides you free bus rides for the validity period. Some of the more important bus lines are the number 1, which goes from Kauppatori to the airport to Kauppatori to the passenger harbor (and Turku Castle) and then all over again, and the numbers 50-54 and 20, which will take you to the spa hotel Caribia.

By taxi[edit]

Taxis are generally easily available, but expensive. There are three crunch times when they might be slightly problematic, and those are the morning and evening ferry departure times (particularly during summer), around 8AM and 9PM, and the bar closing times (particularly on weekends) around 4AM.

A normal taxi will carry about 4 people and a moderate amount of luggage. For significant amounts of luggage, you may want to order a “farmari” taxi, an estate/wagon car which has a roomier luggage compartment. There is also a third common type of taxi available, the tilataksi, a van which will comfortably carry about 8 people.

Taxis charge a base cost of €5.70-8.80 depending on time of day (on Sundays the base cost is higher regardless of the time of day), and €1-2 per mile, depending on amount of passengers (more passengers, higher mileage charge). Quick 1-2 mile trips will cost in the €8-13 vicinity.

Flagging taxis on the street is rare and may not work; calling the central dispatch is the common method, however you can recognize a free taxi in dark, since the taxi sign on the top will have its light on. There is a central dispatch for all Turku taxis at phone number 02-10041, and bookings can be made in advance (€6.80), though more than one day in advance is unnecessary. Advance bookings less than 30 min before desired departure time are not accepted — in that case, just phone the dispatch when you are ready to go. Outside the worst rush hours, a taxi should take no more than 5 minutes to arrive. If you are out late at night, plan ahead. During weekend bar closing hours, wait times in excess of 1 hour are not unheard of.

By car[edit]

Parking places are sparse at rush hours, but otherwise you should be able to park your car quite near the place you are going. One good option is the underground Louhi [14] parking hall (€1-2/h) as it gives you direct access via elevators to the center of the city and its entrance is well.


Lenas Sightseeing an authorized multilingual guide surprised me with a tailor made excursions by air-conditioned mini coach.

During the summertime, there are multiple boats at the banks of the River Aura who make trips into the archipelago.

See[edit][add listing]

Turku harbour and Turku castle

Tuomiokirkko by the Aura River from a distance

Aurajoki river

Medieval festival in Turku

  • Turku Castle (Turun linna), Linnankatu 80, +358-2-2620300, [15]. Daily 10AM-6PM; reduced hours and closed Mon in Oct-Mar low season. At the south tip of the city, near the ferry terminals. A must for everyone visiting the city and is one of the country’s most popular tourist attractions. This old castle dates from the 1280s, and has been carefully renovated. There is always some exhibition in the castle premises. Highlights include the two dungeons and magnificent banquet halls, and a historical museum of medieval Turku in a maze of restored rooms in the castle’s old bailey. Tours of the stronghold are given hourly in English. They give a good account of the castle’s history. €9/6, optional guided tour €2.  edit
  • Turku Cathedral, [16]. Towers over the river and the town and is one of Finland’s most important Cathedrals. Tours run 9AM-7PM during mid September to mid April and 9AM to 8PM mid April to mid September. Free.  edit
  • Luostarinmäki, [17]. In 1827 a fire destroyed almost all of Turku. Luostarinmäki was one of the few areas that were saved, and now it hosts a handicrafts museum.  edit
  • Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova, [18]. This museum is actually two museums: Aboa Vetus tells about the history of Turku, and Ars Nova is a museum of modern art. Aboa Vetus is based on ancient remainings of old buildings and the Aboa Vetus exhibition is located there.  edit
  • Kuralan kylämäki, [19]. Dubbed a “Village of Living History”, here you can see newborn lambs and chicken (depends on time of year), as well as a genuine Finnish farm from the 1950s. Very close to the city center but yet you feel like you are in the country side.  edit
  • Turku Art Museum (Turun taidemuseo), [20]. The regional museum of Finland proper. A central part of the art life in Turku since 1904.  edit
  • Logomo, [21]. Köydenpunojankatu 14. The old train engineering workshop turned modern venue, Logomo offers a variety of temporary exhibitions and events.  edit
  • Ruissalo. A beautiful national park on an island located 6 km from Kauppatori. There is also a championship level golf course, Aura Golf [22], founded in 1958. The Ruissalo Spa Hotel [23] is in its immediate vicinity.
  • Caribia spa [24] and Posankka. Relax in the spa and see the famous cross between a pig and a duck, Posankka. This pink statue was made by Alvar Gullichsen, and it has become a known landmark in front of the spa.
  • Wäinö Aaltonen Museum of Art, Itäinen Rantakatu 38 (15 min from Market Sq, or take bus 14/15), +358-2-2620850, [25]. Tu-Su 11AM-7PM. An art museum named after Finnish artist and sculptor Wäinö Aaltonen (1896-1966), whose statues of famous Finns and various nationalist themes can be found throughout Finland. Perhaps the best-known is the classical Greek-style statue of “Flying Finn” and nine-time Olympic gold medalist Paavo Nurmi. Five copies of the statue exist, one in the museum, and the statue’s best known exploit was when students from the Helsinki U. of Tech. snuck one onto the wreck of the 17th-century Swedish warship Vasa just days before it was salvaged. The museum also hosts changing exhibitions of other artists. 7€.  edit
  • Forum Marinum [26] and Suomen Joutsen [27]. A national special museum that also works as a maritime centre while having the famous Suomen Joutsen (Swan of Finland) just outside of it. A ship that is considered as the national ship of finns. Both are located just after the guest harbour when going down stream, you can’t miss it. PLEASE NOTE: admission is 8 EUR for main exhibition, or 16 EUR for combined ticket including the moored ships. For those who are also visiting Stockholm, it may be useful to note that Stockholm also has a maritime museum ( which has free admission.
  • Sibelius Museum, Biskopsgatan 17 FIN-20500 Åbo (Turku), [28]. Located only 150 meters from the Turku cathedral is a low modern concrete building, housing an interesting collection of musical instruments as well as displays of Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, the man and his music. On display are more than 1400 musical instruments and music art from all around the globe. These include instruments hundreds of years old, such as lutes and early viols; harpsichords, clavichords and early pianos; and downstairs, many organs. Additionally, a room is reserved for Sibelius´s life and work. During the autumn, winter, and spring seasons the museum hosts chamber music concerts on Wednesday evenings. The collections available at the Sibelius museum are of interest to both experts and ordinary music lovers. The museum was founded in 1926 by Otto Andersson, the first Professor of Musicology and Folklore at Åbo Akademi University.  edit
  • B-Galleria, Aninkaistenkatu 5 L 5, [29]. Contemporary art gallery organisation Suunnitelma B. Provides inexpensive and easily approachable gallery space for young artists and fresh environment for new ideas to emerge. Monthly changing exhibition and more randomly organized events.  edit

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Flowpark. [30] A cool new climbing park on the courtyard of shopping center Skanssi.  edit
  • Ruisrock. [31] Visit the oldest rock festival in Finland that takes place in the Ruissalo island in the beginning of July.  edit
  • Down by the Laituri. [32] A city festival with various bands playing around the city and mainly just a lot of people by the riverboats. Takes place at start of August.  edit
  • Uuden musiikin festivaali (UTM). [33] A city festival with electronic music scattered at different locations around Turku.  edit
  • Turku Jazz. [34]. A jazz festival held every spring.  edit
  • The Medieval Market. [35] (Keskiaikaiset markkinat) takes usually place at the last weekend of June. The old market square is filled with medieval action for the whole weekend, from sales to hangings to music and dance plays.  edit
  • Turku Modern, [36]. Annual modern music festival takes place in the beautiful city of Turku in July. Top notch line-up with the hottest electronic club sound ambassadors from Finland and abroad.  edit
  • Ilmiö, [37]. A quirky one day summer festival with various bands and performances; over 50 live shows in 14 hours  edit
  • JukuPark, [38]. The vast outdoor water park is situated just 3 km from the centre of Turku. Great for families.  edit

Buy[edit][add listing]

There are plenty of opportunities to part with your cash in Turku. The city centre is full of major retail and independent shops. Shopping in Turku is generally more affordable than in Helsinki, but, as with the rest of Finland, it is by no means cheap by international standards. The numerous second-hand and antique stores represent a unique shopping alternative.

  • Hansa Shopping Centre, (Adjacent to the main market square), [39]. Over 150 shops under one roof.  edit
  • Länsikeskus. District on the outskirts of town full of big-box hypermarkets.  edit
  • Turun Kauppahalli, (50 metres from Kauppatori along the Eerikinkatu towards harbour), [40]. A (food) market located in a building opened in 1896, with approximately 40 different sellers. Along with meat, cheese and milk products, also handicraft and ethnic fast food is available for purchase.  edit
  • Skanssi Shopping Center. Modern shopping center. 20 minutes from the city center with bus line 9.  edit
  • Turku Treasure, [41]. Map to independent boutiques, bars and galleries of Turku.  edit

Eat[edit][add listing]

For proper restaurant meals, expect to pay €10-€30 – lower end with some simple pasta or soup with water or a soft drink, and the higher end with a high-grade steak meal with good wine. For fast food or pizzeria meals, you will generally need to pay under €10. Burger meals are around €5-€8 (including drink and fries), kebabs and pizzas are about the same.

Generally, proper restaurants are open until 10-11PM, on weekends maybe an hour longer. There are no proper restaurants open in Turku after midnight. Fast food chains, pizzerias and other such places are open later at night, some as late as 3-5AM. In some establishments, the bar may remain open for drinks even though the kitchen has closed and no food is available.


Hesburger is the dominant burger chain in Turku, and you will find several of these in the city centre. Pizzerias are frequently kebab-pizzerias, offering both Turkish kebab and Italian pizza dishes on their menu. You will also find a lot of these downtown. Unfortunately, the restaurants offering the finest kebabs are not located in the core downtown.

  • Ege Kebab Pizzeria, Kousankatu 1 near Itäkeskus, by the traffic light intersection, in Varissuo. Reviewed as the best kebab restaurant in Turku [42] and one of the best in the whole country.
  • Milan, Eerikinkatu 5, opposite cinema Julia (downtown). Kebab-pizzeria with excellent pizzas and kebabs.
  • Turun Center Kebab Pizzeria, Near the Aura river (Aurajoki) in front of Wärtsilä, [43].
  • Sisilia, Aninkaistenkatu 3 20100 Turku. Servers decent kebabs and pizzas. Famous for the price: all kebabs and pizzas €5 (for students, but you don’t really need an I.D.).
  • Pizzeria Napoli [44], Puutarhakatu 20. Located near Mikael’s Church, less than 1 km from city centre toward harbour. Traditional style pizzeria with wide selection of decent pizzas.

During the lunch time, usually from 11am to 15pm, most restaurants serves food for reasonable prices. Lunch restaurants and lists in Turku can be found at


  • Bremer. All meals around €10: pizza, wok, burgers, tortillas. Uudenmaankatu 1.
  • Pippurimylly [45]. The Peppermill is a nostalgic family restaurant where bluesquared table cloths and tasty beefs have been a part of Turku’s weekly routines and holidays from the year 1974.
  • Kortteliravintola Kerttu [46] at Läntinen pitkäkatu 35, near the railway station. They have a laundromat, free wireless Internet, newspapers to read and a very comfortable atmosphere.
  • Panini Caffè Ristorante, address: Linnankatu 3. Good Italian food at reasonable prices.
  • Pizzeria Dennis[47]. Well known and respected Italian restaurant.
  • Viikinkiravintola Harald (“Viking Restaurant”) [48], Aurakatu 3. Higher mid-range. Located in the heart of the city. A pseudo-authentic Viking style environment. Several fish, bird and game dishes. One of the few restaurants which serve Reindeer. Opening hours mon-thu 11-24, fri 11-01 sat 12-01, sun 15-22.
  • Musiikkikahvila Sointu [49] Linnankatu 27. A nostalgic music joint for dining, drinks, coffee, and live shows.


Restaurant quality food is readily found in Turku. Most famous are the restaurant boats on the banks of the River Aura. Some of them close for the winter, but others remain open throughout the year. Other famous restaurants include:

  • Enkeliravintola (“Angel Restaurant”), downtown on Kauppiaskatu, decorated with many art objects related to angels and focusing on warm, friendly atmosphere.
  • Ravintola Suomalainen Pohja [50] is in downtown on Aurakatu 24 next to Turku Art Museum and Puolala Park. Excellent staff and good kitchen makes sure you’ll visit there again. Tel +3582 251 2000.
  • Rocca [51], along the riverside towards the harbor from downtown – co-owned by the famous ice hockey player Saku Koivu.
  • Vaakahuone [52] Aurajoki riverside Castlestreet (Linnankatu) 38. Free live jazz every night during summer.
  • Trattoria Romana, Hämeenkatu 9. An Italian trattoria, excellent price-quality relationship. Tip: try their unrivalled pizza margherita.
  • Oscar’s Place (Oscarin Olohuone), Eerikinkatu 10 (in hotel Hamburger Börs). Opened in 1895, this German-style pub-restaurant was at the forefront of Turku gastronomy for a long time. Post-renovation, though, the ambience is airy but nondescript and the menu is now a somewhat odd mix of the gourmet (escargots, duck leg confit) and the not so gourmet (burritos and pizza). €20-40.  edit
  • Restaurant & Bar Pinella (Ravintola & Baari Pinella), Vanha Suurtori 2, +358 (2) 445 6400 (), [53]. Pinella is a landmark building on the river in the heart of Turku. It has been transformed into a new contemporary bar and restaurant, creating a fresh chapter in its history as an important cultural and artistic venue.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

Restaurants and bars have varying closing hours, but generally, the popular nightclubs and discos are open until 4AM. Last call always occurs half an hour before closing time, and is indicated by the bar staff turning the lights off for a few seconds, then turning them back on. They may repeat this a few times in quick succession to make sure the patrons get it. It’s generally smart to leave about ten minutes before the last call, to avoid being caught in the rush of everybody trying to leave at once, especially if you are planning to get back to your night spot by a taxi.

Night clubs tend to have guarded cloakrooms where you can leave any of your outer garments in exchange for a ticket. Using the coat service is generally considered mandatory even if this is not explicitly pointed out. The cloakroom fee is usually 2 – 2,50 euros. Do not lose the ticket; the bar staff will often not want to hash out ticket confusions during closing time when things are at their most chaotic. If you lose the ticket, you may be told to come back the following day to get your things, expect to be able to prove the jacket is your by telling the staff the make of the jacket/colour of lining/contents of pockets.

The legal drinking age in Finland is 18 for mild alcoholic drinks (up to 20%/40-proof) and 20 for stronger drinks than that, but virtually all establishments sell stronger drinks to 18-year-olds as well. The minimum age required to enter bars/pubs/nightclubs differs; legally, one must be at least 18 to enter places that serve alcohol, but many clubs and bars have higher age limits (20 – 24 yrs).


  • Cafe Art[54], Läntinen Rantakatu 5. Located on the banks of the Aurajoki River near the city centre. Outdoor seating with nice view in the summer. Indoor seating in several different rooms, all decorated with art (changing selection) which is also for sale. Great coffee, good tea selection, and many snacks (cakes, croissants, sandwiches, etc.).
  • Kirjakahvila[55], Vanha Suurtori 1. Located at the historical Old Great Square, this is a culture cafe and a bookshop (hence the name, which means “Book Cafe”) run by volunteers. Besides books there are also a lot of comics, postcards and posters by local artists for sale. Freshly baked cakes every day, even for vegans. Free wireless Internet available, ask the staff for passwords. Open from 11AM to 7PM, from M-F, but there is often live acoustic music or other cultural events in the evening.
  • Cafe Mansikkapaikka, Piispankatu 11, a old yellow wooden house. The name means “A place where wild strawberries can be found”, and the interior and the atmosphere is very romantic and cosy. The tea is served in small strawberry-themed tea pots and you can choose from an assortment of 30 different teas. Has been closed since end of 2011.
  • Cosmic Comic Cafe [56], Kauppiaskatu 4 (Forum Shopping Centre). A cafe for comics lovers. Offers drinks, comics books for free reading and hosts various events from time to time.
  • Latte Cafe [57], Kristiinankatu 5. Latte Cafe is a sweet little cafe at downtown Turku. Special teas, coffees (from all around the world), paninis, salads & toasts. They also have cakes, buns, croissants and a lot of sweet surprises. Fruit non-alcoholic cocktails.
  • Cafe Fontana [58], Aurakatu 1. Street-level cafe in historical milieu in the heart of the city, opposite to Town Hall park, near Aura bridge. Also lunch and bar.
  • Fabbes Café Tehtaankatu 6. A small nice café with good lunch every day. Located at the corner of Tehtaankatu and Piispankatu near the universities among beautiful old tree houses. Smoothies, milkshakes, special coffee, cakes, buns, lunch, salad and much more. They have free wifi. Closed at weekends and in July.
  • Elvina Café [59] Yliopistonkatu 15. A beautiful café located near the market square, decorated in the 20’s style.


  • For the late teens-early twenties crowd, the Night Club Marilyn [60] is particularly popular as a disco/night club.
  • For a similar disco experience for early twenties upwards, there are a number of options such as night club Apollo [61]. Another popular night spot for mid-to-late twenties is Börs Night Club in the same building as the hotel Hamburger Börs (but open to all, not just hotel guests).
  • Prima’, at Aurakatu 14, is popular among exchange students. You can find them socializing on Wednesdays.
  • For proper dancing (not disco dancing), Restaurant Galax [62] is the recommended place in Turku. The age group skews towards the 40s-50s.
  • In the summertime, it is very popular to spend the early evening until midnight or so on the restaurant boats on the banks of the River Aura, and when it gets a little chilly, move indoors to a restaurant or night club. Examples of these river boats include Donna[63], Cindy [64], Aussie bar” (also has a nightclub. Propably the most international crowd in Turku) and Svarte Rudolf.
  • Dynamo [65] at Linnankatu, opposite the main library, caters for hipsters with a passion for slightly more eclectic sound. Downstairs indie pop, electro and rock ‘n’ roll are the main draws, upstairs it’s chiefly soul, funk and disco. Attracts a healthy amount of exchange students.
  • Monk [66] The best and pretty much the only jazz club in town. Musical scale includes happy jazz, retromodern club jazz, funk, afro and latin stuff. Djs on weekends, live jazz 2-3 days a week.
  • Klubi [67] The leading rock venue in Turku. Goth, punk, electronica, ska, prog, grunge, indie/alternative – you name it, they’ve got it.
  • Forte [68] tends to be busy thanks to cheap drinks and daily opening hours (as opposed to majority of the other clubs in Turku). The concept of ‘SuFo’ (=’Sunday Forte’), MoFo etc. is widely recognized amongst students in Turku.
  • Monkey [69] is a new club in the city center of Turku, it’s located in front of the H&M. Here are probably the best parties on Saturday, because there are a lot of Finnish girls. They play hip hop, house and R&B on two floors. There is also a VIP area.

Pubs and Bars[edit]

Puutorin Vessa

  • Alepub Turku near the city library by the Aura river. Cheapest beer in town and friendly atmosphere all day long. At alepub you never drink alone. Good jukebox and the best finnish sports (lentomäki) on the television.
  • Cosmic Comic Cafe at Forum shopping center by the Market Square. Comics gallery, board games to play and a relaxed, “a second living room” atmosphere. Sometimes very overcrowded.
  • Alvar at Humalistonkatu 7, near the railway station. It is located at a building designed by a famous finnish architecht Alvar Aalto. A comfortable place with nice staff and a large selection of beer. Free Wi-Fi available.
  • Puutorin Vessa[70], a former public toilet but nowadays a popular bar, located at Puutori market square, near the bus station. One of the must see sights in Turku.
  • The Old Bank[71], a former bank turned into a beer pub with beautiful interior and the widest selection of beers in town.
  • Brewery restaurant Koulu[72], an old school building converted to a brewery restaurant serving their own beers, good food and an excellent selection of wines. A cozy biergarten in the back yard is open in the summer.
  • Mallaskukko[73] is another good beer pub in Turku, with a wide selection of beers and scotch whiskies.
  • Pikku-Torre [74] close to the centre is a good and friendly bar-cum-restaurant, serving a good choice of different beers and a selection of mid-priced meals (only until 9PM.). Pikku-Torre is one of the best spots in Turku for watching football. Live music on weekends.
  • Uusi apteekki[75], a beer pub located in a former pharamacy built in 1907.
  • The Castle[76], Eerikinkatu 6, close to the main square. An Irish style pub with English staff.
  • Whisky Bar at Yliopistonkatu 19, in the core downtown of Turku. Has a wide selection of whiskies. Nowadays strongly orientated to heavy metal by it’s music and atmosphere.
  • Tinatuoppi at Eerikinkatu 8 [77] Legendary boozing spot at the heart of Turku. Cheap beer and great jukebox.
  • Cup & Pint at Humalistonkatu 17. Forget Hurry Worries! Cosy modern bar/cafe near the railway station. Good beer selection, toasts, pies, champagne, cakes etc. DJ action at weekends.

Sleep[edit][add listing]


  • Hostel Turku, [78]. Located on the river close to the town centre, 10 minutes walk from the train station, or take bus 1 from the bus station/harbor. Spacious and friendly, contains a decent kitchen, laundry, lockers, and bike hire. Book ahead, as it gets very busy in summer. Will close for good on the 5th of September 2014.
  • Interpoint Hostel, Vähä Hämeenkatu 12a (near Cathedral, Kupittaa railway station). Open in summer only, usually July 15-Aug 15 (may vary). Maintained by Turku YWCA volunteers and often praised for its friendly atmosphere. Accommodation is very cheap at 8,50 €/night, but only includes a mattress on the floor. Kitchen and laundry facilities available.
  • Turku Unihostel, [79] Inspehtorinkatu 4. Located in the Turku University student village, and intended for longer-term stays. Buses 30, 50, 51, 53, 54, 20 minute walk to centre. Single rooms with WC/shower and common kitchen, laundry, tv, wireless internet. Book by the week only, payment by wire transfer in advance, limited office hours to obtain keys. Inhabited mostly by university short-term visitors, but open to anyone.
  • Hostel Borea, [80] The ship hostel offers year-round, affordable accommodation on the west shore of the Aura River, near Forum Marinum. Customers can walk to the hostel from the port; bus 1 from the airport passes the hostel on Linnankatu; and there is free parking for customers arriving by car. They also have a hotel.
  • Linnasmäki / Turku Christian Institute, [81] In the summertime, the student rooms are available as a hostel of 84 beds. Located about 4km from the central, in a very green area. They also have a hotel.


  • Best Western Hotel Seaport Turku, Toinen Poikkikatu 2, +358 2 283 3000 (), [82]. Hotel Seaport is located in the Turku harbour, next door to the famous sightseeing Turku Castle. The hotel itself is an old customs house turned into a hotel.  edit
  • Cumulus Turku, Eerikinkatu 30, +358 (0)2 2181 000 (), [83]. Cumulus Turku is centrally located, a nice mid-priced business hotel.”  edit
  • Omena. Booking only by Internet, and you get a passcode online which you can use to get into the building. There is no reception staff and no breakfast.
  • Holiday Inn Turku, Eerikinkatu 28, +358 (0)2 338 211 (), [84]. . Quality hotel located about 500 m from the marketplace towards the harbor.”  edit
  • Sokos Hotel Seurahuone. From the marketplace about 3 blocks towards the harbor. On the same street as Cumulus/Ramada (Eerikinkatu).
  • Sokos Hotel Hamburger Börs & City Börs, Kauppiaskatu 6, +358-2-337381, [85]. Formerly the Grand Hotel Börs, this hotel dates back to 1904 (the restaurant is a few years older yet) and remains a solid choice. The complex now has twin hotels diagonally across from each other, with the City Börs rooms being cheaper and simpler, but the combined reception is in Hamburger Börs. The entire complex has no less than 9 restaurants, bars and clubs, making this a popular nightspot. Indoor pool and sauna. Good discounts often available if you book a package with the ferry companies.  edit
  • Park Hotel. A non-chain hotel only a couple hundred meters from the railway station.
  • Scandic Hotel Julia. Two blocks from the marketplace, towards the cathedral.
  • Centro Hotel. One block uphill from Julia’s location, a little hard to find on the inner courtyard of the city block.
  • Artukaisten Paviljonki. Near the Elysee Arena and fair centre, several miles from downtown.


  • Caribia Spa Hotel [86]
  • Scandic Hotel Plaza. One block from the marketplace.
  • Sokos Hotel Hamburger Börs. Right beside the marketplace.
  • Radisson Blu Hotel Marina Palace. [87] Located on Linnankatu overlooking the River Aura.

Stay safe[edit]

Risks in Turku

Crime/violence: Low
Drunk people on weekend nights, bouncers in clubs, pickpockets

Authorities/corruption: Low
Security guards and nightclub bouncers might be rude and/or violent

Transportation: Low
Traffic culture may be sometimes aggressive

Health: Low
Infectious tick bites in the archipelago

Nature: Low

Turku is generally a very safe city. On weekend nights drunken people may cause annoyance, especially after last call. The River Aura is as dirty as it seems, and is surprisingly shallow. Also the river banks provide very little access to the shore, so it is better not to refresh yourself with I quick dip. Swimming in the river is also considered illegal.

In case of emergency dial 112, which is the general emergency number for police affairs, fire and medical care.

Get out[edit]

Cruises on the Baltic Sea:

Take a local bus to Naantali to see the presidential summer residence Kultaranta and the Moomin world. The Unesco city Rauma can be reached easily by bus. Traveling time is approximately 1,5 hours. It takes less than 40 minutes to travel by a public bus to Pori, the baltic pearl from Rauma.

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!


Posted in: Europe

Leave a Comment (0) →

Tampere, Finland – Travel Guide

Tampere, Finland – Travel Guide

Book Cheap Hotel, Apartments, Hostels & BBs in Tampere


Tampere Banner.jpg

Tampere (Swedish: Tammerfors) [1] is the third largest city in Finland with around 213,000 inhabitants and a metro population of nearly half a million. Being located 170km north of the Finnish coastal capital Helsinki, it is also the biggest inland town in the whole Nordic region. Geographically, the city lies on a narrow isthmus between Lake Näsijärvi, which reaches far to the north, and Lake Pyhäjärvi in the south. In addition, there are 200 lakes and ponds in Tampere, and a total of 450 in the entire region. Despite being predominantly a former heavy industry centre, today Tampere is a major hub for information technology, research, education, culture, sports and business. In 2010, the City of Tampere came in first in an image survey comparing the largest cities in Finland. Leaving Helsinki behind, it was also found the most attractive city among Finns who plan on moving.


Tammerkoski rapids that now run in a canal through downtown Tampere connected the two major lakes with an elevation drop of 18 metres. As early as the 7th century people started to gather at the banks of the lakes, and in the 18th century the utilization of the rapids as a source of hydropower resulted in a population boom. Tampere was officially founded on the banks of Tammerkoski in 1775 by Gustav III of Sweden, and four years later, 1 October 1779, Tampere was granted full city rights. The newly founded city was soon after established as a proving ground of revolutionary economical theories by declaring a freedom of trade to the city dwellers. The status of free town enabled import and export of foreign goods without customs. In addition, it was ordered that the citizens were allowed to freely practice any Christian faith. Due to the uncommon liberties, Tampere grew as a major market town and industrial centre in the 19th century. During the latter half of 19th century almost half of Finland’s industrial labour force was in Tampere. The town’s industrial inclination in the 19th and 20th centuries gave it the nickname “Manchester of the North”, “Manse” for short (in Finnish) that sticks to this day.

Tampere has been an industrial pioneer in Finland since the very beginning. Finland’s first paper mill started operation in 1783, and the first paper machine was engaged at the J.C. Frenckell & Son’s factory in 1842. The cotton factory established in 1820 by James Finlayson grew to become the country’s first large-scale industrial establishment. The first electric light in the Nordic countries was also lit in Finlayson’s modern production facilities in 1882. Finlayson grew aggressively and eventually became the large industrial complex in the Nordic countries. The city’s engineering industry was bolstered by the manufacturer of grinding machines and water turbines Tampella, which was established on the upper reaches of the Tammerkoski rapids in 1861.

By the time of the Finnish declaration of independence in 1917, Tampere had already grown into a major industrial hub that was predominantly inhabited by factory workers. Because of the unusually large working class, Tampere was also the worker’s union stronghold. The workers’ living conditions were terrible which was increasingly generating social tension in the society. The First World War was initially profitable for industrial Tampere, but after the October Revolution in Russia, the vital eastern trade was severed. Now the Finnish society was deeply divided, and the socialists seized control of Tampere 1918. During the Finnish Civil War in 1918 Tampere became the Red (Social Democratic Party of Finland) stronghold. However, in April 1918 the eventually victorious White forces led by C. G. E. Mannerheim captured the town after the Battle of Tampere. It was the largest battle in Nordic war history. Whites seized 11,000 prisoners, summarily executing actual and suspected leaders and locking the remaining prisoners into camps. The decisive victory quickly led to the end one of the bloodiest civil wars in Europe.

After the war, both the city and the national consensus were rebuilt, and Tampere grew rapidly. In 1927 the first of the factories stopped industrial operations, and city offices later moved into the empty buildings. Even though the structural changes were already on their way, by the time of the Second World War, Tampere was centre of the Finnish war industry. In addition to uniforms made in textile mills, Tampella factories were manufacturing mortars and artillery. Tampere was bombarded during 1939-40 by the Soviet air force, but the damages were not extensive. After 1960 most factories started to grind to a halt, but the buildings were kept. Nowadays the cityscape of Tampere is characterized by charming old red-brick industrial buildings, most of them reinstated as offices, restaurants, and places of culture. Modern Tampere has come a long way from its heavy industry roots, and transformed into a hi-tech research and development powerhouse.

  • Visit Tampere Tourist Information, Rautatienkatu 25A (The office is located within the main railway station), +358 3 5656 6800, [2]. Opening hours vary according to season. The office hands out travel tips, brochures, and free maps of the city.  edit

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Tampere is serviced by Tampere-Pirkkala airport[3] (IATA: TMP) (ICAO: EFTP) , which lies 17 km from the city. Finnair has several connections to Helsinki every day. SAS has direct flights to Stockholm. More importantly for the budget traveller, Tampere is Ryanair’s main Finnish destination, with service to Alicante, Bremen, Budapest, Frankfurt/Hahn, London, Malaga and Milan. Ryanair uses Terminal 2, while all other airlines use Terminal 1.

