Happiest and Healthiest people. Lakes, hot sauna, cold winters, the unique spirit and nightmares
TAMPERE FINLAND: Finally, I had the chance to check out Tampere, the city with many names. Tammerfors is the Swedish name, as part of the population in Finland actually is a Swedish minority. Finns are not considered as Vikings at any point, but Tampere can fire up the largest number of public saunas. Tampere Finland is the Sauna Capital of the world, in a country blessed with 188,000 lakes. Summer is relatively warm, but come February – a freezing cold month when the record drops below 25.
Spirit of Finish Sisu
Tampere has institutions for higher education and lot of students, nightlife and cultural happenings. This a city with 250.000 inhabitants and in sense they all represent the uniqueness of Finland – the spirit of Sisu.
Sisu is a Finnish term and roughly translated as strength of will, determination, dedication and acting rationally in the face of danger. The word originates from “sisus”, which literally means “guts”
Pictures by: Laura Vanzo / Visit Tampere
Sauna every day
In Tampere they proudly say: Every day is a sauna day. You are warmly to test one, it will take weeks to test them all. The normal temperature use to move up to 90 degrees, sometimes even higher. If you visit here in winters, there are always gap in a frozen lake next to the sauna. Jumping out of a hot sauna into your very own lake is not considered as luxury or an overstatement.
Sauna Tampere Finland
Rajaportti is the oldest public sauna in Finland with rots dating back to 1906.
If you like to test an authentic smoke sauna, go to Niemi-Kapee in Teiskol available for public a couple of times a month, all year round.
Two saunas on the lakefront; legendary Rauhaniemi or Kaupinoja, both offer possibility to swim, even in the winter.
Kuuma is a sauna restaurant serving good food in combination with a dip in the lake, all year round.
Nude or Speedo
If you really want to understand Finland and its people, then hot saunas are a good starting point.
In Finland there is one sauna for every three people, and not hard to find a wood-fired sauna by a lake. This is Finland´s playground, boardroom and place of worship rolled into one. Here it´s ban on anything other than nudity. The Finns expose an authoritarian line; you must remain naked at all times in the sauna. Nude, no speedo.
Don´t worry, no rule without exception. The public saunas usually require a bathing suit.
Things to do
Public transport takes you wherever you want by bus or tram. If you have the chance, head to the huge indoor Kauppahalli Market (Address: Hämeenkatu 19) with plenty of everything. You will definitely find something to eat and drink.
Tampere is known for so many things, included food trucks serving chicken wings and mustamakkara, a well tasted blood sausage. Try, it´s bloody good.
Smallest family members will enjoy many playgrounds and parks.
Or you can hop on a boat from Laukontori Markets and after 20 minutes you arrive at Viikinsaari island. Here you will find kiosk, restaurant, beach, summer theatre and even a chapel.
Let´s have some Brunch
We found a few good places in Tampere for an easy-going brunch on the weekend.
Henriks is the place where the traditional meets the trends with authentic flavours. Saturday brunch includes a starter plate, main and desert. The bubbly is not overprized.
Next to the Central Market, you will find Aitoleipâ Café, serving brunch on Saturday and Sunday with a variety of cheese, vegetables, pastries and dessert, and option with vegan and gluten-free.
Pub Kyttälä, known as Kyttis, in the centre of Tampere is a legendary place with a long history.
Semafori has a dance floor, a bar for drinks, delicious food and the place for those who like to listen to live music.
Thrasherie Bar is located in the main street Hämeenkatu, and specialized in metal music.
Amadeus in Tammela is a music and rock bar. Music will keep the party going all night.
Take in some culture
Enjoy visiting some unique museums. One about ice hockey, the national sport. Then the world`s first spy museum giving the insight about the tools and methods of espionage.
For families with children a visit to the Moomin museum is a must. It is dedicated to the Moomins, characters created by Tove Jansson and has become part of pop culture in Finland. Here are 2,000 items on display.
In an old factory building, Vapriikki brings together more than a dozen museums and exhibitions under one roof.
