Happy Monday. Today on the blog we are travelling back and forth in time. The city I am revisiting is Tampere.
As part of my Luxury Hostels project, I went back to one of the original hostels featured in the project, Dream Hostel. Since I visited 4 years ago, the hostel has undergone some big changes. A new hotel wing was added last year which I was really keen to see. Plus Tampere itself is undergoing a few big changes. All Moomin lovers will be excited to know that a new Moomin museum will be opening in May 2017. Housed in the Tampere Hall, this museum is literally a few minutes walk away from the Dream Hostel.
Besides Moomins, there are a number of very good reasons to visit Tampere. To help give you a feeling of what Tampere is like and all the cool things you can do on a budget in the city, have a look at the video below. To accompany the video I’ve also created a brief guide for you below.
As readers of this blog will know by now, food is always a really important factor when enjoying a destination and hence features prominently in this video and article. This is one area where I’ve seen some big changes in Tampere. Since I visited 4 years ago, a quiet food revolution has been sweeping across Finland. This is reflected in Tampere’s wide and varied culinary scene. Places I visited and recommend include the excellent 1.Zeytuun in the centre of town. Vegetarian friendly, they have a number of affordable (Under €10) delicious dishes including a filling, delicious meze platter (cracking baba ganoush and falafels) plus freshly squeezed juices. Service was friendly and the food served promptly. Tampere also has a couple of excellent food markets. My first stop on the trip was revisiting an old favourite: 2.Tammelantori Market where we sampled the delicious local blood sausage: Mustamakkara accompanied by some lingonberry jam and washed down with some cold milk. After eating this for breakfast you honestly won’t need to eat till dinner. Another fabulous place for foodies is Tampere’s 3.Kauppahalli Indoor Market where we had the pleasure of eating 4.Ohana’s. Their burgers are fabulous, greasy and so tasty. The accompany parmesan flavoured fries are a thing of pure joy. Yup. Forget your diet when you come to Tampere. Other foodie delights not to be missed include sampling the widest selection of Belgian beers in Finland at the 5.Gastropub Tuulensuu. With over 150 varieties of Belgian beer available, you are spoilt for choice plus they have a long list of imported beers from Poland, Slovakia, Lithuania, Latvia and Hungary. Food here is on the expensive side but I hear the frogs legs are excellent and I did sample their excellent potato wedges here (double fried, crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside). If you have a sweet tooth, do visit 6. Tallipihan Kahvila in the very pretty market of Tallipiha. Like something out of a Hans Christian Anderson Fairytale , this cafe is very twee. The strawberry cheesecake is amazing here. Also, an old favourite and not to be missed are the 7. Munkki cinnamon doughnuts at the Pyynikin Munkkikahvila. Work off the calories later by climbing the 130 steps to the top of the 8. Pyynikki Park and Observation Tower from where you get a fantastic panoramic view of the city.
If this hasn’t satisfied your sweet tooth, if you are visiting Tampere in the late summer, do go 9. Foraging for wild berries in a nearby forest. Nothing is more Finnish than going for a ramble in the forest and picking wild berries. Then maybe making some jam or vodka! Pyynikki forest where the tower and the doughnut cafe is situated is a good place to forage for wild berries in the summer.
After foraging for berries, I visited another old favourite and a highlight of any visit to Tampere: the graffiti art at the abandoned match stick factory in Pispala. Situated by the train tracks, the place has an eerie but haunting feel about it. What is it about abandoned places that speak to us so much? A popular place for local graffiti artists, a dark cloud has been cast on the existence of the site after the tragic death of a local teenager who fell through the roof last year when scaling it. So if you do visit, my advice is not to venture inside the building.
In terms of cultural pursuits, Tampere offers a wide range of cultural possibilities to visitors. The most unusual and unique of them all is the 11.Lenin Museum. This is the first museum dedicated to Lenin outside Russia. The former Tampere Workers Hall, this was apparently the place where Lenin met Josef Stalin for the first time in 1906. So the place has a huge historical significance. The museum details the history of Lenin, Stalin, and the Soviet Union from a neutral standpoint without glorifying or ignoring the awful things that happened during this time
A scale model of Stalin’s gulag camp reminds visitors of the years of terror and horror, and the fate of dissidents in the past and present Russia is not forgotten either.
Another important piece of heritage that symbolises Tampere is the 12. Finlayson Factory area. Walking through the area gives you an excellent snapshot of the industrial heritage of Tampere and Finland. Besides the interesting architecture, the restored buildings now house local startups, restaurants and a movie theatre. Plus the Lenin Museum which I mentioned earlier.
For families and the big kids, no trip to Tampere is complete without a visit to the 13.Särkänniemi amusement park. Featuring an aquarium, a planetarium, a children’s zoo, an art museum, the observation tower Näsinneula, (tallest structure in Finland from where you get an amazing 360 degree view of Tampere. Visit at sunset!) an amusement park and the first ever official Angry Birds theme park (an indoor amusement park called SuperPark will open in December) in the world: this is a fun day out for the whole family.
You can’t leave Finland or Tampere without a visit to the sauna. There are a number of excellent public sauna baths in the area but for old times, I went back to the 14.Rauhaniemi Beach and sauna. As a public sauna, it attracts people of all ages. The sauna is excellent and there is that beautiful huge lake in front of you. Just sitting there in the fresh air looking at the huge reservoir of water in front of you-so soothing to the eye and soul, especially with all the green trees around. Heavenly stuff.
15.Definitely time your visit to Tampere with one of the city’s many excellent festivals.
The city has an excellent all year round calendar of festivals including a film festival in March and a theatre festival in August. When I visited, the biggest urban festival in Finland was taking place called Tammerfest. Attracting over 80000 people from across Finland, Tammerfest is a big affair here and attracts some of Finland’s biggest names in rock. Talking about music, when in Tampere do pop into 16.Little Joe’s on the canal where they have a regular programme of live musicians. Great atmosphere, nice staff plus they serve delicious affordable stonebaked pizzas.
Other bonus tips: 17.Visit the atmospheric Tuomiokirkko Cathedral and also if the weather is kind to you, 18.go for a walk in the lovely Sorsapuisto Park
So. There you go. My list of cool things to in Tampere on a budget. 19. Last but not least, if you are visiting Tampere, do visit the Dream Hostel and Hotel. Detailed review and video of the hostel will be published on the site later this week so stay tuned!
This trip was made possible through the kind support of Visit Tampere. Thanks for bringing me back. Big thanks also to Ville, Eva and the team at Dream Hostel and Hotel for looking after me and being such great hosts. Plus big hug and thanks to everyone at the Visit Finland team for everything. I’d also like to show my appreciation to Rui Dantas Rodrigues from Terminal 7 Pro for creating this video and being a good roadtrip buddy. Last but not least, thank you dear reader for reading this post right to the end and visiting my blog. Please come again soon and spread the word if you enjoyed this post and video.