Modern cities and traditional settlements exist side by side in this historically replete region. Here, you can explore Finland’s rural past at ancient wooden churches, learn about its unsettled history at Hämeenlinna’s castle and admire its rich industrial heritage at Tampere’s handsome textile factories (most now museums). The other major town, Lahti, excels in two major 21st-century Finnish exports: technology and classical music. Smaller towns and a liberal scattering of villages and hamlets are home to picturesque churches, a much-loved artist's retreat and a world-renowned glass factory.
There are plenty of outdoor activities to keep you occupied too. Every town in the region sits on a magical stretch of water and one of Finland’s essential summer experiences is taking a lake cruise. Hikers can head to the trails in Helvetinjärvi National Park and keen skiers can join the annual Finlandia Ski Marathon in Lahti.