Tampere Public Transport Bus Line 1[4] can get you to both the main city square, Kestustori, and the railway station (€2,60). Ryanair has its own bus service [5] (€6) to Terminal 2. Both take around 30 minutes. In addition to regular taxi service (€25-40, 20 min), there is also a shared airport taxi service (€17 one-way between Tampere and airport) [6]. The direct bus service betweeen the airport and Helsinki has stopped running, but it is possible to change in Tampere long-distance coach station (linja-autoasema) between airport bus 1 and long-distance coaches to Helsinki and elsewhere.

By train[edit]

The national railroad company, VR [7], offers extensive train services from different parts of Finland to Tampere with connections south to Helsinki, south-west to Turku, west to Pori, and north to Jyväskylä and Lapland. The trip to/from Helsinki using the fastest Pendolino connection takes 90 minutes and costs €33.90, whereas a local train will take just over 2 hours and cost €22.50. On weekdays, there are hourly connections to Helsinki except few hours during the night. On weekends, there may be a gap of up to 2 hours between trains. For Finnish students (ISIC not accepted) and children (6-17 years) all train tickets are half price.

From Helsinki-Vantaa airport, where most visitors arrive in Finland, the best way to reach Tampere by train is to take a short bus(train from July 2015) or taxi ride to Tikkurila train station closest to the airport (instead of Helsinki main railway station), and board a northbound long-distance train there. The station ticket office is closed at night, but tickets can be purchased from machines (Finnish credit cards only) or onboard the train. Trip from Tikkurila to Tampere takes between 75 and 110 minutes depending on the train.

Tampere main train station is located downtown, at the east end of the main street Hämeenkatu. Most hotels are well within walking distance of the station.

By coach[edit]

There is an almost hourly ExpressBus [8] coach connection from Helsinki-Vantaa airport to Tampere bus station operated by Paunu, departing from platform 13. The service operates round the clock, although there may be a gap of 1 to 2 hours between services in the small hours of the night. The trip takes between 2 h and 2 h 30 min depending on whether the service calls in towns on the way. In some cases, there is a change of coach close by at Keimolanportti service station, but it is well-coordinated and effortless. Tickets cost €27.00 (round trip €48.80) for adults, €13.50 for Finnish students (ISIC not accepted), senior citizens (65+) and children of age 12-16.

A budget coach service Onnibus operates between Tampere and few Finnish cities, such as Helsinki, with bargain ticket prices as low as €2. The departure terminals vary between the destinations. Coaches from Helsinki, Turku and Jyväskylä arrive to Hervanta (take a local bus 3, 4, 5, 13, 20 or 24 to get downtown) and Kaleva (take a local bus 3, 17, 25 or 47 to get downtown). Be sure to book online as the tickets are more expensive when bought from the driver. [9]

By car[edit]

Tampere can be easily reached by car. The drive from Helsinki takes about 2 hours and there is a four-lane motorway throughout the journey (speed limit 120 km/h with small portions 100 km/h in the summer, or 100 km/h throughout in the winter). The motorway is new and in excellent condition, but is mainly not well lit. Care must be exercised when driving in the dark, particularly in winter as driving conditions can be harsh due to snow and slippery roads.

There are also road connections from Tampere to Turku, Pori, Rauma, Seinäjoki/Vaasa, Jyväskylä and Lahti. These are mostly two-lane regular roads with speed limits between 80 km/h and 100 km/h.

By boat[edit]

In the summertime there’s route traffic coming in from both Lake Näsijärvi and Lake Pyhäjärvi. Boats use the slow but beautiful water routes made of strings of lakes.

When coming to Tampere from the north one can hop on on the Poet’s way historical steamship from small towns of Virrat and Ruovesi north of Tampere and arrive in Mustalahti harbour. [10]

When coming from the south the Silverline can be easily taken to Laukontori harbour from Hämeenlinna and Lempäälä where the boat stops are some half a kilometer from to the railway stations on the Helsinki-Tampere line. [11]

Get around[edit]

Map of central Tampere, click to zoom in


Central square, Keskustori

Downtown area of Tampere has a couple of prominent features which make it easy to navigate in:

  • The main street of Tampere, Hämeenkatu, effectively divides the city center into north and south side. The one kilometer stretch is limited in the east by the main railway station, where many visitors arrive from Helsinki and elsewhere, and in the west by Hämeenpuisto Park with the City Library and the Church of Alexander. The street continues to the east as Itsenäisyydenkatu and to the west as Pirkankatu.
  • Tammerkoski rapids crossing Hämeenkatu just by the central square, split the centre into east and west side. The rapids run from Lake Näsijärvi north of Tampere to Lake Pyhäjärvi in the south. The height difference between the two lakes is 18 meters, but the formerly thundering heart of Tampere now flows through the city centre rather peacefully, because of the several hydroelectric dams harnessing its power.
  • The central square, Keskustori, is located right next to the bridge where Hämeenkatu crosses Tammerkoski rapids. It is effectively the focal point of the city both geographically and socially.
  • Downtown area is thought to be limited by Lake Näsijärvi in north, Lake Pyhäjärvi in south, main railway station in east, and Hämeenpuisto Park in west.
  • Great majority of the hotels, shops and attractions are located either in downtown or within walking distance from it.

You can get a great overview of the city beforehand from the aerial photos shot in 2011 at Virtual Tampere [12].


There are only few neighborhoods in Tampere which can be considered interesting to most visitors, namely Downtown, Pyynikki, Pispala. While downtown area is certainly where tourists often hang out in Tampere, it’s worth the effort to spend a few hours hiking around the ridge in Pyynikki and Pispala district which lie just 2-3km west of downtown. Hervanta and Nekala districts are more off beaten path.

  • Downtown is the oldest part of Tampere, and where nearly all the sights and shops are located. The busy main street, Hämeenkatu, runs through charming Keskustori main square and is lined with shops, restaurants and bars. Many of these are set in the foundations of beautiful historic buildings dating back to late 19th century. Tammerkoski rapids flowing through downtown and between historic red-brick factory buildings only add to the charm and also give Tampere its distinctive look. The canal walls and surrounding buildings are tastefully lit when it’s dark. Visitors in a hurry will do well even if they do not have time to wander far from downtown area.
  • Pyynikki is both an upscale residential area adjacent to downtown, and one of Tampere’s most remarkable natural areas of beauty. Geographically, it is an 85-meter-high narrow isthmus between the two lakes defining the city, Lake Näsijärvi and Lake Pyhäjärvi. Pyynikki ridge is regarded as the highest gravel ridge in the world. On top of the ridge there is an 1920s observation tower. Pyynikki is the town’s most important recreation area and it is in use throughout the year. Some of the trails are lit and they function as skiing tracks in winter. There are two pedestrian and bicycle paths but cycling is prohibited elsewhere on the ridge. The ridge and its nature trail are also of great educational importance.
  • Pispala lies next to Pyynikki and is built both sides of the ridge between Lake Näsijärvi and Lake Pyhäjärvi. This formerly working-class neighborhood has gentrified radically and is currently one of the most exclusive neighbourhoods in Tampere. Strangely enough, there’s also a vibrant artivist atmosphere and Pispala has much in kin with other bohemian arts areas such as Užupis, Montmartre, Greenwich Village or Freetown Christiania. Together with Pyynikki, Pispala is widely considered the most beautiful district of Tampere and locals often guide tourists here for the view and the unique urban design features of the area. There is a famous landmark in the area called the Shot tower. Pispala houses the oldest still active public sauna in Finland, Rajaportin sauna that began its operation in 1906.
  • Hervanta is one of the biggest and best known suburbs in Tampere is located about 10 km south of the city center. It is home for Tampere University of Technology, Hermia Technology Center, many high tech companies and a large amount of students. Hervanta has a gritty reputation based on the large amount of 1970’s concrete residential tower blocks and the social problems it suffered especially during 1980’s, but nowadays it has been moderately gentrified. Hervanta modern red-brick centre is architecturally interesting work by the architect couple Pietilä. If you find yourself in Hervanta when the University is in session, do check out the campus and you have a good chance of running into something wacky.
  • Nekala area is famous for its old wooden houses, noncomformist cultural landscape and sadly, relatively high rates of violent crime in Finnish standards. Take a peek at the rough but still charming side of the city.

On foot and bike[edit]

Walking is the preferred way to get around downtown Tampere. From the main railway station, the central square is just a couple of hundred meters straight down the main street. Biking is more difficult since there are only few cycling lanes downtown. Unfortunately, also in Pispala and Pyynikki districts neighboring downtown, moving around by bike can be difficult not only due to the lack of bike lanes but also because of the elevation differences and abundant flights of stairs in many alleyways.

  • Tampere City Bike, [13]. rents out bicycles for a 10€ fee and a 40€ deposit. Keys can be acquired from the Tourist office at the railway station.  edit

By car[edit]

Driving in the city and everywhere in the region is safe and straightforward, but one should keep in mind that there are many one-way streets in downtown. Roads are in excellent condition, but they will be icy during winter time, and can be very slippery also on those chilly spring and autumn nights. Always drive extremely carefully if you do not have experience in driving in harsh conditions. If you choose to drive outside Tampere, heed moose warning signs, especially at dawn and dusk. The legal driving age is 18 and the maximum blood alcohol level while driving in Finland is below 0.5 ppm. There are no open bottle laws, but the police are allowed to measure the alcohol level of the driver on spot even if they do not suspect driving under influence.

Many international and local car rental agencies have offices in Tampere:

  • RentCenter, Hatanpään valtatie 40, +358 3 2606 500, [14]. Mon-Fri 8-17. A family-owned rental company with delivery to airport. Usually the most cost-effective choice. 1.9 km from the railway station and 1.2 km from the bus station, so it’s walkable, and taxies are available.  edit
  • Budget airport, +358 20 746 6630. Mon-Fri 8-22.30, Sat 9-21, Sun 13-22.30.  edit
  • Europcar downtown, Rautatienkatu 27 (Next to the main railway station), +358 40 306 2832.  edit
  • Europcar airport, +358 40 306 2832.  edit
  • Hertz downtown, Rautatienkatu 28, +358 20 555 2400. Mon-Fri 9-17, Sat 10-12.  edit
  • Hertz airport, +358 20 555 2400. Mon-Sun 6-23.  edit

While street side parking is limited, there is ample parking in indoor car parks downtown:

  • Anttila, Näsilinnankatu 13. 24h. 575 parking spaces. 1€ per 30 min.  edit
  • Railway station, Rautatienkatu 27. 24h. 461 parking spaces. 1€ per 30 min.  edit
  • Plevna, Polttimokatu 5. 24h. 612 parking spaces. 1€ per 30 min.  edit
  • Koskikeskus, Suvantokatu 3. 24h. 426 parking spaces. 1€ per 30 min.  edit
  • Frenckell, Aleksis Kiven katu 14. 24h. 370 parking spaces. 1€ per 30 min.  edit
  • Hämeenpuisto, Tiiliruukinkatu 3. 24h. 409 parking spaces. 1€ per 30 min.  edit

By bus[edit]

An extensive city bus network connects the suburbs to downtown. Due to the unique geography of Tampere, most of the bus lines run in east-west direction and pass through the main street Hämeenkatu. All buses stop at or near the central square, and the City of Tampere operates a handy trip planner service [15].

When you want to stop a bus, give a clear signal to the driver by holding your hand up: if you are just standing still, the bus will probably just pass the stop. Keep in mind that you can only enter the bus from the front door, unless you are traveling with an infant in a pushcar (and then you must use the middle doors). Single tickets for adults (12 years and above) cost €2.60 and children cost €1, and allowed unlimited transfers within 60 minutes. Every paying adult can be accompanied for free by one child under the age of 7. Adults with a baby in a pushchair can travel for free. Between midnight and 4/5AM, night buses charge €3.40 extra (except if you have a valid Tourist Ticket). Tickets can only be purchased in cash from the driver on board.

You may also choose to purchase a Tampere Tourist Card [16] for unlimited travel by bus within the city limits (€6 for the first day, additional days cost €4 for adults; youth and children are €4/€3 and €3/€2 respectively). Purchase the smartcard at the railway or bus station, central square kiosk or city transportation [17] office at Frenckellinaukio 2 B, on the northeastern side of the central square.

The tickets are also valid on most regional bus lines (lines 45-95 and even on some non-numbered routes; though not on line 54) within city limits. You’ll recognize a city tariff zone bus from the “hailing driver” logo near the right corner of the front of the bus. If you’re traveling outside the city limits, for instance to the town of Kangasala, you have to pay according to the distance of your trip, so just tell the driver where you’re going and how many tickets you want.

By taxi[edit]

As elsewhere in Finland, taxis in Tampere[18] are clean, safe, reliable and expensive. The drivers are extremely competent and will know their way around. If you happen to know the address of your destination, you may consider writing it down and showing it to the driver to avoid misunderstandings. The cost of the trip depends on the number of passengers and time of day (day/night). For example, 1-2 persons traveling in daytime a 5-kilometre trip costs about €10 and a 10 km trip about €16. You can try to hail a passing cab if its roof light is on, but the most common way is to find the nearest taxi stand and get a cab from there. There is a stand in front of the train station and in central square, among other locations. You may also call the taxi station (the number is 10041 from landline, or 01004131 from a mobile phone) and ask for a taxi to your current location. Taxis accept cash and major credit cards. There are no taxi companies, the national taxi service is the only legal service provider.

See[edit][add listing]

Museums and galleries[edit]

Most of Tampere’s museums concentrate on its industrial history. Kids will get a kick out of the Moomin Valley and the Spy Museum.

  • Amuri Museum of Workers’ Housing (Amurin työläismuseokortteli), Satakunnankatu 49, +358 3 5656 6690, [19]. Tu-Su 10-18 (Summer only). Amuri is a block of 19th century wooden houses turned into an open-air museum that vividly displays how the working-class used to live between 1880s and 1970s. The houses form an almost closed inner court, and there is a nice old-fashioned cafe with seatings both indoors and in the courtyard. Highly recommendable for history buffs, but interesting to others as well. Adults €6, children (7-16) €1.  edit
  • Art and Craftcenter Verkaranta (Käsi- ja taideteollisuuskeskus Verkaranta), Verkatehtaankatu 2, +358 3 225 1409, [20]. M-F 10-18, Sa-Su 11-16 (12-17 in summer). Monthly exhibitions on arts and crafts. €3,50.  edit
  • Finnish Labour Museum Werstas (Työväenmuseo Werstas), Väinö Linnan aukio 8, [21]. Tu-Su 11-18. The exhibitions at Werstas offer an overview of the history of the industrial era, worker population and civil society from different perspectives. At Werstas, you can visit the Textile Industry Museum, the Steam Engine Museum as well as the Labour Museum’s changing and permanent exhibitions. The huge steam engine that used to give power to the entire factory complex is the definite high point of Werstas. Free entrance.  edit
  • Hiekka Art Museum (Hiekan taidemuseo), Pirkankatu 6, +358 3 212 3973, [22]. Tue 15-18, Wed 15-19, Thu 15-18, Sun 12-15. Home museum of art collector Kustaa Hiekka. Adults €7, students €4.  edit
  • The Lenin Museum (Lenin-museo), Hämeenpuisto 28, +358 3 276 8100, [23]. Mon-Fri 9-18, Sa-Su 11-16. Small and quirky museum revolving around one of the founding fathers of Soviet communism. Located in a building owned by the Workers Association of Tampere that surprisingly also links to the October Revolution in Russia. Contains a lot of texts, maps and pictures as well as “artifacts” that have something to do with Lenin. The museum shop is also worth visiting. adults €5, children (7-16) 3€.  edit
  • The Moominvalley of the Tampere Art Museum (Muumilaakso), Puutarhakatu 34 (In the same building with Tampere Art Museum), +358 3 5656 6578, [24]. Tu-F 9-17, Sa-Su 10-18. Museum devoted to the Tove Jansson characters, with original sketches and drawings. The permanent exhibition is rather staid, but there are occasional performances aimed children. Adults €6, children (4-16) €2 and students €3.  edit
  • Rupriikki, Väinö Linnan aukio 13 (Finlayson), +358 3 5656 6411, [25]. Tu-Su 10-18. Media museum focusing on the history and development of mass communications. There is also an exhibition on the history of the Internet, and a bunch of cool retro computer and video games in the GameCabinet. Adults €5, children (7-16) and students €1.  edit
  • Sara Hildén Art Museum (Sara Hildénin taidemuseo), Särkänniemi, [26]. Tu-Su 11-18. Modern art, both Finnish and foreign.  edit
  • Spy Museum (Vakoilumuseo), Satakunnankatu 18, [27]. Jun-Aug: M-Sa 10-16, 11-17. Sep-May: M-Sun 11-17. Claims to be the first spy museum in the world, exhibiting everything from world-famous spies to their equipment such as spy cameras and secret weapons – many of which you can try. You can also attempt to fool the classic lie detector. 8€ for adults, 6€ for children and students.  edit
  • Tampere Art Museum (Tampereen taidemuseo), Puutarhakatu 34, [28]. Tu-Su 10-18. Changing exhibitions of Finnish and foreign art. Adults 6, children 2. Price varies with exhibitions.  edit
  • Tampere Mineral Museum (Tampereen kivimuseo), +358 3 5656 6046. Tu-F 09-17, Sa-Su 10-18. Not quite as boring as you’d think, the museum has plenty of gemstones cut and raw including a 600-kg chunk of Brazilian amethyst, meteorites and even a couple of dinosaur eggs. Adults €4, children (7-16) and students €1.  edit
  • Vapriikki, Alaverstaanraitti 5, [29]. Tue-Su 10-18,. Museum centre with ten exhibitions varying from prehistory to technology and art. Exhibitions include the Finnish Hockey Hall of Fame, Doll Museum, Shoe Museum and Tampere Museum of Natural History. Adults €8, children (7-16) and students €2, pensioners and unemployed €6. Some exhibitions may cost extra.  edit


  • Kaleva Church (Kalevan kirkko), Liisanpuisto 1, [30]. Solid concrete modernist church designed by famous architect Reima Pietilä in 1966. It is likely the most important piece of architecture in Tampere. Locals call it “The Silo of Souls” (Sielujen siilo) and from the outside it’s not hard to see why, but the stark interior is quite awe-inspiring: very high and big room without pillars, minimalist interior made of bright wood. Some Sundays, community members guide onto the roof, which offers a good view over Tampere, and let one have a nice view from the top into the church room.  edit
  • Messukylä Old Church (Messukylän vanha kirkko), Kivikirkontie 2, [31]. The oldest building in Tampere, built in medieval times with parts dating back to the 1400s. Unheated and thus open only from May to August.  edit
  • Tampere Cathedral (Tampereen tuomiokirkko), Tuomiokirkonkatu, [32]. Imposing church in the Finnish National Romantic style, designed by architect Lars Sonck and completed in 1907. The interior has a series of famously macabre frescos by Hugo Simberg, including The Wounded Angel (once voted Finland’s “national painting”) and the Garden of Death.  edit
  • Church of Alexander, next to the library. This is a neo-gothic red brick building. Its interior is simple colored wooden carftswork. It is surrounded by a small park containing a few old grave stones.  edit
  • Old Church (Vanha Kirkko), on Keskustori next to theater and city hall. The oldest church in Tampere center is this yellow wooded church build 1824. Four years later, a bell tower designed by Carl Ludwig Engel was added.  edit
  • Tampere Orthodox Church (Tampereen ortodoksikirkko), Suvantokatu 10, [33]. Russian-style onion-domed church dating to 1896, serving Tampere’s tiny Orthodox minority.  edit
  • Finlayson Church (Finlaysonin kirkko), Puuvillatehtaankatu 2, [34]. The church in the Finlayson area was built in 1879 for the factory workers. It is a small church in Gothic revival style with a red brick facade. This is the favourite wedding church in Tampere.  edit

Parks and gardens[edit]

  • Duck Park (Sorsapuisto), Yliopistonkatu, [35]. Large park around a pond by Tampere Hall, near the city centre. Good choice for a summer picnic. In the summer there are also different breeds of chicken, peacocks and other bird in cages by the pond.  edit
  • Hatanpää Arboretum, Hatanpään puistokuja (About 2km south via Hatanpään valtatie from the city centre, turn to right on Hatanpään puistokuja), [36]. A mansion with an arboretum (a collection of trees and plants), a rose garden and a park by Lake Pyhäjärvi.  edit
  • Koskipuisto Park, [37]. Newly renovated green spot by the Tammerkoski rapids in the center of the city. Popular place to have a picnic or a beer on a sunny summer day.  edit
  • Näsi Park (Näsinpuisto), [38]. Nice park by Lake Näsijärvi, created in the early 20th century. Starts from the north end of Hämeenpuisto. On the highest point of the park lies a baroque style mansion and a memorial for the victims of the shipwreck of S/S Kuru, which sunk off Tampere in 1929, killing 138 people. By the memorial you’ll have a great view over the lake Näsijärvi and Särkänniemi Adventure Park.  edit
  • Southern Park (Eteläpuisto), Eteläpuisto (At the southern end of Hämeenpuisto), [39]. A park with a fountain. From the park you can walk through the woods to Pyynikin uimaranta, the most popular beach in Tampere.  edit
  • Viinikka Park (Viinikanpuisto), Viinikanpuisto (Bus 12 from Keskustori, get off at Viinikka Church and walk a hundred meters ahead), [40]. A peaceful park in a picturesque residential area. Lime trees are beautiful in autumn.  edit


Näsinneula observation tower

  • Finlayson historic factory complex, (North side of downtown, west side of Tammerkoski rapids). Collection of historic factory buildings gradually extended from a textile mill founded by a Scotsman named James Finlayson in 1820. The oldest building, six-storey high-rise TR1, dates back to 1837. The complex also includes the factory church, now the most popular wedding church in Tampere, stable yards with arts and crafts shops and pony rides, and the owner’s mansion with park and a restaurant. The factory buildings have been transformed into shops, restaurants, museums, movie theatres, and office spaces. Well worth visiting for anyone.  edit
  • Tampella historic factory complex, (North side of downtown, east side of Tammerkoski rapids). Founded in 1844, Tampella is the other major remaining historic factory complex in Tampere. Tampella factories started as iron works, but later were converted into a cotton mill and a textile factory, and finally into a machine shop and a groundwood plant. Operated until 1991, Tampella factories manufactured, among others, water turbines, ships, paper machines, steam engines, trains, artillery and airplane engines. Many of the beautiful original buildings remain and have been converted into theatres, museums and office spaces.  edit
  • Pyynikki observation tower, Näkötornintie 20, [41]. A short 26-meter round stone tower dating back to 1920’s stands on a natural vantage point of the Pyynikki ridge, the largest esker in the world. Despite its modest size, the tower offers a wonderful view spanning over the two major lakes and the entire city of Tampere. Downstairs there is a cafe that offers probably the best sugar-coated buns in the world. They are always out-of-oven fresh and hand-made on location. Around the tower there is a popular jogging path in a forest with a couple of view points on top of steep cliffs. Even though it is located just outside downtown, it’s well within walking distance. 2€ for adults, 50c for children.  edit
  • Shot tower (Haulitorni), Haulikatu 8 (On Pyhäjärvi side of the ridge), [42]. Old and well-preserved shot tower. Shot towers are nowadays quite rare throughout the world, especially ones that are in good shape. No admittance though.  edit
  • Särkänniemi Adventure Park, [43]. Lakeside adventure park on the edge of downtown. Rides are open between May and September, and other attractions year round. The park includes a modern art museum (“Sara Hildén Art Museum”), a children’s zoo with mainly domestic animals, a planetarium, a dolphinarium, an aquarium and the landmark 168-metre Näsinneula observation tower, topped by a revolving viewing deck and a fine dining restaurant serving high quality Finnish cuisine. It also has the new Angry Birds Land opened in 2012, which is a land in honor of the famous game Angry Birds which is from Finland. On a clear day, the views of the surrounding forests, lakes, ridges and the city are awesome. Entrance €6, single ride ticket €5, day pass €29 (includes entrance).  edit
  • Market hall, Hämeenkatu 19. Mon-Fri 8-18, Sat 8-15. Built in 1901, the historic market hall is still a beautiful social focal point of the city. Lots of fresh goods, cafes, cheap local eateries and infinite people watching opportunities.  edit
  • Tampere City Library (Metso), Pirkankatu 2, [44]. M-F 9:30AM-8 PM, Sat 9:30 AM-3 PM. In 1978 a competition was arranged for the design of a new main library. The jury unanimously chose the design by Raili and Reima Pietilä. The architects said they had been influenced by various elements, such as Celtic ornaments, sheep horns and glacial spin formations. The basic idea was a space coiling spirally like the shell of a snail. The form of a bird appeared in the design process. Increasingly, the building began to resemble a large game bird, the capercaillie, known in Finnish as metso — now the building’s nickname. Seen from above, the building looks like a bird carrying a shield. Houses the Moominvalley exhibition and the Tampere Mineral Museum.  edit
  • Haihara Mansion (Haiharan kartano), [45]. A peaceful place to visit on a warm summer day. There is a cafe, art exhibitions and a garden. The mansion’s history dates back to 16th century. The last stop of bus line 15 is near Haihara.  edit
  • Tampere Hall, Yliopistonkatu 55. Meetings, concerts, functions, exhibitions.  edit

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Arthouse Cinema Niagara, Kehräsaari, [46]. Artsy movies are shown in their original language.  edit
  • Charter cruises, [47]. To Hämeenlinna (a leisurely 8 hours), to Nokia (a neighboring town, not the company) or just on the lake are popular in the summer. There are many regular boat routes on both lakes (Näsijärvi and Pyhäjärvi).  edit
  • Cinema Plevna, Itäinenkatu 4, [48]. 1653 seats divided into ten halls. The largest room has 495 seats a 136 m2 screen. All halls have been made to meet the latest quality standards. Plevna shows mainstream movies in their original language with subtitles.  edit
  • Downhill skiing, (), [49]. There are two small skiing hills in Tampere. One is in Hervanta (buses 13, 23 and 30 eastbound). The longest slope in Hervanta is 350 meters with altitude change of 59 meters. The other hill is in Mustavuori (buses 70 and 71 westbound), near Kalkku. The longest slope in Mustavuori is 350 meters with altitude change of 69 meters. Both hills offer courses and equipment rental.  edit
  • Fishing, [50]. You can fish at the Tammerkoski rapids that run right through the city center. You need to purchase a fishing permit from a nearby R-kioski (Hatanpään valtatie 2), tourist office (Verkatehtaankatu 2) or a vending machine at the wall of restaurant Rosso. You may catch at most three salmonoids a day, whitefish not included. €4 for 4 hours, €4.50 for full day.  edit
  • Guided bus tour. A comfy way to get acquainted with the city’s attractions and neighborhoods in less than two hours. Departs from the railway station at 11 during summer months. Tickets are sold in at the tourist office in the railway station. 17€ adults, 4€ children.  edit
  • Hiking. In Finland, everyone has a right of public access to the wilderness provided that you don’t cause damage. In Tampere, good hiking/jogging/cycling/skiing grounds with marked paths can be found in the Pyynikki and Kauppi forests. In Hervanta, there’s a popular 4km loop trail around lake Suolijärvi (take bus number 30 to get there).  edit
  • Holiday Club Tampere Spa (Tampereen kylpylä), [51]. 7:30-21:00. A spa hotel, about 1 km from the city centre, built into an old cotton mill situated next to a marina. The large spa department offers swimming pools, jacuzzis, a children’s pool, saunas, a steam room, and spa treatments also for day visitors. Spa from €6 to €14, other services available also..  edit
  • Ice hockey, Keltinkatu 2, [52]. Tampere has two ice hockey teams in the Finnish premier league, Tappara [53] and Ilves [54], which are among the most successful in Finland.  edit
  • Ice swimming. During winter, you can combine sauna with ice swimming: drill a hole into the ice cover of a lake and hop in! The water under the ice stays at constant temperature of +4°C, and is very refreshing. You can try ice swimming at Kaupinojan sauna [55] (local bus number 3 followed by one kilometer walk) or Rauhaniemen kansankylpylä [56] (local bus number 2) on Rauhaniementie near hotel Holiday Club Tampere.  edit


  • Ice walking. A popular pastime during sunny midwinter day is to go for an ice walk. In March people walk about a 1km trip to a small reef of Siilinkari on lake Näsijärvi and have a picnic by the small lighthouse. Be aware that it’s only safe to walk on well-frozen lake. Only go if you see other people (and not just ice-fishers) doing so.  edit
  • Literature Center and Bookstore Tulenkantajat, The Flame Bearers, Hämeenpuisto 25, [57]. Lot of poetry readings and book launches, also in English. Finnish novels and poetry translated to English. Finnish comics. Anarchistic atmosphere. Free coffee and young lazy poets hanging around.  edit
  • Rajaportin sauna, Pispalan valtatie 9, 358 45 136 5557, [58]. Mon, Wed 18-22, Fri 15-21, Sat 14-22. The oldest still-functioning public sauna in Finland. Located in historical Pispala, easily reached with buses 1, 13, 18, 19, 25 and 26. In old days, people who didn’t have a sauna of their own went to a public sauna to clean up. In addition to seeing a piece of history, you can experience one of the best quality saunas in the world: the stove is three cubic meters in size and contains over a ton of stones that are heated literally glowing red with burning logs. After simmering for couple of hours, the sauna is ready for the customers, and it doesn’t get any bigger or better than this! Adults €5 (Fridays until 17 and Mondays €3), children (7-16) €1.  edit
  • Ravintolalaiva Tampere, [59]. Restaurant ship Tampere makes lunch and dinner cruises on lake Pyhäjärvi. Departs from Laukontori harbor. Lunch €19, dinner €26 including the cruise, food buffet and entertainment.  edit
  • Spa Hotel Rantasipi Eden, Paratiisikatu 2, Nokia (In the neighboring town of Nokia), +358 3 280 1111, [60]. Tropical pool department 1500 m² in size, Finland’s longest water slide, bubbling hot and ice-cold pools, a flowing river, a games area, a golf simulator, a gym, a bowling alley, different types of sauna and pampering treatments.  edit
  • Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra, [61]. The best of the classics and new works. One of the largest symphonic orchestras in the Nordic countries plays in Tampere Hall.  edit
  • Viikinsaari Island, [62]. On a sunny summer day take a 20-minute boat trip [63] from Laukontori (few blocks south of the central square) to Viikinsaari Island. There are beaches for swimming, playgrounds for kids, places for barbecuing (buy food beforehand, there is no store on the island) and a restaurant with a dance pavilion on the island. However, most of the island is a nature reserve, and there is a short nature trail around the island. Price for the boat: adults 10€, seniors and students 8€, and children (4-17) 5€, family 25€.  edit

Sightseeing on a city bus[edit]

City buses offer a cheap and convenient way to get to know off beaten path locations. All the bus lines depart from the central square. Few interesting lines worth traveling include:

2 Pyynikintori square – Tammela – Rauhaniemi: A midtown line which takes you to Tammelantori market place, Lapinniemi spa (and Naistenlahti marina) as well as to Rauhaniemi beach / public sauna[64]. Departures every 15-20 min.

