Tampere

View to Näsinneula tower in Tampere

Tampere (Swedish: Tammerfors) is the third largest city in Finland with around 215,000 inhabitants (around 300,000 in the metropolitan area). Being located 170 km north of the Finnish coastal capital Helsinki, it is also the most populous inland town in the Nordic countries. 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.

Understand

The Tammerkoski rapids, which now run in a canal through downtown Tampere, connect 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 largest 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 the world had yet seen.

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.

Get in

By plane

Tampere is serviced by Tampere-Pirkkala airport (IATA: TMP), which lies 17 km from the city. Finnair has several connections to Helsinki every day. During winter season there are also flights up north to Kittilä and Kuusamo. SAS has direct flights to Stockholm. Tampere is Ryanair's Finland hub, though as of 2016 they don't fly to Tampere during the winter any longer.

Tampere public transport line 1 connects Tampere city center with the airport (€3.00), while there's also an express connection between the airport and the city center by Tokeen Liikenne (€6). Everything about the connections to the airport can be found at Tampere Public Transport web site. A travel time by line 1A to the city centre is about 30 minutes and by the express line a little less. 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). 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

The national railroad company, VR, 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 between €8.50 and €33.90, whereas a local train will take just over 2 hours and costs between €9.70 and €22.50. On weekdays, there are hourly connections to Helsinki except for a 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 regional train, bus 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 on board the train. The 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 from the station.

By coach

There is an almost hourly ExpressBus 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 €22.50 (round trip €40.50) for adults, €11.30 for Finnish students (ISIC not accepted) and children of age 4-16. Children under the age of four travel free.

The low cost coach company Onnibus has services from some cities. To get bargains, tickets should be bought online well in advance. The company uses locations in Hervanta and Kaleva as its terminals and interchange stations, and does (with the exception of the Pori route) not serve the city centre.

By car

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. You can also rent a car from car-rental services found at Tampere-Pirkkala airport.

Get around

Orientation

Central square, Keskustori

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

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

Districts

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 2–3 km west of downtown. Hervanta and Nekala districts are more off beaten path.

On foot and bike

Since nearly all the shops, restaurants and attractions are located in the compact downtown area, walking is the preferred way to get around Tampere. From the main railway station, the central square is just a couple of hundred meters straight down the main street. While there are not many pedestrian-only streets downtown, Tampere is still considered a very walkable city. However, there are only few cycling lanes downtown, and therefore bicycles are not encouraged. Even in Pispala and Pyynikki districts neighboring downtown, cycling 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.

By car

There is no need for a car if you are visiting Tampere only. Driving in the city is safe and straightforward, but one should keep in mind that there are many one-way streets in downtown. Roads in Tampere are in excellent condition.

Many major car rental companies have offices in Tampere:

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

Notice that the roads will be icy during winter time and very slippery even at cold 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 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 if they suspect driving under influence.

By bus

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

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).

Starting from 2014, the regional public transit system operates on a system of Zones. Zone 1 covers all of Tampere and Pirkkala, as well as some adjacent parts of other surrounding municipalities. A single ticket for adults (12 years and above) costs €3.00 for Zone 1 allowing for unlimited transfers on buses operated by any company within the Zone for the next 60 minutes. A children's ticket costs €1.20, but 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 4:40 am, night buses charge €3.00 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 for unlimited travel by bus within the city limits (€6.50 for the first day, additional days cost €4 for adults; youth and children are €4.50/€3 and €3/€2 respectively). Purchase the smartcard at the railway or bus station, Central Square Kiosk or city transportation office at Frenckellinaukio 2 B, on the northeastern side of the Central Square. Longer-term guests may consider buying a Tampere Travel Card for cheaper trips and more convenience.

City buses offer a cheap and convenient way to get to know off-the-beaten path-locations. Nearly all the bus lines stop at the central square, Keskustori. Some interesting or useful lines include:

1 Vatiala - Koskipuisto - Pirkkala (Airport) The line to use to and from the airport. Departs from the airport every 30 mins during the week, once an hour on weekends. Much cheaper than taking a cab (which can easily exceed €30 to city center). Stops at, e.g., the Railway Station and Bus Station in the center of Tampere before continuing on towards Kangasala.

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. Departures every 15-20 min.

14 Nokia - Keskustori - Petsamo: Eastbound, it takes you to idyllic Petsamo garden suburb, with deep woods and allotments nearby. Westbound, it drives through Hatanpää, and if you get off there, you may visit Arboretum, the botanic gardens with a nice lakeside esplanade, great for picnic. If you stay on the bus, it will travel through the center of Pirkkala and on to Nokia via Pitkäniemi hospital.

