What to do and see in Tampere, Finnland

Visiting a Scandinavian country has been on my bucket list for a long time. During the Corona pandemic, I’ve met some nice people from beautiful Finland online and thought a visit there was long overdue – especially since Finland has once again been named the happiest country in the world by the UN World Happiness Report for the 7th time this year.  Theoretically I’ve been to Finnland before, but only for a couple of hours. Plenty of time for a relaxed stroll through Finnland’s capital, but definitely not enough time to explore everything a Finnish city has to offer. My trip to Tampere was about to change that.  But what to do and see in Tampere, Finnland? Let’s find out!

Tampere – a contrast of old and new!

Arrival in Helsinki, transfer to Tampere!

Arriving at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport feels very chill. Even more so if you are used to large airports with crowds of people. However, you’ll notice right away that things are a bit different here in Finland:  Less people, less hectic, more calm. Maybe that’s the key to the Finns’ happiness?  

Finland’s largest airport, completed in 1951 for the Summer Olympics, is 17 kilometers from Helsinki and 176 kilometers from Tampere, my holiday destination. Theoretically, a direct flight would also have been possible. Tampere-Pirkkala is the ninth largest airport in the country and can be reached with a direct connection from Amsterdam, for example. But since the flight times were rather impractical for me, I decided to travel from Frankfurt to Helsinki and take the train to Tampere.

The connection to Tampere city center  is fast, cheap and convenient. It requires  a 6-minute commuter train ride to Tikkurila and a transfer to the non-stop IC to Tampere. The journey to Tampere will take you around 90 minutes. It is by no means faster by car, even though there is a well-developed motorway that connects the two cities of Helsinki and Tampere.

Down by the river

Tampere: Some Fun Facts

Tampere is the third largest city in Finland with around 250,000 inhabitants. Geographically, it is located in the south of the country between two lakes, Näsijärvi and Pyhäjärvi, which are connected by the Tammerkoski rapids. 

During the three days I spent in and around Tampere, I particularly enjoyed the lively city culture. Tampere has many modern buildings such as the Nokia Arena and numerous malls, but also many traditional buildings and old factories, such as the Finlayson area. 

Nokia Arena, Tampere
A glimpse of the Nokia Arena

There’s a lot of history, but also vibrant culture and damn good food! Before my visit I didn’t have a clue that people in Tampere love chicken wings this much! In fact, chicken wings are considered a kind of  national food there and there are numerous places that specialize in chicken wings. Even the airport food court had a chicken wing spot! 

Factory buildings by the river
Factory buildings by the river

Because of the large number of students, the city feels rather young and unconventional. The students can be recognized at a glance thanks to their colorful overalls. It’s interesting to know that each academic subject has its own color. A great idea that not only strengthens the sense of belonging and provides opportunities for conversation, but also allows you to identify their field of study immediately.

Anyone who lives here can enjoy the urban city feeling embedded in a beautiful natural landscape every day. The big advantage? If you want to leave the city behind, you don’t have to look far. Untouched nature is never far away.

What to do and see in Tampere?

My top tip number 1: Explore the city on foot

Naturally, Tampere also has good and reliable public transport. Numerous bus routes as well as the relatively new tram (completed in 2021, serves two tram lines) offer tourists and locals the chance to reach all important destinations within the city quickly and comfortably.

However, nothing beats my favorite way to explore a new city. In my experience, the best way by far to get a feel for a new city is on foot.  You can also make stops wherever you like. So just put on your most comfy sneakers and you’re ready to go! Tampere is ideal for this: The city feels quite small and it’s hard to get lost due to its easy layout.

Tampere has so much to offer!

 If you follow the tram line into the center, it will lead you straight to Keskustori Central Square, Tampere’s former market square. Here you will find the theater, the town hall and an old wooden church from 1824.

Tampere's city hall
Tampere’s city hall
The theatre and the old wooden church

The Finlayson area is a dream for anyone interested in art and culture with its galleries, museums and shops and restaurants of all kinds.

Finlayson Area
The Finlayson Area

Finlayson Area


Speaking of museums: For many tourists, the Muumimusseo, the Moomin Museum, is a must-see. The experience-oriented museum, whose focus is the iconic original illustrations by Tove Jansson, is not only interesting for families and fans.

