Tampere comes alive in winter

Pink and orange night view of a city in winter

WINTER is the perfect time to visit Tampere – if you like snow!

Right now until early spring the landscape becomes a magical, snow-covered world – it truly comes alive at this time of year.

And no winter wonderland would be complete without a Christmas market and Tampere’s has quickly established its particular one on the European circuit.

Indeed, it’s grown in popularity so much that stallholders from all over Europe have stalls – along with local traders selling everything from traditional snacks and wines to hand-crafted items. The market is open now until December 22 from 10am to 7pm each day.

A FRIENDLY WELCOME

Tampere might only have around 200,000 residents but it has everything you need for the perfect city break or longer stay – great hotels, masses of things to do and see and, beyond the city, some of the most breathtaking scenery Finland has to offer.

It’s easily accessible from London Stansted with Ryanair offering direct flights three times a week all year round.

Tampere is at the meeting point of two giant inland lakes, Lake Näsijärvi to the north and Lake Pyhäjärvi in the south, which are linked by the Tammerkoski rapids which cut through the city centre.

It’s a modern city in many ways, but it still harks back to its roots with historical landmarks everywhere you turn – especially around the Central Square (Keskustori) with the Town Hall (Raatihuone) and the Palanderin Talo.

For the best view of the city, head for the Särkänniemi Adventure Theme Park which includes a dolphinarium and the landmark Näsinneula Tower, with its revolving restaurant giving a sky-high 360-degree view as you eat.

SNOWMOBILE SAFARI

WINTER’S the perfect time to experience one of the real fun adventure activities Tampere has to offer – a snowmobile safari.

These great trips takes place around Palkane and are supervised by experienced guides. You’ll be kitted out and given instructions on using the snowmobile although the level of the safari will vary depending on the skills level of those taking part. If you want to get the ultimate thrill, best to head to Tampere with a load of friends who’ve driven snowmobiles before and then you can book as a group for one of the more adventurous safaris.

You’ll experience all the feeling of being out in the wild amid the snowcapped landscape which surrounds the city – and there’s a campfire meal at a hunter’s cabin to recharge your batteries before the trip back.

SKIING

Tampere is ideal for skiers of all abilities. Sappee Ski Centre on the outskirts of the city has direct access to seven individual pistes with something for everyone. Most of them are ideal for families but one provides a real test for intermediate skiers as well.

Hervanta, a suburb of Tampere, has a downhill skiing and snowboarding centre at Lukonmäki with two ski runs plus a small ski jump tower.

If you’re prepared to go further afield, many of Finland’s most popular ski resorts are reachable from Tampere. Himos, lies in Jämsä, only 60 miles from the city. This popular resort has 21 illuminated slopes, plus a snowboard ramp (half-pipe) and a snowboard street. Traditional cross-country skiing is also possible. The centre has a skiing school which organises courses for both beginners and more advanced skiers.

The Ellivuori Ski Centre is about 28 miles west of Tampere and is a major sports complex with six illuminated slopes with varying degrees of difficulty.

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