A satellite city of Helsinki and the second largest city in Finland, Espoo has almost merged into the metropolitan area. Usually people come here on their way to Helsinki or back, without allocating too much free time for local attractions. And it is completely in vain, because when answering the question of what to see in Espoo, locals talk about interesting points on the map so enthusiastically and incendiaryly that jokes about the peculiarities of the Finnish mentality begin to seem very far-fetched.
TOP 10 attractions in Espoo
The oldest temple of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Espoo is a cathedral and has existed in the city since the 15th century. The first stone in its foundation was laid back in 1485. According to the available historical evidence, the Evangelical Cathedral is the oldest building in all of Espoo.
The design of the church belongs to an unknown master who worked on the drawings and supervised the construction for five years. Historical chronicles have not preserved his name, but he is mentioned in documents of that era.
The original building was reconstructed, and its area was significantly increased in the first third of the 19th century. Today, in the oldest religious building in Espoo, you can see the frescoes of the early 16th century, which tell about both biblical events and the life of ordinary people. The bell tower of Espoo Cathedral was built in the middle of the 17th century.
Modern Art Museum
The EMMA Gallery is a huge space that occupies about 5 hectares and contains many different exhibits created by contemporary sculptors, painters and installation masters from all over the country. Espoon modernin taiteen museo, as the name of the gallery sounds in Finnish, is the largest museum in the country.
The permanent exhibition includes the collection collected by the Saastamoinen Foundation. This association supports young talents and sponsors exhibitions and projects of emerging artists.
The EMMA gallery often hosts exhibitions of authors from Scandinavian countries, Europe and the world. The complex where the museum is located consists of several exhibition pavilions, a media art center, a gift shop selling illustrated albums, and an art school. The building was designed in the middle of the 20th century. and originally belonged to the printing house of one of the publishers. The name of the WeeGee museum complex is well known to the residents of Suomi.
An equally interesting museum, located in the same WeeGee, acquaints visitors with various clocks and clock mechanisms. The museum was opened in 1981, but the basis of its collection was the collection of the training school of Finnish watchmakers, which appeared during the Second World War.
The permanent exhibition of the museum shows visitors the history of the emergence and existence of mechanisms for measuring time. The first exhibits were hourglass and mechanical clocks, the next - quartz and electronic. The most recent acquisitions of the museum are modern chronometers, which determine not only the time, but also the weather, coordinates on the ground and even the humidity of the air.
The museum carefully collects and preserves the heritage of Finnish watchmakers, presents tools and devices, with the help of which professionals collect real masterpieces of precision and style.
Finnish Toy Museum
If you are traveling in Finland with the whole family, the Espoo Toy Museum is a must-see. It will be interesting to viewers of any age to look at the most interesting exhibits that tell about the emergence and development of entertainment technology for the younger generation.
The exhibition presents various samples of toys. You will see dolls made of straw and wood, cloth and wax. Ancient amulets, which were popular in the villages of Finland and Scandinavia, coexist on exhibition stands with dolls made by peasants for their children in the last century and the century before last. The oldest exhibits date back to the 18th century.
The organizers of the museum have not forgotten about modern toys either. The collection includes constructors popular among the current younger generation, video consoles, dolls that can talk and move, radio-controlled cars and even aircraft.
Espoo Ethnographic Museum
There is another museum in the WeeGee cultural center in Espoo, which will be interesting for lovers of national customs and ceremonies. The Ethnographic Museum of Helinja Rautavaara presents the life of Finnish peasants in the 18th-20th centuries. In the halls of the museum, dozens of genuine exhibits are collected - tools of labor, devices used in everyday life, agricultural utensils, clothes, dishes and much more.
In the collection you will see objects dedicated to the development of the Finnish language: handwritten documents, the first editions of the Kalevala epic, textbooks of Finnish schools opened in the countryside. Musical instruments are on display in the Kantele Museum. A gusl-like instrument, the kantele was widely used in the countryside in Suomi. The kantele was often accompanied when reading the runes from the Kalevala. A large part of the museum exhibition illustrates Finnish cuisine. The halls are equipped with devices for the preparation of typical national dishes.
The famous Karelian-Finnish epic "Kalevala" is a unique work based on folk songs and legends. The epos is called an important historical source of information about the pre-Christian culture of the peoples who inhabited the territories of modern Finland and Karelia.
For the first time "Kalevala" was published in 1828, and the illustrations in the book belonged to the brush of the famous master Axeli Gallen-Kallela. The artist is famous for his works that realistically reflect the Finnish nature and the life of the people who inhabited Finland.
The master lived and worked in Espoo, and today in the city you can visit his workshop and see where Gallen-Kallela painted his paintings. The house of Axeli Gallen-Kallela was built at the beginning of the 20th century. It is located in the city district of Tarvaspäe.
Glims Manor Museum
An interesting open-air museum, Glims Manor in Espoo tells about the life and work of a typical Finnish farm from the 18th-19th centuries. It is a complex of eleven buildings, most of which have survived from the 19th century. The oldest structures were built a century earlier. The farm is part of the Karvasmäki village. On the basis of archaeological research carried out in the area, historians have concluded that the first people inhabited Espoo and the suburbs as early as the Stone Age.
Glims Manor invites visitors to get acquainted with the culture and life of the villagers in the south of Finland. In the museum you will see tools, national costumes, household utensils and other genuine rarities of the last three centuries.
City of the forest god
In honor of one of the heroes of the national epic, the god Tapiola, Espoo is named a modern district that has become a city landmark. In Tapiola, you can look at modern architectural structures, designed in accordance with the principles of unity with nature and preserving ecological balance in the conditions of the existence of a modern metropolis.
The facilities created in Tapiola for active recreation are even more enjoyable for the guests. The local pool, awarded with an award for modern renovation, offers not only swimming, but also a real Finnish sauna. The bowling alley of the sports center is equipped with the most modern equipment, and popular world competitions are broadcast on TV screens. On the tennis court you can take skill lessons, and on the ice rink in winter you can rent skates and show a figure skating class. In summer, Tapiola is popular for active entertainment on the local lake. Boats and catamarans for boat trips are offered for rent. Sunbathing in the city of the forest god is taken on the lawn of the central park.
Among the architectural attractions in this part of Espoo, the office building is especially famous, which is considered the tallest in the Old World among those built from natural wood.
Nuuksio National Park
Among the many national parks and nature reserves in Finland, Nuuksio is known for its unique aquatic ecosystems. Swamps and lakes are protected here, forming a single natural complex.
The best time of the year when it is worth seeing the sights of the national park closest to Espoo is the second half of spring. In April and May, anemones bloom magnificently in Nuuksio, and the birds sing especially loudly. Among the most common inhabitants of the park are roe deer, hares, foxes and flying squirrels. The latter have even been chosen as the symbol of Nuuksio National Park and are featured on numerous souvenirs. The specialty shop in the tourist service center sells mugs and T-shirts, caps and sweatshirts featuring the cute fluffy Nuuksio symbol.
The Nature Center of Finland operates in the park. It is called Haltia and its goal is to popularize a healthy lifestyle and environmental activities among residents and guests of the country. In Nuuksio Park, a special holiday was even instituted, called the Day of Finnish Nature and celebrated annually on the last day of August.
Serena water park
The Espoo Water Recreation Center is carved into the rock. So local designers decided to emphasize the traditional desire for unity with nature, typical for the inhabitants of the country of Suomi. The water park was named "Serena", and its guests have at their disposal attractions of all types and sizes, available at any time of the year.
In the off-season "Serena" receives visitors on weekends, and in summer, guests are welcome in the park every day. They offer not only water slides, but also artificial rivers, waterfalls, several pools of different depths with warm and cold water, burning saunas, ice fonts and other water activities that are so popular among northern peoples.
There is a cafe in the park, a luggage room and rental of accessories for the pool and other entertainments, parking for visitors' cars is organized.