3 Lahdesjärvi – Central Square: A midtown line which takes you to idyllic Petsamo garden suburb, with deep woods in Kauppi (great for hiking, stargazing and other outdoor activities!) and allotments nearby. Departures every 30 min.

10 Pispalanharju – Järvensivu: A relatively short (ca. 25 min) line from the must-see Pispalanharju ridge and Pispala workers’ district through nearly-untouched Pyynikki ridge with the observation tower. Then it descends through the upper-class Pyynikki with luxurous villas and palaces (and an art museum Villa Mac) and arrives to Laukontori market square / harbour, also a must-see destination. Eastbound from the Central Square, it continues under the railway station and by the university to Järvensivu, a “light edition” of Pispala. Departures every 30 min.

20 Särkänniemi amusement park – Railway stn. – Hermia – Hikivuori: Westbound, takes you from the railway station, drives through the main street, then turns right to the picturesque Hämeenpuisto avenue and finally stops at the gates of Särkänniemi amusement park. Eastbound, it’s a rather boring commuter line to Hermia technopolis (if you really want to see where Nokia used to develop their mobile devices). Also a line for architecture enthusiasts. It goes by every (post)modern buildings of Tampere designed by the famous architect couple Reima and Raili Pietilä. When the bus leaves Pyynikki square, the next stop is at Metso, the city library resembling a capercaillie above[65]. Then at the end of Itsenäisyydenkatu street (which begins from the railway station tunnel) is a very prominent Kaleva church, also known as the “silo of the souls”. From Kaleva the line continues along a boring highway to Hervanta. In Hervanta the whole central axis is planned by Pietiläs, namely from the old part of Duo mall and the public buildings surrounding the “bazar” and “piazza” west from the mall. Departures every 20 min.

21 Tesoma – Lielahti – Hatanpää – Turtola: A devious and long line. Southbound from Central Square: the line continues southbound to Hatanpää Arboretum (must-see during the mid/late summer), and then all the way through some boring suburbs to Turtola hypermarket area. There’s however a nice pasture with cows, owned by Ahlman farming school along Veisunkatu road, just between the apartment blocks. You can buy raw milk (bring your own can!) and other locally produced foods from Ahlman. Westbound from Central Square: see the ugliness of suburban Finland. Line goes through Paasikiventie strandway, Lielahti shopping district (big-box stores, a few bigger malls etc.) and dormitory Ikuri suburb before arriving to another mediocre shopping hell of Tesoma, where the line terminates. Departures every 30 min.

25 Tahmela – Central Square – Sammonkatu – Janka Western terminus near to line 10 Pispalanharju terminus, but dozens of meters below. It curves through picturesque lower Pispala, or more specifically Tahmela and continues along a narrow road made in the ridge wall, just like in Monaco. The line goes by Rosendahl hotel and the Pyynikki summer theatre and passes some nice villas and palaces like the line 10. You may use also this line to the Pyynikki Tower, but the walking distance is somewhat longer. Eastern terminus is in Janka suburb, the route there goes through a rather nice and livable Sammonkatu high street. At the end of that street is Prisma-Centre (Sarvijaakonkatu bus stop), which is a megalomaniac mall together with some big-box stores. Departures every 20/30 min.

61 Pyynikintori square – Airport (travelling to airport crosses the city border, so you need to buy a specific ticket onboard (4.60 €). Traveling within the city limits is possible with the Tourist Card). The line to use to and from the airport. Departures every “now and then”, about once an hour[66]. Much cheaper than taking a cab (which can easily exceed 30€ to city center).

70 Nokia – Central Square – Kangasala (travelling to Nokia or Kangasala crosses the city border, so you need to buy a specific ticket onboard. Traveling within the city limits is possible with the Tourist Card). If you are eager to see a town called Nokia, use this line (or lines 71 and 79) westbound. There’s nothing special or worth to see. The paper mills along Nokia river are the origin of the contemporary Nokia corporation, but the mobile phone firm has no longer any activities in Nokia town. Nokia manor is however still owned by the corporation. Eastbound to Kangasala, there’s much more to see. The line passes the long Kaukajärvi lake, which has served as a world-championship paddling stadium. There’s two well-equipped and popular swimming beaches along the line, particularly in the west end of the lake (Kaukajärvi swimming stadium) and in the east end (Liuttu beach a half kilometre from the bus stop). The lake offers also some great views to Kaukajärvi suburb, with “recumbent skyscraper” apartments on the opposite shore. They are of wow especially at night, when the windows are lit. The line then proceeds to Kangasala with some ordinary industrial and residential areas and then the bus arrives to Kangasala bus station. There’s a small market place at the bus station, some local cafés and very nice hiking routes along the roads or the ridge. Further away there’s some observation towers which offer great views. One of them has inspired the 19th century poet Z. Topelius, who wrote the poem A Summer’s Day in Kangasala. Departures every 20-60 minutes.

90 Pyynikintori square – various termini in Teisko area. The bus routes to various parts of the vast rural areas incorporated in the city of Tampere, with city fares. The ultimate experience available with your Tourist Card. The common route for all the variations is the same as for the city line 28, from Pyynikintori square to Sorila. Recommended for adventurous backpackers or bored exchange students. If you want to see some oldest fossiles on Earth, the 2 billion years old “carbon bags” (hiilipussit), take the Aitoniemi-bound feeder bus 91 in Sorila. If you want to experience the hillbilly scene of Tampere, take the Kämmenniemi/Terälahti/Kaanaa-bound bus and leave at Kämmenniemi (the first proper village after Sorila). There’s somewhat legendary Kessan baari, the local pub in a former gas station. Near Kämmenniemi there’s also a winery called Teiskon Viini[67] with a wine kiosk (bus stop “Värmälä”, road address Sääksniementie 76) Even further north is Terälahti, the northernmost village in Teisko area with any services. There’s though only a small grocery store and a library with irregular opening times, so it’s more for hikers than shoppers. The final terminus within city limits is in Kaanaa, and there’s practically nothing there. Feeder line 92 in Sorila takes you to deep woods of Viitapohja and some nice rural views by the longest known inland fjord Paarlahti.

  • Megazone Tampere, Itäinenkatu 9 (Inside commercial center Siperia), +35850 595 4095, [68]. Players wear high-tech vests and are armed with amazing, but harmless, sci-fi laser weapons. The game is a no-contact sport and as such suitable for players of almost all ages.  edit
  • Hohtopaintball Tampere, Jäähallinraitti 3 (Inside Tampere Areena), +35844 9066 906, [69]. In Hohtopaintball, or Glow Paintball, no players are eliminated in mid-round because the game is resolved through scoring points. Players wear score-counting protective vests, which count the hits with impact sensitive sensors. All games should be booked beforehand.  edit


Most festivals are held during summer, but events are always organized somewhere throughout the year [70]. Some national holidays, such as May Day, are also celebrated like festivals, and others, such as Midsummer, may offer other special events.


  • Tampere Film Festival, [71]. 6. – 10.3.2013. Five days and nights of celebrating filmic art in Tampere! The thematic special programmes include interesting documentaries, animations, experimental films and short fictions alike.  edit
  • Tampere Biennale, [72]. 9.–13.4.2014. Tampere Biennale introduces the most important phenomena in Finnish contemporary music – today’s leading composers and the latest compositions.  edit
  • Tampere Kuplii Comics Festival, [73]. 20.- 24.3.2013.. Tampere Kuplii Comics Festival is a five-day comics festival merryment in Tampere – bringing together comics makers and entuisiasts from around Finland. The festival hosts exhibitions, sales tables, talk shows, Cosplay-competition and comics signings.  edit
  • Mukamas – International Puppet Theatre Festival, Pispalan valtatie 30, Tampere, [74]. May 2014. Mukamas Theatre has organised the international puppet theatre festival in 1999, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2012 in Tampere. It is the biggest international puppetry festival in Finland and it has established its position as an important developer of Finnish puppet theatre.  edit
  • May Day’s Eve fills the streets with party people and sparkling wine. A large market is held in Keskustori with vendors selling cheap carnival paraphernalia.
  • On May Day hungover picnicers flock to the green areas all over downtown to recover with baskets full of snacks and drinks. There are also parades in Hämeenkatu (communists, christians, tech students carrying crazy large and completely useless thingemabobs). A fun Tampere tradition is that on May Day the freshmen of Tampere University of Technology are dipped in Tammerkoski rapids with large baskets and cranes.


  • Tampere Guitar Festival, [75]. 2.- 9.6.2013. Enjoy spectacular concerts by the world’s greatest guitarists at Tampere Guitar Festival! During the annual festival week there are various concerts, international master classes, a guitar camp…  edit
  • Pispala Schottische – International Folklore Festival, [76]. 11.- International folk dancing festival Pispala Schottische gathers together folk dancers and players from all over the world to Tampere. International and domestic folklore-groups perform in various parts of the city.  edit
  • Pispala Schottische Dance Mania, [77]. 26.–29.9.2013. Pispala Shcottishce Dance Mania is an event of contemporary folk dancing as well as musical training and concerts, where the past and the present come together  edit
  • Triennial of Pirkanmaa, [78]. summer 2015. The Triennal offers a view to contemporary arts in the Tampere region every three years.The cardinal exhibition venues are TR1, Mältinranta Art Center, the Finnish Labour Museum Werstas and Gallery Saskia but the exhibition also stretches to the Lenin museum, Hiekka Art Museum, Housing Fair of Vuores, Mediatunnel and various city landscape.  edit
  • Midsummer is traditionally celebrated by fleeing the city to countryside or summer cottage where thousands of bonfires are lit on dusk. If you come during Midsummer, you may mistake Tampere for a ghost town!
  • Tammerkosken Sillalla, [79]. 28.6.-6.7.2013. A Tampere city festival for everyone. The Festival tent of Central Square and clubs all over the city central of present more then 30 events, half of which are free if charge!  edit
  • TammerFest, [80]. 17. – 20.7.2013. The biggest city festival in Finland. 80 000 people gather annually to see bands and musical shows in more than 20 different stages in downtown area.  edit
  • Tampere Flamenco Festival, [81]. summer 2013. Tampere Flamenco festival is the largest and oldest flamenco festival of the Nordic countries.  edit
  • Tampere Floral Festival, [82]. 26.7. – 3.8.2013. The Floral Festival decorates the downtown with a huge amount of flowers. There are also a lot of free events and performances.  edit
  • Tampere Theatre Festival, [83]. 5. – 11.8.2013. Tampere Theatre Festival is one of the top festivals in Europe, thanks to the fresh and influential programme it offers.Tampere Theatre Festival is also the absolute forum for professional meetings and discussions. The repertoire consists of the Main Programme, Programme Tent, Club Festival Encorebaana, OFF Tampere, The Great Nocturnal Happening and numerous seminars and workshops.  edit
  • The Great Nocturnal Happening (“Tapahtumien yö”) 8.8.2013 is a night filled with arts and culture. Museum stay open until late.
  • Blockfest, [84]. August 2013. Big urban music festival that brings a wide variety of rappers and hiphop artists to Tampere.  edit


  • World of Tango, [85]. 13. – 15.9.2013. International cross-cultural tango festival World of Tango is designed to recall the roots and starting points of tango art, as well as to create space for the new expressions of other types of urban folk music.  edit
  • Monsters of Pop, [86]. 19.-22.9.2013. Monsters of Pop is a three-day festival concentrating in indie-music  edit
  • Lost In Music, [87]. 17. – 20.10.2012. The aim of Lost In Music is to showcase a cornucopia of new and rising pop-, rock-, indie and metal bands, hiphop and world music – not forgeting the more experimental side.  edit
  • Tampere Jazz Happening, [88]. 1. – 4.11.2012. Every year the international programme of Tampere Jazz Happening gathers together top names of international jazz and pioneers of the future.  edit
  • Youth Theatre Festival MURROS, [89]. 23. – 25.11.2012. The goal of the festival is to offer a high-quality international theatre festival open to all. The performances at the event are mainly by young people aged 13–20.  edit


  • Tampere Christmas Market open up in Keskustori in mid-December. It doesn’t really live up to its central European counterparts, but is worth visiting nevertheless.
  • New Year’s eve fills the air with fire crackers, rockets and the smell of gunpowder. There’s a large fireworks show in Ratina stadium downtown.
  • Circus Ruska Festival, [90]. 25. – 26.1.2013. Circus Ruska Festival is the oldest contemporary circus festival in Finland. In January 2012 the festival will have its 8th anniversary in Tampere. The festival brings together new contemporary circus acts, where the circus techniques go hand in hand with new expression methods.  edit

Festivals in Tampere Region[edit]

  • Exploring Art, [91]. 20. – 21.4.2013. How are artworks made and what kind of people artists actually are? Exploring Art is an annual happening, which presents the whole range of artists working in the Tampere Region.  edit
  • Orivesi Summer Festivals, Tampere Region, Orivesi, [92]. 06.-09.2013. This annual celebration encompasses several events, with concerts and literary events at Orivesi College of Arts, an exhibition at Purnu Art Centre, the Rönni Open Air Theatre programme, regular dance evenings from May to September at Rönni Entertainment Centre and Reikäreuna Film Festival.  edit
  • The Mänttä Music Festival, [93]. 25.6.–2.7.2013. Mänttä Music Festival seeks to promote especially young pianist generation in addition to bringing international top musicians to the stage at Mäntän Klubi and in the nearby churches.  edit
  • Mänttä Art Festival, [94]. summer of 2013. Summer of 2013 will show what the curator Jyrki Siukonen will bring to Pekilo  edit
  • Musiikkia! Ruovesi Chamber Music Festival, [95]. 26.6. – 30.6.2013. The chamber music conserts take place in the small and picturesque Murole church, Pekkala Manor former stables and Sofia Magdalena Church, famous for its’ acoustics.  edit
  • The Days of Old Literature, [96]. 29. – 30.6.2012. The Days of Old Literature is a nationally significant literature event that annually gathers nearly 20 000 visitors to Sastamala. The festival if free of charge with programme including seminars, book auctions, exhibitions, poetry and an atmospheric tent restaurant. Theme of 2013 is “Morale”.  edit
  • Sata-Häme Soi Accordion Festival, [97]. 2. – 7.7.2013. Ikaalinen transforms from an idyllic small town into a metropolis of music, as thousands of festival visitors and countless musicians meet each other at the Sata-Häme Soi Accordion Festival.  edit
  • Sastamala Gregoriana – XVIII Early Music Festival, [98]. 20.-27.7.2013. One of the most delightful festivals in Tampere Region summer – Sastamala Gregoriana – brings out the voice of the Middle Ages, renessaince and baroque. Sastamala medival stone churces of St. Mary’s and St. Olaf’s, both of which have special acoustics, milieu and atmosphere, act as unique venues for showcasing old music.  edit
  • Workers’ Music Festival, [99]. 25. – 28.7.2013. The Workers’ Music Festiva is held at Valkeakoski in a factory and museum milieu, offering a great setting for the annual four-day festival at the end of July. The festival features top musicians as well as up-and-coming artists, exhibitions, activities for children and teenagers, nocturnal sing-alongs clubs, open-air dances, open debates and classic tunes of from the world of workers’ music.  edit
  • Pentinkulma Literature Festival, [100]. summer of 2013. Pentinkulma Festival, in Urjala, offers everything a devoted culture consumer may wish for: seminars, courses, discussions, poetry readings, children’s events and interesting guests. This versatile literary programme will undoubtedly satisfy even the most demanding of cultural tastes!  edit

Buy[edit][add listing]

Although Tampere is lacking some of the international high end boutiques and brand stores, there are still lots of shopping opportunities from small specialized shops to malls. As Finland is generally quite an expensive country, one would do best to concentrate on finding high quality Finnish products, such as textiles, clothes, glassware, design and home decor. Notably, practically all stores are closed on Sundays.

Grocery stores in Tampere (and in Finland) are usually quite easy to find. There are grocery departments in the bottom floors of all three department stores downtown (see below). In addition, look for e.g. K-market, S-market, Sale, Siwa, and Lidl for small to mid-size grocery stores. Supermarkets (Prisma, Citymarket) are large stores located outside the city centre, and you can buy a range of different products (e.g. food, clothes, electronics) there. For emergencies, small Siwa grocery store at Puutarhakatu 14 in downtown has the best hours: 06-24 every day. Alcohol, however, can only be sold from 09-21. Wine or strong liquor are only sold at Alko stores that are closed on Sundays and open (depending on a store) Mon-Thu 09-20 or 09-18, Fri 09-20, Sat 09-16 or 09-18. They are usually located next to larger grocery stores and the three department stores. There is one Alko store however, in Tammela Kullervonkatu 11, that is the only one in Tampere that is separate from a bigger grocery store.

Department stores[edit]

  • Stockmann, Hämeenkatu 4, [101]. Upscale department store right next to the railway station. The top floor sells high quality Finnish glassware and home furbishments.  edit
  • Sokos, Hämeenkatu 21, [102]. Large department store in the middle of the main street.  edit
  • Anttila, Puutarhakatu 10, [103]. Large lower-end department store near Finlayson.  edit


  • Koskikeskus, Hatanpään valtatie 1, [104]. Midsize, 2012 renewed, mall at the riverbank, at the foot of Hotel Ilves.  edit
  • Tullintori, Tullikatu 10, [105]. Smallish mall behind railway station, next to Hotel Villa. More interesting architecturally than shopping-wise: the mall and surrounding buildings are built in modernist style.  edit
  • Ideapark, Ideaparkinkatu 4, Lempäälä, [106]. Mon-Fri 10-20, Sat 10-18, Sun 12-18. The largest mall in the Pirkanmaa region with a special focus on furniture, interior decoration and clothing. Has a few cheap dining options. Located along the Tampere-Helsinki motorway in Lempäälä south of Tampere, frequent bus/coach connections exist.  edit


Market hall

  • Market Hall (Kauppahalli), Hämeenkatu 19, [107]. Fresh food and other shopping in a historical market hall built in 1901. It is said to be the second biggest market hall of its kind in the world.  edit
  • Laukontori, South end of Aleksis Kiven katu, [108]. Marketplace at the shore of Lake Pyhäjärvi. In addition to few booths, many cruises depart from the tiny harbour right next to the market. Here you can get a taste of the Tampere specialty, mustamakkara black sausage, look for “Tapola” sign. From Laukontori you have also a good view of one of the last remnants of the city’s heavy industrial past: a fully-functioning cardboard factory at the middle of the city [109].  edit
  • Tammelantori, Tammelan puistokatu. Busier marketplace surrounded by rather dull-looking 60’s and 70’s apartment flats. There’s also a booth that sells proper mustamakkara sausage. The market closes already at 2:30PM.  edit


  • Tallipiha Stable Yard, Kuninkaankatu 4, [110]. Unique arts and crafts products in quaint atmosphere next to Finlayson. Find traditional Finnish handicrafts, design, decorations and handmade chocolate to take home. There’s also a cafe, and frequent events and exhibitions. Kids can take a pony ride around the stables, workshops and boutiques.  edit
  • Kehräsaari, Kehräsaari. Small and genuine art and crafts shops, restaurants, an arthouse cinema, and a souvenir store in historic factory buildings right next to the rapids.  edit
  • Keittiöelämää, Aleksis Kiven katu 13, [111]. Small shop filled with culinary delights, both edible and inedible.  edit
  • Marimekko, Hämeenkatu 19, [112]. Probably the best known Finnish fashion company. By September 2011 there were 84 stores across the world. They are particularly noted for brightly-colored printed fabrics and simple styles, used both in women’s garments and in home furnishings.  edit
  • Finlayson factory store, Kuninkaankatu 3, [113]. Mon-Fri 10-17.30, Sat 10-15. While the historic Tampere factory is no more operational, you can still feel their rich heritage of manufacturing quality textiles since 1820 in a factory store located in the premises. The place to buy textiles, towels, bed concepts, duvets, pillows and mattresses.  edit
  • Aarikka, Aleksis Kiven katu 11, [114]. Mon-Fri 10-18, Sat 10-16. Finnish design, jewelry and home decorations.  edit
  • Supermukava, Otavalankatu 3A, [115]. Mon-Fri 11-18, Sat 11-16. Finnish contemporary design by young designers, jewelry, shoes and other fun stuff.  edit
  • Vintage Garden, Otavalankatu 3A, [116]. Mon-Fri 11-18, Sat 11-16. Vintage fun stuff, clothing, shoes and jewelry. In same interior as Supermukava.  edit
  • Design Boulevard, hatanpään Valtatie 6, [117]. Mon-Fri 10-18, Sat 10-16, December Sun 12-16. Stylish things for your home. Textiles, lamps, watches, furniture etc  edit


  • Akateeminen kirjakauppa, Hämeenkatu 6, [118]. Tampere’s best selection of both Finnish and English language books, especially well stocked with international newspapers, magazines, non-fiction and university course books. Located temporarily in Stockmann department store.  edit
  •, Saapastie 2, Pirkkala, [119]. Very large home-electronics located 8 km from Tampere center. The best spot for electronics, computers, digital cameras, mobile phones, etc. in Tampere.  edit
  • Nitrobabe, Otavalankatu 9.> Rock´n Roll themed clothing shop for rock, punk and goth typed ladies and gentlemen. Clothes, shoes, bags, accesories, hair dyes, jewelry, dog clothing. They import stuff and have their own clothing line too. A pet friendly store, cooperating with local Animal Care Association.  edit

Eat[edit][add listing]

Culinary nirvana Tampere style: blood sausage, lingonberry jam, milk and a donut

Tampere is (in)famous for its black sausage (mustamakkara), a sausage made of blood and barley. The most authentic way to sample it is from one of the stalls at the Tammelantori or Laukontori markets which will serve it with a dab of lingonberry jam and a carton of milk on the side. Order by price, not weight: “two euros” will get you a nice hefty chunk. Both markets close by 2PM and are closed Sundays too. If you can’t make it to the stalls, go to the Market Hall, or as a last resort, to the food sections of any of the three department stores.


For inexpensive fast food, local fast food chains Hesburger (McDonald’s with added mayo) and Kotipizza pizzeria (which are actually rather good – they win international pizza contests on regular basis) have restaurants everywhere. Ethnic pizza and kebab restaurants can be found throughout the city, and they are usually even cheaper than the fast food restaurants. Some restaurants stay open as late as 5am in weekends.

Many of the more pricey restaurants also have lunch specials under €10 during weekdays, most notably the lunch at Ravintola C is a steal at 10-12€. Lunch can also be bought in several places inside Kauppahalli market hall in Keskustori central square, and in University restaurants located on downtown campus.

This guide uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:
Budget Under €10
Mid-range €10-30
Splurge Over €30

  • Gopal, Ilmarinkatu 16, Rongankatu 6 and Kuninkaankatu 15, +358 3 253 1002, [120]. M-F 11-16, Sat 12-16. Excellent vegetarian food in three different locations. While not an actual Indian restaurant, the food is seasoned in Indian style. For the best burgers in town head down to Rongankatu branch at dinner time. €2/100g.  edit
  • H&H Deli, Rautatienkatu 27 (inside train station), +358 3 225 5223. Mon-Fri 6.30-20.00, Sat 10.00-18.00. Fine dining restaurant “Hella ja Huone” hosts a tiny fast food place that serves coffee, salads and tasty subway sandwiches. Early hours and the location in the train station make it a great place to grab a breakfast sub to a train when heading out of town.  edit
  • Pizzeria La Gare ( at the railway station tunnel, surprise as it is French for the railway station )
6€ pizza + saladbar. Pizzas are excellent and tasty with great fundamentals ( tomato sauce and cheese )
Plentyfull salad bar ( the plastic salad box for included take-out salad is plentyful. Never yearn for more green chili peppers in this place, take as many as you need. ) and water outmatch the numerous other pizza-kebabs throughout the city.
  • Kauppahallin kotilounas, Hämeenkatu 19 (Inside Kauppahalli market hall). Mon-Fri 10-16, Sat 10-14.30. Simple home cooking for lunch only.  edit
  • Pyörykkäbaari, Hämeenkatu 19 (Inside Kauppahalli market hall). Mon-Fri 8 – 18 Sat 8 – 16. A local favorite serving meatballs (hence the name “Meatball bar”) and sausages by the pound! Be sure to have their famous creamy pepper sauce on the side. It’s a treat.  edit
  • Tampereen Rokanystävät, Hämeenkatu 19 (Inside Kauppahalli market hall). Mon-Fri 10-16, Sat 10-14.30. Gritty soup bar with a daily soup on tap. Interestingly, they also feature a soup co-developed by the Finnish Nobel Peace Prize winner, former president Martti Ahtisaari.  edit
  • Tapolan mustamakkarabaari, Harjuntausta 8 (7km west of downtown), +358 3 1517223, [121]. M-F 7-18, Sa 9-17. Get the freshest possible black sausage straight from the Tapola factory’s oven at their “black sausage bar”. Take bus 27 from Keskustori and tell the driver you’re going to the Tapola factory.  edit
  • Pancho Villa, Hämeenkatu 7 and (Immediate vicinity of Omenahotelli Tampere II), +358 3 213 1233, [122]. Mon-Thu 11-22, Fri 11-24, Sat 12-24, Sun 12-20. Mexican food. Affordable hamburger meals in calm atmosphere. Other locations of the same restaurant are at Hämeenkatu 23, Tammelan Puistokatu 34 and Satakunnankatu 22  edit


  • 4 vuodenaikaa (Les 4 Saisons), Hämeenkatu 19, +358 3 212 4712, [123]. Weekdays 11-16, Saturdays 11-15. Authentic french food in Kauppahalli market hall. This delightful lunch bar/restaurant is one of the best kept culinary secrets in Tampere. Affordable and delicious, topped with a unique market hall atmosphere. Easily one of the best lunch offers in town. Lunch only from €8 to €18.  edit
  • Antika, Väinölänkatu 1, +358 3 2141 282, [124]. Tu-F 11-14 and 16-23, Sat 12-23, Sun 13-20. Greek neighborhood restaurant located in Tammela district close to main railway station. Very cosy atmosphere and friendly staff. Main courses from €11 to €22.  edit
  • Bodega Salud, Tuomiokirkonkatu 19, +358 3 2334 400 (), [125]. M-F 11-, Sat 12-, Sun 13-. Spanish restaurant catering to carnivores and vegetarians. Serves also more exotic courses such as Rocky Mountain oysters, horse, gnu, and kangaroo. Main courses from €16 to €30.  edit
  • Classic American Diner, Itäinen katu 9-13 (Siperia), +358 3 2604 500 (), [126]. M-W 11-21, Th-F 11-23, Sat 12-24, Sun 12-22. American-themed burger joint. Serving sizes range from mid-size meals to towering behemoth burgers. Burgers from €10 to €35.  edit
  • Coussicca, Nyyrikintie 2, +358 3 2552 100 (), [127]. M-F 11-22, Sa-Su 12-21. The oldest neighborhood restaurant in Tampere located in Tammela district. Known for its large breaded pork escalope, or Coussican vinkkari. Main courses from €13 to €25.  edit
  • Finlaysonin Palatsi, Kuninkaankatu 1, +358 400 219 530 (), [128]. Tu-F 11-24, Sat 12-24. Beautifully located restaurant at the mansion of Finlayson factory complex. Main courses from €15 to €26.  edit
  • Pizzeria Napoli, Aleksanterinkatu 31, +358 3 223 8887, [129]. M-Th 11-23, Fri 11-24, Sat 12-24, Sun 13-23. The oldest and most loved pizzeria in Tampere. Pizzas vary from ordinary to exotic (for example, ostrich meat, or Finlandia vodka with fried game). Also pizza and pasta options for vegetarians. Pizzas from €10 to €13.  edit
  • Gastropub Tuulensuu, Hämeenpuisto 23, +358 3 2141 553, [130]. Su-F 17-24, Sat 12-24. Moody gastropub serving super tasty Belgian food. Astounding selection of mostly Belgian beers, French ciders, wines and cigars. Friendly and competent staff. Food from €5 to €17.  edit
  • Hook, Kehräsaari 101, +358 3 2233 284, [131]. M-Th 16-24, Fri 16-01, Sat 14-01, Sun 14-22. Hot chicken wings and other deep-fried dishes. Local favourite, prepare for a queue. 12 chicken wings €6.70.  edit
  • Maruseki, Hämeenkatu 31, +358 3 2120 728 (), [132]. Tu-Th 11-21, Fri 11-22, Sat 11-21. Japanese restaurant and tea house founded and owned by Marjo Seki, who lived 20 years in Japan as a teacher and interpreter. Maruseki had the first tea house in Finland, and you can experience real Japanese dinner kneeling in front of a kotatsu-table wearing a kimono. Sushi and warm dishes from €6 to €20.  edit
  • Nanda Devi, Näsilinnankatu 17, +358 3 2130 935, [133]. M-Th 11-22, F-Sa 11-23, Sun 12-22. An excellent Indian curry restaurant. A popular buffet lunch on weekdays. From €12 to €19.  edit
  • Natalie, Hallituskatu 19, +358 3 223 2040 (), [134]. Tu-Sa 17-24. Slavic restaurant. The only place in Tampere that still serves Russian style dishes. Main courses from €14 to €20.  edit
  • Plevna, Itäinenkatu 8, (), [135]. Mon 11-23, Tu-Th 11-01, F-Sa 11-02, Sun 12-23. Brewery restaurant with more sausages and sauerkraut than you can shake a mug at. Not only do they brew their own beer, but they distill their own spirits as well. Located in an old factory building.  edit
  • Viking Restaurant Harald, Hämeenkatu 23 (, +358 447668203 (), [136]. M-Th 11-24, Fri 11-01, Sat 12-01, Sun 13-21. Viking-themed restaurant completed with a dragon-ship salad bar, stuffed animals, costumed waiters and long wooden tables. This Viking-theme restaurant is not subtle but plenty of fun. Dishes all bear norse-sounding names and feature big steaks and game choices. Signature dishes are shared platters served on a shield, or enormous vegetable or meat kebabs in a sword. Mains €15-27, menus €27-40.  edit
  • Wistub Alsace, Laukontori 6B, +358 3 2120 260 (), [137]. Tu-F 16-22, Sat 15-22. Hearty Alsatian restaurant in the heart of Tampere. All the traditional Alsatian meals are represented on the menu. Tarte flambée from €12 to €14, other main courses from €18 to €20.  edit
  • Kulttuuritalo Telakka, Tullikamarin aukio 3, +358 3 2250 700 (), [138]. A wonderful cosy 3 store building decorated with all recycled materials, rustic feeling. Restaurant, pub and cafe downstairs, art gallery on the second floor and a contemporary theater on third. Very popular, propably the most popular in the city, outdoor veranda during the summer months. Band gigs weekdays and weekends. Really nice personnel and friendly service. Popular inexpensive lunch 6-10€ main courses from €13,50 to €25.  edit
  • Heinätori, Pyynikintori 5, +3583-2121205 (), [139]. Tue-Fri 12-22, Sat 13-22, Sun 13-17. Seasonally changing menus from 37€.This stylish restaurant was formerly a weighting station of hay stacks the locals were buying for feeding the horses. Now the restaurant serves Finnish dishes with an European twist, local ingredients. main courses from €15 to €26.  edit


