For a charming and traditional Finnish Christmas experience in Finland’s third largest city, head to Tampere with the children and be enchanted.
Young children, particularly between the ages of five and 10 with love this magical Christmas.
In December, days are short and cold in Tampere so an indoor activity like swimming is always popular. Children will enjoy The Holiday Club Tampere Spa‘s large pool with hydrotherapy jets, massaging waterfalls, jacuzzis and counter current swimming. There’s also a paddling pool for younger children.
For a Christmassy atmosphere, visit the Ilola Farmhouse just outside Tampere where the kids will be enchanted by the forest of snowy Christmas trees. Here you can go for a reindeer sleigh ride and smaller children will relish the opportunity to meet the farm animals.
No visit to Tampere would be complete without a visit to Sarkanniemi Amusement Park including the world’s northern most dolphinarium where five bottlenose dolphins – Veera, Nasi, Delfi, Leevi and Eevertti – will show off their tricks and impressive acrobatic skills. There’s also a Planetarium with a Christmas show featuring the star of Bethlehem.
Families with James Bond tendencies will enjoy Vakoilumuseo, the first spy museum in the world with a collection of lethal umbrellas. Try out a classic lie detector or invisible ink.
Taste delicacies from Finland including reindeer and wild boar in a theatrical setting at the Viking Restaurant Harald. Complete with a dragon-ship salad bar, stuffed wolves and costumed waiters. Dishes are shared platters served on a shield and brave children could try the local delicacy mustamakkara (a black sausage made of blood and barley).
For great views, the Nasinneula observation tower stands at 168 meters tall and is one of the cities’ most famous attractions. Topped with a revolving viewing deck and fine dining restaurant, enjoy locally sourced food that caters for children too.
For Christmas shopping and an opportunity to meet Santa, visit the Christmas Market open daily in the Central Square. The biggest department stores Sokos and Stockmann are in the main street Hameenkatu.
For a more traditional shopping experience, the little houses within the Tallipiha Stable Yards are home to charming boutiques and workshops where you can pick up authentic souvenirs and presents. During the festive season, the yards transform into an atmospheric Christmas village with a lovely nativity scene with real animals. Children can also take a pony ride around the stables.
Where to stay: For a good, centrally located hotel stay in Hotel Cumulus Koskikatu Tampere. The hotel provides cots from children aged up to two years, there’s a children’s play area in the restuarant to keep them entertained while you eat, as well a children’s pool and a sauna for mum and dad.
Getting there: British Airways flies direct from London Stansted to Helsinki; from £131 . Tampere is 170km from Helsinki. It’s then 1 hour and 30 minutes by train or car to Tampere. Alternatively fly direct to Tampere with Ryan Air.
After meeting old Saint Nick in Tampere, continue the festive activities in Lapland with reindeer and snowman-building competitions.