Early and later works of architect Alvar Aalto

Cities: Alajärvi, Jyväskylä, Seinäjoki

Sites: Alvar Aalto in Seinäjoki, Alvar Aalto in Alajärvi, Alvar Aalto in Jyväskylä, Säynätsalo Town Hall

Experiences: Art, Food and herbs, Lakeland, Local products, Museums, Nature

4 days
Individuals
Publics and car, Train, Waterways
Travel in the sceneries from the various phases in the life of Alvar Aalto, from Seinäjoki via Kuortane and Alajärvi to Jyväskylä in the lake district of Finland. See the master’s birthplace and family grave, some of his most famous competition works as well as his early and later works.

Tour highlights:

  • The Aalto Centre, the Cross of the Plains Church in Seinäjoki
  • The renovated Aalto Library in Seinäjoki
  • Alvar Aalto´s childhood home, birthplace and family grave in Kuortane and Alajärvi
  • Villa Väinölä, house designed by Alvar Aalto for his brother in Alajärvi
  • The Alvar Aalto Museum in Jyväskylä
  • Muurame Church in Jyväskylä
  • Säynätsalo Town Hall in Jyväskylä

Travel in the sceneries from the various phases in the life of Alvar Aalto, from Seinäjoki via Kuortane and Alajärvi to Jyväskylä in the lake district of Finland. See the master’s birthplace and family grave, some of his most famous competition works as well as his early and later works.

Alvar Aalto designed a world-famous centre of administrative and cultural buildings in Seinäjoki. The landmark of the Aalto centre, the Cross of the Plains Church, soars to a height of approx. 65 metres. The renovated Aalto Library exhibits the world’s biggest private collection of Aalto glassware.

The architect was born in Kuortane and he used to spend his summers in Alajärvi, which is the home for the first buildings designed by the young architect student and for the last creation of Aalto’s office. In Alajärvi, the tour participants can also visit the recently renovated Villa Väinölä, the house that Alvar Aalto designed for his brother. The countryside provided Alvar Aalto with a setting for relaxation during his hectic creative period.

The Jyväskylä region contains more buildings designed by the master architect than any other region in the entire world. Among as many as 28 attractions, you can choose for example the Alvar Aalto Museum, Muurame Church and Säynätsalo Town Hall, which is considered Aalto’s most prominent work in the red brick era. Alvar Aalto also went to school, started a family and launched his prestigious career in Jyväskylä.

Lakeland scenery in Jyväskylä, photo Atacan Ergin

The Cross of the Plains Church in Seinäjoki. Photo: Visit Seinäjoki, Katja Lösönen.

The Jyväskylä region contains more buildings designed by the master architect than any other region in the entire world. Among as many as 28 attractions, you can choose for example the Alvar Aalto Museum, Muurame Church and Säynätsalo Town Hall, which is considered Aalto’s most prominent work in the red brick era. Alvar Aalto also went to school, started a family and launched his prestigious career in Jyväskylä.
Alajärvi Town Hall by Alvar Aalto
Alajärvi Town Hall by Alvar Aalto
Alajärvi Villa Väinölä has a beautiful garden
Alajärvi Villa Väinölä has a beautiful garden
Alvar Aalto Museum in Jyväskylä, photo Maija Holma
Alvar Aalto Museum in Jyväskylä, photo Maija Holma
The Cross of the Plains Church in Seinäjoki. Photo: Visit Seinäjoki, Katja Lösönen.
The Cross of the Plains Church in Seinäjoki. Photo: Visit Seinäjoki, Katja Lösönen.
The new library Apila is connected to the Aalto Library. Photo: Visit Seinäjoki, Katja Lösönen.
The new library Apila is connected to the Aalto Library. Photo: Visit Seinäjoki, Katja Lösönen.
Aalto-kirjasto ja takana teatteri Seinäjoen Aalto-keskuksessa. Kuva: Visit Seinäjoki, Katja Lösönen.
Aalto-kirjasto ja takana teatteri Seinäjoen Aalto-keskuksessa. Kuva: Visit Seinäjoki, Katja Lösönen.
ALVAR AALTO LOCATION MUURAME CHURCH-interior-PHOTO TERO TAKALO-ESKOLA 04
Muurame Church was restored in 2016. Photo: Tero Takalo-Eskola, Visit Jyväskylä
Uppala Manor dessert in Seinäjoki. Photo: Visit Seinäjoki, Katja Lösönen.
Uppala Manor dessert in Seinäjoki. Photo: Visit Seinäjoki, Katja Lösönen.
Aalto-Säynätsalon-kunnantalo-Visit-Jyväskylä-Tero-Takalo-Eskola
Säynätsalo Town Hall's courtyard basking in the afternoon sun. Photo: Tero Takalo-Eskola, Visit Jyväskylä

