Moi! I’m Anton from the Teaching, Learning, and Media Education program at Tampere University, and while the Northern Lights were a spectacle, the chance to see them isn’t the only thing that makes student life in Finland shine! ✨
Despite its size, many of my classmates and friends often remark at how “small” or “cozy” Tampere feels. Regardless of how it may actually feel for you, you are surely not going to run out of places to go around having fun or ﬁnding peace in the city! Here are a few of my favorite spots in the city that I’ve called home for the last year:
The city centre
Well, this IS the most likely entry point you’ll take coming into the city (unless you’ll be ﬂying in from the airport in neighboring Pirkkala), and as this was the ﬁrst place I found myself in in Tampere when my train from Helsinki arrived, it holds a special place in my heart.
More than the sentimental reason, however, it is – as the name suggests – the centre of almost everything that happens in the city. Just along Hämeenkatu, you will ﬁnd a host of restaurants that will satisfy just about any craving you might have, and bars or clubs where all the biggest parties come alive. There are also many theaters scattered around, hosting anything from concerts & ﬁlm viewings to children’s plays & comedy shows, as well as the new Nokia Arena, which is slowly becoming the home of Finnish ice hockey. If you’re too tired to go to any of those places, however, there are numerous parks – such as Koskipuisto and Sorsapuisto (pictured below) –where you can lay down your ﬁnest picnic mat and relax (if the weather permits, of course!).
Running along the northern part of the city is Näsijärvi, one of the two lakes the city is wedged between. It is the biggest lake in the Tampere, covering about 256 square kilometers, and the amount of things to do here is just as incredible as its land size. In the summer, you can go for a swim in the cool waters and watch golden sunrises in areas such as Tampella & Lappinniemi (both areas in which many student accommodations are located; something to consider when applying for an apartment!) or go for long walks and have intimate picnics in surrounding forests near Rauhaniemi & Kaupinoja. As the temperatures drop (and so does the snow), winter sports and sights await, as the lake transforms into possibly the largest skating, winter biking and skiing place you might ﬁnd yourself in! More than everything I’ve mentioned about this place so far, though, is that this is one of the best places from where you can view the Northern Lights in the entire region, as the sprawling landscape gives way to this majestic dance in the night sky, giving light to what is often considered the darkest time of the year.
Nestled among trees in the Pyynikinrinne area is the famed observation tower that is a MUST to visit for anyone in Tampere, foreigners and locals alike. It stands 75 meters above the waters of Pyhäjärvi (the other of the two great lakes, opposite the aforementioned Näsijärvi), which means it will provide you with one of the most breathtaking views you’ll witness while in the city. The scenes from atop the tower are beautiful no matter the time of year, as warmer months will show you the vibrant colors of nature and the cooler months will oﬀer you snow-sprinkled scenery that will satisfy the winter lover in you. As you come down from the literal highs of the tower and the emotional highs of taking in the sights, you can head to the equally famous Pyynikin Munkkikahvila and have yourself some coﬀee and munkki (which are NOT donuts, as some locals might like to tell you) as a sweet ending to your trip.
Of course, how can I make this list without mentioning the very reason I’m here in the ﬁrst place? The university (and its many campuses) is pretty much my second home here in Tampere. Besides oﬀering me a place to rest and eat, it’s a place where I constantly get to meet new people and learn new things, inside AND outside classroom walls. It’s also a place where I strive to be a greater version of myself each and every time I visit, making it a venue that I will cherish for a lifetime.
Whether you love the busy-ness of the night life or seek the peace & quiet of nature, Tampere will surely have a special place for you! There are certainly more destinations to go to other than what I’ve listed here, so it’s up to you to go out and explore for yourself too! Thus, even if it’s just within the city – Hyvää matkaa Tampereella! (Happy travels in Tampere!)
You can learn more about Anton’s story here