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Hämeenlinna, a Finnish inland pearl for nature lovers

Hämeenlinna is an inland town of around 68 000 people, located in the Southern part of Finland, 100 kilometers North of Helsinki, the capital. Hämeenlinna is known best for its’ landmark, the Häme Castle. Last weekend we made a quick weekend trip to Hämeenlinna. We visited the castle, of course, but there was something else that really charmed us. The beautiful nature that was so close you could just touch it.

Hämeenlinna - The Häme Castle by Vanajavesi lake in Southern Finland

I would say Hämeenlinna is probably one of the most beautiful towns in Finland. If you have ever visited this Northern country, you might know we have nature around us pretty much everywhere we go. But only rarely is nature so easy to approach as it is in Hämeenlinna. It’s right there in the centre of the town. You can literally just go and touch it.

The main reason for our weekend trip to Hämeenlinna was the Häme Medieval Fair that was traditionally organized at the castle park in the centre of the town. I have never before visited this kind of medieval event, even if many Finnish towns are having a fair like this every year. A three-day event was definitely worth visiting, and I will tell you more about it on the blog in a few days time. The Häme Medieval Fair really deserves its’ own post.

Hämeen keskiaikamarkkinat - Häme Medieval Fair in Hämeenlinna

You can read more about the Häme Medieval Fair on the blog in a few days. The fair was organized in the park of Häme Castle that you can see on the background of the picture.

In case you know some facts about Finland, you might have heard our towns are not very big, especially if measured by the amount of people living there. A little bit over 68 000 people are living in Hämeenlinna, which makes it the 14th biggest town in the whole of Finland. The atmosphere is very cozy and ‘small-town-like’, and as mentioned a few times already, very close-to-nature.

246 square kilometers of the surface of Hämeenlinna is water. Why did I say the nature is right there in the town centre? Because a lake called Vanajavesi is flowing through it. The best part is, there is a track along the beach which is perfect for walking, jogging and cycling. The views are absolutely fantastic; the lake on one side, the town park on the other side. What a perfect reason to enjoy some fresh air. You can also cross the lake following a railway bridge, which highlights the experience as you can stop on the bridge and just admire the view on the lake, decorated with the silhouette of the Häme castle and the town centre.

Keskiaikaleiri - Medieval camp in the castle park of Hämeenlinna

A medieval camp took over the beach side of the castle park during the weekend.

Walking along the track by the lake I felt even I could go for a run every now and then if the setting was that perfect. (Yep, I love to run after a football, but I’m not much of a jogger, really.)

The Vanajavesi lake in the centre of the town is only a tiny little part of the big picture. Hämeenlinna is full of parks, forests, outdoor tracks, camping areas with places to build a campfire and beaches to swim. We choose Aulanko Nature Reserve for our camping destination.

Leirimaisema Aulangolla - Our camp view in Aulanko, Hämeenlinna.

I know worst places to spend a warm summer evening than this one. The sunset was absolutely beautiful.

I will tell you more about our camping experience in Aulanko national park in a few days. To make a quick summary, the area is full of amazing camping spots and we could have easily spent there a full week. Unfortunately our schedule was too tight for that, but at least we had some time for an adventure in an old castle ruins and to climb on the top of Aulanko viewing tower. And oh boy, was it worth it? The views were definitely worth … well, many many steps.

The old castle ruins in Aulanko, Hämeenlinna

According to some sources, the nature of Aulanko was inspiring the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius when he was creating our national hymn Finlandia. Sibelius was born in Hämeenlinna and the town is celebrating his 150 years birthday this year.

Aulangon kansallismaisema - The views in Aulanko, Hämeenlinna

Typical Finnish views, and yet so beautiful. This is what you can see from the top of Aulanko viewing tower.

Hämeenlinna had such a great impact on us that on Sunday morning, while walking in the town centre, we found ourselves stopping in front of realtor’s window checking the selection and the price range of houses on sale. Well, maybe moving to Hämeenlinna is not an option right now, but at least the local people can be damn proud of their beautiful home town.

Hämeenlinnan kauppatori - Hämeenlinna market square

The market square of Hämeenlinna was quiet on Sunday morning. It was a perfect place to enjoy a cup of coffee and the late summer morning sun.


Sokos Hotel Vaakuna Hämeenlinna

Even a hotel looks a little bit like a castle.

Have you ever visited Finland? If you have, what is your favourite town in this Northern country? If you never have visited Finland, would you like to? Share your thoughts on the comments section below.

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The girl behind the blog is a Finnish travel and outdoor enthusiastic with a huge passion for writing and fulfilling dreams. When I'm not abroad, I'm showing you the best of beautiful Finland. My heart lies in the archipelago of Satakunta and Rauma area in the South-West of Finland.

This Post Has 11 Comments
  1. It looks beautiful Saana! I’ve only been to Finland once and I didn’t visit Hämeenlinna (I did pass through it on the train from Tampere to Helsinki). I have a friend who is from there (he never said how lovely it was!) but as he was away travelling I didn’t go.

    1. Thanks for your comment Rachel. You should definitely visit Hämeenlinna one day. And when you are coming to Finland, don’t forget to visit my home town Rauma as well. Rauma is very beautiful seaside town on the south-west coast of Finland! 😉 I noticed you are learning Finnish, so maybe you should have a longer trip and have a deep dive into Finnish language and culture! 🙂

      1. Kiitos! I will visit Rauma then! I am coming over hopefully in November or December too (solo) for a few weeks to help my learning.
        If I do come over and you are there it would be good to meet you! I have a good friend in Tampere who is helping me learn, she is very patient with me 😉

      2. Ah, you have a british boy! Lucky you! I want to move to Finland, hahaha, but I need the language to live there I suppose! Is he fluent now from living there for 10 years?

      3. Lucky and lucky… 😀 You don’t need the language to be able to move to Finland. Everyone speaks English here, or at least nearly everyone, so don’t worry. Just come here and you’ll learn! 😉 Daniel would be fluent if he wasn’t that lazy. He understands everything but is a bit lazy to speak Finnish. He doesn’t need to, that’s the problem! 🙂

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