Jyväskylä worker's club, photo: Tero Takalo-Eskola
Follow in the footsteps of Alvar Aalto from the wide open landscapes of Seinäjoki through Kuortane and Alajärvi to Jyväskylä, the heart of Finnish Lakeland. Visit the birthplace of the master architect and the family grave, admire his most famous competition entries and his early and later works.
Architect Alvar Aalto designed the internationally acclaimed administrative and cultural centre of Seinäjoki, the Aalto Centre. Stand in wonder at the foot of the 65-metre tower of Lakeuden Risti Church, the landmark among the six iconic edifices of the
Aalto Centre. The refurbished Aalto Library houses the world’s largest private collection of Aalto glassware. Enjoy a delicious lunch at the Theatre Restaurant surrounded by design classics or sample the regional specialities carefully prepared by the chefs at our recommended restaurants.
Alvar Aalto was born in Kuortane and spent many summers in Alajärvi, where the young architect student’s first buildings, as well as the last creations by Aalto’s practice, are located. Among the points of interest in Alajärvi is the recently restored house that he designed for his brother. The countryside offered Aalto much-needed respite during the most hectic years of his career. Admiring the green and inviting Lakeland views, it is easy to understand his attraction to the rural landscape. Jyväskylä boasts more buildings designed by Aalto than any other city in the world. The high points among the 28 sites include the Alvar Aalto Museum, Muurame Church and Säynätsalo Town Hall, which is considered the most significant work of Aalto’s redbrick period. Jyväskylä is also where Alvar Aalto went to school, started a family and launched his stellar career.
Welcome to the world of Alvar Aalto!
Arrival at Seinäjoki and check-in to Hotel Alma (double room) near the railway station.
The hotel is one of the oldest buildings in Seinäjoki. Originally it functioned as a house of the railroad workers. All the rooms are partly furnished with antique furniture and with varying color decor. The newest and most exceptional rooms are located in the Water Tower behind the main building. The tower was built in the 1920s and it used to supply water for the steam locomotives.
After arrival, independent lunch and later on, guided walking tour in the Seinäjoki Aalto Centre.
Alvar Aalto designed the cultural and administrative center of Seinäjoki. The unique centre consists of six buildings: The Cross of the Plains Church, Parish centre, City Hall, municipal library, governmental office building and City Theatre.
During the summer you can visit the 65-metre high church tower and enjoy the scenery. It is also recommended to go and see the new library Apila, which is connected to the Aalto Library by an underground passageway. Apila was designed by the Finnish office JKMM Architects. The largest private collection of Aalto glassware is on display at the Aalto Library. Guidance as an additional service.
Kalevan Navetta Art and Culture Centre, Äärellä-restaurant (lunch)
Uppala Manor House (Aalto-themed menu / dinner)
Amfora is a studio of the designer & sculptor Päivi Rintaniemi in Seinäjoki. You can see and buy locally made tableware and ceramic design. Open on Thursdays 10-17 or upon agreement.
Taito Shop Seinäjoki
Taito Shop Seinäjoki offers a selection of Finnish and more specifically local Ostrobothnian handicrafts. The products are funny, creative and contemporary – perfect for everyday use or as gifts. The shop is located in the Kalevan Navetta Art and Culture Centre, in the city centre of Seinäjoki. Open from Monday to Friday 11 – 19, Saturdays 11 – 15.
OPTION: Bike rental and a tour on the unobstructed trail and the Kyrkösjärvi bike trail network (during summer).
Tips for things to do and see:
• A visit to The Defence Corps and Lotta Svärd Museum
Breakfast at the lodging and check-out.
Departure to Alajärvi by rental car.
The distance between Seinäjoki and Alajärvi is approx. 70 km / 60 min.
The road goes through Kauhajärvi and Kuortane. In Kauhajärvi you can see the church belfry designed by Alvar Aalto in 1923. In Kuortane you can see the exterior of Aalto’s birthplace. This building is now privately owned and can only be visited on the outside. At the gate there is an Alvar Aalto relief as a memorial.