Tallipiha Stable Yards
Tallipiha Stable Yards
Tallipiha Stable Yards
Tallipiha Stable Yards
A typical stableyards building
A typical stableyards building
A typical stableyards building
A nice place to relax: Within one of the stableyards buildings

The Tallipiha horse stables should not be missed on a stroll through Tampere. Once a place for horses, the charming wooden buildings now house small shops selling handicrafts and specialty sweets. There’s also a beautiful café, the Tallipihan kahvila, which offers tasty pastries and a relaxed atmosphere.

Tallipihan kahvila - café at the stable yards
Tallipihan kahvila – café at the stable yards
A hot beverage at the Stableyards Café Tallipihan kahvila
Enjoy a hot tea in the cozy stableyards café


I visited in March, but throughout the Tallipiha horse stables, you could still sense the special magic that this place has at Christmas. It was really funny and unique to see the Christmas trees decorated with easter eggs!

Tallipiha stableyards
Tallipiha stableyards
Christmas tree decorated with easter eggs at the stableyards
Christmas tree decorated with Easter eggs

Top tip number 2: Feast your way through Tampere

There is nothing better than starting your day with a relaxed stroll through the Vanha kauppahalli (Old Market Hall). There are restaurants, bakeries, small and large stalls and specialty shops. How about a delicious breakfast with Finnish coffee and pulla, a traditional Finnish yeast pastry (similar to cinnamon roll)? Or would you rather have an extensive brunch – or just lunch? Whatever you are in the mood for, the market hall offers something for every taste! 

Vanha kauppahalli
Inside the old market hall
Vanha kauppahalli
Inside of the old market hall (Vanha kauppahalli)

Breakfast at Café de Halle

I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try out Café de Halle‘s famous pastries and went for their pulla, a sugary treat similar to a cinnamon roll. It was gigantic and absolutely delicious – 10/10, would recommend!

Finnish breakfast: Coffee and pulla
Finnish breakfast: Coffee and pulla
Café de Halle
Café de Halle – known for its delicious pastries!

Meat, fresh fish, cheese, vegetables, pastries, bread. It feels like every cuisine in the world is covered. No matter what you choose here, you can always be sure that you will receive fresh products and the best quality. The Old Market Hall invites you to linger. There is so much to see and try!

Vanha kauppahalli
Fresh, natural and organic products!

Puisto: Lunch with a View

A great place for lunch is the Puisto right in the heart of the city by the river.

Every day, they offer 3-4 affordable lunch options. You pick the one you like, pay up front and then take a seat in their restaurant downstairs with a fantastic view of the rapids. I chose the salmon, veggies and potatoes. This very tasty meal was served with a side salad. It was  one of the best meals I had while in Tampere!

Salmon, veggies and potatoes at the PUISTO
Tasty salmon lunch at the Puisto

Chicken Wings: A Tampere favorite!

In addition to trying some typical Finnish specialties, you should also have some chicken wings while in Tampere! A recommendation here is Speakeasy, a restaurant in the American dining style of the 1930s. They serve their legendary chicken wings  in an extremely tasty sauce, and you can decide the level of spiciness yourself (from mild to extra hot). There’s also a side of celery sticks and carrots with a blue cheese dip to die for!

The Speakeasy Restaurant inside Finlayson
Dining within the Finlayson Area! Check out Speakeasy’s legendary chicken wings when you have a chance!

Top tip number 3: Explore nature

This should be a no brainer. Get in the rental car and out onto the pleasantly empty streets, into untouched nature. Either you just drive around and take in the beauty of nature, or you stop wherever you like.

A lake during winter time in Tampere, Finnland

There are an incredible number of lakes, forests and small villages that invite you to take a walk, linger or just take a deep breath of the fresh, crisp air. For us Western European city dwellers, seeing  the many “Beware of Moose” street signs is exciting. Unfortunately I didn’t see any moose – but I’ll definitely see it next time!

Beware of Moose sign
The “Beware of Moose” sign made me smile every time I saw it!

Tampere has it all!

Tampere is the right travel choice for you if you want to experience a vibrant European city, but also get your fair share of nature experiences. With its wide choice of global cuisines, the city is also a dream come true for foodies. Aim for three full days to spend there. For me, Tampere has been a very pleasant surprise and a place I will definitely return to – for its vibes, the food and of course the lovely people!

Coffee and cake
Finnish coffee & sugary treats – can life get any better?