Hame Castle is the city's top attraction. This medieval castle is one of the best structures of its kind in Scandinavia and now functions as a museum that offers guided tours in English. On the castle grounds, there's a large lakeside park with walking trails, picnic tables and play areas for children.
A short walk from Hame Castle will take you to downtown Hameenlinna, framed by Market Square and Hameenlinna's Church. In this area, you can visit the City Museum, a complex containing three different museums devoted to local history, one of which is the childhood home of the renowned composer Jean Sibelius. A short walk across the bridge gets you to Hameenlinna's Art Museum and Verkatehdas cultural center, which is a venue for concerts and trade fairs.
If you've arranged a car hire in Hameenlinna or Tampere, don't miss a trip to Iitala Design Village, located a 20-minute drive from the city center. Here, you can learn the process of glassblowing at a famous glass factory, take some designer pieces home and explore a variety of artisan stores. The area is also home to a Design Museum and is a good option if visiting with children, thanks to the presence of the Kultasuklaa chocolate factory.
With your own wheels, you have access to Hameenlinna's top natural attractions. There are more than 300 lakes in the surrounding area, some of which are easily accessible from the city, as is the case of Lake Vanajavesi in Aulanko Nature Preserve. A 10-minute drive takes you to dreamy forest landscapes that have inspired Finnish artists for centuries. The area is excellent for hiking, horse riding, cycling, swimming in the summer and skiing in the winter.
Other natural heritage sites worth exploring include the Iloranta forest. You can also try a traditional Finnish sauna experience, explore the Japanese gardens near Hakkola and discover the private nature reserve in Honkalanranta. All these attractions are family friendly.
Despite its relatively small size, Hameenlinna offers a great variety of eateries, including restaurants serving international cuisine, food venues, buffet-style restaurants and cafés specializing in Finnish gastronomy. You'll find most eateries in the streets around Sibelius Childhood Home.
For shopping, your options include the independent stores along Raatihuoneenkatu Street
and modern malls like Goodman and Tavastila, both in the city center.
Hammeenlinna's historical heritage is celebrated every year during the city's medieval festival (August). Other events worth mentioning include Hame Challenger, an international buhurt tournament also held in August, the Christmas Fair held at Hame Castle (December) and Hameenlinna City Marathon (July). In addition, Kantola Event Park hosts concerts throughout the year.