Hämeenlinna TOP 10
We have listed the top 10 things to do and see in Hämeenlinna. Here is a bucket list in a city with rich history and culture, natural attractions and outdoor activities.
1. Aulanko Nature Reserve
Aulanko is one of Hämeenlinna’s most popular destinations and it is no surprise! Its nature has inspired artists and attracted tourists for more than a hundred years. Aulanko Nature Reserve area offers many unique experiences and spectacular sceneries. Forest and nature paths, a scenic platform over one of Finland’s National Landscape, Lake Vanajavesi, outdoor adventures, two golf courses and a spa will provide endless possibilities for your visit. Aulanko is only 5 kilometres from the centre so you can easily do a short trip or stay for longer at hotel Scandic Aulanko.
2. Häme Castle
Hämeenlinna’s best-known landmark is the Häme Castle, even the city is named after it (“Hämeen”=Häme’s, “linna”=castle). This medieval castle from the late 13th century tells many interesting stories about the history of Finland and Hämeenlinna. Discover Scandinavia’s most well-preserved stone castle through fascinating exhibitions and guided tours all year round. It is a must-see museum in Hämeenlinna!
3. Museum Militaria
One of the largest war and military history museums in Finland is located right next to the Häme Castle. Museum Militaria has exhibitions on three floors presenting Finnish war history from the Middle Ages to today, including artillery, engineering and signalling. The outdoor exhibition area displays cannons from the end of the 19th century.
4. Vankila – Prison Museum
Within the walls of Häme Castle is Finland’s largest prison museum. The prison was in use until 1993 and now works as a museum showing the facilities, cells, items and the harsh life of prisoners. From here you are sure to find many interesting, yet bleak stories.
Psst! The three museums – Häme Castle, Militaria and Vankila – are located only a five-minute walk away from the city centre. During summer, all three museums are open and can be accessed with a zone ticket. The prison museum Vankila is closed outside the summer season but Häme Castle and Museum Militaria are open all year round.
5. Iittala Design Village
Iittala -Finland’s glass manufacturing capital- offers an unforgettable experience to explore Finnish design, art and handicrafts. The Iittala brand is known around the world, making the Iittala Village a popular destination among tourists. Here you will find the Iittala glass factory where you can follow glassblower’s work, Iittala outlet, Design Museum, chocolate factory with a factory shop, naive art exhibition, many artisan craft shops and much more!
Come here for a day trip and find beautiful souvenirs to bring back home. Iittala is only a 15 minutes train ride away from Hämeenlinna train station or within 20 minutes of reach by car.
6. Ahvenisto Activity Park
Ahvenisto Activity Park and nature conservation area provides an active day in the outdoors for visitors of all ages! Ahvenisto is especially good for swimming: a natural lake and an outdoor pool built for Summer Olympics in 1952, which is still in use with Wibit Aqua Track and a diving tower. Nature and forest paths take you around the Ahvenisto esker and thrill-seekers can find themselves up in the trees climbing on tree treks at Flowpark. Large playing ground for kids, a campfire site, beach volleyball courts and a café will make your summer day here perfect. Even during winter, you can find activities here such as ski trials and ice hole swimming with a public sauna.
7. Hämeenlinna Art Museum
Hämeenlinna Art Museum is a great attraction for people with an interest in visual arts. The museum is located near the city centre and has over 8000 artworks displaying Finnish and international visual arts. Come and view the broad collection of Finnish artworks from the end of the 19th century up to the present day.
8. Hämeenlinna City Museum
Three museums – Skogster Museum, Birthplace of Jean Sibelius and Palander House – make up the body of Hämeenlinna City Museum. Skogster Museum is the main location of the City Museum with exhibitions about the city’s history, extraordinary truths about Hämeenlinna and the Savings Bank Museum exhibition. In the Birthplace of Jean Sibelius, you can become acquainted with the home and life of Finland’s national and most famous composer Jean Sibelius (1865-1957). Palander House introduces the lifestyle of a bourgeois family 120 years ago.
9. National Urban Park
On Hämeenlinna’s historic waterway of Lake Vanaja was established Finland’s first and world’s second national urban park. It is a park with a goal of preserving urban nature and built cultural environments for all the residents to enjoy. The area on the shores of Lake Vanajavesi ties together the historical centre of Häme Castle and the surroundings of Lake Aulangonjärvi and Aulanko Nature Reserve. The City centre’s shore parks and the old industrial setting of Verkatehdas are also part of Hämeenlinna’s national urban park. A great way to explore the park is to take the Lake Vanajavesi Shore Walk.
10. Lake Vanajavesi Shore Walk
This about six kilometres long shore walk route connects 13 parks and offers a special way to view the city – either by walking or on a bike. History and nature are present within this route, making it a truly unique way to discover Hämeenlinna. Häme Castle is on the route so for example, you can start the adventure by first exploring the Häme castle and then continuing on the beautiful shore of Lake Vanajavesi. During summer, it is possible to find swimming spots, terraces and opportunities for fishing along the route.