Finnish Roadtrip: Jyväskylä to Kuopio (day 4)

On day four of our Finnish roadtrip we began our morning Jyväskylä and make our way to Kuopio. Despite the national holiday we were able to see many beautiful parks, as well as a wonderful wildlife park. We did have a little bit of rainy weather, but overall it was quite a beautiful day to be outdoors.


This morning we walked though town to again find everything closed. I was actually planning for us to have breakfast at the vegan cafe, Beans and More, which looks amazing. Thank god the Espresso House was open. We had so far stayed clear of this generic coffee house, prefering boutique coffee shops. However, it was such a lovely site to see this hip coffee chain open for business.

The Espresso House is actually the largest coffee chain in the the Nordic coutries of Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark. It is very similar to a Starbucks, but the coffee is much better and the food is far better quality. The fridges were stocked with fresh salads, juices, bircher museli, sandwiches, pastaries, cakes, muffins and powerballs.

For breakfast I had a oat milk coffee and O and I shared a ham and cheese croisant and a chia seed and fruit pot. The coffee was pretty good and the food was nice for a quick bite.

After breakfast we had a walk around town to make sure everything was shut. I was planning to do some shopping on Kauppakatu on the pedestrian street. If your visiting on a regular day, check out these tips on Shopping in Jyväskylä.

So after we packed our bags and we made one last stop in Jyväskylä. Puutarhurin taivas or the gardener’s sky, is a installation that overlooks the Jyväsjärvi lake. It was made by the Finnish sculpturer, Pekka Jylhä. It represents a cultivated carrot and pays homage to all Finnish home farmers, who enjoy gardening, tracking growth, harvesting and consuming their produce. The watering can represents man’s attitude for care. Adjacent to the sculture there is a text panel, which is in Finnish unfortunately. It is quite a serene, quiet place which is nice to take children and some family photos.

On our way to Kuopio we had to meet our Airbnb host at Jari-Pekka Hankasalmi. She was actually hiring our her apartment for the Midsummer holiday, while she was at a summer house with friends. This traffic station has cafe, shop and a variety of fastfood dining options. It also has tractor and grassy area for kids to play. It was actually surprising to see so many people inside considering we had hardly seen anyone this morning. While we were there we found a filer for another zoo, which we would pass by on our way to Kuopio. Luckily it was open today, so we could take out daughter for some animal fun.

Kuopion Elainpuisto Zoo

Kuopion Elainpuiston Zoo is only an hour from Jari-Pekka and another 20 minutes from the centre of Kuopio. It is one of several wildlife parks in Kuopio. These are perfect for young families and animal lover alike.

Kuopio Elainpuisto Zoo is a family friendly wildlife park, which features traditional farmhouse animals. Many of the animals live permanently in the zoo and others visit to graze during the summer season. So you will probably see different animals when you visit. So its a great place to interact with happy animals, have a picnic or a nice meal in the cafe in this beautiful natural setting. There is also a small playground and lots of grassy areas for kids to run around.

Kuopio Elainpuisto Zoo is open most of the year. The ticket price is per adult is 10 euro and 8 euro for children between 2-12 years. It has a small cafe for lunch or snacks and a store with merchandise.

The zoo has has a duck pond with quite a few geese. I was glad to see them behind an enclosures becuase they can be a little agressive. They also had an array of birds in the Bird Garden. These included Silkie chickens, Golden pheasant Guinea fowl, turkeys, peacocks, and ducks .

Probably O’s favourite enclosure was the cat house. Shes a bit of a cat lover. She also loved the bunnies too, but she couldn’t annoy them too much as they were safe in their enclosure.

There were only a couple small cows and one large highland bull. He was gorgeous and very friendly to anyone who wanted to give him some long juicy grass.

O’s second favourite animals were the ponies, who were absolutely adorable. They do bite, so we had to be carefully not to get too close to them.

The horses were definetley more gentle and just as friendly. There was even one that looked a bit like Spirit.

There was a mother and baby donkey, which were my favourite. Very friendly and also very smelly.

The very fluffy friendly pig is a Villasika eli Magalitza, which is means wooly hog. It is a Hungarian breed of domentic pig. I’m not sure what type the rest were.

The sheep and goat were fairy friendly and were smaller breeds.

Probably the most exotic farm animals were the alpaca and reindeer.

The zoo also had some old style trackers and bikes in the shed.

And lots of beautiful flowers growing in the grass and potted plans.