  • Bertha, Rautatienkatu 14 (Near the central railway station), [140]. Tu-F 16.30-, Sa 13-. Started in fall 2010 but became very popular almost right away. Received the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs badge after only six months. Fixed-price menu updated frequently – during the first seven months of operation, the menu was updated a hundred times. Reservation is usually needed on Friday and Saturday. Excellent price/quality ratio.  edit
  • Henriks, Satamakatu 7, 0207669062 (), [141]. Tue-Fri 17-23, Sat 13-23. A modern Finnish restaurant in a beautiful historic building. They also serve a vegetarian menu and a small supper at 18€.  edit
  • Hella ja Huone, Salhojankatu 48, +358 3 253 2440 (), [142]. Tu-Sa 18-. Fancy, experimenting and surprising French-Scandinavian fusion cuisine next to Duck Park. Menus (from one to eight courses) €26-€82.  edit
  • Masuuni, Hatanpään valtatie 1 (Hotel Ilves), +358 3 5698 6121 (), [143]. M-Th 18-23, Fri 18-24, Sat 17-24. Local ingredients turn into fancy but still comfortably laid-back dishes at the bottom level of Hotel Ilves. Main courses from €22 to €28, menus from €44 to €50.  edit
  • Näsinneula, Särkänniemi, +358 20 7130 234, [144]. 11-23.30. Revolving restaurant atop the sightseeing tower. Needless to say, it’s expensive, but they specialize in Finnish ingredients and the results are above average. Main courses from €20 to €30.  edit
  • Ravintola C (Restaurant C), Rautatienkatu 20 (Near the central railway station), [145]. Tu-F 11.30-14 (lunch), Tu-Sa 17-24. An excellent restaurant that values great ingredients, uses a lot of local, seasonal ingredients, and is well known for it’s wine list. Awarded with the Finnish Restaurant of the Year award in 2011.  edit
  • Ristorante La Perla, Aleksanterinkatu 29B, +358 3 2255 151, [146]. A Naples native owned superb Italian restaurant. Main courses from €20 to €30.  edit
  • Stefan’s Steakhouse, Kehräsaari, [147]. M-Th 16-23, F 16-24, Sa 13-24, Su 14-22. A steak restaurant opened up by American-Finnish Stefan Richter, an American Top Chef finalist who owns a couple of restaurants in Santa Monica. Serves also Wagyu beef steaks.  edit
  • Tiiliholvi, Kauppakatu 10, +358 3 2720 231 (), [148]. M-F 11-15 and 17-24, Sat 13-24. Located in the basement of a beautiful 19th century building is this very attractive red-brick restaurant. Menu consists of classic french with a scandinavian twist. Main courses from €20 to €26.  edit
  • Ravintola C, Rautatienkatu 20, +358 10 6179 760 (), [149]. Tue-Fri 17-24, Sat with reservation only 16-24. Ecological, ethical, biodynamic. Seasonal incredients are the core of this restaurant. Menus 55-90€, special wine packages 33-79€ per menu. Main courses from €25 to €28.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]


  • Amurin helmi, Satakunnankatu 49, +358 3 5656 6634, [150]. Every day from 10 to 17 (during summer from 10 to 18). Cosy atmosphere in a historic wooden building which is part of Amuri museum of workers’ housing. They serve Tampere specialities and homemade bread to go with the brew.  edit
  • Arnolds, Tullikatu 6 (Tullintori), +358 3 2234 850, [151]. M-F 09-20, Sat 10-17. Tasty doughnuts baked on location. Arnolds is a chain restaurant with locations in all Finnish cities, so it might not be an unforgettable experience, but the donuts are good… Regular coffee from €1.60 to €2.20, doughnuts from €1.70 to €2.30.  edit
  • Brander, Hallituskatu 13, +358 3 2125 357, [152]. Mon-Fri 9-18, Sat 9-16. Family-owned Tampere institution has 90 years of experience in the fine art of confectionery. The view to a parking lot is not something to remember, but instead you can rest your eyes on the decor from the good old times. Try some of the traditional Finnish sweet pastries or cakes.  edit
  • Cafe Europa, Aleksanterinkatu 29, [153]. Quirky cafe bar with interesting decor including antique sofas and weird paintings all over the walls. Europa is hugely popular hangout among artsy students and foreigners both early and later in the evening.  edit
  • Kahvila Runo, Ojakatu 3, +358 3 2133 931, [154]. M-Sa 09-20, Sun 10-20. A cute, medium sized cafe with a good selection of tea. The name translates into “Cafe Poem” and probably has something to do with the heaps of (mostly) poetry books laying around which form an essential part of the decoration. The cafe also features a small, changing art exhibition.  edit
  • Kahvila Valo, Puutarhakatu 11, +358 44 596 7567, [155]. M 11-21, Tu-Thu 11-22, Fri 11-24, Sat 11-01, Sun 11-15. An artsy, but comfortable cafe bar with home-made pastries and student discounts. Their tranquil patio, almost hidden away in a closed courtyard between historic buildings, is the perfect afternoon getaway on hot summer days.  edit
  • Kauppahallin kahvila, Hämeenkatu 19. Mon-Fri 8-18, Sat 8-16. A central location within Kauppahalli market hall provides ample opportunities for people watching in moody surroundings.  edit
  • La Famille, Aleksis Kiven Katu 10. Mon-Fri 10-19, Sat 11-18. A little bit of French small town charm in Tampere! In addition to coffee, they have salads, pasta, filled focaccia bread, ice cream and cakes to go with the softly playing nostalgic old-world tunes. Very attentive service and an authentic indie feeling. Large windows open up to a busy street and the historic red-brick Frenckell factory building on the opposite side of the square.  edit
  • Pyynikki Observation Tower Cafe, Näkötornintie, +358 3 212 3247, [156]. Every day from 09 to 20 (21h in the summer, 01.06. to 17.08.). Serves sugar coated donuts praised best in town by locals. The observation tower is only 26 meters high, but since it is on top of Pyynikki ridge, it offers a surprisingly good view of Tampere and the surrounding lakes. It costs two euros to climb up the observation tower.  edit
  • Vohvelikahvila, Ojakatu 2, +358 3 2144 225, [157]. M-Sa 09-20, Sun 10-20. Cozy cafe located in the smallest stone building in Tampere. The name means “Waffle Cafe” and that’s what you’ll get, in both sweet and savoury versions. Newly opened a new place in Tuomiokirkonkatu 34, phone +35840 5941070,  edit

Tea rooms[edit]

None at the moment.

Pubs and nightclubs[edit]

There’s no shortage of nightlife in Tampere, and better yet, it’s all concentrated to a very manageable area downtown. Virtually all the noteworthy establishment are located either on the main street Hämeenkatu or on the adjacent streets. Therefore, pub crawling is ridiculously easy and there is virtually no fear of getting lost even on the morning hours.

As anywhere in Finland, most pubs close at 02, but nightclubs stay open until 04, at least on weekends. People enter the clubs quite early by central European standards, and the queues are the longest around 11. Most clubs have an entrance fee of 3-10€ plus an added mandatory service fee of 2-3€. The legal drinking age in Finland is 18, but some places have even more strict limit at 20 or 22. Dresscode is rather informal even in the highest end clubs (one might even say that there are no high end clubs in Tampere), but locals still often try to dress to impress.

Bartenders in night clubs are usually not very knowledgeable and drinks are almost always poorly made, if available at all. This is probably because of the hardcore alcohol laws in Finland that ban all drinks with more than 4cl of strong alcohol. On the other hand, there might be a rather good selection of shooters at clubs and Finnish and foreign beers in pubs. While the standard big brewery Finnish lagers are rather bland, new and exciting microbrews are popping up every year. Be sure to give them a try somewhere along the way. Nearly every decent pub has some of them nowadays, but you won’t find them in clubs. Also, a kind of Finnish drink speciality are ciders and long drinks (gin and grapefruit flavoured mild drink) which are flavoured with (sometimes exotic) artificial essences. The ciders do not bear a strong resemblance to their Continental European counterparts.


  • Cafe Europa, Aleksanterinkatu 29, [158]. More of a mainstream cafe bar. Popular among younger students and foreigners. Sometimes live music or DJ on weekends.  edit
  • Gastropub Nordic, Otavalankatu 3, +358 3 2121 766, [159]. Su-F 15-02, Sat 12-02. Scandinavian style beer house with plenty of Nordic microbrews, Scandinavian pub food, Nordic style light fare, and Nordic pop music. Very knowledgeable staff. Food from €3 to €14.  edit
  • Gastropub Soho, Otavalankatu 10, +358 3 212 2336, [160]. English pub with good selection of bitters, ciders and bar food. They also show sports events on screens. Food from €8 to €20.  edit
  • Gastropub Tuulensuu, Hämeenpuisto 23, +358 3 2141 553, [161]. Su-F 17-24, Sat 12-24. Moody gastropub serving super tasty Belgian bar food. Astounding selection of mostly self-imported Belgian beers, French ciders, wines and cigars. Very knowledgeable staff. Food from €5 to €17.  edit
  • Gastropub Praha, Itsenäisyydenkatu 11, +358 3 261 2500, [162]. A little smaller czech-styled pub with good selection of czech beer and good enough pub food menu. Only 100 meters from the train station, but to the opposite direction than the city center. Food from €3 to €11.  edit
  • Inez Tapas Bar Sidreria, Pellavatehtaankatu 19, +358 3 225 5331, [163]. Spanish tapas bar in Tampere. Also a noteworthy selection of spanish beers and ciders.  edit
  • O’Connell’s, Rautatienkatu 24, +358 3 222 7032, [164]. Open every day 16-02. Irish pub near the railway station. Many staff members and owners are Irish. The chicken basket is huge for its price, at least in Finnish standards!  edit
  • Olutravintola Konttori, Verkatehtaankatu 5, +358 3 2225007, [165]. Quaint and easy-going beer house that has an old office theme. A good selection of beers and malts.  edit
  • Panimoravintola Plevna, Itäinenkatu 8, +358 3 260 1200, [166]. Plevna Brewery Pub & Restaurant is a true Tampere institution located at an 135-year-old weaving hall that also saw the first electric light bulbs in Nordic countries in 1882. The pub is named after a Balkan town where men from Finlayson cotton mills fought alongside Russian troops in the Russo-Turkish War. They serve hearty traditional meals accompanied with their own delicious microbrews. Try, for example, the arguably best Finnish beer, Siperia Imperial Stout, with a serving of one of Plevna’s two most classical dishes; Plevna’s Stir Fry (traditional Finnish pyttipannu) or Currywurst.  edit
  • Salhojankadun Pub, Salhojankatu 29, +358 3 2553 376, [167]. English-style pub a little off the beaten track, but within walking distance of the railway station. One of the most iconic and traditional of Tampere’s pubs in the Finnish style.  edit
  • Teerenpeli, Hämeenkatu 25, +358 42 4925 210, [168]. Teerenpeli offers a variety of home-brewed and imported beers and Finnish style ciders. A good selection of malts, and as the newest addition, a home-brewed whisky is available also.  edit
  • Vinoteca del Piemonte, Suvantokatu 9, +358 3 225 5505, [169]. Stylish wine bar with light Italian fare and views to the Orthodox church.  edit


  • Doris, Aleksanterinkatu 20, [170]. Fri-Sat 22-04, Tue-Thu, Sun 23-04. Small and quirky, but popular night club frequented by university students. Lovingly nicknamed Dorka (“Idiot”). Plays mostly indie rock and pop with occasional gigs on Fridays.  edit
  • Fat Lady, Hämeenkatu 10, +358 10 423 3200, [171]. Tue & Sun 23-04, Wed-Sat 22-04. Three-storey night club in the center of the city. Plays top40 hits. Frequented by twentysomethings.  edit
  • Gloria, Hämeenkatu 24. Fri-Sat 22-04. Night club with karaoke bar for adults. Has a decent pub on street level.  edit
  • Ilona, Verkatehtaankatu 3. Sun-Thu 22-04, Fri-Sat 21-04. Large night club for a more mature crowd. Classics and Finnish hits.  edit
  • Ilves, Hatanpään valtatie 1 (Hotel Ilves), +358 20 1234 631, [172]. Wed-Sat 21-04. Quite popular hotel night club. Music mostly from top hits to club. Classy, you have to dress up a bit to blend in.  edit
  • Klubi, Tullikamarinaukio 2, [173]. Mon-Tue 11-22, Wed-Fri 11-04, Sat 15-04. A bar/night club in the old customs house built in 1901. Live music presented often. Entrance fee depends on performers.  edit
  • Ruma, Murtokatu, [174]. Popular “alternative” night club selected the best of the town by City Magazine. Cheap drinks and entrance fee. Music played is something between rock and pop, often British bands. The tongue-in-cheek name means Ugly.  edit
  • Tivoli, Puutarhakatu 21, +358 20 7759 470, [175]. A popular three-storey night club for trendy twentysomethings just off Hämeenkatu.  edit
  • Vastavirta-klubi, Pispalan valtatie 39, +358 50 516 0644, [176]. One of Finland’s most prominent underground music clubs with a punk spirit. Beautifully located on top of Pispala ridge. Features gigs of various genres, usually from Wednesday to Saturday.  edit
  • Yo-talo, Kauppakatu 10, (), [177]. Disco, clubs, and live music in a beautiful student union building from the early 20th century. Type and age of the crowd depends heavily on the program. Frequented mostly by students.  edit

Sleep[edit][add listing]


  • Härmälä Camping, Leirintäkatu 8, +358 3 265 1355, [178]. Camping area about 3km from the city centre. Open only in summer.  edit


  • Omena Hotel Tampere I and II, Hämeenkatu 7 (near train station) and 28 (near library), [179]. The local branch of a budget hotel chain, centrally located on the main street. A self-service hotel (no reception desk). The usual first choice for Finns for domestic budget travels, thus should be a good choice. Room for 1-4 persons from €36 (price changes by the date of booking and occupancy rate).  edit
  • Dream Hostel & Hotel, Åkerlundinkatu 2 (opposite Tampere-talo), +358 45 2360517 (), [180]. The only thing in Tampere that is close to what you’d expect from a hostel elsewhere. They do, however, have a “hotel section” in their building as well. Dorms €22-27, twin rooms €59.  edit
  • Hotelli Ville, Hatanpään valtatie 40, +358 44 500 2088, [181]. A budget self-service hotel located less than 2 km from the city center, on a street that has regular bus routes to the center. Single room with shared bathroom €32, double room with shared bathroom €36, single room €45, double room €52.  edit
  • Hotel Kauppi, Kalevan puistotie 2, +358 3 2535 353 (), [182]. A budget hotel about 1,5 km from the city center, near Kauppi recreation forest. Single room €57/€72, double room €72/€89.  edit
  • Homeland Tampere, Kullervonkatu 19 A, +358 3 3126 0200 (), [183]. Apartment hotel located near Tammelan tori, about 5min walk from the railway station. Single room €74, double room €84.  edit
  • Hotel Hermica, Insinöörinkatu 78, 358 3 365 1111 (), [184]. Hotel located in neighborhood of Hervanta, far away from the city center, near Tampere University of Technology. Price changes according to the season. Single room €60, double room €70.  edit
  • Mango Hotel, Hatanpään puistokuja 36, +358 1 06662111, [185]. A budget self-service hotel located 2 km from the the city center. Located in industrial area and has a bit offbeat interior design (fake antique with hints of hindu/indian), but due to lack of budget choices in the city and Mango Hotel still being within walking distance from the city center even at nighttime, it’s still an adequate option. Single room, with a bathroom shared with another room €49, double room €69.  edit


  • Cumulus Hämeenpuisto, Hämeenpuisto 47, +358 3 3862 000 (), [186]. Located on a boulevard at a southern part of the city.  edit
  • Cumulus Koskikatu, Koskikatu 5, +358 3 2424 111 (), [187]. Located in the center of the city next to the riverside park.  edit
  • Cumulus Pinja, Satakunnankatu 10, +358 3 2415 111 (), [188]. A small hotel, located in the center of the city.  edit
  • Holiday Inn Tampere, Yliopistonkatu 44, +358 3 2455 111 (), [189]. A business hotel, located right behind the railway station in the city centre.  edit
  • Holiday Club Tampere, Lapinniemenranta 12, +358 210 100 000, [190]. A hotel/spa next to a marina, about 1 km from the city center. Built into an old cotton mill with high rooms. Can be a bit pricey for only accommodation and wouldn’t warrant a mention in this list if it wasn’t the only spa in the city.  edit
  • Hotelli Victoria, Itsenäisyydenkatu 1, +358 3 2425 111 (), [191]. Located right behind the railway station in the city centre.  edit
  • Scandic Tampere City, Hämeenkatu 1, +358 3 2446 111 (), [192]. Located right across the street from the railway station, on the main street.  edit
  • Sokos Hotel Villa, Sumeliuksenkatu 14, +358 20 1234 633 (), [193]. Built into an old grain storehouse, located right behind the railway station in the city centre.  edit


  • Scandic Hotel Rosendahl, Pyynikintie 13, +358 3 2441 111 (), [194]. Located in a beautiful lakeside location right under Pyynikki ridge.  edit
  • Sokos Hotel Ilves, Hatanpään valtatie 1, +358 20 1234 631 (), [195]. Tampere’s best known hotel, centrally located next to the riverside park.  edit
  • Sokos Hotel Tammer, Satakunnankatu 13, +358 20 1234 632 (), [196]. Historical 1920’s style hotel,formerly Grand Hotel, centrally located next to the riverside park. Not as expensive as you might expect, especially considering the comfortable rooms, good service, breakfast buffet, a nice lounge with a children’s corner well-stocked with toys, etc. The interioir alone is worth a visit to the bar if not staying at the hotel.  edit


Finnish is the language spoken in Tampere. English is also widely spoken in Tampere, particularly by the younger people. Swedish, while not as universally spoken as in Helsinki, Turku or Vaasa, is still spoken to a considerable degree. Other European languages (mainly German, French, Spanish and Russian) may also be understood by hotel staff and people in tourist profession, and also by many students at the academic level.

The local regional dialect can be recognized by the strong trilling “r”s, as in the greeting Moro!, and the use of mää and sää instead of and for me and you. There is a stereotypical belief that the word nääs (“you see”) is widely used in the area, but it’s quite rare in reality.


There are two universities in Tampere; the University of Tampere [197], and Tampere University of Technology [198]. The former has about 15,000 students and the latter about 10,000 students. Tampere has also two universities of applied sciences, the TAMK [199] and PIRAMK [200], each of which has some 5,000 students.

City of Tampere runs the Adult Education Centre [201] that offers rather cheap courses for everyone.


Internet cafes are not very common in Finland, and Tampere makes no exception. If you have your own laptop or a smartphone, most cafes offer free wi-fi (or WLAN as it is commonly called in Finland). In the city center and some other locations around town, there is the Wireless Tampere network. [202]. The tourist office and main library as wll as the several side libraries also offer free Internet access. There is a free wifi all around the Shopping Mall Koskikeskus.

  • Internet Madi, Tuomiokirkonkatu 36, [203]. M-F 10-22, Sa-Su 11-22. Starting from €2 for a half an hour, price includes coffee/tea.  edit

Stay safe[edit]

Risks in Tampere

Crime/violence: Low
Drunk people on weekend nights should be avoided.

Authorities/corruption: Low
Nightclub bouncers might be rude and/or violent (if provoked).

Transportation: Low
Roads covered with snow and ice are extremely slippery. Moose and deer sometimes wander onto roads and cause accidents. Heed the warning signs and be extra careful when driving during dusk and dawn.

Weather: Low
Cold mid-winter weather warrants appropriate clothing.

Nature: Low
Large animals that may live in the outskirts are very cautious of people. Mosquitoes and horseflies can be a small nuisance at summer if traveling out of downtown. Use repellent.

As Finland in general, Tampere is one of the safest cities on Earth. Though, on weekend nights, intoxicated people wandering around city streets may be an annoyance, especially during big summer festivals such as May Day’s Eve, which is the most important beer-drinking festival in the Finnish calendar. Warm summer nights always gather a drunken crowd downtown. Intoxicated Finns tend to be rather noisy (in stark contrast to sober Finns) and admittedly sometimes picking a fight with just about anyone. Just use your common sense, and steer clear of overly loud groups of young men. As Tampere is not a big tourist destination, pickpockets and common hustlers are rare.

The extreme cold in the winter should be borne in mind by visitors, especially those planning outdoor activities. Whilst in summer the temperature rises occasionally to 30ºC, in the winter months it can drop to around -30ºC for a week or two. Dressing up accordingly is a must. Also, watch out for slippery sidewalks in winter. Thousands of people fall down and hurt themselves every winter! Winter-time driving needs also special caution as the roads may be very slippery with ice and/or snow.

  • Yliopiston Apteekki Pharmacy, Hämeenkatu 16 (Keskustori central square). Open daily 7-12. The main pharmacy with the most central location and the best hours.  edit
  • ACUTA, Teiskontie 35 (from Teiskontie to Kuntokatu to Ensitie). 24/7. Emergency room at the Tampere University Hospital.  edit

The national emergency number is 112.

Get out[edit]

  • Helsinki, the coastal capital of Finland is well worth visiting for anyone, and it is only 170km (90 minutes by train) to the south.
  • Turku, another coastal city, is the historic capital of Finland located 165km to the south-west from Tampere. It makes an interesting day trip by train or car.
  • Hämeenlinna is a mid-size town 80km south most famous for its small medieval castle.
  • Seitseminen National Park (70km north of Tampere) offers a good view to the Finnish nature. Forests, mires and eskers alternate in the landscape. There are guided hikes in summer.
  • Helvetinjärvi National Park (85km north of Tampere) encases wild forests and deep gorges that were formed by faults in the bedrock running through the area. Special features of the area include deep rifts, steep-sided lakes and small forest ponds.
  • Sappee (50km east of Tampere), and Himos (95km north of Tampere) are small downhill skiing stations in the region.
  • Lapland is some 800km north from Tampere, but is reachable by train or direct flight from Tampere (operated only during winter season). Another option is to travel to Helsinki and catch a plane there. Needless to say, there are plenty of attractions year round in this magical region.

This is a guide article. It has a variety of good, quality information including hotels, restaurants, attractions, arrival and departure info. Plunge forward and help us make it a star!


Posted in: Europe

Leave a Comment (0) →

Rovaniemi, Finland – Travel Guide

Rovaniemi, Finland – Travel Guide

Book Cheap Hotel, Apartments, Hostels & BBs in Rovaniemi


Rovaniemi Banner.jpg

Rovaniemi [1] is the capital of Finnish Lapland.


Rovaniemi has been the business centre of Finnish Lapland since the 19th century. It was razed to the ground by the Germans in the final days of World War II, with only a handful of buildings left standing. The rebuilding after the war and the economic development in the ensuing decades have left much of the city a featureless expanse of concrete blocks. Officially Rovaniemi became a city in 1960, and in 2006 it merged with the surrounding rural municipality of Rovaniemi.

Because of its central location and status, Rovaniemi has become a center of education in Finnish Lapland. There are as many as 10 000 university and university of applied sciences level students living in Rovaniemi. Compared to the number of inhabitants living in the old city area (pre-2006), as many as one in three or four people are students. During summers this shows as a large drop in the number of people vacating the city.

The river Kemijoki, notable for being the longest river in Finland, runs next to the city center. On the west side of the river there is a large hill called Ounasvaara.

Santa’s Village at the Arctic Circle in the winter season

Get In[edit]

By plane[edit]

Rovaniemi Airport [2] (RVN or EFRO), located eight kilometers north from the city center, is the largest airport in northern Finland. Most of the flights go south to Helsinki, but it fields a limited number of international flights mostly to North Russian destinations like Murmansk. To get to the city center you have to take a bus or a taxi. Flights from Helsinki, operated by Finnair or Blue1 or Norwegian, may be cheaper than corresponding train.

By train[edit]

Rovaniemi railway station

Rovaniemi is the terminus of most trains from the south. The line extends only a little further northeast to Kemijärvi. The journey from Helsinki takes 9–12 hours and is reasonably comfortable in a sleeper. You can also take your car with you. The railway station is located right next to the city centre and is within an easy walking distance – you facing north when you exit the station, and the city center is to your right, to the northeast. Most of the long-distance buses stop here as well.

Rovaniemi Santa Claus Village

By bus[edit]

Gold Line [3] and Oy Matkahuolto Ab [4] operate daily night buses to Rovaniemi from Helsinki via Helsinki-Vantaa Airport. Coming by bus from the south is relatively cheap but requires about 14 hours of sitting.

The bus station is in the city center and is just a few hundred meters away from the railway station.

Get around[edit]

The city center itself is very small with a radius of about one kilometer, and everything inside it is within an easy walking distance. Only some of the tourist attractions are located farther away from the center and might require other forms of transportation than your feet.

There are several bus companies providing transportation to other local areas in Rovaniemi, but the schedules are bad during weekends and summers. During evenings and nights there is practically no bus service available.

The Rollaattori city guide that can be bought from the restaurant at the railway station, Suomalainen kirjakauppa-bookstore, City hall, Roifoto etc. is a must for younger or younger-minded travellers. Rollaattori is made by few locals who got tired of existing brochures, so they made their own. Rollaattori guides you to places which are meaningful to local people too, but which are not mentioned in “ordinary” guidebooks like Lonely Planet or official Rovaniemi city guides.

See[edit][add listing]

Most tourists come to Rovaniemi for precisely one thing: The Santa.

Santa Claus Village

  • Santa Claus Village [5], 8 km north of Rovaniemi and right on the old computed place of the Arctic Circle (currently computed to be 2km north), is a tourist trap if there ever was one – but few tourists can miss the chance to meet Santa himself. Apart from meeting the man, there are also other attractions like small-scale sledding hills for kids, Santa Claus post office with nice special stamp, souvenir shops etc. The village hosts also several safari companies that organize various activities. During dark times the village has nicely lit ice sculptures. Bus number 8 goes from town to the village.

Rovaniemi statistics

  • Within some walking distance from the Santa Claus Village is Santapark [6]. An underground amusement park. Santapark has been under heavy re-decoration recently and should now be much less Disney-style place than before. Ticket price is €20 for adults and €10 for children but considerable place to visit still.
  • The rebuilding of Rovaniemi after World War II was largely planned by famous Finnish architect Alvar Aalto – particularly its reindeer antler layout. He also designed the Administrative and Cultural Centre which includes the Lappia Hall (culture and congress centre), public library and city hall.
  • Pilke Science Centre. Ounasjoentie 6 (next to Arktikum), tel. 0205 64 7820, [7]. Do you feel attracted by northern forests? If so, your place to visit is Pilke. exhibition tells about use of northern forests and about the forests’ diverse yields,products and commodities. Admission €7 for adults, €5 children (7-15yrs) or €5 for students, re-entry at same day free of charge, open Tue-Fri 9AM-6 PM, Sat-Sun 10AM-6 PM. Lockers available.
  • Lutheran church was built in 1950 and is located close to the administrative centre. The church is for its considerable large fresco “Spring of the Life” by professor Lennart Segerstråle. Interestingly the uses elements of Lapland in Biblical context (for example there are no lambs but reindeers). There is a nice park by the pool Kirkkolampi right next to the church. A small orthodox church is on the other side of Kemijoki river (address: Ounasvaarantie 16).
  • Korundi House of Culture [8]is located not very far from the shopping centre. It offers art, music and events. Korundi is art museum but also home of the Chamber Orchestra of Lapland. It’s consists mostly of modern Finnish art. Ticket price is €8/adult, €5 for students and 3€ for children 7-15 years. Korundi is closed on Mondays.
  • Jätkänkynttilä bridge is one of the most important symbols of Rovaniemi. It runs over the Kemijoki close the northern end of the city center. Bridge has a high pylon with bright yellow light on top.
  • Log Train Terminal, about a kilometer west from the train station. Might be worth of seeing during dark times, as the that lift the logs have lights on their arms. Climb to the opposite hill and sit on the fence for a nice view.
  • German Soldier Cemetery is in Norvajärvi (19 km northeast from Rovaniemi). Constructed of large stone blocks and located virtually in the middle of nowhere it might be of interest to some. During autumn one can eat berries on the way.
  • 14 giants kettes (hiidenkirnut), including three very deep ones, can be found from Sukulanrakka slopes near the island of Rautiosaari, (22 km south from Rovaniemi, turn left from the road 926).

The famous midnight sun is seen between June 6th and July 7th while Sun doesn’t set at all. Nightsky is luminous from until mid August. At wintertime auroras are seen on most nights if the sky is clear.

Do[edit][add listing]

Various arctic safari companies, many of which are on the west bank of the river, can arrange all sorts of cold and snowy like snowmobile safaris and dog sledding. Most of the tour operators have summer activities available too.

Lapland Welcome is a DMC, incoming agency and a program services company offering unforgettable experience in Lapland and all over Finland for both individual travelers and groups.

  • Arctic Golf Finland has a 9 hole golf course close to the skiing resort.
  • Santamus, +358 16 318 552 (), [9]. Finish your active day with a visit to Santamus, an unique log with Lappish atmosphere at the Arctic Circle. Customize an unforgettable evening with a program that may include gourmet Lappish dinner with live music. You may want to relax your muscles in Sauna & jacuzzi spa with foot bath. Conclude your night with fun activities like waterfall cinema, gold panning or playing in a band of your own.  edit

At summertime you may hike on the marked routes around Ounasvaara’s forests. Interestingly there are some rocky areas, which are ancient shores from the time of ice age, still visible by these routes. Prepare to face in the forest… From the top of the hill you’ll find great wiews to the forests, hills and swamps outside the city. The city centre is not very easy to see from the top, however a short walk to the Belvedere viewing tower provides an excellent panorama.

  • SimeRock [10] Rock festival in July
  • Jutajaiset [11] is about one week long international folklore festival arranged in the July.

Internet is hard to come by but the Hotel Santa Claus has a laptop in the lobby which is meant for guests. Just stride in and look like you know what your doing and you can sit at the computer and use the internet for free. There are internet access also in the library (might require reservation), Arktikum and the McDonalds. Free WiFi access is available in many places, for example the ‘trendy’ coffee shop Kauppayhtiö and ‘authentic Lapland’ Pub Tupsu.