Programme by day

Day 1: Inspired by Aalto in Seinäjoki

10:00 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 colour 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.

11:00 Self-guided walking tour in the Seinäjoki Aalto Centre

Mobile guide available: Tarinasoitin (EN, SVE, FI, JPN)

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.

12:30 Lunch: Restaurant Alma or Äärellä Kuppi + Kattila

Äärellä is a lively urban restaurant. Enjoy a casual lunch made of local ingredients.

14:00 A visit to The Defence Corps and Lotta Svärd Museum

The Defence Corps and Lotta Svärd Museum is dedicated to voluntary national defence. The museum building was designed by Aalto in the 1920s as a Defence Corps building. Stylistically it represents Nordic Classicism. Today it is one of the rare building from Aalto’s early career that has retained well near its original appearance. It has been renovated since the 1980’ as close to original plans as possible.

Guided tour as an additional service.

Useful information

Shopping locally:

Amfora

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 Rustoopuori

Shop Rustoopuori 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 historical Kaarakka house in the centre of Seinäjoki. Open from Monday to Friday 10 – 18, Saturdays 10 – 14.

OPTION: Bike rental and a tour on the unobstructed trail and the Kyrkösjärvi bike trail network (during summer).

Additional service:

A dinner with an Aalto menu in the Manor House of Uppala or in restaurant Juurella.

Accommodation in Hotel Alma in the centre of Seinäjoki

Breakfast at the lodging and check-out

09:00 Departure to Alajärvi by car, own or rental.
The distance between Seinäjoki and Alajärvi is approx. 70 km or 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.

10:30 Arrival at Alajärvi.
A guided walking tour in the Alajärvi Aalto Centre

The Aalto Centre in Alajärvi consists of buildings from his early career characterised 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.

11:30 Lunch in restaurant Alvariini in the centre of Alajärvi

A possibility to stop by and shop at a local winery Punainen Tupa

The products of Punainen Tupa, such as Alvariini, are made from Finnish forest berries and based entirely on birch sap. The winery is situated in the rustic landscape among lush birches, only 5 kilometres from the centre of Alajärvi. Open every day 10 – 18.

13:30 A visit to the Nelimarkka Museum and coffee&cake

The museum was founded by the painter and professor Eero Nelimarkka and it is a Regional Art Museum of Southern Ostrobothnia. The museum displays the art of Eero Nelimarkka and houses temporary exhibitions of contemporary art. The building was designed by the architect Hilding Ekelund. Coffee and cake is served in the light atmosphere of Café de Nelimarkka. Guided tour as an additional service.

15:00 Departure towards Jyväskylä Lakeland region.
Distance between Alajärvi and Petäjävesi is approx. 125 km or 100 minutes.

16:45 A visit to the Petäjävesi Old Church

Petäjävesi Old Church was included on the Unesco World Heritage List in 1994 as a masterpiece of Nordic wooden architecture. The church represents the northern, Lutheran church architecture and the long tradition of timber constructions and carpentry. Guidance as an additional service.

18:00 Towards Jyväskylä

The drive from Petäjävesi to Jyväskylä is approx. 35 km / 35 min.

