- Two greats who were inspired by the Finnish forest

Gösta, photo: Olli HuttunenGösta, photo: Olli Huttunen

Gösta, photo: Olli Huttunen

What significance does art, architecture and design have for Finland and its people? What is the relationship between art, architecture and design and the forest industry, the traditional lifeline of the Finnish economy? How close to nature is it possible for Finnish architecture and design to get?

The Alvar and Gösta tour offers, on a human scale, a unique insight into the Finnish way of living in close rela-tionship with nature. The tour offers unforgettable experiences for fans of culture and those who would like to learn more about the Finnish way of life in the midst of the most beautiful Central Finland landscapes, where lakes, rivers and forests are ever present.

Day 1

10:00 Arrive in Mänttä, The Tale of the Finnish Forest tour

The town of Mänttä stands on a beautiful strip of land between two lakes.

10:00 The history of the forest industry in Finland and the art of paper making
Alvar Aalto lost the architectural competition for the design of this building.
We will arrive at the magnificent, former head office built in the 1930s, nowadays the Serlachi-us Museum Gustaf offering an abundance of experiences. We will time warp back to the year 1951, breathing in the hierarchical atmosphere of the head office. A stern recruiter will give us her personal welcome and test whether we are suitable for a position in the forest company!
We will also have an opportunity to make paper ourselves and get acquainted with the “Paper Devil”, G. A. Serlachius, who was a pioneer of the Finnish paper industry, notorious for his er-ratic business sense. His life and business affairs are shown in the eloquent exhibition that contains eight dramatised scenes.

12:00 Lunch at Art Museum Gösta
Next, we will visit the former manor house of Gösta Serlachius and the new pavilion next door, where lunch will be served from the menu created by leading Finnish chefs. All food is made from the best seasonal Finnish ingredients.

13:00 National art treasures and wood architecture at Art Museum Gösta
Art Museum Gösta is known for having one of the best collections from the Golden Age of Finnish art. Many of the artists from this period, 1880–1910, were strongly inspired by Finnish nature. We will also explore the new building, the large pavilion, an award-winning specimen of contemporary wood construction.

14:30 Coffee break at a peasant log cabin or Gösta’s ski cabin, which today serves as a wine bar.
We will enjoy a cup of coffee or other beverages in an Autereen tupa, a traditional Finnish log-built house that used to be the residence of the estate manager, before we head to Jyväskylä, the Alvar Aalto capital.

17:00 Arrive in Jyväskylä, the capital of Alvar Aalto architecture

Jyväskylä is a bold and vibrant city in the middle of the most beautiful part of the Finnish lake-land. The city is known as the Alvar Aalto capital, as it boasts more buildings designed by the master than any other city in the world.

Accommodation at Hotel Verso.

Day 2


10:00 Aalto Andante walking tour

Who was architect Alvar Aalto? What is the legacy of his design and architecture for the Finnish mental landscape? What did the landscape of Central Finland with is lakes and forests mean to Alvar Aalto? The tour takes us through the milestones of Alvar Aalto’s life and career, from a schoolboy to the iconic master of his art. We will hear interesting and fascinating stories about his life and his personal character, his professional highs and lows, and his sources of inspira-tion – and we will also learn about some of his unrealised projects. Duration 3 hrs.

Workers’ Club
The club and theatre house of the Jyväskylä Workers’ Association was Aalto’s first major public work and a masterpiece of his Classicist period.

Defence Corps Building
The design of this building marked Aalto’s shift from Classicism to Functionalism. Classicist el-ements were still evident in the spatial composition and façade.

The Administrative and Cultural Centre
Alvar Aalto created an extensive city centre plan for the City of Jyväskylä. From this, the police headquarters (Tietotalo), the city office building and Jyväskylä Theatre were built.

University Campus
Alvar Aalto won an invited competition for the university campus in the early 1950s, and the newbuilds were built on the Seminaarinmäki campus between 1951 and 1970. Aalto’s’ vision was based on the American campus concept.

Alvar Aalto Museum
Alvar Aalto Museum represents the architect’s late “white period”, which differs from his monumental buildings of the same era in its appearance and scale. The permanent exhibition tells the story of Finland’s best-known architect and designer Alvar Aalto through his life and extensive, rich career.

13:00 Lunch at Café Alvar

We will have lunch together at the museum café, surrounded by Aalto’s architecture. As part of the lunch menu, we can taste Alvar’s Cake, with wild lingonberries picked from Finnish for-ests and delicious white chocolate.

Alternative during the summer season:

14:00 Alvar Aalto e la natura lunch cruise

On this cruise we will have the chance to see the landscapes around Lake Päijänne and Säynätsalo, which were a strong inspiration for Alvar Aalto, aboard the same Suomi steamboat on which Alvar himself used to travel. We will also pay a visit to Säynätsalo Town Hall. A sump-tuous lunch is served onboard. Arrival at Säynätsalo boat harbour at 15:20, from where we will walk with guide to the Säynätsalo Town Hall nearby. At the Town Hall, the guide will give us a tour through the fascinating building and tell us more about Alvar Aalto and his work. At the end of the tour, we get to taste Alvar’s Cake at the Säynätsalo Town Hall café.

Return to Jyväskylä by local bus.

18:30 Arrive in Jyväskylä


14:30 Aalto Bravo bus tour

We board the bus and head for a number of major Alvar Aalto sites outside the city centre. Duration 2 hrs.

Muurame Church
Our first stop is at Muurame Church, which Alvar Aalto designed for his love of beauty. It is a manifestation of clean forms and harmony. Aalto once said, “There is an ulterior motive [...] in architecture, which is always peeping out from around the corner... With every work of architecture...we want to build a paradise on earth for ordinary mortals.” (1957) For Aalto, Italy and the Mediterranean world were long the epitomes of harmony. That is where he turned for solutions that would lead to balance, wellbe-ing and health. (Source:

Säynätsalo Town Hall, where we will stop for coffee
Säynätsalo Town Hall (1949–1952) is one of the most important works of Alvar Aalto and of 20th century architecture in general. The building has attracted global interest since it was first built. The majestic redbrick building has a raised atrium that leads to the entrance to the administrative offices and the library. The Assembly Hall stands higher than the rest of the group of buildings, sovereignly commanding the land-scape.

16:30 Arrive in Jyväskylä

Opportunity for shopping in the city centre and an independent dinner.

We recommend
Restaurant Harmooni, a cosy cellar restaurant at an old harmonium factory.
Restaurant Figaro, Chaîne des Rôtisseurs since 2010, Winebistro.
Restaurant Vesilinna, on the water tower on Harju hill, with great views over the city


Day 3 

Finnish breakfast at Hotel Verso. Check Out. 

Price: 245 € /person
The package includes:
• Accommodation in Jyväskylä (2 nights in twin/douple room) at Hotel Verso, breakfast in-cluded
• 3 x guided tours The Tale of the Finnish Forest tour, Aalto Andante walking tour, Aalto bus tour
• 2 x lunch (Art Museum Gösta and Café Alvar)
• 2 x coffee (Mänttä: original log house or Gösta’s ski cabin, Jyväskylä: Säynätsalo Town Hall)

Available for extra charge:
• Experience the Aalto walking tour by dance artist Helena Ratinen
• AALTO E LA NATURA cruise to Säynätsalo (summer season only)
• transport
• Single room

Availability: all year round
Group size: min. 20 person

Reservations and information
Matka-Töysä | tel. +358 14 336 4130
operointi (at) |


Download the package on PDF here. 


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