At summer a small sand beach is located next to the camping area on the Ounasvaara side of the Kemijoki. Swimming close to the shore is safe but because of the dangerously strong stream, do not even consider to swim across the river!

Buy[edit][add listing]

  • Sampokeskus shopping centre, main entrance on Lordi Square [12]
  • Rinteenkulma shopping centre, main entrance next to Scandic hotel [13]
  • Revontuli shopping centre, next to Rinteenkulma, main entrance above highway E75 [14]
  • Marttiini factory outlet, offering the famous knives, located opposite to Arktikum

Eat[edit][add listing]

A traditional meal is sautéed reindeer (poronkäristys), consisting of reindeer meat cut in slices and stewed on a frying pan with butter and water. A “bowl” of mashed potatoes is made on the plate and filled with stewed meat. This is garnished with lingonberry jam and slices of pickled cucumber. It’s worth trying out once at least – you should be able to find this dish in most restaurants around town.


The second most northern McDonald’s in the world

University canteens cheap alternatives (€2.5-5 per meal) but the meals are served only around noon. (and should really be only sold to students as they are subsidized by the state, so looking you might be a good idea ;))

  • Rotko, Faculty of Art & Design (red-yellowish building). University canteen conveniently located right opposite the railway station.

The restaurant at the railway station is not bad or expensive either. Ask for student pizzas.

  • Subway is just behind Lordi’s Square.
  • Golden Rax Pizza Buffet, at crossing of Koskikatu and Korkalonkatu, GPS 66.502223333 25., [15]. Self-service all you can eat and drink, pizzas, chicken wings, etc.  edit
  • Haruno Pizza & Kebab Also has an excellent salad bar.
  • McDonalds, Poromiehentie 3.
  • Hai Long, Great buffet (9,90€) and lunch (8,90€) sold Monday through Friday from 10.30am to 15pm.

On the main central square (former Sampoaukio, now Lordi aukio) there is often a fisherman selling freshly catched and fried smallfish.


  • Fransmanni, Koskikatu 4 (near Sokos Hotel Vaakuna), [16]. Serves great traditional Lappish dishes, as well as delicious French cooking. Also one of the best bars in town. Be sure to ask for Anton’s special drink!


  • Santamus, Arctic Circle (In Santa Claus Village), [17] [18]. Serves gourmet Lappish menus mainly for groups and exclusive private events. log building with several fireplaces and a pond with purling brook creating an extraordinary Lappish atmosphere. The whole evening can be customized for you including live musical entertainment with many memorable surprise elements, like waterfall cinema, dessert delivered in a boat and activities like gold . Offers also private sauna, jacuzzi spa, foot bath. Make reservations beforehand. For visiting groups with strict time schedule they also offer daily visits so check for availability.

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • Kauppayhtiö, Valtakatu 24, about 100 meters from Hotel Santa Claus. The cafe where everything is for sale! Great sandwiches and ice-creams/milkshakes! Good place to stop by at daytime or start your evening with drinks! [19]
  • Tivoli, Valtakatu 19, a 200 meters from Hotel Santa Claus. Legendary and popular nightclub with 2 different rooms, crowd consisting mainly students, safari guides and a bit more older crowd and has occasional live acts. Its Beach Party in February is famous among Students througout Finland. [20]
  • Zoomit, cafe&bar in Hotel Santa Claus.
  • Paha Kurki, located to the safari company offices near the river. Notable rock-ish beerhouse.
  • Doris, next door to the Restaurant Fransmanni, next to all the safari companies. Fashionable crowd, safari guides, hotel guests and high school students.
  • Half moon, opposite from Scandic hotel. [21]

Sleep[edit][add listing]


  • Guesthouse Borealis [22],tel: +358 (0)16 342 0130, Fax: +358 (0)16 310 261, This is a very friendly guesthouse located in the immediate vicinity of the railway station. Cross the road from the railway station, directly in front of you is the red-yellowish university building, find a small walking road to your left (facing the building) that goes uphill. Turn left to the bigger road and walk 25 meters. If you are for a warm and hospitable place to stay then this is worth checking out.
  • Hostel Rudolph Koskikatu 41-43, tel +35816321321, [23] is the cheap place to go in town. The only catch is there is no reception at this location, you have to check in at the reception of the Santa Claus Hotel just down from Lordi’s Square. Its a bit of extra walking but for €40 per bed in a double room, its well worth it.
  • UniHostel, tel. +35816347950, [24]. Run by the university housing association, it offers cheap accommodation about three kilometers away from the city center.
  • B&B Reindeerstreet 24, 24, tel. +358 40 531 5280, [25]. This is a friendly bed & breakfast next to Ounasvaara, about 1.3 km from downtown. can arrange tours and activities during your stay.
  • Camping site is on the other side of the river and has a nice view of the city.
  • Cabins in “the most beautiful village of Lapland”, 48 km from Rovaniemi centre towards Kuusamo (road no 81). Viiri Holiday Village [26].

city hotel


  • Scandic Hotel Koskikatu 23, tel. +358-16-606000, [27]. In the city center of Rovaniemi.
  • City Hotel Pekankatu 9, tel. +58-16-3300111, fax. +358-16-311304, [28]. the heart of Rovaniemi, next to Sampokeskus shopping mall and Lordi’s Square.
  • Cumulus Rovaniemi, Valtakatu 23, +358 (0)16 333600, [29]. A nice mid-priced hotel, centrally located.
  • Santa Claus Holiday Village, Tähtikuja 2, tel. +358-16-3561513, [30]. Hotel-like accommodation in cabins, located in Santa Claus Village, Arctic Circle.


  • Hotel Santa Claus, 29, tel. +358-16-321321, [31] Best hotel in the centre of town.
  • Rantasipi Pohjanhovi, Pohjanpuistikko 2, tel. +358-16-33711, [32]. Four star hotel in the centre of town. Has not just the usual saunas, but a swimming pool too.

Get out[edit]

Ski centers are open during the winter season from November to April. The nearest ski centers are Ounasvaara just few kilometers from city center, Levi near Kittilä, Luosto near Sodankylä and Pyhä near Pelkosenniemi.

Routes through Rovaniemi
VardøSaariselkä  N noframe S  KemiHelsinki

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!


Posted in: Europe

Leave a Comment (0) →

Finland, Europe – Travel Guide

Finland, Europe – Travel Guide

TourTellus Hotel Search: Book Hotels, Apartments, Hostels & BBs in Finland


Finland Banner.jpg

a lake in Finland
Finland in its region.svg
Flag of Finland.svg
Quick Facts
Capital Helsinki (moved from Turku in 1812 and Vaasa in 1918)
Government republic
Currency euro (€)
Area 337,030km²
Population 5,427,000 (2012 est.)
Language Finnish 90.67% (official), Swedish 5.43% (official), small Sámi- and Russian-speaking minorities
Religion Evangelical Lutheran 76.4%, Finnish Orthodox 1.1%, other 1.4%, none 21.0%[1]
Electricity 230V/50Hz (European plug)
Country code +358
Internet TLD .fi
Time Zone UTC +2

Finland (Finnish: Suomi, Swedish: Finland) is in Northern Europe and has borders with Russia to the east, Norway to the north, and Sweden to the west.

Finland is a thoroughly modern welfare state with well-planned and comfortable small towns and cities, but still offers vast areas of unspoiled nature. Finland has approximately 188,000 lakes (about 10% of the country) and a similar number of islands. In the northernmost part of the country the Northern Lights can be seen in the winter and midnight sun in the summer. Finns also claim the mythical mountain of Korvatunturi as the home of Santa Claus, and a burgeoning tourist industry in Lapland caters to Santa fans.

Despite living in one of the most technologically developed countries in the world, Finns love to head to their summer cottages in the warmer months to enjoy all manner of relaxing pastimes including sauna, swimming, fishing and barbecuing. Today, Finland has a distinctive language and culture that sets it apart from the rest of Nordic Europe.



Saint Olaf’s Castle, the world’s northernmost medieval castle, built in Savonlinna by Sweden in 1475

Not much is known about Finland’s early history, with archaeologists still debating when and where a tribe of Finno-Ugric speakers cropped up. Roman historian Tacitus mentions a tribe primitive and savage Fenni in 100AD and even the Vikings chose not to settle, trading and plundering along the coasts.

In the mid-1150s Sweden started out to conquer and Christianize the Finnish pagans in earnest, with Birger Jarl incorporating most of the country into Sweden in 1249. Finland stayed an integral part of Sweden until the 19th century, although there was near-constant warfare with Russia on the eastern border and two brief occupations. After Sweden’s final disastrous defeat in the Finnish War of 1808-1809, Finland became in 1809 an autonomous grand duchy under Russian rule.

Russian rule alternated between tolerance and repression and there was already a significant independence movement when Russia plunged into revolutionary chaos in 1917. Parliament seized the chance and declared independence in December, quickly gaining Soviet assent, but the country promptly plunged into a brief but bitter civil war between the conservative Whites and the socialist Reds, eventually won by the Whites.

During World War II, Finland was attacked by the Soviet Union in the Winter War, but fought them to a standstill that saw the USSR conquer 12% of Finnish territory. Finland then allied with Germany in an unsuccessful attempt to repel the Soviets and regain the lost territory, was defeated and, as a condition for peace, had to turn against Germany instead. Thus Finland fought three separate wars during World War II. In the end, Finland lost much of Karelia and Finland’s second city Vyborg, but Soviets paid a heavy price for them with over 300,000 dead.

After the war, Finland lay in the grey zone between the Western countries and the Soviet Union. The Finno-Soviet Pact of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance committed Finland to resist armed attacks by “Germany or its allies” (read: the West), but also allowed Finland to stay neutral in the Cold War and avoid a Communist government or Warsaw Pact membership. In politics, there was a tendency of avoiding any policies and statements that could be interpreted as anti-Soviet. This balancing act of Finlandization was humorously defined as “the art of bowing to the East without mooning the West”. Despite close relations with the Soviet Union, Finland managed to retain democratic multi-party elections and remained a Western European market economy, building close ties with its Nordic neighbours. While there were some tense moments, Finland pulled it off: in the subsequent half century, the country made a remarkable transformation from a farm/forest economy to a diversified modern industrial economy featuring high-tech giants like Nokia, and per capita income is now in the top 15 of the world.

After the implosion of the USSR, Finland joined the European Union in 1995, and was the only Nordic state to join the euro system at its initiation in January 1999.


Unlike craggy Norway and Sweden, Finland consists mostly of low, flat to rolling plains interspersed with lakes and low hills, with mountains (of a sort) only in the extreme north, while Finland’s highest point, Mount Halti, rises only to a modest 1,328m. Finland has 187,888 lakes according to the Geological Survey of Finland, making the moniker Land of a Thousand Lakes actually an underestimation. Along the coast and in the lakes are—according to another estimate—179,584 islands, making the country an excellent boating destination as well.

Finland is not located on the Scandinavian peninsula, so despite many cultural and historical links, it is technically not a part of Scandinavia. Even Finns rarely bother to make the distinction, but a more correct term that includes Finland is the “Nordic countries” (Pohjoismaat). Still, the capital, Helsinki, has a lot of Scandinavian features, especially when it comes to the architecture of the downtown, and another Scandinavian language, Swedish, is one of the two official languages of the country.


See also Winter in Scandinavia.

Finland has a cold but temperate climate, which is actually comparatively mild for the latitude because of the moderating influence of the Gulf Stream. Winter, however, is just as dark as everywhere in these latitudes, and temperatures can (very rarely) reach -30°C in the south and even dip below -40°C in the north. The brief Finnish summer is considerably more pleasant, with temperatures around 20-23°C on sunny days (rarely closer to 30°C), and is generally the best time of year to visit. July is the warmest month. Early spring (March-April) is when the snow starts to melt and Finns like to head north for skiing and winter sports, while the transition from fall to winter in October-December — wet and dark— is the least pleasant time to visit. The southern coast where Helsinki and Turku are located is not really a winter destination, because there is no guarantee of snow even in January or February.

Due to the extreme latitude, northern parts of Finland experiences the famous Midnight Sun near the summer solstice, when (if above the Arctic Circle) the sun never sets during the night and even in southern Finland it never really gets dark. The flip side of the coin is the Arctic Night (kaamos) in the winter, when the sun never comes up at all in the North. In the South, daylight is limited to a few pitiful hours with the sun just barely climbing over the trees before it heads down again.


Väinämöinen defending the Sampo, by Akseli Gallen-Kallela (1896)

Buffeted by its neighbours for centuries and absorbing influences from west, east and south, Finnish culture as a distinct identity was only born in the 19th century: “we are not Swedes, and we do not wish to become Russian, so let us be Finns.”

The Finnish founding myth and national epic is the Kalevala, a collection of old Karelian stories and poems collated in 1835 that recounts the creation of the world and the adventures of Väinämöinen, a shamanistic hero with magical powers. Kalevalan themes such as the Sampo, a mythical cornucopia, have been a major inspiration for Finnish artists, and figures, scenes, and concepts from the epic continue to colour their works.

While Finland’s state religion is Lutheranism, a version of Protestant Christianity, the country has full freedom of religion and for the great majority everyday observance is lax or non-existent. Still, Luther’s teachings of strong work ethic and a belief in equality remain strong, both in the good (women’s rights, non-existent corruption) and the bad (conformity, high rates of depression and suicide). The Finnish character is often summed up with the word sisu, a mixture of admirable perseverance and pig-headed stubbornness in the face of adversity.

Finnish music is best known for classical composer Jean Sibelius, whose symphonies continue to grace concert halls around the world. Finnish pop, on the other hand, has only rarely ventured beyond the borders, but heavy metal bands like Nightwish and HIM have garnered some acclaim and latex monsters Lordi hit an exceedingly unlikely jackpot by taking home the Eurovision Song Contest in 2006.

In the other arts, Finland has produced noted architect and designer Alvar Aalto, authors Mika Waltari (The Egyptian) and Väinö Linna (The Unknown Soldier), and painter Akseli Gallen-Kallela, known for his Kalevala illustrations.


Street reference chart
Finnish Swedish English
-katu -gata street
-tie -väg road
-kuja -gränd alley
-väylä -led passage
-polku -stig path
-tori -torg market
-kaari -båg arc
-puisto -park park
-laituri -kaj quay
-rinne -brink bank (hill)
-aukio -plats square

Finland has a 5.5% Swedish-speaking minority and is officially a bilingual country, so maps nearly always bear both Finnish and Swedish names for, e.g., cities and towns. For example, Turku and Åbo are the same city, even though the names differ totally. Roads can be especially confusing: what first appears on a map to be a road that changes its name is, in most cases, one road with two names. This is common in the Swedish-speaking areas on the southern and western coasts, whereas inland Swedish names are far less common. In anywhere outside bilingual areas and the far north Lapland of Finland you’ll never see Swedish, and a bilingual sign is extremely rare; you will, occasionally, see signage in Sámi instead. Google Maps, in particular, seems to select the language randomly, even though the Swedish names are extremely rarely used in practice in most places.


Finns aren’t typically very hot on big public carnivals; most holidays are spent at home with family. The most notable exception is Vappu on 1 May, as thousands of people (mostly the young ones) fill the streets. Important holidays and similar happenings include:

  • New Year’s Day (Uudenvuodenpäivä), 1 January.
  • Epiphany (Loppiainen), 6 January.
  • Easter (Pääsiäinen), variable dates, Good Friday and Easter Monday are public holidays. Tied to this are laskiainen 40 days before Easter, nominally a holy day that kicks off the Lent, practically a time for children and university students to go sliding down snowy slopes, and Ascension Day (helatorstai) 40 days after, just another day for the shops to be closed.
  • Walpurgis Night or more often Vappu, 1 May, although festivities start the day before (Vappuaatto). A spring festival that coincides with May Day. Originally a pagan tradition that coincides with the more recent workers’ celebration, it has become a giant festival for students, who wear colourful signature overalls and roam the streets. Many people also use their white student caps between 18:00 on 30 April and the end of 1 May. The following day, people gather to nurse their hangovers at open-air picnics, even if it’s raining sleet.
  • Midsummer Festival (Juhannus), the Saturday in the period 20-26 June. Held to celebrate the summer solstice, with plenty of bonfires, drinking and general merrymaking. Cities become almost empty as people rush to their summer cottages. It might be a good idea to visit one of the bigger cities just for the eerie feeling of an empty city.
  • Independence Day (Itsenäisyyspäivä), 6 December. A fairly sombre celebration of Finland’s independence from Russia. The President holds a ball for the important people (e.g. MPs, diplomats, and merited Finnish sportspeople and artists).
  • Little Christmas (Pikkujoulu), people go pub crawling with their workmates throughout December. Not an official holiday, just a Viking-strength version of an office Christmas party.
  • Christmas (Joulu), 24-26 December. The biggest holiday of the year, when pretty much everything closes for three days. Santa (Joulupukki) comes on Christmas Eve on 24 December, ham is eaten and everyone goes to sauna.
  • New Year’s Eve (Uudenvuodenaatto), 31 December. Fireworks time!

Typical vacation time is in July, unlike elsewhere in Europe, where it is in August. People generally start their summer holidays around Midsummer. During these days, cities are likely to be less populated, as Finns head for their summer cottages. Schoolchildren start their summer holidays in the beginning of June.


Regions of Finland

Southern Finland
The southern stretch of coastline up to the Russian border, including the capital Helsinki and the historical province of Uusimaa (Nyland)
Western Finland
The Southwest coastal areas, the old capital Turku, the historical province of Central Finland with its capital Jyväskylä, inland hub city Tampere, the southern parts of the historical province of Ostrobothnia (Pohjanmaa, Österbotten) and Seinäjoki, the fastest growing city of Finland
Eastern Finland
Forests and lakes by the Russian border, including Savonia (Savo) and the Finnish side of Karelia (Karjala)
Oulu (Northern Finland)
Kajanaland (Kainuu) and northern Ostrobothnia, named after the technology city of Oulu.
Finnish Lapland
Tundra, reindeer and the biggest skiing resorts above the Arctic Circle.
an autonomous and monolingually Swedish group of islands off the southwestern coast of Finland

While a convenient and unambiguous bureaucratic division, the provinces — now formally known as Regional State Administrative Agencies — do not really correspond to geographical or cultural boundaries very well. Other terms you may hear include Tavastia (Häme), covering a large area of central Finland around Tampere, and Karelia (Karjala) to the far east, the bulk of which was lost to the Soviet Union in World War II (still a sore topic in some circles). In 2010, Western Finland was formally split into “Western and Inner Finland” (for Tampere and the coast near Vaasa) and “Southwest Finland” (the area near Turku).

Cities and towns[edit]

  • Helsinki — the “Daughter of the Baltic”, Finland’s capital and its only real city
  • Hämeenlinna — a small lakeside town with a medieval castle and Aulanko park
  • Jyväskylä — a university town located in Central Finland
  • Kuopio — a university town in central Finland, lakeland area.
  • Lappeenranta — a university town near the Russian border in South East Finland, by lake Saimaa.
  • Oulu — a technology town at the end of the Gulf of Bothnia
  • Rovaniemi — gateway to Lapland, largest town in Europe measured from the surface area
  • Savonlinna — a small lakeside town with a big castle and a popular opera festival.
  • Seinäjoki — Finland’s fastest growing small town, host of many important festivals every year.
  • Tampere — the largest industrial town in Finland, home of culture, music, art and museums, in the middle of other big cities in Southern Finland. Perhaps the best music scene in Finland.
  • Turku — the former capital on the western coast. Medieval castle and cathedral.
  • Vaasa — a town with strong Swedish influences on the west coast located near the UNESCO world natural site Kvarken Archipelago

Other destinations[edit]

Get in[edit]

Finland is a member of the Schengen Agreement.

There are no border controls between countries that have signed and implemented this treaty – the European Union (except Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania and the United Kingdom), Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Likewise, a visa granted for any Schengen member is valid in all other countries that have signed and implemented the treaty. But be careful: not all EU members have signed the Schengen treaty, and not all Schengen members are part of the European Union. This means that there may be spot customs checks but no immigration checks (travelling within Schengen but to/from a non-EU country) or you may have to clear immigration but not customs (travelling within the EU but to/from a non-Schengen country).

Please see the article Travel in the Schengen Zone for more information about how the scheme works and what entry requirements are.

By plane[edit]

Finland’s main international hub is Helsinki-Vantaa Airport near Helsinki. Finnair, and Flybe Nordic are based there. Around 30 foreign airlines fly to Helsinki-Vantaa.

Ryanair‘s Finland hubs are Tampere in central Finland and Lappeenranta in the east near the Russian border, while Wizz Air is decreasing its hub at Turku in the southwest. Other airlines have limited regional services to other cities, mostly just to Sweden, and, in the winter high season, occasional direct charters (especially in December) and seasonal scheduled flights (Dec-Mar) to Lapland.

Air Baltic connects many provincial Finnish towns conveniently to Europe via Riga. It may also be worth your while to get a cheap flight to Tallinn and follow the boat instructions below to get to Finland.

Starting in early 2011, Norwegian Air Shuttle established Helsinki as one of its bases, and now offers both domestic and international flights.

By train[edit]

VR [2] and Russian Railways jointly operate services between Saint Petersburg and Helsinki, stopping at Vyborg, Kouvola and Lahti along the way. The line was upgraded in 2010 and the slick new Allegro-branded trains glide between the two cities in three and a half hours at up to 220km/h. Currently the route is served four times per day, returning to two daily from November 2011. This is certainly the most expensive method of getting to Helsinki from Saint Petersburg, with prices of €92 during summer and €84 rest of the year for a one-way ticket. However, tickets for the first train in the morning, which departures at 6:12 am, can be bought for a price as low as €39 in the summer months. There is also a traditional slow overnight sleeper from Moscow, which takes around 15 hours.

There are no direct trains between Sweden or Norway and Finland (the rail gauge is different), but the bus over the gap from Boden/Luleå (Sweden) to Kemi (Finland) is free with an Eurail/Inter Rail pass, and you can also get a 50% discount from most ferries with these passes.

By bus[edit]

Buses are the cheapest but also the slowest and least comfortable way of travelling between Russia and Finland.

  • Various direct minibuses run between St. Petersburg’s Oktyabrskaya Hotel (opp Moskovsky train station) and Helsinki’s Tennispalatsi (Eteläinen Rautatiekatu 8, one block away from Kamppi). At €15 one-way, this is the cheapest option, but the minibuses leave only when full. Departures from Helsinki are most frequent in the morning (around 10:00), while departures from St. Petersburg usually overnight (around 22:00).

You can also use a bus from Sweden or Norway to Finland.

By boat[edit]

Inside a Silja passenger ferry

One of the best ways to travel to and from Finland is by sea. The boats to Estonia and Sweden, in particular, are giant, multi-story floating palaces and department stores, with cheap prices subsidized by sales of tax-free booze: a return trip to Tallinn including a cabin for up to four people can go as low as €50. If travelling by Inter Rail, you can get 50% off deck fares. The best way to arrive in Helsinki is standing on the outside deck with a view ahead.

Estonia and the Baltic states[edit]

Helsinki and Tallinn are only 80km apart. [3], Eckerö Viking Line and Tallink Silja operate full-service car ferries all year round. Depending on the ferry type travel times are from slightly over two hours (Viking Line and Tallink Silja’s Star, Superstar and Superfasts) to three and a half hours (Eckerö and Tallink Silja’s biggest cruise ships). Some services travel overnight and park outside the harbor until morning. Linda Line offers fast services that complete the trip in 1.5 hours, but charge quite a bit more, have comparatively little to entertain you on board and suspend services in bad weather and during the winter. If the weather is looking dodgy and you’re prone to sea sickness, it’s best to opt for the big slow boats.

There are no scheduled services to Latvia or Lithuania, but some of the operators above offer semi-regular cruises in the summer, with Riga being the most popular destination.


Finnlines [4] operates from Helsinki to Travemünde (near Lübeck and Hamburg) and from Helsinki to Rostock. Helsinki-Travemünde trip takes about 27 hours while Helsinki-Rostock takes about 34 hours. The Travemünde line is run by fast and large Star-class ships while a single, significantly smaller Hansa-class ship operates in the Rostock line. The latter is considered to be more luxurious and comfortable even though the trip takes much longer.


For years scheduled ferry services to Russia have been stop-and-go. Starting in April 2010 St Peter Line offers regular ferry service from Saint Petersburg to Helsinki for as low as
€30 one way. Kristina Cruises also offers occasional cruises from Helsinki.


Silja Serenade leaving Helsinki

Both Silja and Viking offer overnight cruises from Helsinki and overnight as well as daytime cruises from Turku to Stockholm, usually stopping in the Åland islands along the way. These are some of the largest and most luxurious passenger ferries in the world, with as many as 14 floors and a whole slew of restaurants, bars, discos, pool and spa facilities, etc. The cheaper cabin classes below the car decks are rather spartan, but the higher sea view cabins can be very nice indeed.

Note that, due to crowds of rowdy youngsters aiming to get thoroughly hammered on cheap tax-free booze, both Silja and Viking do not allow unaccompanied youth under 23 to cruise on Fridays or Saturdays. (The age limit is 20 on other nights, and only 18 for travellers not on same-day-return cruise packages.) In addition, Silja does not offer deck class on its overnight services, while Viking does.

Note also that with Viking Line it often is cheaper to book a cruise instead of “route traffic”. The cruise includes both ways with one day in between. If you want to stay longer you simply do not go back – it might still be cheaper than booking a one-way “route traffic” ticket. This accounts especially to last minute tickets (you could, e.g., get from Stockholm to Turku for around €10 overnight – “route traffic” would be over €30 for a cabin with lower quality).

In addition to the big two, FinnLink offers the cheapest car ferry connection of all from Naantali to Kapellskär (from €60 for a car with driver).

Car ferries usually stop for a few minutes at Mariehamn in the Åland Islands, which are outside the EU tax area and thus allow the ferries to operate duty-free sales.

By car[edit]


As mentioned above, one of the easiest ways to get by car from Sweden to Finland is a car ferry. The European Route E12 (Finnish national highway 3) includes a ferry line between Umeå and Vaasa. Another route that includes a car ferry is E18, from Stockholm to Turku.

There are also land border crossings up in Lapland at Tornio, Ylitornio, Pello, Kolari, Muonio and Kaaresuvanto.


European Routes E8 and E75 connect Finland and Norway. There are border crossings at Kilpisjärvi, Kivilompolo, Karigasniemi, Utsjoki, Nuorgam and Näätämö.


European route E18, as Russian route M10, goes from St. Petersburg via Vyborg to Vaalimaa/Torfyanovka border station near Hamina. From there, E18 continues as Finnish national highway 7 to Helsinki, and from there, along the coast as highway 1 to Turku. In Vaalimaa, trucks will have to wait in a persistent truck queue. This queue does not directly affect other vehicles. There are border control and customs checks in Vaalimaa and passports and Schengen visas if applicable will be needed.

From south to north, other border crossings can be found at Nuijamaa/Brusnichnoye (Lappeenranta), Vaalimaa/Torfyanovka, Imatra/Svetogorsk, Niirala (Tohmajärvi), Vartius (Kuhmo) Kelloselkä (Salla) and Raja-Jooseppi (Sodankylä). All except the first are very remote.


As mentioned above, there is a car ferry between Tallinn and Helsinki. It forms a part of European route E67 Via Baltica that runs from the Estonian capital Tallinn, crosses Riga in Latvia and Kaunas in Lithuania to the Polish capital Warsaw. The distance from Tallinn to Warsaw is about 970km, not including any detours.

Get around[edit]

The Finnish rail network (passenger lines in green)

Finland’s a large country and travelling is relatively expensive. Public transportation is well organized and the equipment is always comfortable and often new, and advance bookings are rarely necessary outside the biggest holiday periods. The domestic Journey Planner offers an useful website with integrated timetables for all trains and buses including inter-city and local transport.

If you need information about an address in Finland, you can find it through (an free local area information search engine). It has Google translate included for non locals.

By plane[edit]

Flights are the fastest but generally also the most expensive way of getting around. Finnair and some smaller airlines operate regional flights from Helsinki to all over the country, including Kuopio, Pori, Rovaniemi and Ivalo. It’s worth booking in advance if possible: on the Helsinki-Oulu sector, the country’s busiest, a fully flexible return economy ticket costs a whopping €251 but an advance-purchase non-changeable one-way ticket can go as low as €39, less than a train ticket. You may also be able to get discounted domestic tickets if you fly into Finland on Finnair. Another possibility is Air Baltic which also flies the sector Turku-Oulu for very competitive prices, far less than the train. Additionally, in 2011 Norwegian Air Shuttle started flying from Helsinki to Oulu and Rovaniemi.
A shuttle bus (Finnair city bus) operates between Helsinki-Vantaa airport and Helsinki central railway station in approx. 20 minute intervals (30 min trip duration, €6.30); bus line 615 (at day)/620 (at night) is a slightly cheaper alternative (36 minute trip duration, €5 day, €6 night, 07/2014 prices).

The airport will be accesible by train starting from mid-2015, once the rail link to the local train network is completed.

There are three major airlines selling domestic flights:

  • Finnair, the national flagship airline. Serves nearly all of the country, with some flights operated by their subsidiary Flybe.
  • SAS, with destinations such as Turku, Vaasa, Oulu, Kuusamo, and Kittilä. They also offer extensive connections to Scandinavian cities in neighbouring countries.
  • Norwegian flies to the cities in the north, such as Rovaniemi, Oulu, Ivalo, and Kittilä.

In addition, Air Baltic, Wingo and Air Åland fill in a few gaps.

By train[edit]

A Pendolino train, the fastest in VR’s fleet (220 km/h)

VR [5] (Finnish Railways) operates the fairly extensive railroad network. The train is the method of choice for travel from Helsinki to Tampere, Turku and Lahti, with departures at least once per hour and faster speeds than the bus. The following classes of service are available, with example prices and durations for the popular Helsinki-Tampere service in parenthesis.

  • Pendolino tilting trains (code S), the fastest option (€32, 1:26)
  • InterCity (IC) and InterCity2 (IC2) express trains, with IC surcharge (€26.9, 1:46)
  • Ordinary express (pikajuna, P), with express surcharge, only slow night trains for this connection (€24.6, 2:12-2:16)
  • Local and regional trains (lähiliikennejuna, lähijuna or taajamajuna), no surcharge, quite slow (€21, 2:03)

The trains are generally very comfortable, especially the express services. Pendolino and IC trains have restaurant cars, family cars (IC only, with a playpen for children) and power sockets; Pendolinos and Intercity/IC2 trains even offer free (though often very slow) Wi-Fi connectivity. Additional surcharges apply for travel in first class, branded “Business” on some trains, which gets you more spacious seating, newspapers and possibly a snack.