18:45 Arrival in Jyväskylä and check-in to the hotel Yöpuu. Accommodation in double room “Aalto”

Useful information

A mobile guide of the Aalto sites in Jyväskylä, with a route suggestion and location lists:

The Aalto Route in Lakeland Finland

Aalto sites in Jyväskylä also here:
Alvar Aalto sites in Jyväskylä

and the University Campus mobile guide Tarinasoitin.

  • Worker´s club
  • Defence Corps building
  • Administrative and Cultural Centre
    • City Theatre
    • Rakentajantalo, city offices
    • Tietotalo, former police headquarters
    • City hall, not designed by Aalto
  • Aira apartment house

As an additional service a dinner:

  • restaurant Harmooni, perfect location in a beautiful Art Nouveau building in the city centre
  • restaurant Pöllöwaari, exquisite dishes, seasonal ingredients and fascinating flavours
  • restaurant Vesilinna, delicious food in a water tower with a view to the surrounding city

Breakfast at the hotel

In the morning, a visit to the Old Courtyard Toivola. The courtyard takes you back in time to the historical wooden town and offers possibilities for shopping.

  • Coppersmith’s House and Carpenter’s House: The Museum of Central Finland’s Craftsmen’s Houses
  • Sparvin House: Museum Shop
  • The former Maternity Hospital: Yarn shop Titityy
  • Toivola House: Popper, Butik Malfatto, Kipriikka, Riiminka, Annan Paja
  • Blacksmith’s Workshop: Manalanpaja

Lunch: Cafe Muisto, Old Courtyard Toivola

In the afternoon a mobile guided tour in Aalto’s footsteps at the University Campus, Tarinasoitin.

And to learn more about the Aalto locations in Jyväskylä:

VisitJyväskylä

  • Capitolium – Main building
  • Teacher Training School and Sports Halls
  • Swimming Hall, now AaltoAlvari
  • Former Students’ dormitory
  • Student canteen Lozzi, staff’s dining room Lyhty (closed)
  • Student Union building Ilokivi
  • Building for Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences

From the University, the trip continues to the Alvar Aalto Museum, passing the Museum of Central Finland designed by Aalto.

Visit to the Alvar Aalto Museum.

Café Alvar: Coffee and Cake à la Alvar

Additional service: during summer a dinner cruise on Lake Päijänne, onboard the S/S Suomi, the same ship by which Aalto himself travelled when he lived in Jyväskylä

Cruises on Lake Päijänne

During the off-season a dinner in a restaurant in the city centre.

Accommodation in the hotel as in the preceding night.

Breakfast and check-out at the hotel

The tour continues southward by a rental car towards the island of 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.

From Säynätsalo you can drive to the island of Muuratsalo, to 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.

Useful information

The easiest way to reach the nature trail is by car. Park at the turning place at the end of Vuorelantie road, from where the nature trail is signposted. However, the turning place is good for parking only if there are not too many other cars there already.

The route to Paljaspää and back is less than 1 km. The terrain is easy, so no need to pack special hiking gear. I would say that the path is suitable even for people with moderate mobility issues, as it is short and not too steep or rocky.

Paljaspää, VisitJyväskylä

OPTION: The Experimental House by Aalto is located in Muuratsalo, available for visiting during summer.

OPTION: Book a nature guide to experience the other amazing places in Muuratsalo either by foot, with snowshoes (in winter) or for example by fatbike. Starting and returning point e.g. at the Säynätsalo Town Hall.

Return the car to Jyväskylä or with extra fee continue your travel to the other Aalto destinations around Finland.

