One of the best ways of exploring new places, is to rent a bike and have a ride while enjoying the exercise and fresh air at the same time. My favourite scenic ride in Tampere is route that takes you around Pyhäjärvi lake, the other one of the two lakes that surround this largest inland town in the Nordic countries. Along the route you will see some really beautiful scenery, lake views, green parks, pine and birch tree forests and some other pretty stunning destinations that I think are a must see while your visit in Tampere. The route takes you to one of the most beautiful places in Tampere but also to two other small towns, Pirkkala and Nokia (and yes, that is the original place of the famous Nokia phones). The loop itself is around 30 km but I think I biked altogether a bit over 40 km. With a lunch break, coffee breaks and occasional photo sessions the whole route took me a bit less than four hours.
This is how I did it.
Start your tour at Laukontori
The summer in Tampere hasn’t truly started until you have visited Laukontori, an old market square, sat there in the sun and had a cup of coffee and enjoyed the atmosphere of this legendary place. Buy Finnish strawberries from a market stall, taste local ice-cream, visit Suvilaiva, an old boat that acts as a pub, or try the infamous blood sausages, mustamakkara. Whatever you decide to do, this is the best place to start your biking adventure.
Marvel rose garden in Arboretum
Arboretum is a botanical garden founded on the old lands of Hatanpää mansion. The place is at its best in the beginning of August when the majority of roses in the rose garden are blossoming. This is also the best place for a picnic in Tampere. Don’t forget to check out a cute cafeteria just next to the rose garden.
Enjoy the countryside in Pirkkala and Nokia
Continue your ride towards a suburb called Härmälä (I used to live here, just near the lake shore) and sooner you realise, you have arrived to Pirkkala. The landscape changes and the modern buildings and construction sites are replaced by traditional wooden houses and farm areas. I stopped here to have my lunch until I continued through the town centre towards Nokia.
Explore bohemian Pispala
Right after the borders of Nokia, it is time to return back to Tampere. Take some time to explore one of the most interesting suburb in the area, Pispala. Wikipedia tells that the name Pispala came after the house of Pispa, which had the obligation to house bishops during their travels. When Tampere industrialised in the 19th century, the factory workers inhabited the area. Pispala grew without any formal development plan, which resulted in unique building styles still seen – and protected – today. In the old days, Pispala was not valued at all but considered almost a ghetto like area. Like many similar places around the world, later it became a place for many famous artists, writers and celebrities and after that, an expensive and desired place to live in. Pispala still has this very alternative and bohemian vibe though, and it has kept some of its anarchistic style even though many young families with children or retired people live in the area nowadays.
In Pispala you can also find the oldest working public sauna in Finland, Rajaportin sauna. There is also a place called Kurpitsatalo, “Pumpkin House”, a community gardening project that celebrates the cycle of the year with traditional pagan festivals and music.
Finish your tour in Pyynikki
Pyynikki is nature reserve and a district in Tampere located in Pyynikinharju, the highest esker in the world. Here your biking may become a bit demanding because of you have to climb up the steep esker. In Pyynikki you can visit a famous outdoor theatre open only during the summer or enjoy your time on the Pyynikki beach. The most famous destination there is the Pyynikki observation tower built in 1929. A great way to finish your bike tour and reward yourself for the job well done, is to visit the observation tower cafe and taste their delicious Finnish doughnuts.
For more information on biking in Tampere: