Welcome to a tour in Alvar Aalto’s Varkaus!
In Varkaus, you can get to know an old industrial town where Alvar Aalto’s influence is still vivid. He started as the designer of the Varkaus Mills in the mid-1930s and continued in this role for about 10 years. There were also a number of plans that never materialised. You will also see other old building history of Varkaus, enjoy the natural environment in the Lake Saimaa area and savour food indigenous of the Savo region.
Alvar Aalto, a trailblazer in functionalism, used his design to achieve a more progressive and equal society. The bicentennial industrial history of Varkaus is evident in the appearance of the town. Over the years, Varkaus has been the host of successful iron and engineering works, shipyards, sawmills, wood-processing plants and paper mills. The Varkaus of today is also renowned for its expertise in energy technology.
Day 1: Lake Saimaa and Varkaus
A tour in Varkaus concerning the influence of Aalto on the town plan. The tour introduces you to the single-family homes of Aalto. The standardised houses were built by the local company Varkauden Talotehdas according to Aalto’s designs. The mode of transportation can be chosen by the customer.
A guided tour in the Museum of Mechanical Music takes you to a fabulous journey through the vast collection of interesting instruments.
The scenic Kämäri Island has remained as a green space in the centre of Varkaus. The three-kilometre-long nature trail winds between Ämmäkoski rapids and Taipale canal.
We recommend that you taste the local fish from Lake Saimaa or salmon grown in an environmentally benign manner in the new eco-fishery. Also, the local caviar is a specialty worth a try. See the restaurants from the website visitvarkaus.fi
Day 2: Lake Saimaa and Varkaus
Museums of Varkaus. The exhibition “Industrial Workers – Ten stories from the factories” presents the industrial history of Varkaus from the 19th century to the present day. In the downstairs hall there is an art exhibition TaideVarkaus60+.
Art Centre Väinölä is an idyllic, 105-year-old wooden house, which used to be the residence of the mill manager and the office employees. In the summer period, Väinölä houses a wonderful exhibition of Naive Painters in Varkaus.
In the summer the Torni Terrace Café is open on top of the 1950s water tower.
Local products, including caviar, are available for purchase from Sepon Lihatori at Päiviönsaari and from Cafe Piirakkapaja / Lähituotepuoti.
If the Aalto tour is done as an electric boat cruise, the guidance takes place on board by means of stories and digital material.
As an alternative destination, there is the Taipale Canal Museum, which has free admission.
All the destinations are available for individual travellers. In that case the visits are self-guided and carried out by free city bikes, with the help of the Aalto Varkaus map or a mobile guide www.tarinasoitin.fi