1 Museums galore Tampere has a museum for everything from old shoes to modern art. The city was a pioneer of Finland's 19th-century industrial revolution and most of its old factories, which are located along the banks of the Tammerkoski rapids, have been converted into museums. The historic Finlayson factory ( www.tampere.fi/matkailu/perinne/english ) was once a cotton mill and Finland's largest industrial enterprise. Its buildings have been restored and transformed into a warren of offices housing technology enterprises, cinemas, restaurants and museums such as the steam machine museum and the Central Museum of Labour. The latter displays the history of Finland's working-class heritage. If you have time to visit only one museum in Tampere, head for the Vapriikki Museum Centre ( www.tampere.fi/english/vapriikki ). Occupying a former engineering workshop, the centre's main exhibition offers a journey through the history of Tampere from the appearance of the first hunter-gatherers through to Finland's membership of the European Union. Also in the centre is the Finnish Hockey Hall of Fame, one of five museums in the world specialising in the history of ice hockey. The collection encompasses an impressive 10,000 hockey- related objects. The Vapriikki Shoe Museum is the place to be for footwear fetishists, while the Tampere Art Museum offers exhibitions from around the world. 2 Lakes and forests Located on a narrow strip of land between lakes Nasijarvi and Pyhajarvi, Tampere is also surrounded by verdant pine forests. With more than 200 lakes within the city limits and more than 2,000 within the Tampere region, there are plenty of nature-based activities to choose from. One of the main activities is trout fishing, a popular pastime at the Tammerkoski rapids in the centre of the city. A 24-hour fishing permit costs Euro4.50 ($43). In summer, enjoy a cruise on one of the lakes ( www.tampere.fi/matkailu/english/todo.htm ) or head off on a hike through one of the many national parks. In winter, skating, skiing and ice-fishing are all the rage. 3 Sarkanniemi Adventure Park Set in peaceful natural surroundings on a cape kissed by the calm waters of Lake Nasijarvi, Sarkanniemi Adventure Park comprises an amusement park with stomach-churning rides, an aquarium and a dolphinarium. There's a planetarium with space shows, computerised animations of journeys through space and information from space probes. Children enjoy petting the rabbits, puppies and pot-bellied pigs at the zoo. The Sara Hilden Art Museum displays contemporary art in halls with whitewashed walls and picture windows facing the lake. But the best view in town is from the top of the 168-metre Nasinneula Observation Tower, the area's best-known landmark ( www.sarkanniemi.fi ). 4 Tampere Hall Concert venue Tampere Hall is a work of art that embodies contemporary Finnish design and modern electronics. The biggest concert hall and congress centre in Scandinavia has floor-to-ceiling glass overlooking green gardens and white, wide open spaces that feature funky Finnish contemporary pieces of art. The main foyer piece is Finnish sculptor Kimmo Kaivanto's 200-metre-long collage Blue Line ( www.tampere-talo.fi ). 5 Tampere Cathedral Although the exterior of Tampere Cathedral portrays an image of a solid, traditional place of worship, its interior has the strong stamp of Finnish distinctiveness. When it was completed in 1907, the cathedral ( www.tampereenseurakunnat.fi/eng ) was the centre of a storm of controversy: architect Lars Sonck and artists Magnus Enckell and Hugo Simberg used it to redefine religious art by painting frescos of naked figures carrying a long rose garland on the walls. An enormous painting of marching biblical characters, some naked, dominates the pulpit area, while a painted serpent curls up on the ceiling. Today, this Lutheran cathedral is recognised as one of Finland's art treasures and is a popular venue for concerts. 6 Pyynikki Theatre Nestled in the heart of the Pyynikki forest, this open-air theatre has a revolving auditorium that rotates the audience to face different stages built to take advantage of the area's natural scenery. Actors perform to backdrops of pine forests and lakes. During intermissions, guests enjoy their tea and cake in a delightful forest clearing. The Pyynikki ridge is part of a crest more than 200km long formed during the last ice age. On the slopes of the ridge are natural banks and formations left by ancient seas and lakes ( www.visitfinland.com ). 7 Slip into a sauna Experience some quintessential Finnish culture at Tampere's original public bath, the 100-year-old Rajaportin sauna ( www.rajaportinsauna.net ). In Finland, sitting in a steamy roomful of strangers without a stitch of clothing on seems to be the most natural thing in the world, although to preserve some modesty there are separate sections for men and women. Rauhaniemen sauna ( www.tatu.fi/rauhaniemi ) is located next to Lake Nasijarvi and provides the opportunity for you to plunge into the freezing lake after one of those steaming saunas. 8 Try an Ergobath Aside from the traditional sauna, you can relax in an Ergobath at Holiday Club Tampere Spa. The Finnish-designed contraption is a closed bathtub that resembles a pod in a science-fiction movie in which travellers are put into statis while they soar through space. You step into the pod and sit down while the attendant locks you in; a plastic visor is lowered in front of your face; relaxing music is piped into the pod and amazing shots of the mystical northern lights flash on the LCD display in front of you. Your stress begins to melt away as the Ergobath takes you through a routine of steam, warm spray jets and an aromatherapy soak. Holiday Club Tampere ( www.holidayclub.fi ) occupies an old cotton mill on Lake Nasijarvi and has spacious apartments with private saunas as well as hotel rooms. 9 Hameenlinna An hour's drive from Tampere is the historical city of Hameenlinna, the birthplace of Finnish composer Jean Sibelius and home to a medieval citadel. Hame Castle was built during the campaign of marauding Swede Earl Birger at the end of the 13th century. The expansive lawns around the castle, which stands on the shores of Lake Vanajavesi, are popular with sunbathers. Inside are exhibitions of works by Finnish painters and stone-masons. A collection of women's gala dresses and gowns from the National Museum of Finland will be on display until January ( www.hameenlinna.fi ). 10 Iitala Glass Museum The Iitala Glass Museum ( www.iitala.com ) displays antique Finnish glassware and bizarre artworks such as a white glass jelly fish hanging in a rusty cage. There are craftsmen who provide glass-blowing demonstrations and you can try your own skills under the direction of a professional. The factory shop has an enormous range of products for sale, from glass animal decorations to sets of drinking glasses.