From Festival Hopping to Street Basketball – Ten Urban Activities for August

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Finland is in a festive mood all through August providing music and the most fascinating theatre and visual art events for all tastes. Helsingin juhlaviikot (Helsinki Festival), Tampereen teatterikesä (Tampere Theater Festival) and the Nordic countries’ coolest and one of the most unique music experience, Flow Festival entertain the culturally attuned.

Go see national monuments or museums to explore the history of Finland throughout the centuries. Medieval castle of Turku (building started in 1280), Olavinlinna castle (1475) in Savonlinna or the ruins of Kajaanin linna (1604), the smallest stone-castle in Europe and the northernmost castle in the world, provide a glimpse of Finland’s history under the Swedish rule. The Senate Square in Helsinki, most of which was designed by Carl Ludvig Engel in the neoclassical style, with the Helsinki Cathedral and the statue of Emperor Alexander II, take us back to the days when Finland was an autonomous part of the Russian Empire.

Visit the Sibelius monument or Ateneum Art Museum in Helsinki to discover the importance of art in constructing the Finnish national identity before and right after the independence. Ateneum has the country’s oldest and largest art collection telling a story of Finnish art – have a look at masterpieces here, online.

sprinter-640_mediumThe soul has been nourished – it is time to long jump, triple jump, high jump or just run around the track! Every municipality, big or small, has a well-equipped sports facility, open and free for everyone. Anyone may borrow javelins, discuses or shots, but should bring the equipment back as it’s for all of us to enjoy.

Street basketball is a great way to meet locals. Almost every town has a street basketball court as well as a disc golf course (frisbee golf in Finnish). In a rainy day, a sporty traveler might prefer diving into a local swimming pool – the pool etiquette is published online and in multiple languages!

pilvet-320_smallFor a lazy day, or to gather ideas for a travel or photo journal, I’d recommend you to pop in a local library to read magazines, newspapers or listen to the music. On a sunny day, enjoy a picnic in the park and watch clouds!

And don’t forget to inspect the local market, usually located in the center of the town, and have “pullakahvit” – coffee with a Finnish style (blueberry) bun.

  1. Visit a national monument.
  2. Visit an exhibition.
  3. Play street basketball.
  4. Try all track and field disciplines.
  5. Play disc golf.
  6. Visit a local library.
  7. Write/draw/photograph a journal.
  8. Enjoy a picnic in a park.
  9. Watch clouds.
  10. Visit a local market.

2 thoughts on “From Festival Hopping to Street Basketball – Ten Urban Activities for August

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