New York has Central Park, but how many cities can boast about having a central forest? One of the Tampere city centre neighbourhoods, Pyynikki, is home to a gorgeous pine tree forest on top of a ridge. In the forest there is an illuminated jogging trail that becomes a skiing trail in the winter, and the view from the high cliffs will take your breath away.
The residents of Pyynikki are fortunate in many ways: not only is the Central Square just a few blocks away, they have Tampere’s only outdoor minigolf course and in the area near Hotel Rosendahl by Lake Pyhäjärvi also has a stunning beach that is the place to be on hot summer days. The Pyynikki summer theatre has decades of traditions: audiences have filled its revolving auditorium summer after summer, witnessing performances of countless classics and contemporary comedies. To round off a day of culture or sporting activities, why not pop into the cafe of the old granite Pyynikki observation tower to enjoy a cup of freshly ground coffee and a delicious doughnut!
If you continue your journey west along the ridge after your coffee break, you’ll soon be in Pispala, maybe the most famous part of today’s Tampere. In 1937, things were not quite as rosy when the city reluctantly accepted the rugged residential area as part of its territory. Pispala was then inhabited by railroad and factory workers and was notorious for its restless life and ongoing rumbles. Now those days are gone and Pispala with its narrow streets, beautifully restored wooden houses and magnificent views towards the two large lakes is one of the most popular Sunday promenade destinations and residential areas. Protected by a building plan, the unique village-like neighbourhood is home to thousands of families, cats and dogs. There are several restaurants and grocery shops, a primary school and three kindergartens in the area. The most famous views can be found in Pyykkimettä park on the Pispalan harju ridge. Couple of must places where to eat when you’re in Pispala, are Café Pispala, which serves the best pancakes in the city, Pispalan Pulteri with its legendary steaks, and Vaakon Nakki, the king of barbecue kiosks that also serves night eaters.
Next to the shore of Lake Pyhäjärvi is one of the gems of Tampere, Tahmela, a collectively maintained area of vegetable patches and a beach that is popular among local families. The residents’ association arranges an annual carnival in May and the local sauna association maintains Rajaportin sauna, the oldest public sauna in the whole of Finland. Pispala is within easy reach thanks to several local bus services.