The whole world knows the fact that Finns don’t do small talk. We just don’t. Except when the summer is rainy and cold. Then we LOVE to complain about the weather. Actually, it’s pretty much the only thing we do or speak about.
On the contrary, every Finn knows that the summer in Finland is way too short to stay indoors. So, we have to enjoy it as much as we can – rain or shine.
Tampere is one of the greatest summer destinations in Finland. For me personally, visiting Tampere is always a nostalgic experience as I used to live there for a few years in my 20s (the best party years, I know). In June, I paid another incredibly fun visit in Tampere; Local travel bloggers and vloggers Rami, Lotta and Antti invited me together with a bunch of fellow Finnish bloggers to spend a couple of days amongst the most fun and addictive activities in Tampere.
Here’s a “fun” fact about Finnish summer: At the end of June we’re celebrating Midsummer, a long weekend that some (dozens) of years ago used to be the sunniest, hottest and simply the best period of the summer. Nowadays, besides the bonfires and other kinds of Midsummer celebrations, there is a new rule to this June tradition. At some point during the Midsummer week, there will be rain, thunder and even hailstorms. Talking about climate change…
This year was no exception to that rule. Funny enough, all above-mentioned phenomena appeared during the two days we spent in Tampere, which inspired me to list some activities in Tampere that you can enjoy of even if it rains. Or hails.
1. Wake Valley – because you’ll get wet anyway *
I’m going to cheat already at the beginning of my list: Wake Valley Camping isn’t located in Tampere, but the neighbouring town Ylöjärvi. Because the distance is short (approximately 20 minutes drive), and because Tampere hasn’t got a wake park of its own, Wake Valley in Ylöjärvi deserves its spot on this list.
And because wakeboarding is one of my favourite summer activities, Wake Valley deserves to be number one on my list.
Wakeboarding photos: Tomi Björklund / Vaihda vapaalle
Wakeboarding gets you addicted already on your first go, even if it means falling over and over again. You’re guaranteed to get wet in a wake park anyway, so little rain showers won’t matter at all. Exactly the opposite – they mainly feel refreshing.
When you choose a rainy day to go wakeboarding, you’ll most likely avoid any queues. Wake Valley is located on a tiny lake, which means the water gets warm early in the summer. If you feel chilly, just dive into the lake, and you’ll be warm again (of course, you can also warm yourself up in their beach sauna).
Wake Valley isn’t only a place for wakeboarding but a perfect spot for a relaxing weekend. Besides the camping area, their rental cottages are very affordable, food is delicious, and the atmosphere is laid-back and friendly. If you don’t fancy the idea of wakeboarding, just chill out on the sandy beach or try Stand Up Paddling instead.
*Our visit was provided by Wake Valley
More stories about water sports:
2. Taste the flavours of Tampere in local gastropubs *
Do you love glamorous pub food and beer tasting? Then Tampere is a heaven for you. The wide range of gastropubs offers an excellent alternative for spending a rainy day in Tampere. The pubs are located within a short walking distance to each other, so you wouldn’t get too wet even if it was raining a bit heavier.
The gastropubs in Tampere provide a great selection of beers, ciders and wines from local small breweries. Some of them are such you can’t find anywhere else. Also, the food is most often prepared from the local products.
You can familiarise yourself with the gastropubs of Tampere on your own, or you can book yourself a guided Tasting Tampere tour that is organised by a local company Hiking Travel Hit.
During our brief visit to Tampere, we got to experience a short version of the Tasting Tampere tour. Even so, our guide Liisa Tyllilä from Hiking Travel Hit managed to take us to three different gastropubs: Gastropub Nordic, Tapas Bar & Sidreria Inez and Kievari Kahdet Kasvot.
The best part of the guided tour is, besides the beer tasting and local flavours, learning about the fascinating history of Tampere. Liisa is an excellent guide, and I could have followed and listened to her until the end of the day if we only had time.