We had lunch at the cafe on the grounds. It offers a variety of quiches, sweet and savoury pastries, hot and cold drinks, baby food and gluten free items. They also offer other items during the year, including crepes and panini, but I am not sure how often this is. Everything is relatively cheap, costing no more then a few euros per item. You can enjoy your meal inside or on the balcony. There are also plenty of toys for little ones to play with.

For lunch we ordered ham, cheese and capscium quiches, sausage roll, filtered coffee and jam donuts. It was pretty nice for such a cheap lunch, so we can’t complain.


After the zoo, we drove straight to lakeland habourtown, Kuopio. It is located in the Northern region of Savonia and is the 9th most populated place in Finland. Much of its land is covered by bodies of water and lush forest and there are plenty of green spaces through out the more densly populated areas. It is a bit of a cultural hostpost and hosts many events, incldig Contempory Arts Festival, Kuopio Wine Fesival, Kuopio Dance Festival and Finland Ice Marathon.

My orinally plans for Kuopio was that we would visit the, Kuopio Market City Hall and Pikku Pietarin Market Alley, Kuopio Cathedral and Puijo Tower. We were able to see the catheral and tower the following day, but the shops and markets were all closed for the weekend. I also wanted to visit the Hanna Partanen’s bakery, which is the best place in the city for Karelian pies and Kalakukko fish pastries; as well as the first Mommin cafe, Muumi Pannari Kahvila and old Finnish caf, the Trube Cafe. However, they were all closed. We did attempt to visit this cafes the following without luck.

By this time it was late afternnoon, so we went straight to our Airbnb. This had to be one of the most stylish apartments we had stayed in during this trip. It was also incredibly warm, spacious and modern. So we were very happy here for the evening.

Since it was still early and we weren’t ready for dinner, we walked down to Pikku Kakkosenn Puisto Leikkipuisto/Brahe Park. This park has situated on the coast line of the Kuopio gulf and the Kallavesi lake, so it has a beautiful view of the water, and plenty of lush grass and gardens.

Brahe Park is the most popular city park in Kuopio. It offers plenty of things for kids to do. There is a labyrinth, playhouse, climbing frams, swings and workout equipment. There were quite a few people who were around enjoying the late afternoon sun.

For dinner we visited the classic Finnish restaurant, Muikkuravintola Sampo. I was so happy that one of that restaurants in my original itinery was open. Muikkuravintola Sampo has been around since 1931 and is one of Finland’s most renown restaruants. They specialises in vendace, which is a freshwater whitefish.

The restaurant has a interesting decor, which is quite homely and lively. The menu offer a several dishes with vendace, but also other mains meat and vegetarian mains. They all come with mash potatoes, salads and other trimmings.

For dinner I had to try their speciality, so I had the Fried Vendace à la Sampo, which came with mash pototes, tomato, cucumber, lemon and dill. Marco and Octavia aren’t as adventous. He ordered the the local Sausage from Savo with and Mash Potatoes cucumber, tomato, pickled cucumber and sour cabbage. Octavia had the kids weiner which had same sides. All the meals also came with warm oat and cranberry bread rolls with butter and also ordered we also had crepes and icecream (with kids meal) for dessert. I was quite impressed with the food. The vendace was really nicely cooked and not too oily. The mash potatato was very creamy and the sides were very fresh. The sausages were all very flavoursome and we all love those bread rolls. As for the crepes, they were pretty darn delicious as well.

After dinner we made one last stop for the evening, to Väinölänniemi. This city park is located on a cape surrounded by the Kallavesi lake. This is the 10th largest lake in Finland and is 478km squared. Väinölänniemi offers multiple views of the lake and the plenty of space to explore. On the park grounds you can also find the beach, Väinölänniemen Uimaranta, which is popular during the summer season. There is also the Väinölänniemi Stadium, which is used for atheletics.

Tomorrow we will vist the Puijo Tower and Cathedral in Kuopio before travelling to Savonalinna to see the castle of Olivinlinna. Only two more days to go.

Finnish Roadtrip: Tampere to Jyväskylä (day 3)

On day three of our Finnish Roadtrip we woke up in Tampere. We had realised a few days before that the Midsummer holiday was today. However, we were still hopefully that large department stores, restaurants and attractions would be open. Little did we realised that everything would be closed for the next three days. We still managed to fill our days as best we could with outdoor activities. We also made a stop in Jämsä before arriving in Jyväskylä.


I had a couple of places in mind for breakfast. Apparently, Kaffila has the best third wave coffee, Vohvlikahvila has the best waffles and Fazer Café has the best brunch. However, since it was a public holiday today they were all closed. Luckily there was one place in town that didn’t let us down. The Tampere Market Hall/Tampereen Kauppahalli was open for business. I’m not sure if it was open all day, but it was first thing in the morning.