Overnight sleepers are available for long-haul routes and very good value at €11/21/43 for a bed in a three/two/one-bed compartment, but one-bed compartments are only available in first class.

One child under 7 can travel for free with each fare-paying adult, and seniors over 65 years old and students with Finnish student ID (ISIC cards etc not accepted) get 50% off. Groups of 3 or more get 15% off.

Finland participates in the Inter Rail and Eurail systems. Residents of Europe can buy InterRail Finland passes offering 3-8 days of unlimited travel in one month for €109-229 (adult 2nd class), while the Eurail Finland pass for non-residents is €178-320 for 3-10 days. VR’s own Holiday Pass (LomaPassi), at €145 for 3 days including up to 4 free seat reservations, is available to all but only valid in summer. You would have to travel a lot to make any of these pay off though; by comparison, a full-fare InterCity return ticket across the entire country from Helsinki to Rovaniemi and back is €162.

Generally, the trains are most crowded at the beginning and end of the weekend, and that means Friday and Sunday evening. Shortly before and at the end of major holidays like Christmas/New Year and Easter, trains are usually very busy. If you try booking for these days at a late time, you may find the seat you reserve may be among the least desirable, that is, facing backwards, without recline, and facing towards and sharing the legroom with other passengers.

While VR’s trains may be slick, harsh winter conditions and underinvestment in maintenance mean that delayed trains are not uncommon, with the fancy Pendolinos particularly prone to breaking down. As in the rest of the EU, you’ll get a 25% refund if the train is 1-2 hours late and 50% if more.

By bus[edit]

Matkahuolto [6] offers long-distance coach connections to practically all parts of Finland. Bus is also the only way to travel in Lapland, since the rail network doesn’t extend to the extreme north.

Buses are generally slightly higher priced than trains, although on routes with direct train competition they can be slightly cheaper. Speeds are usually slower than trains, sometimes very slow (from Helsinki to Oulu), sometimes even faster (from Helsinki to Kotka and Pori). On many routes, though, buses are more frequent, so you may still get to your destination faster than if you wait for the next train.

Unlike the trains, student discounts are available also for foreign students by showing a valid ISIC card at Matkahuolto offices (in every bus station) and getting a Matkahuolto student discount card (€5). There is also BusPass travel pass from Matkahuolto [7], which offers unlimited travel in specified time, priced at €149 for 7 days and €249 for 14 days.

Onnibus [8] offers a cheaper alternative (ticket prices beginning from €3 on all routes when bought online) for long-distance coaches on routes Helsinki–Turku, Helsinki–Tampere, Tampere–Pori and beginning from the autumn 2012 also Turku–Tampere–Jyväskylä and Jyväskylä–Oulu. Note that the routes in Tampere don’t serve the city centre (with exception the Pori route) but instead stop in Hervanta (10km south of city centre), which will be Onnibus’ “bus terminal” serving as an interchange station between different routes.

Local transport networks are well-developed in Greater Helsinki, Tampere and Turku. In smaller cities public transport networks are usable on weekdays, but sparse on weekends and during the summer. There are easy-to-use high-tech English route planners with maps to find out how to use local bus services provided by national bus provider Matkahuolto [9].

Demand responsive transport[edit]

Demand responsive transport (DRT) is a form of public transport, in which the routes are determined based on the customers’ needs. You can find the zones where DRT services are available by using the map or address search services[10].

By ferry[edit]

In summertime, lake cruises are a great way to see the scenery of Finland, although most of them only do circular sightseeing loops and aren’t thus particularly useful for getting from point A to point B. Most cruise ships carry 100-200 passengers (book ahead on weekends!), and many are historical steam boats. Popular routes include Turku-Naantali and various routes in and around Saimaa.

By car[edit]

Moose on the loose

The use of sand instead of potassium formate and salt leads to a dirty environment. In Spring, the breathing air is often polluted by dust and thus can result in respiratory malfunctions. Sörnäinen, Helsinki.

Car rental is possible in Finland but generally expensive, with rates generally upwards of €80/day, although rates go down for longer rentals. Foreign-registered cars can only be used in Finland for a limited time and registering it locally involves paying a substantial tax to equalize the price to Finnish levels. If you opt to buy a car in Finland instead, make sure it has all annual taxes paid and when its next annual inspection is due: the deadline is the same day as the car’s first date of use unless the registration form says 00.00.xx in first date of use. In that case the inspection date is determined by the last number of the license plate. All cars must pass emissions testing and precise tests of brakes etc. Police may remove the plates of vehicles that have not passed their annual inspections in time and give you a fine.

Traffic drives on the right, and there are no road tolls in Finnish cities or highways so far. Roads are well maintained and extensive, although expressways are limited to the south of the country. Note that headlights or daytime running lights must be kept on at all times when driving, in and outside cities, whether it’s dark or not. Drivers must stay very alert, particularly at dawn and dusk, for wild animals. Collisions with moose (frequently lethal) are common countrywide, deer (mostly survivable) cause numerous collisions in South and South West parts of the country, and semi-domesticated reindeer are a common cause of accidents in Lapland. Bear collisions happen sometimes in eastern parts of the country. VR’s overnight car carrier trains [11] are popular for skipping the long slog from Helsinki up to Lapland and getting a good night’s sleep instead: a Helsinki-Rovaniemi trip (one way) with car and cabin for 1-3 people starts from €215.

A few unusual or unobvious rules to beware of:

  • Headlights are mandatory even during daylight.
  • Always give way to the right, unless signed otherwise. There is no concept of minor and major road, so this applies even to smaller road on your right. Almost all intersections are explicitly signposted with yield signs (either the stop sign or an inverted triangle). There is no explicit sign on the road that has priority, instead watch out for the back of the yield sign on the other road.
  • Signs use the following shorthand: white numbers are for weekdays (eg. “8-16″ means 08:00-16:00), white numbers in parentheses apply on Saturdays and red numbers on Sundays and holidays.
  • In Helsinki, trams always have the right of way. Collisions do a “surprising amount of damage”. Don’t get into arguments with a vehicle that can’t change direction and weighs as much as a small battle tank.
  • A vehicle is required by law to stop at a zebra crossing, if at least one other car has stopped, regardless of whether or not there is a pedestrian (in a similar manner as if there were a stop sign).
  • A car is obliged to stop at a zebra crossing, if the pedestrian intends to cross the road. Many pedestrians intend to cross the road only when there is a sufficiently large gap in the traffic.
  • When crossing the road as a pedestrian at a zebra crossing, do not leave a shadow of a doubt that you will cross the road, and cars will stop. With some practice, this works out smoothly, efficiently and without taking undue risks. By default, drivers will assume that the pedestrian “does not intend to cross the road right now”, in other words, cars will not stop.
  • A car horn may only be used to prevent a collision or a similar hazardous situation. Using the horn for other purposes such as expressing frustration in surrounding traffic is unlawful and quite strongly frowned upon.
  • Circular traffic can be rather complex. For example, in one spot, two new lanes are created while the outer lane is suddenly forced to exit. This creates a difficult situation, when the lines are covered by snow.
  • Pedestrians walking on unlighted roads without sidewalk or cycle tracks in the dark are required by law to use safety reflectors. Their use is generally recommended, since the visibility of pedestrians with reflector improves greatly.

Winter driving can be somewhat hazardous, especially for drivers unused to cold weather conditions. Winter tires (M+S) are mandatory from 1 December through the end of February. The most dangerous weather is in fact around the zero degree mark (C), when slippery but near-invisible black ice forms on the roads. Finnish cars often come equipped with an engine block heater (lohkolämmitin) used to preheat the engine and possibly the interior of the car beforehand, and many parking places have electric outlets to feed them. Liikenneturva, the Finnish road safety agency, maintains a Tips for winter driving page [12] in English.
Note that especially in the Helsinki area, the majority of cars are equipped with steel-studded tires that allow more dynamic driving and shorter braking distances on frozen surfaces than conventional traction tires (M+S), as used in other European countries.

Finnish speeding tickets are based on your income, so be careful: a Nokia VP who’d cashed in some stock options the previous year was once hit for US$204,000! Fortunately, the police have no access to tax records outside Finland and will just fine non-residents a flat €100-200 instead. Speed limits are 50 km/h in towns, 80-100 km/h outside towns and usually 120 km/h on freeways. From around mid-october to april, speedlimits on freeways are lowered to 100 km/h and most 100 km/h limits are lowered to 80 km/h.

Software for GPS navigators that warns of fixed safety cameras is legal and installed by default in many mobile phones. Warning signs before fixed cameras are required by law.

A blood alcohol level of over 0.05% is considered drunk driving and 0.12% as aggrevated drunk driving, so think twice before drinking that second beer. Finnish police strictly enforce this by random roadblocks and sobriety tests.

If you are driving at night when the gas stations are closed (they usually close at 9 PM), always remember to bring some money for gas. Automated gas pumps in Finland in rare occasions do not accept foreign visa/credit cards, but you can pay with Euro notes. In the sparsely-populated areas of the country, distances of 50 km and more between gas stations are not unheard of, so don’t gamble unnecessarily with those last litres of fuel.

If you come in your own car, note that all petrol in Finland contains ethanol. If your car should not be run on ethanol-containing petrol or you are unsure use the 98 octane petrol. This contains residual ethanol from the pump station up to a maximum of 5% and can be used in all cars that run on petrol.

By taxi[edit]

Finnish taxis are heavily regulated by the government, so they’re comfortable, safe and expensive. No matter where you go in the country, the starting fee is fixed at €5.90, rising up to €9.00 at night and on Sundays. The per-kilometer charge starts at €1.52/km for 1 or 2 passengers, rising up to €2,13/km for 7 or 8 passenger minivans. A 20-25 km journey (say, airport to central Helsinki) can thus easily cost €40-50.

Taxis can come in any color or shape, but they will always have a yellow “TAXI” sign (sometimes spelled “TAKSI”) on the roof. Hailing cabs off the street is difficult to impossible, so either find a taxi rank or order by phone (Any pub or restaurant will help you on this – expect to pay 2 euros for the call). Taxi companies around the country can be found at the Taksiliitto [13] site.

In the Helsinki city center, long queues at the taxi stops can be expected on Friday and Saturday nights. It is not uncommon to share a taxi with strangers, if going towards the same general direction.

Using of unofficial “taxis” is to be avoided. You might lose your wallet/purse/phone. This despite Helsinki being maybe one of the safest capitals in Europe.

By thumb[edit]

Hitchhiking is possible, albeit unusual, in Finland, as the harsh climate and sparse traffic don’t exactly encourage standing around and waiting for cars. The most difficult task is getting out of Helsinki. Summer offers long light hours, but in the fall/spring you should plan your time. The highway between Helsinki and Saint Petersburg has a very high percentage of Russian drivers. See Hitchhiking Club Finland [14] or the Finland article [15] on Hitchwiki for further details if interested.

By bicycle[edit]

Most Finnish cities have good bike paths especially outside the centres, and taking a bike can be a quick, healthy and environmentally friendly method of getting around locally.

The roads are generally paved well, although gravel roads are sometimes unavoidable. As long as you don’t go off-road, you will not need suspension or grooved tyres.

Because of the long distances, bicycle tourists are advised to plan well and be prepared to use public transport for the less interesting stretches. Long-distance coaches are well-equipped to take bicycles on board, trains take bicycles if there is enough space. Ferries take bikes for free or for a small fee.

Due to the relatively gentle topographic relief, too hilly terrain is rarely a problem, but in the cold months, windchill requires more protection against cold than in walking.


       See also: Finnish phrasebook

Finnish language map. Finnish is a Official Language (dark blue) and Finnish spoken by a minority (aruba blue)

Finland is officially bilingual in Finnish (spoken by 90% of the population) and Swedish (spoken by 5,6 of the population), and both languages are compulsory in all schools, but in practice most of the population is monolingual in Finnish. Finnish is spoken everywhere in the country except Åland islands and Finnish is the main language of Finland. Finnish is not related to the Scandinavian languages (Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Icelandic and Faroese), Russian, or English. In fact, it is not even an Indo-European language, instead belonging in the Uralic group of languages which includes Hungarian and Estonian, making it hard for speakers of most other European languages to learn. Reading signboards can also be difficult as Finnish has relatively few loan words from common European languages, and as a result it is very hard to guess what words in Finnish mean.

Swedish is the mother tongue for 5.6% of Finns. There are no big towns with a Swedish majority, and the Swedish-speaking communities are mainly smaller rural communities along the Southwest coast. Many towns and road signs on the coast use alternate Finnish and Swedish names, so road signs can be confusing, however bilingual signs anywhere else outside bilingual areas never appear. The small autonomous province of Åland and the municipalities of Närpes, Korsnäs and Larsmo are exclusively Swedish-speaking, and people there typically speak little or no Finnish at all, so English is a better bet. Swedish is a mandatory subject in Finnish-speaking schools (and Finnish in Swedish-speaking schools), so everyone is supposed to speak and understand it; in reality, though, only 41% of the Finnish-speaking population are conversant in it, and of these people live in coastal areas and especially in predominantly or significantly Swedish-speaking areas. Even this varies: for example, in Helsinki and Turku most people can speak Swedish enough to deal with important conversations you engage in as a tourist and often somewhat beyond, but living would be impossible without knowledge of Finnish, whereas towns like Vaasa and Porvoo have significant Swedish-speaking minorities and are more genuinely bilingual (i.e. it would be possible to live there with Swedish only). Most larger hotels and restaurants in areas where Swedish is widely spoken do have Swedish-proficient staff.

Russian is understood near the Russian border, for example Lappeenranta, Imatra and Joensuu, which are areas frequented by Russian tourists. Tourist destinations which are popular among Russians in Eastern and Northern Finland have some Russian-speaking staff.

In bigger towns, with the exception of the elderly, many people you would meet as a tourist speak passable English, and even in the countryside younger people will nearly always know enough to communicate. In fact, outside of the Swedish-speaking communities, English is usually far better understood than Swedish. Conversely, within the Swedish-speaking communities, English is often better understood than Finnish. 73 % of the population in Finland can speak English. Don’t hesitate to ask for help: Finns can be shy, but will help out in need. Besides English and Swedish, some Finns can speak German (18 %) or French (3 %), other secondary languages (Spanish, Russian) being rare.

Foreign TV series and movies are nearly always subtitled. Only children’s fare gets dubbed into Finnish.

The grammar of Finnish language has relatively few exceptions but quite many rules (where some rules might be considered cleverly disguised exceptions). There are about 17 different cases for “getting some coffee and getting the coffee, going into a pub, being in a pub (or in a state of drunkenness), getting out of the pub, being on the roof, getting onto the roof, getting off the roof, using something as a roof” and so on that are encoded into the word endings. In written text, the plethora of cases makes it a challenging exercise to even look up a single word from the dictionary. The conjugation of verbs is unfortunately somewhat more complex.

See[edit][add listing]

Sunset with reflections on a lake in Finland.

A selection of top sights in Finland:

  • Central Helsinki, the Daughter of the Baltic, on a warm and sunny summer day
  • The Suomenlinna Sea Fortress, 15-minute ferry trip from Downtown Helsinki. A Unesco World Heritage Site.
  • The historical sites of Turku and the vast archipelago around it, best viewed from the deck of a giant car ferry.
  • Pottering around the picturesque wooden houses of Porvoo, Finland’s second-oldest town
  • Renting a car and exploring the Lake Land of Eastern Finland, an area dotted with around 60 000 lakes with a similar number of islands, which in turn have their own lakes…
  • Olavinlinna Castle in Savonlinna, Finland’s most atmospheric castle, especially during the yearly Opera Festival
  • Hämeenlinna Castle in Hämeenlinna is Finland’s oldest castle. Built in 13th century.
  • Relaxing at a sauna-equipped cottage in the lake country of Eastern Finland
  • Icebreaker cruising and the world’s biggest snow castle in Kemi
  • Seeing the Northern Lights and trying your hand sledding down a mile-long track at Saariselkä
  • A ride on the historical “Linnanmäki” wooden roller coaster (Helsinki). Unlike modern designs, only gravity keeps it on the track, and it requires a driver on each train to operate the brakes.

Do[edit][add listing]


Notably lacking in craggy mountains or crenellated fjords, Finland is not the adrenalin-laden winter sports paradise you might expect: the traditional Finnish pastime is cross-country skiing through more or less flat terrain. If you’re looking for downhill skiing, snowboarding etc, you’ll need to head up to Lapland and resorts like Levi and Saariselkä.

During the short summer you can swim, fish or canoe in the lakes. They are usually warmest around 20th July. Local newspapers usually have the current surface temperatures, and a map of the surface temperatures can also be found from the Environment Ministry website [16]. During the warmest weeks, late at night or early in the morning the water can feel quite pleasant when the air temperature is lower than the water’s. Most towns also have swimming halls with slightly warmer water, but these are often closed during the summer. Fishing permits, if needed, can be easily bought from any R-Kioski although they take a small surcharge for it.

For hikers, fishermen and hunters, the Ministry of Forestry maintains an online Excursion Map map [17] with trails and huts marked. The best season for hiking is early fall, after most mosquitoes have died off and the autumn colors have come out.

And if you’d like to try your hand at something uniquely Finnish, don’t miss the plethora of bizarre sports contests in the summer, including:

  • Air Guitar World Championships [18], August, Oulu.
  • Mobile Phone Throwing Championship [19], August, Savonlinna. Recycle your Nokia!
  • Swamp Soccer World Championship [20], July, Hyrynsalmi. Probably the messiest sporting event in the world.
  • Wife Carrying World Championship [21], July, Sonkajärvi. The grand prize is the wife’s weight in beer.
  • Sulkavan Suursoudut [22], July, Sulkava Finland’s biggest rowing event


Finland hosts many music festivals (festari) during the summer. Some of the most notable include:

Most of the festivals last 2-4 days and are very well organized, with many different bands playing, with eg. Foo Fighters and Linkin Park headlining at Provinssi 2008. The normal full ticket (all days) price is about €60-100, which includes a camp site where you can sleep, eat and meet other festival guests. The atmosphere at festivals is great and probably you’ll find new friends there. Of course drinking a lot of beer is a part of the experience.

There are also many more less-advertised underground festivals around the countryside every summer.

Northern Lights[edit]

Spotting the eerie Northern Lights (aurora borealis, or revontulet in Finnish) glowing in the sky is on the agenda of many visitors, but even in Finland it’s not so easy. During the summer, it’s light all day along and the aurora become invisible, and they’re rarely seen in the south. The best place to spot them is during the winter in the far north, when the probability of occurrence is over 50% around the magnetic peak hour of 22:30 — if the sky is clear, that is. The ski resort of Saariselkä, easily accessible by plane and with plenty of facilities, is particularly popular among aurora hunters.

Buy[edit][add listing]

Finland has the euro (€) as its sole currency along with 24 other countries that use this common European money. These 24 countries are: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain (official euro members which are all European Union member states) as well as Andorra, Kosovo, Monaco, Montenegro, San Marino and the Vatican which use it without having a say in eurozone affairs and without being European Union members. Together, these countries have a population of more than 330 million.

One euro is divided into 100 cents. While each official euro member (as well as Monaco, San Marino and Vatican) issues its own coins with a unique obverse, the reverse, as well as all bank notes, look the same throughout the eurozone. Every coin is legal tender in any of the eurozone countries.

Finland does not use the 1 and 2 cent coins; instead all sums are rounded to the nearest 5 cents. The coins are, however, still legal tender and there are even small quantities of Finnish 1c and 2c coins, highly valued by collectors. It is common to omit cents and the euro sign from prices, and use the comma as a decimal separator: “5,50” thus means five euros and fifty cents.

Getting or exchanging money is rarely a problem, as ATMs (“Otto”) are common and they can be operated with international credit and debit cards (Visa, Visa Electron, Mastercard, Maestro). Currencies other than the euro are generally not accepted, although the Swedish krona may be accepted in Åland and northern border towns like Tornio. Russian roubles are accepted in some select touristy shops, such as Stockmann in Helsinki. Money changers are common in the bigger cities (the Forex chain [34] is ubiquitous) and typically have longer opening hours and faster service than banks. Credit cards are widely accepted, and the payment is almost always accepted by your PIN code. Visa Electron and Visa Debit cardreaders are found in all major and most minor shops, so carrying large amounts of cash is not usually necessary.

As a rule, tipping is never necessary in Finland and restaurant bills already include service charges. That said, taxi fares and other bills paid by cash are are occasionally rounded up to the next convenient number. Cloakrooms (narikka) in nightclubs and better restaurants often have non-negotiable fees (usually clearly signposted, €3 is standard), and — in the few hotels that employ them — hotel porters will expect around the same per bag.


Declared the world’s most expensive country in 1990, prices have since abated somewhat but are still steep by most standards. Rock-bottom traveling if staying in hostel dorms and self-catering costs at least €25/day and it’s well worth doubling that amount. The cheapest hotels cost about €50 per night and more regular hotels closer to € 100. Instead of hotels or hostels, look for holiday cottages, especially when travelling in a group and off-season, you can find a full-equipped cottage for €10-15 per person a night. Camp-sites typically cost between €10 and €20 per tent.

Museums and tourist attractions have an entrance fee in the range of €5-25. Using public transport costs a few euros per day and depends on the city. One-way travel between major cities by train or by bus costs between €20 and €100, depending on the distance.

Note that a VAT of 24% is charged for nearly everything, but by law this must be included in the displayed price. Non-EU residents can get a tax refund for purchases above €40 at participating outlets, just look for the Tax-Free Shopping logo.


As you might expect given the general price level, souvenir shopping in Finland isn’t exactly cheap. Traditional buys include Finnish puukko knives, handwoven ryijy rugs and every conceivable part of a reindeer. For any Lappish handicrafts, look for the “Sámi Duodji” label that certifies it as authentic.

Popular brands for modern (or timeless) Finnish design include Marimekko [35] clothing, Iittala [36] glass, Arabia [37] ceramics, Kalevala Koru [38] jewelry, Pentik [39] interior design and, if you don’t mind the shipping costs, Artek [40] furniture by renowned architect and designer Alvar Aalto. Kids and not a few adults love Moomin [41] characters, which fill up souvenir store shelves throughout the country. In case one prefers souvenirs that are made in Finland and do not just appear Finn Made, caution is advised. Many wooden products are actually imported and Marimekko, for instance, manufactures most of its products outside Finland. Safe bets for truly Finnish souvenirs are products made by Lapuan Kankurit [42] and Aarikka [43], for example.

Beware of limited Finnish shopping hours. For smaller shops, normal weekday opening hours are 09:00-18:00, but most shops close early on Saturday and are closed entirely on Sundays. Larger shops, grocery- and department stores are generally open until 21:00 on weekdays and 18:00 on Saturdays and Sundays. Stores are allowed to stay open until 18:00 on Sundays (21:00 around Christmas). Smaller stores have no limitations. During national holidays, almost all stores are closed. Shopping hours for small and speciality stores in small towns and in the countryside are often much shorter than big cities, but most national chains keep the same hours throughout the country. Exception to this are grocery stores in smaller localities.

The range of products in Finnish grocery stories tends to be a little bit more limited than in neighboring countries (except perhaps in Norway). For example, a selection of cola bevarages may include only two big international brands, Coca-Cola and Pepsi, even in larger supermarkets. Grocery stores are rather common, and there is usually at least one supermarket in almost all localities. Finnish food markets are mainly dominated by two large groups: S Group (supermarket chains Sale, Alepa, S-Market and hypermarket chain Prisma), and K Group (supermarket chains K-Extra, K-Market, K-Supermarket and hypermarket chain K-Citymarket], while local market chains like Siwa, Valintatalo, Tarmo and M-Market covers lots of gaps where larger chains do not operate. In addition to these chains, international discount store chain Lidl operates around 150 stores in Finland, mainly in cities and towns with population over 5,000. It usually offers the cheapest prices, and product range is similar to rest of Europe.

Convenience stores like the ubiquitous R-Kioski [44] keep somewhat longer hours, but still tend to be closed when you most need them. If in desperate need of basic supplies, gas station convenience stores are usually open on weekends and until late at night. Supermarkets in Helsinki‘s Asematunneli, underneath the Central Railway Station), are open until 22:00 every day of the year, except on Christmas Day (25 Dec). Gas stations are allowed by law to keep doors open 24/7 every day, even on holidays and Sundays. Some gas stations take benefit from this law and some don’t. Most notable 24/7 Gas station-chains are “ABC” [45] and Shell [46].

Most products need to be imported, and unfortunately this shows in the selection of goods and the pricing. It is not uncommon to see exactly the same product in different shops, at exactly the same price.

While shopkeepers may vehemently deny this to a foreigner, prices in smaller stores are by no means fixed. When buying hobby equipment, it is not uncommon to get 30 % discount (hint: Find the international price level from a web shop and print it out). The more specialized the goods, the higher the gap between Finnish and international prices, and mail order may save a lot of money. When a package is intercepted by customs (which is quite rate for physically small items), the buyer is notified and can pick it up from customs. VAT and possibly import duty are charged, bring a copy of the order that is then signed by the buyer and archived.

When buying consumer electronics, one should be aware that the shelf life of products can be rather long, especially if the shop isn’t specialized in consumer electronics. There is a risk to buy an overpriced product that has already been discontinued by the manufacturer or replaced with a newer model.

Eat[edit][add listing]

A typical Finnish meal. Clockwise from bottom: warm smoked salmon, boiled potatoes, cream sauce with chantarelles, lightly pickled cucumbers with dill

Finnish cuisine is heavily influenced by its neighbors, the main staples being potatoes and bread with various fish and meat dishes on the side. Milk or cream is traditionally considered an important part of the diet and is often an ingredient in foods and a drink, even for adults. Various milk products such as cheeses are also produced. While traditional Finnish food is famously bland, the culinary revolution that followed joining the EU has seen a boom in classy restaurants experimenting with local ingredients, often with excellent results.


With tens of thousands of lakes and a long coastline, fish is a Finnish staple, and there’s a lot more on that menu than just salmon (lohi). Specialities include:

  • Baltic herring (silakka), a small, fatty and quite tasty fish available pickled, marinated, smoked, grilled and in countless other varieties
  • Gravlax (“graavilohi”), a pan-Scandinavian appetizer of raw salted salmon
  • Smoked salmon (savulohi), not just the cold, thinly sliced, semi-raw kind but also fully cooked “warm” smoked salmon
  • Vendace (muikku), a speciality in eastern Finland, a small fish served fried, heavily salted and typically with mashed potatoes

Other local fish to look out for include zander (kuha), an expensive delicacy, pike (hauki) and perch (ahven).

Meat dishes[edit]

Reindeer stew (poronkäristys), a Lappish favorite

Meatballs (lihapullat), served with mashed potatoes and lingonberry jam

  • Karelian stew (karjalanpaisti), a heavy stew usually made from beef and pork (and optionally, lamb), carrots and onions, usually served with potatoes
  • Liver casserole (maksalaatikko), consisting of chopped liver, rice and raisins cooked in an oven; it tastes rather different from what you’d expect (and not liver-y at all)
  • Loop sausage (lenkkimakkara), a large, mildly flavored sausage; best when grilled and topped with a dab of sweet Finnish mustard (sinappi), and beer
  • Meat balls (lihapullat, lihapyörykät) are as popular and tasty as in neighboring Sweden
  • Reindeer (poro) dishes, especially sauteed reindeer shavings (poronkäristys, served with potato mash and lingonberries), not actually a part of the everyday Finnish diet but a tourist staple and common in the frigid North
  • Swedish hash (“pyttipannu”), (originally from Sweden, Swedish: “pytt i panna”) a hearty dish of potatoes, onions and any meaty leftovers on hand fried up in a pan and topped with an egg
  • Makkara traditional Finnish sausage. Affectionately called “the Finnish man’s vegetable” since the actual meat content may be rather low.

Milk products[edit]

Cheese and other milk products are very popular in Finland. The most common varieties are mild hard cheeses like Edam and Emmental, but local specialities include:

  • Aura cheese (aurajuusto), a local variety of blue cheese, also used in soups, sauces and as a pizza topping.
  • Breadcheese (leipäjuusto or juustoleipä), a type of very mild-flavored grilled curd that squeaks when you eat it, best enjoyed warm with a dab of cloudberry jam
  • Piimä, a type of buttermilk beverage, thick and sour
  • Viili, a gelatinous, stretchy and sour variant of yoghurt

Other dishes[edit]

Karelian pie (karjalanpiirakka), a signature Finnish pastry

  • Pea soup (hernekeitto), usually but not always with ham, traditionally eaten with a dab of mustard and served on Thursdays; just watch out for the flatulence!
  • Karelian pies (karjalanpiirakka), an oval 7 by 10 cm baked pastry, traditionally baked with rye flour, containing rice porridge or mashed potato, ideally eaten topped with butter and chopped egg (munavoi)
  • Porridge (puuro), usually made from oats (kaura), barley (ohra), rice (riisi) or rye (ruis) and most often served for breakfast


Bread (leipä) is served with every meal in Finland, and comes in a vast array of varieties. Rye bread is the most popular bread in Finland. Typically Finnish ones include:

  • hapankorppu, dry, crispy and slightly sour flatbread, occasionally sold overseas as “Finncrisp”
  • limppu, catch-all term for big loaves of fresh bread
  • näkkileipä, another type of dark, dried, crispy rye flatbread
  • ruisleipä (rye bread), can be up to 100% rye and much darker, heavier and chewier than American-style rye bread; unlike in Swedish tradition, Finnish rye bread is typically unsweetened and thus sour and even bitter.
  • rieska, unleavened bread made from wheat or potatoes, eaten fresh

Seasonal and regional specialities[edit]

Attack of the killer mushrooms

The false morel (korvasieni) has occasionally been dubbed the “Finnish fugu”, as like the infamous Japanese pufferfish, an improperly prepared false morel can kill you. Fortunately, it’s easily rendered safe by boiling (just don’t breathe in the fumes!), and prepared mushrooms can be found in gourmet restaurants and even canned.

From the end of July until early September it’s worthwhile to ask for crayfish (rapu) menus and prices at better restaurants. It’s not cheap, you don’t get full from the crayfish alone and there are many rituals involved, most of which involve large quantities of ice-cold vodka, but it should be tried at least once. Or try to sneak onto a corporate crayfish party guestlist, places are extremely coveted at some. Around Christmas, baked ham is the traditional star of the dinner table, with a constellation of casseroles around it.

There are also regional specialties, including Eastern Finland‘s kalakukko (a type of giant fish pie) and Tampere‘s infamous blood sausage (mustamakkara). Around Easter keep an eye out for mämmi, a type of brown sweet rye pudding which is eaten with cream and sugar. It looks famously unpleasant but actually tastes quite good.