Finish contemporary art are on display at the Tampere Art Museum.
You should know that start of Soviet Union took place in Tampere, Finland. At the Lenin Museum you can learn all about it. The museum was the birthplace of the USSR. It was here Lenin and Stalin first met in 1905 and allowing Finland to have independence while forming the Soviet Union. Now Finland wants to join NATO.
You probably didn´t know that Finland consumes most coffee in the world, 9,6 kg per capita. No more coffee, is a Finish Nightmare. Another nightmare is when the Finns are asked to sing together, they prefer silently preparing for Christmas Corals.
Matti is a stereotypical who appreciates peace and quiet space. Matti tries his best to avoid too close, and not bother with unnecessary chit chat and small talks.
Wife Carrying is a typical sport and the World Championship is taking place every year. It is a sport in which male competitors race while carrying a female teammate.
Finnish is a Uralic language, spoken by majority of the population, and most closely related to Estonian and Hungarian. I grew up as a neighbour to Finland and can speak some 20-25 words, which is enough to impress some Finns.
Travel to Tampere
Most of passengers to Tampere Pirkkala Airport travel internationally. You can fly here from 11 European destinations: Frankfurt, Copenhagen, Munich, Oslo, Malaga, Rhodes, Riga, London, Stockholm and Helsinki.
To and from the airport, the bus takes 30 minutes and passes through the railway station and bus station in the city.
From fat to fit
If Tampere is typical for Finland, Finland is anything but typical of the world.
Thirty years ago, Finland was one of the world’s unhealthiest nations. Diet was poor, people inactive and heart disease at record levels. Now it’s one of the fittest countries on earth and Tampere is part of the story how Finland did it.
In the 1970s Finland held the world record for heart disease. The idea then was a good life was an inactive life, everybody was smoking and eating lot of fat.
Instead of campaign telling people what not to do, officials blitzed the population with positive incentives. Villages held “quit and win” competitions for smokers, entire towns set against each other in cholesterol-cutting showdowns. Physical activity was arguably the most important contributor to better health.
They needed motivation
Tobacco ads were banned. Farmers produced low-fat milk. Salt intake went down. A full-blown campaign took off.
“It wasn’t education they needed, it was motivation. They wanted to do it for themselves,” an official told.
Today Finland is a very different place. Number of men dying from heart disease dropped by at least 65%, deaths from lung cancer slashed by a similar. This process managed to draw previous inactive people into sport and activities, and ensured no one was excluded.
A success story
Now Finland finds itself in the spotlight from health officials across the world who are desperate to find out what it was they got so right. Because this success story is most impressive for where the Finns has pulled itself up from.
When visiting Tampere, you will meet the Finns and discover their quality of life living. The ability to keep up a national courage and self-respect is closely connected with their uniqueness – the Finish Sisu.
Key Questions & Answers
Q: Where is Tampere?
A: Tampere is a city in the Pirkanmaa region, located in the western part of Finland. Tamerfors is the Swedish name of the city.
Q: What to do in Tampere?
A: This city has a relaxed atmosphere, with plenty go see and do, whether culture, arts, sports and the culinary. Tampere is city for weekend visit.
Q: How to get from Helsinki airport to Tampere?
A: Train, Plane, Bus or Drive. A bus from Tampere-Pirkkala airport to the city centre costs 5 €.
Q: How far is Tampere from Helsinki?
A: The distance between Helsinki and Tampere is 160 km. The road distance is 177 km
Q: What time is it in Tampere Finland?
A: Finland is 1 hour ahead of Europe and 2 hours ahead of the United Kingdom.
Water reflection Lake Nasijarvi summe
Happy in Tampere
Let me add that Tampere is located between lakes and not far from the Bothnian Sea. The nickname is “Manse” and the city is also self-proclaimed the “sauna capital of the world”.
But the most salient fact for all of you heading here after reading my story is quite noticeable. In 2022, Finland was ranked No. 1 in the World Happiness Report for the fifth consecutive year. That means Tampere is the happiest place in the world. And it’s official.