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Hämeenlinna, a Finnish Inland Pearl for Nature Lovers

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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 best known for its landmark, the Häme Castle. Last weekend, we paid a quick two-day visit 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, a Finnish Inland Pearl for Nature Lovers | Live now – dream later travel blog

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 organised 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 have a fair like this every year.

The three-day Medieval Fair was definitely worth visiting; read the whole story about my curious peek into the Middle Ages here!

Hämeenlinna, a Finnish Inland Pearl for Nature Lovers | Live now – dream later travel blog

In case you know some facts about Finland, you might have heard our towns are not very big, especially if measured by a number 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 cosy and ‘small-town-like’, and as mentioned a few times already, very close-to-nature.

246 square kilometres of the surface of Hämeenlinna is water. Why did I say 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 fantastic; the lake on one side, the town park on the other side. What an excellent 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.

Hämeenlinna, a Finnish Inland Pearl for Nature Lovers | Live now – dream later travel blog
The medieval camp took over the beach side of the castle park during the weekend.

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

Lake Vanajavesi 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.

Hämeenlinna, a Finnish Inland Pearl for Nature Lovers | Live now – dream later travel blog
I know worst places to spend a warm summer evening than this one. The sunset was just stunning.

You can read more about our camping experience in Aulanko national park here. To make a quick summary, the area is full of amazing camping spots, and we could have easily spent there a whole week. Unfortunately, our schedule was too tight for that, but at least we had some time for an adventure in 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.

Hämeenlinna, a Finnish Inland Pearl for Nature Lovers | Live now – dream later travel blog

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 (2015).

Hämeenlinna, a Finnish Inland Pearl for Nature Lovers | Live now – dream later travel blog
Typical Finnish views, and yet so beautiful. This is what you can see from the top of Aulanko viewing tower.

Hämeenlinna, a Finnish Inland Pearl for Nature Lovers | Live now – dream later travel blog
Hämeenlinna, a Finnish Inland Pearl for Nature Lovers | Live now – dream later travel blog

On Sunday morning, while walking in the town centre of Hämeenlinna, we found ourselves stopping in front of a realtor’s window checking the selection and the price range of houses on sale. This is how much we fell in love with the town.

Well, maybe moving to Hämeenlinna is not an option right now, but at least the local people can be damn proud of their beautiful hometown.

Hämeenlinna, a Finnish Inland Pearl for Nature Lovers | Live now – dream later travel blog
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.

Hämeenlinna, a Finnish Inland Pearl for Nature Lovers | Live now – dream later travel blog
Even hotels in Hämeenlinna look like a castle.

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


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Saana

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 10 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! 🙂

Make me happy; let's get chatty! :)

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