An assortment of pulla straight from the oven

For dessert or just as a snack, Finnish pastries abound and are often taken with coffee (see Drink) after a meal. Look for cardamom coffee bread (pulla), a wide variety of tarts (torttu), and donuts (munkki). In summer, a wide range of fresh berries are available, including the delectable but expensive cloudberry (lakka), and berry products are available throughout the year as jam (hillo), soup (keitto) and a type of gooey clear pudding known as kiisseli.

Finnish chocolate is also rather good, with Fazer [47] products including their iconic Sininen (“Blue”) bar exported around the world. A more Finnish speciality is licorice (lakritsi), particularly the strong, salty kind known as salmiakki, which gets its unique (and acquired) taste from ammonium chloride.

Places to eat[edit]

Cold fish buffet at Liekkilohi, Savonlinna

Finns tend to eat out only on special occasions, and restaurant prices are correspondingly expensive. The one exception is lunchtime, when thanks to a government-sponsored lunch coupon system company cafeterias and nearly every restaurant in town offers set lunches for around €8-9, usually consisting of a main course, salad bar, bread table and a drink. University cafeterias, many of which are open to all, are particularly cheap with meals in the €2-4 range for students, although without local student ID you will usually need to pay about €5-7. There are also public cafeterias in office / administration areas that are open only during lunch hours on working days. While not particularly stylish and sometimes hard to find, those usually offer high-quality buffet lunch at a reasonable price (typically €8.40 in 2011).

The cafe scene has quickly developed, especially since the 1990s and above all in Helsinki. The array of cakes and pastries is not perhaps as vast as in Central Europe, but the local special coffees (lattes, mochas etc.) are worth trying when it comes to the two big local coffee house chains: Wayne’s Coffee (originated in Sweden) and Robert’s Coffee (Finland). You can now also find Starbucks in Finland.

For dinner, you’ll be limited to generic fast food (pizza, hamburgers, kebabs and such) in the €5-10 range, or you’ll have to splurge over €20 for a meal in a “nice” restaurant. For eating on the move, look for grill kiosks (grilli), which serve sausages, hamburgers and other portable if not terribly health-conscious fare late into the night at reasonable prices. In addition to the usual hamburgers and hot dogs, look for meat pies (lihapiirakka), akin to a giant savoury doughnut stuffed with minced meat and your choice of sausage, fried eggs and condiments. Hesburger [48] is the local fast-food equivalent of McDonald’s, with a similar menu. They have a “Finnish” interpretation of a few dishes, such as a sour-rye chicken sandwich. Of course most international fast food chains are present, especially McDonald’s, which offers many of their sandwich buns substituted with a sour-rye bun on request.

The Finnish word for buffet is seisova pöytä (“standing table”), and while increasingly used to refer to all-you-can-eat Chinese or Italian restaurants, the traditional meaning is akin to Sweden’s smörgåsbord: a good-sized selection of sandwiches, fish, meats and pastries. It’s traditionally eaten in three rounds — first the fish, then the cold meats, and finally warm dishes — and it’s usually the first that is the star of the show. Though expensive and not very common in a restaurant setting, if you are fortunate enough to be formally invited to a Finn’s home, they will likely have prepared a spread for their guest, along with plenty of coffee. Breakfast at better hotels is also along these lines and it’s easy to eat enough to cover lunch as well!

If you’re really on a budget, you can save a considerable amount of money by self-catering. Ready-to-eat casseroles and other basic fare that can be quickly prepared in a microwave can be bought for a few euros in any supermarket. Note that you’re usually expected to weigh and label any fruits or vegetables yourself (bag it, place it on the scale and press the numbered button. The correct number can be found from the price sign), and green signs mean possibly tastier but certainly more expensive organic (luomu) produce.

One should be aware that more often than not, cheap food contains disproportionate amounts of fat.

At restaurants, despite the high prices, portions tend to be quite small, at least when compared to USA and Canada, and even many European countries.

Dietary restrictions[edit]

Traditional Finnish cuisine relies heavily on meat and fish, but vegetarianism (kasvissyönti) is increasingly popular and well-understood, and will rarely pose a problem for travellers. Practically all restaurants offer vegetarian options, often marked with a “V” on menus.

Two ailments commonly found among Finns themselves are lactose intolerance (laktoosi-intoleranssi, inability to digest the milk sugar lactose) and coeliac disease (keliakia, inability to digest gluten). In restaurants, lactose-free selections are often tagged “L” (low-lactose products are sometimes called “Hyla” or marked with “VL”), while gluten-free options are marked with “G”. However, hydrolyzed lactose (HYLA brand) milk or lactose-free milk drink for the lactose intolerant is widely available, which also means that a lactose-free dish is not necessarily milk-free. Allergies are quite common among Finnish people, too, so restaurant workers are usually quite knowledgeable on what goes into each dish and often it is possible to get the dish without certain ingredients if specified.

Kosher and halal food are rare in Finland and generally not available outside very limited speciality shops and restaurants catering to the tiny Jewish and Islamic communities. Watch out for minced meat dishes like meatballs, which very commonly use a mix of beef and pork. The Jewish Community of Helsinki [49] runs a small kosher deli in Helsinki.

Drink[edit][add listing]

Thanks to its thousands of lakes, Finland has plenty of water supplies and tap water is always potable (In fact, never buy bottled water if you can get tap water!). The usual soft drinks and juices are widely available, but look out for a wide array of berry juices (marjamehu), especially in summer, as well as Pommac, an unusual soda made from (according to the label) “mixed fruits”, which you’ll either love or hate.

Coffee and tea[edit]

Finns are the world’s heaviest coffee (kahvi) drinkers, averaging 3-4 cups per day. Most Finns drink it strong and black, but sugar and milk for coffee are always available and the more European variants such as espresso and cappuccino are becoming all the more common especially in the bigger cities. The biggest towns have had French-style fancy cafés for quite some time and modern competitors, like Wayne’s or Robert’s Coffee, are springing up in the mix. For a quick caffeine fix, you can just pop into any convenience store, which will pour you a cuppa for €2 or so. Tea hasn’t quite caught on in quite the same way, although finding hot water and a bag of Lipton Yellow Label won’t be a problem. For brewed tea, check out some of the finer downtown cafés or tea rooms.


In Finland some people like to drink milk (maito) as an accompaniment to food at home or at the cafeteria at work or school. The most popular beverage is water, though. Another popular option is piimä, or buttermilk. Viili, a type of curd, acts like super-stretchy liquid bubble gum but is similar to plain yogurt in taste. It is traditionally eaten with cinnamon and sugar on top. Fermented dairy products help stabilize the digestion system, so if your system is upset, give them a try.


Chilling out at the Arctic Icebar, Helsinki

Alcohol is very expensive in Finland compared to most countries (though not to its Nordic neighbours Sweden and Norway), although low-cost Estonia‘s entry to the EU has forced the government to cut alcohol taxes a little. Still, a single beer will cost you closer to €4-5 in any bar or pub, or €1 and up in a supermarket. While beer and cider are available in any supermarket or convenience store (until 9 PM), the state monopoly Alko [50] is your sole choice for wine or anything stronger. The legal drinking age is 18 for milder drinks, while to buy hard liquor from Alko you need to be 20. ID is usually requested from all young-looking clients. Some restaurants have higher age requirements, up to 30 years, but these are their own policies and are not always followed, especially at more quiet times.

Surprisingly enough, the national drink is not Finlandia Vodka, but its local brand Koskenkorva [51] or Kossu in common speech. However, the two drinks are closely related: Kossu is 38% while Finlandia is 40%, and Kossu also has a small amount of added sugar, which makes the two drinks taste somewhat different. There are also many other vodkas (viina) on the market, most of which taste pretty much the same, but look out for Ström, “The Spirit of Santa”, a Finnish attempt at a super-premium vodka.

A local speciality is Salmiakki-Kossu or Salmari, prepared by mixing in salty black salmiakki licorice, whose taste masks the alcohol behind it fearfully well. Add in some Fisherman’s Friend menthol cough drops to get Fisu (“Fish”) shots, which are even more lethal. In-the-know hipsters opt for Pantteri (“Panther”), which is half and half Salmari and Fisu. Other classic shots are Jaloviina (Jallu) cut brandy and Tervasnapsi “tar schnapps” with a distinctive smoke aroma.

Beer (olut or kalja) is also very popular, but Finnish beers are mostly nearly identical, mild lagers: common brands are Lapin Kulta, Karjala, Olvi, Koff and Karhu. Pay attention to the label when buying: beers branded “I” are inexpensive but has low alcohol content, while “III” and “IV” are stronger and more expensive. In normal shops you will not find any drinks with more than 4.7% alcohol. You may also encounter kotikalja (lit. “home beer”), a dark brown beer-like but very low-alcohol beverage. Imported beers are available in bigger grocery stores, most pubs and bars, and Czech beers in particular are popular and only slightly more expensive. In recent years, some microbreweries (Laitila, Stadin panimo, Nokian panimo etc.) have been gaining foothold with their domestic dark lagers, wheat beers and ales.

The latest trend is ciders (siideri). Most of these are artificially flavored sweet concoctions which are quite different from the English or French kinds, although the more authentic varieties are gaining market share. The ever-popular gin long drink or lonkero (lit. “tentacle”), a prebottled mix of gin and grapefruit soda, tastes better than it sounds and has the additional useful property of glowing under ultraviolet light. At up to 610 kcal/liter it also allows to skip dinner, leaving more time for drinking. Different variations of lonkero have become quite popular as well, for example karpalolonkero, which is made from gin and cranberry soda. Remember that most long drinks you buy from a supermarket are made by fermenting, and if you wan’t to get real mixed drink you’ll have to look for them in Alko.

During the winter don’t miss glögi, a type of spiced mulled wine served with almonds and raisins which can easily be made at home. The bottled stuff in stores is usually alcohol free, although it was originally made of old wine and Finns will very often mix in some wine or spirits. In restaurants, glögi is served either alcohol-free, or with 2cl vodka added. Fresh, hot glögi can, for example, be found at the Helsinki Christmas market.

Quite a few unusual liquors (likööri) made from berries are available, although they’re uniformly very sweet and usually served with dessert. Cloudberry liquor (lakkalikööri) is worth a short even if you don’t like the berries fresh.

Homemade spirits: you have been warned! More common in rural areas, illegal and frequently distilled on modified water purification plants – which are subject to import control laws nowadays – anecdotical evidence suggests that those are occasionally played as a prank on unsuspecting foreigners. Note that “normal” alcohol slows the metabolism of poisonous methanol and thus acts as an antidote. Politely decline the offer, especially if still sober.

Finally, two traditional beverages worth looking for are mead (sima), an age-old wine-like brew made from brown sugar, lemon and yeast and consumed particularly around May’s Vappu festival, and sahti, a type of unfiltered, usually very strong beer often flavored with juniper berries (an acquired taste).

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Inside a Finnish sauna


The sauna is perhaps Finland’s most significant contribution to the world (and the world’s vocabulary). The sauna is essentially a room heated to 70–120°C; according to an oft-quoted statistic this nation of 5 million has no less than 2 million saunas, in apartments, offices, summer cottages and even Parliament. In ancient times, saunas (being the cleanest places around) were the place to give birth and heal the sick, and the first building constructed when setting up a new household.

If invited to visit a Finnish home, you may be invited to bathe in the sauna as well — this is an honour and should be treated as such, although Finns do understand that foreigners may not be keen about the idea. Enter the sauna nude after taking a shower, as wearing a bathing suit or any other clothing is considered a bit of a faux pas, although if you are feeling shy, you can wrap yourself in a bath towel. (When there are guests, men and women usually bathe separately.) The temperature is regulated by throwing water onto the stove (kiuas): the resulting rush of heat, known as löyly, is considered the key to the sauna experience. Some sauna-goers also like to flagellate themselves with leafy branches of birch (vihta in western Finland, vasta in eastern Finland), which creates an enjoyable aroma and improves blood circulation.

Depending on the occasion, the temperature in a Finnish sauna may start quite hot and gradually cool down over the hours, especially in a wood-heated sauna. The lower benches are cooler, the corner that is the furthest away from the stove is usually the hottest place.

In work-related events, the actual decision-making frequently takes place in the sauna afterwards.

In “public” saunas (hotels, gyms and the like), it is customary to sit on a paper towel (don’t forget to take it out when leaving). The environment is rather hostile towards germs, so there is no need to worry about catching a disease from the sweaty wooden bench. If the heat is too much, cup your hands in front of your mouth or move down to a lower level to catch your breath.

In winter, it is common to go for a swim in an ice hole in a nearby lake. The ground can be much colder than the water – use beach sandals or the like, if possible.

After you’ve had your fill of sauna, you can cool off by heading outside for a dip in the lake or, in winter, a roll in the snow — and then head back in for another round. Repeat this a few times, then cork open a cold beer, roast a sausage over a fire, and enjoy total relaxation Finnish style.

These days the most common type of sauna features an electrically heated stove, which is easy to control and maintain. In the countryside you can still find wood-fired saunas, but purists prefer the (now very rare) traditional chimneyless smoke saunas (savusauna), where the sauna is heated by filling it with hot smoke and then ventilated well before entering.

Anyone elderly or with a medical condition (especially high blood pressure) should consult their physician before using a sauna.

Accommodation in Finland is expensive, but many large hotels are cheaper during the weekends and summer. In addition to the usual international suspects, check out local chains Cumulus [52], Scandic [53], Finlandia [54] and Sokos [55]. The small but fast-growing Omena [56] chain offers cheap self-service hotels, where you book online and get a keycode for your room, with no check-in of any kind needed.

One of the few ways to limit the damage is to stay in youth hostels (retkeilymaja), as the Finnish Youth Hostel Association [57] has a fairly comprehensive network throughout the country and and a dorm bed usually costs less than €20 per night. Many hostels also have private rooms for as little as €30, which are a great deal if you want a little extra privacy.

An even cheaper option is to take advantage of Finland’s right to access, or Every Man’s Right (jokamiehenoikeus), which allows camping, hiking, and berry and mushroom picking as well as simple (rod and hook) fishing on uncultivated land. Since this is occasionally mis-interpreted by visiting foreigners, it may be a good idea to discuss travel plans with a local – or simply ask – to avoid embarrassing situations. Note that making a fire requires landowner’s permission.

For a taste of the Finnish countryside, an excellent option is to stay at a cottage (mökki), thousands of which dot the lake shores. These are generally best in summer, but there are also many cottages around Lapland’s ski resorts. Prices vary widely based on facilities and location: simple cottages can go for as little as €20/night, while luxurious multistory mansions can go for 10 times that. Beware that, while all but the most basic ones will have electricity, it’s very common for cottages to lack running water: instead, the cottage will have an outhouse (pit toilet) and you’re expected to bathe in the sauna and lake. Renting a car is practically obligatory since there are unlikely to be any facilities (shops, restaurants, etc) within walking distance. The largest cottage rental services are Lomarengas [58] and Nettimökki [59], both of which have English interfaces.

Virtually every lodging in Finland includes a sauna (see box) for guests — don’t miss it! Check operating hours though, as they’re often only heated in the evenings and there may be separate shifts of men and women.


Finland’s universities are generally well-regarded and offer many exchange programs, but the high cost of living and the prospect of facing the long, cold Finnish winter mean that the country is not a particularly popular choice. However, there are no tuition fees for regular degree students, including international exchange students. While lectures are usually conducted in Finnish, most universities offer the option to complete all courses through assignments and exams in English. Many universities also offer the option to study Finnish at various levels.

A reasonable monthly budget (excluding rent) would be €600 to €900. Rents vary depending on location such that in Greater Helsinki and particularly Helsinki proper prices may be two times that of cheaper locations or student housing. Many exchange programs fully or partly subsidize accommodation in student dorms. However, the state does not provide student accommodation and dorms are usually owned by student unions and foundations. Student union membership at around €70-100/year is obligatory, but this includes free access to student health services.

EU citizens can simply enter the country and register as a student after arrival, while students from elsewhere will need to arrange their residence permit beforehand. CIMO [60] (Centre for International Mobility) administers exchange programs and can arrange scholarships and traineeships in Finland, while the Finnish National Board of Education [61] offers basic information about study opportunities.


There is little informal work to be found and most jobs require at least a remedial level of Finnish. Citizens of European Union countries can work freely in Finland, but acquiring a work permit from outside the EU means doing battle with the infamous Directorate of Immigration (Ulkomaalaisvirasto) [62]. However, students permitted to study full-time in Finland are allowed work part-time (up to 25 h/week) or even full-time during holiday periods.

For jobs, you might want to check out the Ministry of Labour [63]. Most of the posted jobs are described in Finnish so you may need some help in translation, but some jobs are in English.

A rapidly growing trend in Finland, especially for the younger generation, is to work for placement agencies. Although there has been a massive surge of public companies going private in the last ten years, this trend seems to be fueled by the increased demand for more flexible work schedules as well as the freedom to work seasonally or sporadically. Due to the nature of these types of agencies as well as the types of work they provide, it is common for them to hire non-Finns. Some agencies include Adecco, Staff Point, Manpower, Aaltovoima and Biisoni.

If you are invited to a job interview, remember that modesty is a virtue in Finland. Finns appreciate facts and directness, so stay on topic and be truthful. Exaggeration and bragging is usually associated with lying. You can check expected salaries with the union for your field, as they usually have defined minimum wages. Salaries range from €1,200 – €6,500 per month (2010).

Stay safe[edit]

Risks in Finland

Crime/violence: Low
Most violence is alcohol-related and/or domestic – walking in the street is usually safe even in the night

Authorities/corruption: Low
The police are generally courteous and speak some English, offering bribes will get you into serious trouble.

Transportation: Low to Moderate
Icy roads and sidewalks in the winter, mooses and other animals occasionally crossing the roads

Health: Low
Tick and mosquito bites

Nature: Low to Moderate
Blizzards in the winter, getting lost when hiking in the forests


Finland enjoys a comparatively low crime rate and is, generally, a very safe place to travel. Use common sense at night, particularly on Friday and Saturday when the youth of Finland hit the streets to get drunk and in some unfortunate cases look for trouble. The easiest way to get beaten is to pay a visit at a grill kiosk after bars and pubs have closed and start arguing with drunken people. It is, anyway statistically more likely that your home country is less safe than Finland, so heed whatever warnings you would do in your own country and you will have no worries. If you yourself run in with the law, remember that Finland is one of the world’s least corrupt countries and you will not be able to buy yourself out of trouble. Finnish police never requires a cash payment of fines which it gives. Do not ever give money to person who presents him/herself as a police officer. An obvious way to stay out of most kinds of trouble is to stay sober and act businesslike, when dealing with police, security or the like.

Racism is a generally of minor concern, especially in the cosmopolitan major cities, but there have been a few rare but highly publicized incidents of black, romani & Arab people getting beaten up, attacks against immigrants and group fights with native Finns & immigrants. Sometimes there might be group fights where immigrants do their part as well, but that’s very uncommon. The average visitor, though, is highly unlikely to encounter any problems.

Pickpockets are rare, but not unheard of, especially in the busy tourist months in the summer and almost always done by foreigners. Most Finns carry their wallets in their pockets or purses and feel quite safe while doing it. Parents often leave their sleeping babies in a baby carriage on the street while visiting a shop, and in the countryside cars and house doors are often left unlocked. On the other hand, you have to be careful if you buy or rent a bicycle. Bicycle thieves are everywhere, never leave your bike unlocked even for a minute.

In case of emergency[edit]

112 is the national phone number for all emergency services, including police, and it does not require an area code, regardless of what kind of phone you’re using. The number works on any mobile phone, whether it is keylocked or not, and with or without a SIM card. If a cellphone challenges you with a PIN code, you can simply type in 112 as a PIN code – most phones will give a choice to call the number. This is not possible with all phones!

For inquiries about poisons or toxins (from mushrooms, plants, medicine or other chemicals) call the national Toxin Information Office at (09) 471 977.

Stay healthy[edit]

Signs to watch out for

vaara, vaarallinen 
danger, dangerous
risk of avalanche/landslide/mudslide
risk of moose/elks on the road
life threatening danger
pääsy kielletty or privat
no entry
hätäuloskäynti or hätäpoistumistie 
emergency exit

You’re unlikely to have stomach troubles in Finland, since tap water is always drinkable (and generally quite tasty as well), and hygiene standards in restaurants are strict. If you have any sort of allergies, many restaurants often display in the menu the most common ingredients that people typically are allergic to. Examples: (L) = Lactose free, (VL) = Low Lactose, (G) = Gluten free, if you are unsure just ask the waitress or restaurant staff.

There are few serious health risks in Finland. Your primary enemy especially in wintertime will be the cold, particularly if trekking in Lapland. Finland is a sparsely populated country and, if heading out into the wilderness, it is imperative that you register your travel plans with somebody who can inform rescue services if you fail to return. Always keep your mobile phone with you if you run into trouble. Dress warmly in layers and bring along a good pair of sunglasses to prevent snow blindness, especially in the spring and if you plan to spend whole days outdoors. Always keep a map, a compass and preferably a GPS with you while trekking in the wilderness. Take extra precautions in Lapland, where it can be several days’ hike to the nearest house or road. Weather can change rapidly, and even though the sun is shining now, you can have a medium sized blizzard on your hands (no joke!) an hour or two later.

If out on the lakes and sea, remember that wind and water will cool you faster than cold air, and keeping dry means keeping warm. A person that falls into cold water (close to zero °C) can die in a few minutes. Safety in small boats: Don’t drink alcohol, wear a life vest at all times, if your boat capsizes – keep clothes on to stay warm, cling to the boat if possible (swim only if shore is a few hundred meters away, never try to swim in cold water below 20°C).

Finland hosts a number of irritating insects, but if you are planning to stay in the centres of major cities, you are unlikely to encounter them. A serious nuisance in summer are mosquitoes (hyttynen), hordes of which inhabit Finland (particularly Lapland) in summer, especially after rains. While they carry no malaria or other nasty diseases, many species of Finnish mosquitoes make a distinctive (and highly irritating) whining sound while tracking their prey, and their bites are very itchy. As usual, mosquitoes are most active around dawn and sunset — which, in the land of the Midnight Sun, may mean most of the night in summer. There are many different types of mosquito repellants available which can be bought from almost any shop. Another summer nuisance are gadflies (paarma), whose bites can leave a mark lasting for days, even for month. A more recent introduction to Finnish summers are deer keds (hirvikärpänen), that can be particularly nasty if they manage to shed their wings and burrow into hair (although they rarely bite as humans are not their intended targets, and mainly exist in deep forests). Use repellent, ensure your tent has good mosquito netting and consider prophylaxis with cetirizine (brand names include Zyrtec, Heinix, Cetirizin Ratiopharm), an anti-allergen that (if taken in advance!) will neutralize your reaction to any bites. Topical anti-allergens in the form of gels and creams are also available as over-the-counter medication. A flea comb can be useful for removing deer keds.
As in other European countries, mites can become a major annoyance, if walking bare-footed. As a remedy, Permethrin creme is available from pharmacies without prescription.

In southern Finland, especially Åland, the Lappeenranta-Parikkala-Imatra-axis and areas near Turku‘s coast, there are ticks (punkki) which appear on summertime and can transmit Lyme’s disease (borreliosis) and viral encephalitis through a bite. Although these incidents are relatively rare and not all ticks carry the disease, it’s advisable to wear dark trousers rather than shorts if you plan to walk through dense and/or tall grass areas (the usual habitat for ticks). You can buy special tick tweezers from the pharmacy (punkkipihdit) which can be used to remove a tick safely if you happen to get bitten. You should remove the tick from your skin as quickly as possible and preferably with the tick tweezers to reduce the risks of getting an infection. If the tick bite starts to form red rings on the skin around it or if you experience other symptoms relating to the bite, you should visit a doctor as soon as possible.

The only poisonous insects in Finland are wasps (ampiainen), bees (mehiläinen) and bumblebees (kimalainen). Their stings can be painful, but are not dangerous, unless you receive several stings or if you are allergic to it.

There’s only one type of poisonous snake in Finland, the European adder (kyy or kyykäärme), which has a distinct zig-zag type of figure on its back, although some of them are almost completely black.They are mostly found near lake sides and sometimes in the streets like Kristianinkatu and Kamppi.The snake occurs across Finland all the way from the south to up north in Lapland. Although their bites are extremely rarely fatal (except for small children and allergic persons), one should be careful in the summertime especially when walking in the forests or on open fields at the countryside. Walk so that you make the ground vibrate and snakes will go away, they attack people only when somebody frightens them. If you are bitten by a snake, always get medical assistance. If you are planning to travel in the nature on summertime, it’s advisable to buy a kyypakkaus (“Adder pack”, a medicine set which contains a couple of hydrocortisone pills). It can be bought from any Finnish pharmacy. It is used to reduce the reactions after an adder bite, however it’s still advisable to see a doctor even after you’ve taken the hydrocortisone pills. The kyypakkaus can also be used to relieve the pain, swelling and other allergic reactions caused by bee stings. If you see an ant nest, ants have quite likely taken care of all snakes nearby.

As for other dangerous wildlife, there’s not much more than a few extremely rare encounters with brown bears (karhu) and wolves (susi) in the wilderness. Both of these animals are listed as endangered species. Contrary to popular belief abroad, there are no polar bears in Finland, let alone polar bears walking on the city streets. The brown bear, which occurs across Finland, has been spotted on a few very exceptional occasions even in the edges of the largest Finnish cities, but normally bears try to avoid humans whenever possible. The brown bear hibernates during the winter. In the least densely populated areas near the Russian border, there has been some rare incidents of wolf attacks – mainly lone, hungry wolves attacking domestic animals and pets. During the past 100 years there has been one recorded case of a human killed by a large predator. In general, there’s no need to worry about dangerous encounters with wild beasts in Finland, other than traffic accidents.

In winter, lakes and the sea are frozen. Walking, skating or even driving a car on the ice is commonly seen, but fatal accidents aren’t unheard of either, so ask and heed local advice. If the ice fails, it is difficult to get back out of the water, as the ice will be slippery. Small ice picks are sold as safety equipment (a pair of steel needles with bright plastic grips, connected with a safety line).

Given the size of the Finnish population, a surprisingly high number of people drown in the lakes every year in summer. As pointed out by an annual public awareness campaign (partly Finnish black humor, partly the truth), the stereotypical accident involves an intoxicated fisherman who capsizes his boat while standing up to pee.


Fishing Finnish style

It was a beautiful summer day, and Virtanen and Lahtinen were in a little rowboat in the middle of a lake, fishing. Two hours passed, both men sitting quietly, and then Lahtinen said “Nice weather today.” Virtanen grunted and stared intently at his fishing rod.

Two more hours passed. Lahtinen said, “Gee, the fish aren’t biting today.” Virtanen shot back: “That’s because you talk too much.”

Drinking Finnish style

Virtanen and Lahtinen decided to go drinking at their lakeside cottage. For a couple hours, both men sat silently and emptied their bottles. After a few more hours, Lahtinen decided to break the ice: “Isn’t it nice to have some quality time?” Virtanen glared at Lahtinen and answered: “Are we here to drink or talk?”

Finns generally have a relaxed attitude towards manners and dressing up, and a visitor is unlikely to offend them by accident. Common sense is quite enough in most situations, but there are a couple of things that one should keep in mind:

Finns are a famously taciturn people who have little time for small talk or social niceties, so don’t expect to hear phrases like “thank you” or “you’re welcome” too often. The Finnish language lacks a specific word for “please” so Finns sometimes forget to use it when speaking English, even when they don’t mean to be rude. Also lacking in Finnish is the distinction between “he” and “she”, which may lead to confusing errors.

Occasional silence is considered a part of the conversation, not a sign of hostility or irritation. Being loud in crowded places like public transport or a restaurant is considered rude. If you ever ended up to argue with someone, the social norm is to stay calm during an argument. Arguing loudly with a stranger is considered very rude. Personal space is important, and standing very near someone can make Finns feel uncomfortable.

All that said, Finns are generally helpful and polite, and glad to help confused tourists if asked. The lack of niceties has more to do with the fact that in Finnish culture, honesty is highly regarded and that one should open one’s mouth only to mean what one is about to say. Do not say “maybe later” when there is no later time to be expected. A visitor is unlikely to receive many compliments from Finns, but can be fairly sure that the compliments received are genuine. Especially younger Finns speak usually excellent English due to the policy of subtitling foreign language movies and TV series instead of dubbing them.

Another highly regarded virtue in Finland is punctuality. A visitor should apologize even for being a few minutes late. Being late for longer usually requires a short explanation. 10 min is usually considered the threshold between being “acceptably” late and very late. Some will leave arranged meeting points after 15 min. With the advent of mobile phones, sending a text message even if you are only a few minutes late is nowadays a norm. Being late for a business meeting, even by 1 or 2 min, is considered rude.

The standard greeting is a handshake. Hugs are only exchanged between family members and close friends in some situations, kisses, even on the cheek, practically never.

If you are invited to a Finnish home, the only bad mistake visitors can make is not to remove their shoes. For much of the year, shoes will carry a lot of snow or mud. Therefore, it is customary to remove them, even during the summer. During the wet season you can ask to put your shoes somewhere to dry during your stay. Very formal occasions at private homes, such as baptisms (often conducted at home in Finland) or somebody’s 50th birthday party, are exceptions to these rules. In the wintertime, this sometimes means that the guests bring separate clean shoes and put them on while leaving outdoor shoes to the hall. Bringing gifts such as pastry, wine, or flowers to the host is appreciated, but not required.

In Finland, there is little in the way of a dress code. The general attire is casual and even in business meetings the attire is somewhat more relaxed than in some other countries. Topless sunbathing is accepted but not very common on beaches in the summer, while going au naturel is common in lakeside saunas and dedicated nudist beaches.

Even though it is unlikely that you’ll seriously insult anybody, certain topics of discussion can sometimes be slightly sensitive. Despite its proximity to Russia, Finns generally don’t prefer being called Eastern Europeans, but rather Nordics or North Europeans. Although once a part of the Russian Empire, Finland fought against the Soviet Union in WWII and has remained unaligned since the Cold War, and referring to Finland as belonging to the Russian sphere of influence most likely won’t be appreciated. A majority of Finnish men still serve for some time in the Finnish armed forces, and expressing strong views on the military or on wartime history can sometimes stir up emotions. Also war veterans are highly respected in Finnish society.

Although jokes concerning Finland’s rather high levels of depression, suicide and alcoholism may be common amongst both Finns and foreigners alike, it’s nevertheless good to remember that these are serious social problems that affect many people and excessive humorous remarks may not always be received well.


By mail[edit]

Finland’s mail service, run by Posti [64], is fast, reliable and pricy. A postcard to Finland and anywhere in the world costs €1.