15 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. It then descends through the upper-class Pyynikki with luxurious villas and palaces (and an art museum Villa Mac) and arrives to Laukontori market square / harbour, also a must-see destination. Eastbound from Keskustori, it continues under the railway station and by the university to Järvensivu, a "light edition" of Pispala. Departures every 30 min.

90 Pyynikintori square - various termini in Aitolahti/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. From there the line splits to west (Aitoniemi), north (Kämmenniemi - Terälahti - Kaanaa) and east (Viitapohja). Recommended for adventurous backpackers. If you want to see some oldest fossiles on Earth, the 2 billion years old "carbon bags" (hiilipussit), take the Aitoniemi-bound bus. If you want to experience the hillbilly scene of Tampere, take the northbound bus and leave at Kämmenniemi (the first proper village after Sorila). There's somewhat legendary Kessan baari, the local pub. If you proceed further north, there's Terälahti, the last village 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. Viitapohja-line takes you to deep woods. Departs about once an hour.

By taxi

As elsewhere in Finland, taxis in Tampere 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.

See

Tampere City Hall

Museums and galleries

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

Churches

Parks and gardens

Check out the map of parks in Central Tampere (PDF).

Others

Koiramäki theme park and Näsinneula observation tower
Amusement rides in Särkänniemi
Tampere Exhibition and Sports Centre

Do

Festivals and Important Holidays

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

Spring

Summer

Autumn

Winter

Samba dancers at Festa de Novembro.

Talk

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.

Learn

There are two universities in Tampere; the University of Tampere, and Tampere University of Technology. The former has about 15,000 students and the latter about 10,000 students. Furthermore, Tampere has also one university of applied sciences, the TAMK which has some 10,000 students.

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

Buy

Entrance of market hall

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. Generally, wine or strong liquor are only sold at Alko stores that are closed on Sundays. They are usually located next to larger grocery stores and the three department stores.

Department stores

Malls

Marketplaces

Market hall

Design

Other

Eat

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. The cheapest and most authentic way to try this is to buy from one of the stalls at the Tammelantori or Laukontori markets, with a dab of lingonberry jam (puolukkahillo) and a pint of milk (maito) on the side, but old Tampere hands will insist that the one true condiment is a mix of lingonberry jam and mustard. Order by price, not weight: "two euros" (kaksi euroa) will get you a nice hefty chunk. You can also try a doughnut (donitsi) with a cup of coffee. Both markets close by 2PM and are closed Sundays too.

Budget

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

For inexpensive fast food, you can always visit McDonald's and Subway, or local fast food chains Hesburger (McDonald's with added mayo) and Kotipizza pizzeria (they're actually rather good - they win international pizza contests on regular basis) that 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.

Mid-range

Mexican-style steak au poivre with habanero pepper at restaurant Pancho Villa.
A mobster sandwich at restaurant Speakeasy.

Splurge

Drink

Cafes

Tea rooms

Pubs and nightclubs

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 dress to impress.

Bartenders in night clubs are usually not very knowledgeable and drinks are almost always poorly made, if available at all. On the other hand, there might be a rather good selection of shooters and beers in some bars. 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 which are flavoured with (sometimes exotic) artificial essences. The ciders do not bear a strong resemblance to their Continental European counterparts.

Especially in Tampere, there are quite a few pubs - or gastropubs - with varying but decent and affordable dinner (and lunch) menus that are definitely worth a try for any visitor. The Belgian style menu in Gastropub Tuulensuu is a fine example and worth trying.


Pubs

Nightclubs

Sleep

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Connect

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 wireless internet (or WLAN as it is mostly called in Finland). In the city center and some other locations around town, there is the Wireless Tampere network. . The tourist office and main library also offer free Internet access.

Stay safe

As Finland in general, Tampere is a very safe city for its size. Though, on weekend nights, intoxicated people wandering around city streets may be an annoyance, especially during summer festivals such as Tammerfest, Tapahtumien yö, Sauna Open Air, and on New Year's Eve and April 30, the eve of May Day, 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.

There are rare exceptional health hazards, although 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 30°C, in the winter months it can drop to around -30°C for a week or two. Dressing warmly is a must. If you forget to bring winter clothing, you can always visit local shops for appropriate apparel. Also, watch out for slippery sidewalks in winter. Thousands of people slip and injure themselves every winter! Winter-time driving needs also special caution as the roads may be very slippery with ice and/or snow.

In emergencies, phone 112 (free from all phones).

Go next

Routes through Tampere

Vaasa Jalasjärvi  N  S  Hämeenlinna Helsinki


  1. http://www.tampere.fi/en/city-of-tampere/info/current-issues/2014/04/28082015_6.html
This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, April 01, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.