The modern industrial city of Tampere, 100 mi/160 km north of Helsinki and adjacent to the Tammerkoski Rapids, has been a longtime center for the textile industry. It has massive, redbrick buildings (former factories) on both sides of the river rapids. A walk on the Pyynikki ridge, with preserved wooden houses spilling across the slopes on either side, is an absolute must. Visit the Pyynikki observation tower for fresh doughnuts and seemingly endless Lakeland views.
Nearby Viikinsaari Island is one of the best places in the country to spend midsummer's eve (juhannus), with dancing, great food and a bonfire (kokko) at the river's edge. Since Tampere is in the western Lake Region, it's an ideal place to board a steamer for cruises of the area (the one from Tampere to Hameenlinna is our favorite). Spend at least two nights in Tampere.
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