By phone[edit]

Not many of these left

As you’d expect from Nokia’s home country, mobile phones are ubiquitous in Finland. GSM, WCDMA(3G) and LTE (4G) networks blanket all of the country, although it’s still possible to find wilderness areas with poor signal, typically in Lapland and the outer archipelago. The largest operators are Sonera [65] and Elisa [66], a Vodafone partner, but travellers who want a local number may wish to opt for DNA’s [67] Prepaid package, which can cost as little as €6. Vectone Mobile [68] offers prepaid sim-cards for €10 which include €10 credit. Unlike other operators, Vectone Mobile also offers low international call rates. Ask at any convenience store/R-Kioski for a list of prices and special offers.

Public telephones are close to extinction in Finland, although a few can still be found at airports, major train/bus stations and the like. It’s best to bring along a phone or buy one – a simple GSM model can cost less than €40.

By net[edit]

Internet cafes are sparse on the ground in this country where everybody logs on at home and in the office, but nearly every public library in the country has free Internet access, although you will often have to register for a time slot in advance or queue. Wifi hotspots are also increasingly common. Elisa offers prepaid internet access.

This is a guide article. It has a variety of good, quality information about the country, including links to places to visit, attractions, arrival and departure info. Plunge forward and help us make it a star!


Posted in: Countries, Europe

Leave a Comment (0) →

Levi, Lapland, Finland – Travel Guide

Levi, Lapland, Finland – Travel Guide


TourTellus Hotel Search: Book Hotels, Apartments, Hostels & BBs in Levi

TourTellus Travel Store: Buy Lonely Planet Finland – Guide Book, now only $15,66!



Levi [1] is one of the largest winter sport resorts in Finland. It is in Kittilä in Finnish Lapland. Levi is very popular place among young people, especially those living in rural areas in Lapland, and has significant nightlife.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Kittilä airport (IATA: KTT, ICAO: EFKT) [2] is some ten south from Levi. Airport has direct connections to Helsinki by Finnair and (during season) Blue1 and to Riga by Air Baltic. Busses coming from south travel via airport to Levi. You may also use taxi.

By train[edit]

Overnight trains operate from Helsinki and Turku to Rovaniemi and Kolari (getting from Turku to Kolari require change in Tampere). From these you have to take bus. Trip takes 2:30 hours from Rovaniemi and 1:15 hours from Kolari.

By bus[edit]

Busses operate from Helsinki to Levi requiring change in Rovaniemi. Trip takes over 16 hours!

Get around[edit]

Levi has internal bus traffic. In the Levi center you may easily walk or ski around. For longer trips to the forests, hire a . a driving licence is not required it’s illegal to drive snowmobile if you’re under 15 years old or drunk.

A lot to see and to do like snowmobile safaries, husky safaries, reindeer rides.

Do[edit][add listing]

Winter sports. There are 230 kilometers of skiing tracks and 886 kilometers of snowmobile routes. For downhill skiing Levi has 45 pistes longest piste being 2500 meters long and maximum vertical drop is over 300 meters. Piste information is available at [3].
Most of the tour operators have summer activities available too.

Fintravel Levi’ (Tour operator), Leviraitti 2, ☎ +358 403 447 755 (, fax: +358 403 447 771), [4].

Hotel Levitunturi [5] has a spa.

  • Wolverine Fell and Nature (Kätkätunturin Erä ja Luonto), Kätkäjärventie 400, Levi, +358 468 101 400, [6]. A number of summer as well as winter activities are on offer. Reindeer safaris, snowshoeing, ice fishing, fox snare hunting, or rounding up of reindeer are available in winter, while fishing trips, marking reindeer calves, bog hikes, cycling, sauna evenings and goose hunting in summer. A restaurant is also available there, where you can enjoy home-style delicacies, such as reindeer casserole or salmon soup in a Lappish hut.  edit
  • Levi Huskypark (Levin Huskypuisto), Inarintie, Sokkapora, Köngäs, +358 40 5706572, [7]. 11-16. Husky safaris in winter, guided in summer. Siberian wolves, reindeer, Arctic foxes, small dogs, history about huskies and sled races. 6 eur.  edit

Buy[edit][add listing]

  • Shopporo, Hiihtäjänkuja 10 (This shop is located in the Shopping gallery at Levi center.), +358(0)40 587 8234, [8]. 10-18. Fashionable clothes for women, men and children.  edit

Eat[edit][add listing]

Local restaurants offer good variety of local delicacies. Especially worth of trying are reindeer (poro) in all its forms, willow grouse (riekko) and several fishes such as salmon (lohi) arctic char (nieriä) and common whitefish (siika). These are usually fried or smoked and eaten with mashed potatoes.

In addition to local specialities also , pizzas and kebabs are available.

  • Luvattumaa, +358 40 7400 925, [9]. IceGallery: Snowcastle with ice chapel, snowhotel and icebar Natural Spa: Underground sauna and ice sauna with warm and cold baths outdoors Teepee restaurant: Cosy restaurant with delicious Lappish food.  edit
  • Crazy Reindeer (Hullu Poro Oy), Rakkavaarantie 5, 99130 Levi, +358 16 6510100, [10]. Hullu Poro Restaurants are open 24 hours.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Being one of the largest resorts in Finland one could think there will be no problem to get bed in Levi. However, during the holiday season it may appear surprisingly difficult to find one! Most popular times are around christmas and New Year, Easter and Finnish winter holiday held during three weeks period in March. Right after the New Year, when local people get back to work, skiing resorts get crowded with Russian tourists. There are (incredible) 20,000 beds available making Levi actually one of the largest human concentrations in Lapland. Accommodation alternatives vary from camping to luxurious cottages and spa hotel.

Hotelli Hullu Poro [11] tel. +358 (16) 6510 100

Hotelli K5 Levi [12] Kätkänrannantie 2 99130 Sirkka
tel. +358 (16) 639 1100

  • Spa Hotel Levitunturi (Kylpylähotelli Levitunturi), Levintie 1590, 99130 LEVI, +358 (16) 646 301, [13].  edit
  • Levi Central Booking Office (Levin Keskusvaraamo), Myllyjoentie 2, 99130 Levi, +358 16 639 3300, [14]. Over 900 apartments and a large number of hotel rooms.  edit
  • Fell Trek, Muoniontie 3124 (040), 5098210, [15]. Next to the fell chain of Pallas-Yllästunturi on the shores of Jerisjärvi lake. Affordable accommodation in rooms for 1-2 persons, and cottages. In Rauhala one can also make guided day- and week long tours in summer hiking or with canoes and bikes. In winter time also ski tours, snow shoe and other winter activities.  edit

More information from:
5, 99130 LEVI, FINLAND
Tel. +358 (0)16 6510 100
Fax +358 (0)16 641 568

  • Oliver’s Irish bar, Levi. In a central location in Levi, with different beers, stout and ale on tap. As well as a large selection of spirits. There is a friendly, local atmosphere and sports are played on television daily. There is also a pool table and occasional live music.  edit

Get out[edit]

This article is an outline and needs more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. Please plunge forward and help it grow!



Posted in: Adventure, Europe, Skiing

Leave a Comment (0) →

Ruka, Lapland, Finland – Travel Guide

Ruka, Lapland, Finland – Travel Guide


TourTellus Hotel Search: Book Hotels, Apartments, Hostels & BBs in Ruka

TourTellus Travel Store: Buy Lonely Planet Finland – Guide Book, now only $15,66!



Ruka is a ski resort and village near Kuusamo in Oulu province of Finland.

Northern lights in Ruka, Finland

Rukatunturis highest point is 492 meters. The longest run in the mountain is 1300 meters. In winter Ruka is the place to be for people who love winter sports. In summer time Ruka welcomes people to enjoy the beautiful nature, for example the two National Parks.

Get in[edit]

Best way to get to Ruka is to fly to Kuusamo and take the Airport bus to Ruka. If you want to come by train from southern Finland, the nearest train stations are in Oulu, Rovaniemi and Kemijärvi. You can take a bus from there to Kuusamo.

See[edit][add listing]

Near Ruka you can find two National Parks: Oulanka and Riisitunturi. The views from the top of Rukatunturi are beuatiful in summer and winter.

Do[edit][add listing]

Cross- country skiing

Oulanka National Park

In Winter the ski resort is the main thing to do in Ruka. In Summer the beautiful nature provides a lot to do.

  • Ski School Ruka, Rukakyläntie 17, 93825 Rukatunturi, +358-400-101 635. 10-16. Private lessons and lessons for groups. Alpine, snowboarding, cross-coyntry skiing, telemark and adaptive skiing. 32-92 euros private lessons.  edit
  • Rukapalvelu Ltd, Rukakyläntie 13, 93825 Rukatunturi, +358 (0)10 2710 500, [1]. 9-17 (Sun 10-17). Tailor made events and adventures. Also weekly programs available.  edit
  • Ruka Safaris, Rukarinteentie 1, 93825 Rukatunturi, +358-8-852 1610, [2]. 8-17 (Sat-Sun closed). Activities to meetings and courses. In their new Iisakki Village (and their igloo) it’s possible to arrange for example weddings.  edit
  • Ruka Adventures, Rukanriutta 7, 93825 Rukatunturi, +358-8-8522 007, [3]. 9-16. All kinds of adventures for groups. For example ice karting, snowmobile safaris, river rafting, quadbike safaris etc.  edit
  • Stella Polaris Adventures, Mestantie 1, 93825 Rukatunturi, +358-40-8433 425, [4]. 9-21. Wilderness safaris with high quality services. Private safari company, DMC.  edit
  • Northernlight Safaries, +358 (0)40 7094 711, [5]. Speed safaris and overnight safaris. You can experience the real winter in the wilderness with professional safari guides.  edit
  • Ski pass sales, Rukakyläntie 8, 93825 Rukatunturi, +358 8 8600 235, [6]. The place to buy ski passes for the Ruka slopes. from single run adults 5 euros to 5-7 days adults 149,5 euros.  edit
  • Piste Rental Shop (PisteVuokraamo), Rukakylätie 17, 93825 Rukatunturi, +358 400 101 605, [7]. Children´s equipment, alpine skiing, carving, snowboarding, telemarking, cross country skiing, helmets, goggles etc and Halti outdoor wear.  edit
  • VuosselinPortti Rental Shop (VuosselinPortti Vuokraamo), Jussinkuja 5, 93825 Rukatunturi, +358 400 101 610, [8]. The Rental Shop of Eastern Ruka.  edit
  • Ruka Info, Rukatunturintie 9, 93825 Rukatunturi, +358-8-8600 250, [9]. 9.30-19. The official tourist information of Ruka in the shopping center Kumpare.  edit

Buy[edit][add listing]

  • RukaStore, Rukatunturintie 13, 93825 Rukatunturi, +358 400 101 615, [10]. 10-19. Here you can find high-quality equipment and clothing for winter sports.  edit
  • Riipisen Wild Game and Souvenier Shop, Rukakyläntie 8, 93825 Rukatunturi, +358 40-1662340, [11]. 10-17. This is the place to buy your wild game souvenirs.  edit
  • K-Market Ruka, Rukanriutta 3, 93825 Rukatunturi, +358 8-868 1910. 8-21. Groceries store in Ruka.  edit
  • S-Market Ruka, Rukanriutta 7, 93825 Rukantunturi, +358-1076 33222. 8-21, Sat 8-18, Sun 12-18. Another groceries store in Ruka.  edit
  • K-Market Rukankylä, Rukankyläntie 8, 93825 Rukantunturi. 10-18. A small groceries store on in the Ruka Pedestrian Village.  edit

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • Restaurant Piste (Ravintola Piste), Rukakyläntie 17, 93825 Rukatunturi, +358 8 8600 300, [12]. 12-22. The center of action in the Ruka Village. Lunch at noon, party at nights. from 5 to 29 euros.  edit
  • Restaurant Rukahovi, Rukakyläntie 15, 93825 Rukatunturi, +358-8-859 10, [13]. Traditional restaurant in the middle of Ruka. Live music and great views.  edit
  • Restaurant Kaltiokivi & KarhuBar, Rukakyläntie 15, 93825 Rukatunturi, +358-8-859 10, [14]. 14-22.30. Relaxing and cosy restaurant in Ruka center. Beautiful fireplace in KarhuBar. 12-33 euros.  edit
  • Colorado Mts. Bar & Grill, Rukakyläntie 6, 93825 Rukatunturi, 020 775 9405, [15]. 14-22. Live music, delicious food, sports, drinks etc. From the menu you can choose also quite spicy foods. about from 7 to 27 euros.  edit
  • Restaurant Peak, Rukakyläntie 11, 358(0)40 1970 777, [16]. Located right on the top of Ruka Fell. Finnish cuisine and quality wines.  edit
  • Alphut Swiss Restaurant, Rukatunturintie 11, 93825 Rukatunturi, +358-40-966 0051, [17]. Alpine food and drinks. At lunch time the soup of the day. Right in the center of Ruka Village.  edit
  • Classic Pizza Ruka, Rukatunturintie 11, 93825 Rukatunturi, +358-440 337 607, [18]. The restaurant offers peaceful dining and good service. There are pizzas, salads, wines and other drinks on the menu.  edit
  • Restaurant Vanha Karhu, Rukantunturintie 1, 93825 Rukatunturi, +358-8-8681 483, [19]. 16-22 (mon-thu), 16-23 (fri-sat). Gourmet restaurant in the Village of Ruka. Offers local cuisine.  edit
  • Riipinen Wild Game Restaurant, Rukatunturintie 6, 93825, +358-8-868 1219, [20]. (Mon-Fri) 12-21. Restaurant offers specialities like bear, rabbit and of course reindeer. There’s also a separate kids’ menu.  edit
  • Restaurant Royal Ruka, Mestantie 1, 93825 Rukatunturi, 0400 819 840, [21]. Gourmet restaurant with Lapland’s Dinner and À la Carte list. Laplan’s Dinner 35-39 euros.  edit
  • Restaurant Rukatonttu, Hiihtostadioinintie 1, 93825 Rukatunturi, +358 (0)40 199 1100, [22]. Cozy restaurant with views to the lake Talvijärvi.  edit
  • Pizzeria Ruka, Kelorinne, 93825 Rukatunturi, +358-8-868 1445. 11-23. Pizzeria offers speacial pizzas like salmon and reindeer.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • Tellu Night & Ski Pub Karaoke, Rukakyläntie 15, +358-8-859 10, [23]. Over 2500 songs to choose from! Also DJ and music from 80’s, 90’s, todays hits and finnhits.  edit
  • Restaurant Zone (Ravintola Zone), Safaritalo, 93825 Rukatunturi, +358 10 2710 555, [24]. 12-04. After safari parties until the morning, karaoke and a big glassed terrace. Lots of different kinds of events. 9-11 euros.  edit
  • Cafe Bar Twin Peak, Rukakyläntie 11, 93825 Rukatunturi, +358 (0) 40 1970 777, [25]. 12-18 (Tue-Sat). Special coffees, wines, fresh bread and warm meals.  edit

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Cottage in Ruka

  • Ski-Inn RukaSuites, Rukakyläntie 8, 93825 Rukatunturi, +358-8-8600 300, [26]. checkin: 18:00; checkout: 15:00. RukaSuites apartments are located in the village of Ruka. They are in walking distance from the slopes. Apartments are made specially for skiers.  edit
  • Ski-Inn Aurinkorinne, Hiihtokouluntie 16-18, 93825 Rukatunturi, [27]. checkin: 18:00; checkout: 15:00. Apartments are located 400 meters from RukaVillage. The nearest slope Talvijärvi is right next to the apartments. from 65 euros per night in the summer to 620 euros per week in the winter.  edit
  • Chalet Ruka Peak, Juhannuskalliontie 27A, 93285 Rukatunturi, +358 (0) 8 868 4100, [28]. checkin: 16:00; checkout: 12:00. A boutique hotel on the top of Ruka Fell. Every room has large windows and the views are beautiful. Some rooms have a private jacuzzi.  edit
  • RukaTonttu, Hiihtostadionintie 1, 93285 Rukatunturi, +38 (0)40 191 0702, [29]. Hotel is located right next to hiking trails, ski-tracks and slopes. There is also direct acces to Talvijärvi lake for those who like swimming. From 68 to 150 euros.  edit
  • Hotel Royal Ruka, Mestantie 1, 93825 Rukatunturi, [30]. checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. This is the luxury five star hotel in Ruka area. You can also arrange conferences in the hotel (max. 65 persons). from 125 euros to 190 euros / night.  edit
  • MastonAitio Cabins, Rinnekyläntie 3, 93285 Rukatunturi, +358-8-8600 300, [31]. Cabins are great for active families. Kids ski area and a rope tow lift is located near the cabins. For example winter weeks from 565 euros.  edit
  • Rukan Salonki, Kemijärventie 235, +358-40-534 9183, [32]. High quality chalets by lake Salonkijärvi only two kilometers from Ruka.  edit
  • Matkailumaja Heikkala, Talvijärventie 10, 93825 Rukatunturi, +358-40 554 4892, [33]. checkin: 16:00; checkout: 12:00. 14 cottages and 7 rooms next to the lake Talvijärvi. Kids can walk straight to the slopes of Ruka. from 35 euros to 180 euros per night.  edit
  • Rukajärven Lomamajat, Rukajärventie 60, 93825 Rukatunturi, +358-8-8681 170, [34]. Different sizes cottages and three Villas by the Lake Vuosseljärvi near Ruka. from 95 to 250 euros.  edit


Tourist Information Ruka
Phone +358-8-8600 250
E-mail info(at)

Get out[edit]

This article is an outline and needs more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. Please plunge forward and help it grow!


Posted in: Adventure, Europe, Skiing

Leave a Comment (0) →

Ylläs, Lapland, Finland – Travel Guide

Ylläs, Lapland, Finland – Travel Guide


TourTellus Hotel Search: Book Hotels, Apartments, Hostels & BBs in Ylläs

TourTellus Travel Store: Buy Lonely Planet Finland – Guide Book, now only $15,66!



Ylläs [1] is a popular ski resort located in the municipality of Kolari, at the Swedish border in Finnish Lapland.


The municipality is largely forest and swamps with some fells in the west. The most important location is the area around Yllästunturi (Ylläs fell).

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Kittilä airport is about 50km west from Ylläs. There you may take a bus or airport taxi. Another possibility is to fly in Sweden from Stockholm to Luleå and from there to Pajala airport [2]. There you may take an airport taxi for the 30km trip to Finland.

By train[edit]

Kolari is the northernmost train station in Finland. During the winter season there is a direct train connection daily from Helsinki via Tampere; at 995 kilometers, this is the longest single train route in Finland. An overnight trip takes 13 hours and is most comfortable in a sleeping cabin. Sometimes the train contains a special club car serving as a nightclub during the trip.

By bus[edit]

Onnibus [3] offers direct low-fares long distance coach line, which departs from Turku, and goes via Rauma, Pori, Seinäjoki, Kokkola and Oulu to Ylläs.

By car[edit]

Drive by E75 from Helsinki to the north. Switch to E8 after Kemi. Drive to Kolari and follow signs to either Äkäslompolo or Ylläsjärvi.

Get around[edit]

By bus or taxi. In villages everything is within walking distance.


Most Finns are fluent in English, and Ylläs is no exception. Russian is also spoken by some people here, due to large numbers of Russian tourists.

See[edit][add listing]

  • Lainio Snow Village [4] is located near Ylläs, somewhat halfway between Ylläsjarvi and Kittilä.
  • St. Lauri’s Chapel is located in Äkäslompolo.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Winter sports

Ylläs is Finland’s largest downhill ski resort in terms of total drop (465 m), single slope length (3000 m) and number of slopes (60 slopes in total).

The most important locations are Äkäslompolo and Ylläsjärvi villages [5] located on different sides of Yllästunturi. Around the fells there is the largest network of ski tracks (330 kilometers) in Finland.

Currently, several T-lifts and one chairlift line are available. The chairlift line only operates at good weather. There is also one gondola lift line operating at Ylläsjarvi and it was opened on February 9, 2008 at 12 o’clock noon [6].

Both resorts maintain snow parks for freestyle snowboarding. These parks contain various sizes of jumps (kickers) for beginners and pros. There are also a good selection of jibbing rails (especially on the south side). However, half-pipes are usually absent.

  • Snow safari

Ylläs travel agencies offer practice of traditional Lappish activities like husky or reindeer sleigh trips, visits to reindeer farms and traditional Sami yarangas, as well as snowmobile safaris.
In Äkäslompolo village all the safari providers are located near the Supermarket on Sivulantie. Go and check out the different companies before booking your tours! Some providers might offer special trip and/or good discounts if booking more than just 1 Activity!

  • Scandinavian Adventures, Sivulantie 16, 95970 Äkäslompolo, 016569699, [7]. is an activity provider, offering all the traditional tours and also one of a kind experiences.  edit

  • Concerts

The Ylläs area hosts two major music festivals: Ylläs Jazz Blues [8] in February and Ylläs Soikoon [9] in July.
There are also always different concerts in the larger Restaurants and Nightclubs in both villages.

  • Visitor Center Kellokas, Tunturintie 54, +358405502424, [10]. Become acquainted with the nature of the Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park and its wide range of hiking possibilities. At Kellokas you will find Ylläs Café Milli, Kellokas Gallery, the Ylläs Travel Association and Kolari municipality’s Ylläs tourist information.  edit
  • St.Lauri´s chapel, Kotivaarantie, 95970 Äkäslompolo. There are concerts at St Lauri´s chapel in Äkäslompolo, too.  edit

Buy[edit][add listing]

  • Gifts by Wood Jewel [11], particulary from any souvenir shop in either Kolari, Ylläs or Levi.
  • Lakkalikööri, a signature Lappish cloudberry liqueur, from Äkäslompolo Alko store.
  • Cloudberry jam or sauce, from any retail store.

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • Holiday Resort Seita (Lomakeskus Seita), Tiurajärventie 36A 95970 Äkäslompolo, +35816569211, [12]. The house is known for its good food.. After having breakfast you may pack your picnic lunch with you from our generous breakfast buffet. After sauna our delicious dinner buffet is waiting for you. Our pride is mouthwatering food, which is well-known in the whole region…  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

Sleep[edit][add listing]

The Ylläs area is one of the largest winter sport resorts in Finland and it has a great variety of accommodation opportunities.

  • Hotel Kolari [13] is near the train station in Kolari.

Get out[edit]

Routes through Ylläs
TromsøKilpisjärvi  W noframe E  TornioTurku

This article is an outline and needs more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. Please plunge forward and help it grow!




Posted in: Adventure, Europe, Skiing

Leave a Comment (0) →

Helsinki, Finland – Travel Guide

Helsinki, Finland – Travel Guide

TourTellus Hotel Search: 61 Hotels, Apartments, Hostels & BBs in Helsinki



Helsinki banner.jpg

Helsinki’s symbol, the Lutheran Cathedral (Tuomiokirkko)

Helsinki (Finnish) or Helsingfors (Swedish) [1] is the capital of Finland. Founded in 1550, the “Daughter of the Baltic” has been the Finnish capital since 1812, when it was rebuilt by the tsars of Russia along the lines of a miniature St. Petersburg, a role it has played in many Cold War movies. Today, Helsinki pulls off the trick of being something of an international metropolis while still retaining a small-town feel. The best time to visit is in summer, when Finns peel off their overcoats and flock to outdoor bars and cafes to enjoy the sunshine.

Helsinki’s current population is about 604,380, but the Greater Helsinki region including the suburbs of the neighboring administrative areas of Espoo and Vantaa has a population of over 1.3 million.



Helsinki was founded in A.D. 1550 by King Gustav Vasa of Sweden as a trading post to compete with Tallinn to the south in Estonia, which was Danish at that time. The growth of the city was slow until the establishment of Sveaborg (nowadays Suomenlinna) Maritime Fortress in the front of Helsinki in the middle of 18th century. In 1809, Finland was annexed by Russia during a war of that period and the capital of Finland moved from Turku to Helsinki in 1812. The Czar felt the Grand Duchy of Finland needed a capital of grand proportions. The architects Johan Albrecht Ehrenström, a native Finn, and Carl Ludwig Engel, from Germany, were given the task of rebuilding the city in the Empire style. This can be seen today around the Lutheran Cathedral, which was completed in 1852. The same style, and even architects, is also a part of Saint Petersburg‘s history. Though thoroughly a Nordic capital, Helsinki today reflects the influences gained from the Western and Eastern cultures.


Helsinki metropolitan area

The county of Helsinki forms the core of Finland’s largest urban area, known in Finnish as the “capital area” (pääkaupunkiseutu). Helsinki is bordered by the Gulf of Finland to the south, while the suburban municipality Espoo, with the embedded tiny enclave town of Kauniainen, is to the west. The more industrialized municipality of Vantaa is to the north and east. Beyond these three the suburbs rapidly give way to small towns, farms and forests, most notably Nuuksio National Park at the intersection of Espoo, Vihti and Kirkkonummi.

Within Helsinki itself, the city center is on the southern peninsula at the end of the city’s main thoroughfare Mannerheimintie (or just Mansku). Both the central railway station and the main bus terminal are in the city center. Shopping streets Aleksanterinkatu (or Aleksi for short) and Esplanadi (or Espa) connect to Senate Square (Senaatintori), the historical center of the city. See the Helsinki Guide Map [2] for an interactive searchable map of the city.

Tourist information[edit]

City of Helsinki Tourist Information Office, Corner of Pohjoisesplanadi and Unioninkatu (just off Market Square), +358-9-31013300, [3]. M-F 9AM-8PM, Sa-Su 9AM-6PM; closes 6/4PM Oct-Apr. A fount of information with helpful, multilingual staff. They also sell tickets to museums and sightseeing tours.  edit

Overview map of Helsinki


Helsinki is among the world’s northernmost capitals and the lengthy winter, from November all the way up to March, is dark and freezing. Winter temperatures average -5°C, but the wind chill makes it feel even colder and the mercury can plunge below -20°C on a particularly cold day. Snow falls only intermittently and often melts into gray slush.

The summer is pleasant, but short, lasting from early June until late-August. Highs are usually around 22°C and sometimes climb above 27°C, with lows usually ranging between 10 to 20°C. Parks burst into green and sunbathers dot the city’s beaches. Due to the northern latitude, the daylight hours are unusually long in summer, with sunsets very late in the evening, and virtually no darkness at night from early June until mid-July.


The city is officially bilingual, with an 86% Finnish-speaking majority and a visible 6% Swedish-speaking minority. However, most of the Finnish-speaking majority only know the very basics of Swedish, which they learned in school. Most Finns speak English more fluently than Swedish. Although locals will appreciate an effort to say a few words in Finnish, they will readily switch to English.
The Swedish in Finland is spoken with an accent quite different from the one in Sweden.

Street names and many signs in Helsinki are in both Finnish and Swedish.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

All international and domestic flights land at the compact, modern and airy Helsinki-Vantaa International Airport [4] (IATA: HEL, ICAO: EFHK), which is located in Vantaa, 18 kilometers to the north of the central Helsinki. Note that in recent years the airport has become crowded, so expect delays when going through security, particularly during the Scandinavian summer holiday period. There are two adjacent terminals, connected by a short walkway:

  • T1: SAS, Blue1 and other Star Alliance airlines (except Turkish Airlines in T2).
  • T2: Finnair, OneWorld partners, KLM, Norwegian and most other airlines.

Regular taxis to the center cost €30-40. Shared Airport Taxi [5] (tel. 0600 555 555 for bookings) mini-vans start from €29 for two (mind that infants count as an adult.) A train line to the airport is under construction, but until it’s completed in mid-2015 or so, public transport options are:

  • Regional buses 615/620 (€5.00, every 15 min), 30-40 min to the Helsinki Central Railway Station in the heart of Helsinki. The price includes onward transfers by tram, bus, metro, local train, etc. Both buses leave from platform 2 at terminal T1 and platform 21 at terminal T2. Tickets can be bought from the driver. To get to Helsinki city center from the airport you need to buy a regional ticket, because the airport is actually not located in Helsinki, but the neighboring city of Vantaa. For more information go to the HSL (Helsingin seudun liikenne – Helsinki Region Transport) airport information site at [6].
  • Finnair City Bus (€6.30, every 20 min), about 35 min to Central Railway Station via Scandic Continental Hotel. Credit cards accepted, slightly faster and uses luxury coaches, but no further connections included in the ticket price.
  • Regional buses 519/520 to Itäkeskus (€5, every 30 min), for convenient connections to the metro and eastern suburbs of Helsinki.
  • Vantaa bus 61 to Tikkurila (€3), connections to the center and eastern parts of Vantaa and access to the closest railway station for intercity and regional train connections. All north and east-bound trains stop here (Tikkurila Station).
  • Vantaa bus 51 to Hämeenkylä (€3, every 30 min), connections to western Vantaa: suburbs of Myyrmäki, Martinlaakso and Hämeenkylä.
  • Regional U-line bus 540 to Espoo (€5), for connections to the suburbs of Leppävaara, Nihtisilta, and Espoonkeskus in Espoo.
  • Regional buses 514/535 to Espoo (€5), for connections to the suburbs of Leppävaara, Westend, Tapiola and Espoonkeskus in Espoo.

You can also check bus connections with the Journey Planner (Reittiopas) which is also available in English: [7]

If you need a place to sleep between flights, there are several reasonable hotels in or very near the airport:

  • Hotel GLO Helsinki Airport, Helsinki-Vantaa Airport Terminal 2, +358 103 444 600 (, fax: + 358 103 444 601), [8]. The only hotel located in the airport building itself, on the service floor of Terminal 2 and with direct indoor access from Terminal 1.Day Rooms are also made available for use, depending on the booking situation, between 9:00 – 19:00.  edit
  • Best Western Airport Hotel Pilotti, Veromäentie 1, +358 9 3294800 (, fax: +358 9 329 481 00), [9]. Best Western Airport Hotel Pilotti is located in Vantaa, within 5-minute drive from Helsinki-Vantaa airport and within walking distance to Jumbo shopping centre and new Flamingo Spa. There is a regular bus service between Helsinki-Vantaa airport and the hotel.  edit
  • Airport Hotel Bonus Inn, Elannontie 9 (Pakkala exit from Ring III Highway), +358-9-825511 (, fax: +358-9-82551818), [10]. Friendly family-owned hotel with basic but very clean and comfortable rooms. Restaurant, sauna (evening only), free shuttle service to airport (5-7 min). €120.  edit
  • Cumulus Airport Hotel, Robert Huberin tie 4, +358-9-41577100, [11]. Mid-range Finnish chain hotel, 10 min away by free shuttle bus. Renovated in 2007. €120.  edit
  • Hilton Helsinki-Vantaa Airport, +358-9-73220,