Experience the Vaasa and Seinäjoki region

3 minute read

Credits: Elina Manninen / Keksi

Best things to experience in the coastal Vaasa and Seinäjoki region

Located on the west coast of Finland, Vaasa and its surroundings offer a unique combination of nature experiences and modern city life on a single visit. Vaasa and the Kvarken archipelago are a great place to witness geologic history in action. The nearby city of Seinäjoki offers plenty of sights for architecture and art lovers. Let's take a look!

As in many Finnish cities, Vaasa’s city centre has a traditional, cobblestone-clad marketplace. Here, you can buy fresh produce in summer or sit down for a bite to eat.
Credits : Ann-Britt Pada
Seinäjoki is famous for Alvar Aalto architecture.
Credits: Visit Seinäjoki

Take a stroll in Vaasa's historic setting

The history of Vaasa can be traced to the early 14th century, when sailors from Norrland across the sea landed on a forested land that was still an island. This became the first city of Vaasa, Old Vaasa, that was destroyed in a fire in 1852. The ruins of Old Vaasa can be found 7 km from the present city in the Rauniopuisto park area, which is ideal for a stroll. During the summer, the park is a great location for a picnic, while in the winter, the area turns into the city’s best sledding hill. Around the corner, at the end of the Adelcrantzinkuja alley, is the church of Korsholm from 1786, one of the most beautiful buildings in the Vaasa region that was originally built as a court of appeal.

Credits: Christoffer Björklund

Discover modern architecture in Seinäjoki

Alvar Aalto, arguably the most famous and internationally renowned Finnish architect, designed many buildings in the Seinäjoki region, including the Aalto Centre. This unique architectural complex consists of six buildings and the Civic Square. Perhaps the most famous building at the Aalto Centre is the Cross of the Plains Church ("Lakeuden risti" in Finnish) – a must-see for all design and architecture fans. If you're looking for something more contemporary, visit the Seinäjoki City Library Apila, designed by JKMM Architects and completed in 2012.

The Cross of the Plains Church, designed by Alvar Aalto, was built between 1958 and 1960.

Grab a bite of something local

In the Vaasa region, locally produced food and fresh ingredients are abundant. For a quick culinary journey head to the old Market Hall, a Gothic-style building that has been the home of local produce for over a century. Great food and local flavours can also be found in several restaurants and cafés in the city or by the sea in the archipelago. It’s worth paying a visit to the tropical greenhouse restaurant Linds kök in Närpiö, an hour’s drive from Vaasa, where you’ll be welcomed by strawberry and tomato plants, fruit trees and edible flowers.

Seinäjoki also offers plenty of restaurants and bars to enjoy. For more information, take a look at the selection at Visitseinajoki.fi.

Credits : Elina Manninen / KEKSI
The Finnish word for ‘cheers’ is ‘kippis.’ You might also hear the Swedish word, ‘skål.’
Credits: Elina Manninen / KEKSI

Explore the one-of-a-kind landscape

In the unique natural environment of Kvarken Archipelago, you can experience the shifting land phenomenon, a land uplift, caused by the Ice Age. The vast lowlands and green fields that have risen from the sea over time stretch out to meet a calm horizon in all directions. Located next to the scenic, kilometre-long Raippaluoto bridge, the World Heritage Gateway Visitor Centre is a good starting point. From the Visitor Centre, you'll get information on this UNESCO World Heritage site and its attractions. You can reach most of the sights and villages with a car or a boat. Other options to explore the archipelago are to cycle, to kayak, to hike or to hop on a world heritage cruise. Along your way, you’ll find picturesque red wooden restaurants and cafés by the sea, many offering accommodation as well.

Credits: Elina Manninen / Keksi

Visit a craft distillery or brewery

Credits: Kimmo Makkonen

Want to learn about whisky, gin and other rye-based craft products? Kyrö Distillery is an award-winning, small-but-bold whiskey distillery in a former dairy building, 40 minutes from the city of Vaasa. The doors are open on Saturdays and you can join a tour with a guided tasting (remember to book in advance). On request, there’s also dining for groups of six or more. Another great opportunity to get to know the local craft brewing culture is the Kvarken Gastropub & Pizzeria, which serves tasty food along with beers from their own Kvarken brewery in Raippaluoto. Many of the products have names referring to the colourful history of the archipelago. How about a sip of The Busted Smuggler Golden Ale?

Discover art for all tastes

From Vaasa market square, it is only a short walk to the Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art, which is located in a former customs warehouse by the sea. The art collection of the museum is considered one of the most important collections of modern and contemporary art in Finland. Classical art can be found at the Ostrobothnian museum, and changing exhibitions at Vaasa City Art Gallery and Tikanoja art museum. The city also has a buzzing street art and graffiti scene: lately there has been curated outdoor exhibitions in an abandoned amusement park.

Looking for art in Seinäjoki? Look no further than Seinäjoki Art Hall. The recently re-opened, modern exhibition hall showcases contemporary art by professional local and Nordic artists. The presented themes often relate to the countryside as well as to other topical local and global issues on rural life.

The Ostrobothnian Museum in Vaasa is home to classical art.
Credits : Rob Smith
Seinäjoki Art Hall has two exhibition spaces at Kalevan Navetta, which used to serve as a warehouse for the Finnish Defence Forces.
Credits: Seinäjoki Art Hall, Mika Rinta-Porkkunen

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