A short drive or train ride North of Helsinki, you will find Tampere and Hämeenlinna. Both are wonderful destinations not to far out of the capital.
Tampere is a beautiful city located in the heart of Lakeland between Näsijärvi and Pyhäjärvi lakes with the Tammerkoski River flowing right through the downtown. Once a heavy industrial city, Tampere has been rejuvenated and riverside warehouse and industrial buildings have been renovated and reinvented to fit a new modern urban vibe.
Be sure to head to the top of the Pyynikki observation tower for spectacular views of the city and surrounding lakes plus some delicious donuts! Tampere is also a great place to check out traditional Finnish saunas. The traditional public saunas are located close to the city centre. Rauhaniemi sauna offers the chance to take a dip in to lake Näsijärvi. Or check out the oldest Finnish public sauna still in business, Rajaportin sauna.
A must see is the Kauppahalli market. This indoor marketplace will take your breath away. A wide selection of breads, pastries, meats, cheeses, produce, traditional Finnish goods, and all the making for a great picnic.
A medium sized city, a bit smaller than Tampere, Hameenlinna offers two impressive castles, a large lakeside park with botanical gardens, extensive galleries and museums, and the Iittala Glass Museum.
Hame Castle is worth the stop. The impressive structure is open year round and is located on shore of Lake Vanajavesi across from the city’s park and gardens. The castle also offers permanent and temporary exhibitions.