I was astonished by the quality of pub food in the gastropubs in Tampere. Even when I’m travelling, I try to find honest, local food over the fancy and overpriced Michelin starred dishes, and pubs are often great places to find such food. On the contrary, sometimes you’ll only find burgers and fries, but in Tampere, the pub menus are a bit different. Somewhat more glamorous.
Besides the food, I fell in love with a new dry apple cider I’ve never even heard of before. Tärviö, ‘cider made of the apples of the forgotten trees’ blew my mind. With almost zero sugar, it’s the driest and most delicious cider I’ve ever tasted and, believe me, I’ve tasted MANY.
Tasting Tampere tour has been awarded by Visit Finland, and it truly deserves the credit.
*The tasty tour was provided by Hiking Travel Hit and the above-mentioned gastropubs.
3. Floating down the rapids, are you crazy?
This activity is so weird it must be a Finnish invention – especially the winter version of it. I don’t even know the proper English word for this, so let’s call it rapid floating. I’m not talking about white-water rafting or floating in a river in an inflatable tube; I’m talking about an activity where you wear a rescue suit and float down the rapids without any other equipment.
A little while ago, I got a hint that you could experience rapid floating in Tampere. That is definitely an activity that makes you wet, rain or shine. In addition, it’s an activity that I’m really interested in, but I haven’t yet tried myself.
After a little Google search, I found out that a company called Koskikellujat organises rapid floating experiences near Tampere. The exact location is a neighbouring town Lempäälä, but as I already included another nearby town in my Tampere activities, why not to include Lempäälä as well. After all, this activity is worth mentioning.
Doesn’t rapid floating sound crazy enough? Then you should try the winter version where you float down the rapids in your rescue suit in minus-a-lot degrees, like a fellow blogger Johanna from Out of Office travel blog has done:
4. Take a day trip to Viikinsaari Island *
I spent four years of my life in Tampere, and yet I had only heard stories about Viikinsaari Island before our June visit. I live in a seaside town and always praise our beautiful archipelago, but I sometimes tend to forget that lakes have islands as well. Tampere is located between two lakes, Pyhäjärvi and Näsijärvi, and Viikinsaari Island is one of the pearls of Lake Pyhäjärvi.
Viikinsaari Island is easy to reach from the centre of Tampere. A cruise company Hopealinjat has a boat operating between Laukontori and Viikinsaari Island every hour in summer. The return ticket costs 12 euros for an adult. The trip takes approximately 20 minutes one way.
On Viikinsaari Island you’ll find a beautiful and romantic villa with a restaurant, which also serves local beverages and dishes. In addition, there’s a summer theatre, playground, beach sauna and a hot tub, nature trails, places for barbeque and other fun activities, like mini-golf. Viikinsaari is a popular place for a picnic, so pack your swimsuit and some lunch to go and spend the whole day in this green oasis.
*Our visit to Viikinsaari was provided by Hopealinjat
5. Take a lake cruise
If it’s really raining and you don’t fancy a day on an island, you can get a ticket for a lake cruise. Hopealinjat organises different themed cruises on the lakes of Tampere. You can choose a lunch cruise, a dinner on the lake or… just make up an excuse of your own. The lake views are to die for, even on a cloudy day.
6. Rent a sauna boat
Let’s stick to the lakes of Tampere just for a little while. If you’re visiting Tampere with a group of friends or colleagues and you’re looking for a lovely place for hanging out for a few hours, here’s an interesting tip for you: you can rent a sauna boat!
Saunas are an important part of life in Tampere, which shows as a high number of public saunas. I can understand that for a foreigner, who isn’t used to go to sauna at all, a public sauna can be a bit scary experience. That’s why you can also rent a private sauna, and if you’re going to do so, do it properly: how would a sauna boat with a hot tub or Jacuzzi sound like?