After arrival, guided walking tour in the Alajärvi Aalto Centre including buildings from Aalto’s early career characterized by Nordic classicism: his first assignment the Youth Association building, Villa Väinölä and the municipal hospital, and of buildings from his so-called “white period” that include the Town hall, the Parish Centre a health centre and a library. The latter was finished by Aalto’s office.
The tour also takes you to the wooden church designed by the famous architect C.L. Engel. Aalto used to have a seat in the church loft in his youth. In the beautiful graveyard, you can see e.g. war memorials designed by Alvar Aalto, and the Aalto family grave.
The exhibition “Muodon vuoksi” of the classic 1930s glass design by Alvar and Aino Aalto is on display in the lobby of the Alajärvi Town Hall.
After guided tour, independent lunch and optional visit at the Nelimarkka Museum.
• Restaurant Alvariini located at Alajärvi
• Local Winery Punainen Tupa located about 5 km from Alajärvi
Later in the afternoon, departure towards Jyväskylä Lakeland region (about 160 km). On the way, visit the Petäjävesi Old Church, UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Overnight in Boutique Hotel Yöpuu in Aalto -room.
Breakfast at the hotel. After breakfast, drive to Säynätsalo. The highlight is the remarkable Säynätsalo Town Hall, one of the most famous buildings by Alvar Aalto. Already at the time of its construction the unique building attracted attention. Today about 3000-4000 enthusiastic visitors from all around the world visit the Town Hall annually. Guided tour at the town hall and afterwards, guided tour at Muuratsalo Experimental House.
Later on, drive back to Jyväskylä and optional visit to the Old Courtyard Toivola, which takes you back in time to the historical wooden town and offers possibilities for shopping local handicrafts etc. Independent lunch. After lunch, visit at Alvar Aalto Museum.
• Toivola restaurant at Old Courtyard Toivola (lunch)
• Café Alvar at Alvar Aalto Museum (lunch)
• Café & Restaurant Vesilinna (lunch)
• Restaurant Pöllöwaari (dinner)
• Restaurant Harmooni (dinner)
Tips of things to do:
• Muuratsalo island: experience the hilly scenery of the Finnish Lakeland area, the landscape so dear to Aalto. The easiest way to enjoy the scenery is by climbing on top of the hill Paljaspää, which offers an astonishing view over Lake Päijänne, the longest and second largest lake in Finland.
• Lake Cruise on Lake Päijänne: dinner cruise onboard the S/S Suomi, the same ship by which Aalto himself travelled when he lived in Jyväskylä
Breakfast and guided Aalto Andante walking tour including Jyväskylä workers’ club, the administrative and cultural centre as well as the campus of the University of Jyväskylä (together with Nikolainkulma and the Nero steps on the Harju ridge).
After the tour, check-out at the hotel and departure.
DETAILED INFORMATION OF THE TOUR:
Price: 685 € / person
Price includes: Accommodation in double/twin room with breakfast at Hotel Alma for one night (Seinäjoki), accommodation in double/twin room with breakfast at Boutique Hotel Yöpuu fro two nights (Jyväskylä), guided Aalto tours in Seinäjoki, Alajärvi and Jyväskylä, admission fee and guided tour at Petäjävesi Church, guided tours and entrance fees to Säynätsalo Town Hall, Muuratsalo Experimental House and Alvar Aalto Museum.
Price doesn’t include: Rental car, parking fee, meals, alcoholic or soft drinks during meals, optional activities and visits
Group size: Min. 2 persons
Duration: 4 days / 3 nights
Availability: On request year-round. The availability of services and prices are verified at the time of booking.
Language: English, German. Some guided tours also in Russian, Swedish and Japanese.
Bookings: Lahti Region Ltd. sales (at) lahtiregion.fi, Tel. +358 (0)207 281 760 (group sales)
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