As Central Finland’s largest settlement, Jyväskylä is a major cultural hub and one of the country’s fastest-growing cities. It has been nicknamed the “Athens of Finland” due to its importance as an educational centre and is dotted with architectural landmarks designed by the Finnish designer, Alvar Aalto.
Things to do in Jyväskylä
If you’re interested in the region’s cultural history, visit the Museum of Central Finland, which occupies a “White Period” building designed by Alvar Aalto. Alongside is a museum dedicated to the Finnish architect, where you’ll find a permanent exhibition about his life and work, as well as design and architecture-focused temporary exhibits.
Handicrafts from around the country are showcased at the Craft Museum of Finland, where a 17,000-piece collection includes textiles and traditional clothing. Aeroplane enthusiasts should make a point of visiting the Aviation Museum of Central Finland, which is located adjacent to Jyväskylä Airport. It follows the country’s history of aviation from the early 20th century to the modern-day via displays of vintage aircraft, engines and equipment.
A short drive west of Jyväskylä is the Old Church of Petäjävesi, a wooden-built landmark that dates back to the 1760s. It combines Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architectural styles and is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Gaze up at its bell tower constructed by Erkki Leppänen, the grandson of the church’s original builder, and admire the hand-carved pulpit and pews crafted by local artisans.
Getting around Jyväskylä
Jyväskylä Airport is around two hours' drive from the city centre and has regular flights to Helsinki. The larger Tampere–Pirkkala Airport is two hours away. Trains connect from cities throughout Finland to the Jyväskylä railway station and passenger ferries travel to towns along the shores of Lake Päijänne. Buses connect most of Jyväskylä’s attractions.