Sites included in this trip

Järvi-Suomessa Jyväskylässä voit risteillä Aalto-kohteisiin, kuva Tero Takalo-Eskola

Alvar Aalto in Seinäjoki

Seinäjoki

As an architectural whole, the Administrative and Cultural Centre in Seinäjoki is unique on a global scale. Seinäjoki is also the location of the Defence Corps Building built in 1924-26, one of the rare works from Aalto’s youth. The Administrative and Cultural Centre consists of six buildings and the Civic…

Järvi-Suomessa Jyväskylässä voit risteillä Aalto-kohteisiin, kuva Tero Takalo-Eskola

Alvar Aalto in Alajärvi

Alajärvi

The city of Alajärvi in the Southern Ostrobothnia is located close to Alvar Aalto’s childhood hometown Kuortane. Aalto spent his childhood summers in Alajärvi and later had his own summer house there up to 1940s. For him Alajärvi represented leisure time with family and relatives in contrast to the hectic…

Järvi-Suomessa Jyväskylässä voit risteillä Aalto-kohteisiin, kuva Tero Takalo-Eskola

Alvar Aalto in Jyväskylä

Jyväskylä

In Jyväskylä, the city of lakes and hills in the heart of the Finnish Lakeland, you’ll find the largest number of masterful buildings in the whole world designed by the world-famous architect and academician Alvar Aalto. The impressive portfolio of 28 locations includes, for instance, the Alvar Aalto Museum, Muurame…

Järvi-Suomessa Jyväskylässä voit risteillä Aalto-kohteisiin, kuva Tero Takalo-Eskola

Säynätsalo Town Hall

Jyväskylä / 1949-52

The invitational competition for Säynätsalo Town Hall was held in 1949. Aalto won the competition with an entry marked ‘Curia’, and was immediately commissioned to prepare working drawings. Completed in 1952, the building is one of Aalto’s most admired designs.

Information on this trip

Good to know

Included

Price includes:

  • Accommodation (1 night) in Seinäjoki in Hotel Alma, double room, including breakfast
  • Accommodation (2 nights) in Jyväskylä in the Aalto room of Hotel Yöpuu, double room, including breakfast and sauna
  • 3 x lunch (Seinäjoki, Restaurant Äärellä; Alajärvi, Restaurant Alvariini; Jyväskylä, Café Muisto)
  • 2 x coffee service (with Nelimarkka pastry and Alvar cake)
  • Entrance fees: The Defence Corps and Lotta Svärd Museum, Nelimarkka Museum, Petäjävesi Old Church, Alvar Aalto Museum
  • Entrance fees and guided tours: Aalto Centre in Alajärvi and Säynätsalo Town Hall

Optional services

  • Accommodation in Hotel Alma´s Tower Room with a sauna
  • Accommodation in a single room
  • Guided tours at the Aalto sites in Seinäjoki and Jyväskylä and in the museums
  • Entrance to the Seinäjoki Art Hall and the Museum of Central Finland
  • Visit to the Muuratsalo Experimental House (during summer)
  • Dinner with an Aalto menu in Seinäjoki at restaurant Manor House of Uppala or restaurant Juurella
  • Dinner in Jyväskylä at restaurant Harmooni, restaurant Pöllöwaari or restaurant Vesilinna
  • Dinner Cruise on Lake Päijänne (during summer)
  • Bike rental and cycling in the Kyrkösjärvi route in Seinäjoki (during summer)
  • Services of a nature guide and gear rental in Muuratsalo
  • Car rental

Excluded

Travel fees back to the starting town.

Example price 590 € / person

The price has been estimated for a group of 2 persons accommodated in a double room.

The availability of the services and the prices are revised and confirmed according to the time of travel when responding to a customer enquiry. The programme is a suggestion and can be adjusted according to the customer’s needs. All rights reserved.

We follow the general terms and conditions for package tours. More detailed sales conditions are available on our website at www.epmatkailu.fi.

 

Inquiries and bookings

Example price 590 € / person

The price has been estimated for a group of 2 persons accommodated in a double room.

The availability of the services and the prices are revised and confirmed according to the time of travel when responding to a customer enquiry. The programme is a suggestion and can be adjusted according to the customer’s needs. All rights reserved.

We follow the general terms and conditions for package tours. More detailed sales conditions are available on our website at www.epmatkailu.fi.

 

Etelä-Pohjanmaan Matkailu Oy