We bought pastries from pastries from Pullapuoti Wilenius. We got a Pastija Liha (pastry with meat), a Pastija Muna-riisi (pastry with egg and rice), a Berliin Munkki (jam donut with icing), a Mansikka Wieneri (strawberry and custard danish), and some Posso Munkki (donut balls) for the road. Not the healthiest breakfast, but we are still on holidays!

Luckily, the Tampere Cathedral also didn’t close for the public holiday so we were able to go inside. I heard that it has an amazing serpent roof that I was eager to see.

The Tampere Cathedral is a Lutheran church, which was build between 1902-1907. It was designed by Lars Sonck, in National Romantic style. It is known for its famous frescos, painted by Hugo Simberg and Magnus Enckell. Enckell painted the large altarpiece, which represents future resurrecion of people of all races. I am not sure if it was Enckell or Simberg who painted the long fresco that wraps around the walls. Simberg’s fresco sparked alot of controversy for its preceived wicked natures. This includes the winged serpent on the red background (ceiling) The Garden of Death (left corner) and The Wounded Angeel (top floor). Despite the modernity of this church, it is quite beautiful and the paintings are exquisite.


We originally intended to go from Tampere to Ähtäri Zoo. However, since there the weather was scheduled to rain and there were some renovations being done, we thought we would keep going to Jyväskylä. At this point we we still not expecting everything to be shut. So it seemed a good idea to skip the zoo. So we drove a more direct route to Jyväskylä, and made a tourist stopped at Jämsä.

Jämsä is a small town and part of a large municipality of Jämsä. It is know as the centre of Finnish aeroanutics industry. We stopped at a little kiosk on Vähä Valkeajärvi lake, just outside of town . This lake covers 11.7 hectares and is 850m in length and 300m in width. There is a picnic area and kiosk is open here in the summer and serves coffee and snacks. Since we only had card, no cash we weren’t able to get anything from the kiosk. I think this is quite common for these small kiosks, since they are only open for a few months a year. Nevertheless its a lovely place for a photo opportunity.

These photos were taken in the Jämsä countryside. The weatherwas just so gorgous and by now I was thinking perhaps we should gone to the zoo.

Another stop we made, a few minutes outside of Jämsä town centre was Juvenin Koski waterfall. This famous waterfall is 7m in height and is supposibly the highest and steepest free-flowing waterfall in Central Finland. To get down there we took a small flight of stairs then another couple of metres to see it mid way. Marco and Octavia went all the way down, but I prefered not to with my slippery boots. It was quite nice to see, but there was these enormous flying bugs, so we didn’t spend long.


The entire trip from Tampere to Jyväskylä took about two hours and by the time we arrived so did the rain. Jyväskylä is the largest city in Central Finland and Finnish Lakeland and is the fastest growing city in the country. It is known as the Athens of Finland, since its is the educational centre of the country.

We walked down the Kauppakatu pedestrian street to see if any of the shopping centres, department stores, boutiques or musums were open. Sadly we everything was closed. I’m sure this would be an amazing city normally.

So for dinner I originally planned to go to the viking themed restaurant, Viikinkiravintola Harald. They actually have a few locations, but I figured I would leave this dining experience for Jyväskylä. It was actually closed for the entire weekend.

There was only two places in town with open with food, the supermarket and Pancho Villa. I was’t that keen on Mexican food in Finland, but it seemed like a better idea then eating cold cuts on a cold night.

Pancho Villa is a Mexican chain restaurat, that you can find throughout Finland. They offer burgers, salads, Mexican classics, protein fillets and kids meals. They also cater for lactose free, gluten free and vegan. The decor was a little dated, but it was cosy place to have meal.

For dinner, Marco had the Cheese burger with fries and pickles, I had the Soft Taco (two vegan and two prawn) and Octavia had the children salmon fillet, chips and salad. We also recieved free corn chips and salsa. I have to say I was pretty impressed with dinner. For a chain resturant the food was relatively good quality and everything was really tasty.

After dinner we stopped by the supermarket and bought some fresh strawberries, raspberries and bananas for dessert. If your travelling in an Nordic countries you must buy the berries any chance you get. They are so sweet and have so much flavour.

We had our fruit salad in our Airbnb. I won’t recommend this particular acommodation because I didn’t really love it. In comparision to other places we had stayed it wasn’t the most comfortable and the bathroom was really old.

Tomorrow we travel to Kuopio and visit a zoo. Only three more days until this trip comes to an end…