7. It won’t rain in Moomin Museum *
Museums are always convenient rainy-day activities in Tampere (and pretty much anywhere in the world). Even if you weren’t a fan of museums, I might have news that interest you: The world’s one and only Moomin Museum opened its doors in Tampere in June.
Moomin Museum really is a museum that entertains both, adults and children. Visiting the museum did the trick; I felt like laying on the couch for the rest of the day watching Moomins with an old-school VCR, just like when I was a kid. An interactive museum presents the original illustrations by Tove Jansson, the creator of the famous Moomins. The museum is located in Tampere-talo, very close to the centre.
* Our visit was provided by Moomin Museum
Still raining? There are many interesting museums in Tampere, pick your favourite one!
8. There are no queues in Särkänniemi on a rainy day *
When we’re giving out tips and listing activities in Tampere, we can’t skip Särkänniemi, the 2nd largest amusement park and one of the most well-known tourist attractions in Finland. It’s the place to be on a hot and sunny summer day. Or is it?
When I was a kid, we used to visit Särkänniemi each summer. And we always did it during the hottest period of Finnish summer. What do I remember the best? The queues. The heat. The frustration. When you’re a kid, you don’t want to queue for an hour to get into your favourite ride, right?
Guess what! When the weather isn’t that nice, there are no queues in Särkänniemi whatsoever. You’ll get quickly to any ride you want, and the only sweat drops are caused by the horrifying rollercoasters, not the unbearable heat.
Särkänniemi had dared us to take the Hype Challenge – to take the newest, highest and fastest ride in Särkänniemi. Of course, we couldn’t say no to that (you can watch a video of our challenge below). When we were getting closer to the new Hype, we didn’t know which one scared us more, the roller coaster or the dark, threatening clouds in the sky.
Just when we were about to take the ride, they arrived. First, the hailstorm. Then, a massive bolt of lightning. And then, the thunder. All roller coasters were closed immediately. It was time for lunch.
Rain and thunder – sometimes even hailstorms – are an inevitable part of Finnish summer. But only extremely rarely they last the whole day. When it’s raining, you can enjoy the indoor activities in Särkänniemi – the restaurants, the viewing tower Näsinneula, planetarium and aquarium, just to mention a few. Once the rain stops, you’re good to go again – without queueing.
After this visit, I’ve kept wondering why on Earth did we always go to Särkänniemi on a sunny day?
*Our visit was provided by Särkänniemi.
WATCH THE HYPE CHALLENGE:
9. Escape for your life!
Escape rooms arrived in Finland a few years ago. While I was walking along the streets of Tampere, I couldn’t help noticing the great number of different escape rooms all over the city. I’ve never had a chance to try one yet, but I have a feeling I would be very good in this rainy-day proofed activity.
So, I decided that when I’m next time looking fun and dry activities in Tampere in bad weather, I’m going to try one of the many escape rooms. Perhaps you should too?
10. Spend a relaxing holiday in the middle of the city *
Sometimes a relaxing holiday in a cosy hotel with an excellent location is all you need for a perfect getaway. Imagine yourself laying on a comfy bed until the afternoon, sitting on the ready-made breakfast or dinner table, having a swim in a pool with views and just be. There’s no need to do dishes, no laundry, no vacuuming. Just relaxing.
And imagine, on top of all that, having a stunning view over the whole city. It doesn’t get much better than that. In today’s hectic world, we too often forget to take it easy. Close our laptops and smartphones and just be. Without doing anything or being in a rush of going somewhere and experiencing everything possible during a short stay in a new city.
Original Sokos Hotel Ilves ticks all the requirements listed above pretty well. Thanks to its convenient location right in the middle of the town centre, the hotel provides you with the option of doing whatever you want, even all the activities in Tampere mentioned in this post. But it also gives you the option to relax and do nothing.
And you can’t complain about the view, either.
*Original Sokos Hotel Ilves provided us with accommodation for one night during our visit to Tampere