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Youngsters sitting on window sills playing guitars.

Leisure time

Ähtäri - Vapaa-aika ENG

Ähtäri has many leisure options available. 

In Finland, free time is often spent with hobbies. Hobbies are usually offered in abundance regardless of the size of the town. The most common hobbies include sports activities, as well as various courses in adult education centres, and outdoor activities. Hobbies often cost something, but are rarely very expensive, especially in the rural areas. You can go to hobbies alone or meet other people as well. You can also visit museums, theatres, movies, as well as other events where you will surely find like-minded company. 

Sports clubs

Sports clubs offer different levels of hobby groups in different sports. You can practice various sports in Ähtäri. Hobbies usually have a fee. The hobby fee often also includes insurance in case of accidents. More info here.

Adult education centre (kansalaisopisto) courses

Adult education centres are educational institutions whose courses can be attended by anyone. It is easy to attend an adult education centre and there you can find courses for all ages from baby to grandpa. At an adult education centre, you will find a hobby in almost every field such as physical education, music, languages, hand skills, literature, theatre, art, photography, information technology, health and food. Registrations for the courses are in advance but you can also ask in the middle of the semester if there is room. Courses are relatively inexpensive and it is possible to get discounts on them. The adult education centre also often organizes interesting and free public lectures. 

Lakeudenportin kansalaisopiston kurssitarjonta.

Voluntary work

Volunteering is suitable for people of all ages and you can participate almost everywhere, in small villages and large cities. At the same time, you can make new friends and maintain social networks. Volunteering brings joy and energy to life. Based on your own interests, you can choose a suitable cause such as helping the elderly and disabled, children’s hobby activities, relief work for the underprivileged, flea markets, hand skills and cooking. There is a constant search for volunteers in almost every organization, so you can connect directly with a suitable organization. Organizations are built around the same interest, whose activities you can usually participate in either as a member (by paying a membership fee) or as a volunteer.  


Pelastakaa Lapset 



Why it is worthwhile to have a hobby

A hobby provides an opportunity to get to know new people. All enthusiasts share a common interest, around which it is easy to get together, have a conversation and get to know each other. Having a hobby increases well-being. At the same time, you maintain your own health and fitness. Everyone is sure to find their own hobby that is nice to go to and from which you get pleasure and joy in your everyday life. 


The majority of Finns are Christian. 

The largest religious community is the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, which comprises about 70% of the population. The Finnish Orthodox Church is the second largest religious community. Just over 1% of the population belongs to the Orthodox Church. The Evangelical Lutheran Church and the Orthodox Church have special status in Finland. For example, they are entitled to levy the tax. 

Where is the closest? 

Finnish holidays

1.1. New Year’s Day 

6.1. The Epiphany 

March-April: Good Friday and Easter Days 

1.5. May Day 

May: Ascension Thursday and Pentecost 

May 2nd Sunday: Mother’s Day 

Saturday between June 20 and 26: Midsummer Day 

Saturday between October 31 and November: All Saints’ Day 

November 2nd Sunday: Father’s Day 

6.12. Independence Day 

24-25.12. Christmas Eve and Day

26.12. Boxing Day 

More information about the holidays can be found here. 



You can engage in many sports, for example skiing, ice skating, ice hockey, martial arts, climbing, soccer, basketball, volleyball, floor ball, badminton, tennis, orienteering, dancing, yoga, gym, kettlebell, swimming and athletics. 

When hobbies have an instructor, hobby activities usually have a fee. If you are unemployed, you can get a discount on the fee. 

You can also enjoy many sports for free (for example skiing, ice hockey, ice ball and ice skating and swimming on the beach) or by paying a small entrance fee (for example swimming in a swimming pool or ground pool). 

More information about hobby clubs: 



Ice hockey 

Martial arts 



Fitness sports 



Floor ball 








Etelä-Pohjanmaan musiikkiopisto 


Municipal services


The library has books for children and adults in many languages. 

You can borrow books, music, movies or magazines for free. 

You can borrow language courses. 

To borrow, you will need a library card. You can get it from the library. 

Remember to take a photo ID with you. 

The library card is free of charge. If you lose it, you will have to pay for a new card. 

In the library, you can use the computer. 

A library employee will be happy to help you. 

The Ask Librarian service will answer any question. 

You can leave your questions using an online form in Finnish, Swedish or English. 

You will receive a reply to your email and it will be posted on the website. 

The library closest to you: Ähtärin kaupunginkirjasto, Pirkanlinnan kulttuurikeskus, Lukiontie

Everyman rights

Nature is very important to Finns. Many Finns thrive in nature, for example by hiking or picking berries. Everyman’s rights are respected in Finland. According to them, people can move freely in the nature and you do not need the landowner’s permission for everything. There are also responsibilities associated with moving in nature. 

More information on the Everyman rights can be found here. 


For example, you can fish or do excursions on nature trails. There are several play grounds for children. In sports fields, for example, you can play ball games. In winter, for example, you can skate on ice rinks. 


In Finland fishing is a hobby with a fee. You need a fishing permit to be allowed to fish. Sometimes permission from the owner of the water area is also required. You can pay and buy the fisheries’ management fee and permits for fishing in state-owned waters from the Metsähallitus Eräluvat service here. You can buy a fishing permit for a private water area from a local joint property management association, they are often sold at a local gas station. 

However, for angling, you do not need a fishing permit. A fishing rod is a fishing tool that does not have a coil. It has a bait worm or fish. Ice fishing, which is fishing on frozen lakes in winter, is also allowed. If you are under the age of 18 or over 64 years old, you will not need any kind of fishing permit. 



There are several playgrounds in the municipality where bigger children can come to play with each other and smaller children with their parent or other adult. Play grounds are free of charge. During the summer, free playground activities are held in several localities. 

Sport fields

There are often many outdoor sports areas and sport fields in the municipalities where you can play ball games or do athletics, and ice courts where you can play ice hockey and skate in winter. 

Sports venues you can find here.


You can swim for free on the swimming beaches. The official swimming season is from 15 June to 31 August. During that time, the authorities monitor the water quality of the beaches. 

You can find more information on the swimming beaches here.

Finnish cuisine

Finns eat fairly typical European food, which is most often meat, fish, potatoes, rice or pasta. Vegetarian dining has become increasingly popular. It is customary to eat two warm meals a day, lunch and dinner. In Finland, adults also often drink milk. 

Lunch is eaten in Finland earlier than in many other countries. At the workplace and schools, lunch is usually from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. General dinner time is at 5 o’clock in the afternoon. 

In Finland, the healthiness of food is often emphasized. Among other things, rye bread and various porridge are an important part of Finnish food culture. Different areas of Finland have different food cultures. For example, a lot of reindeer meat is eaten in Lapland while fish is eaten on the coast. Then again, food culture is changing. Italian pasta and Asian food cultures, for example, also appear in Finland. 

In day care and schools, food is provided for children and young people. School food is free for everyone and you don’t have to take your own packed lunch to school. 

A lot of coffee is drunk in Finland. For example, coffee is almost always available at celebrations. At workplace meetings, there is often coffee. 

Alcoholic beverages are quite expensive in Finland and there are age limits to buying them. Only the milder drinks can be purchased at the grocery store. Strong alcoholic beverages are purchased at state-regulated Alko stores. Driving a car under the influence of alcohol is prohibited by law and can be subject to severe punishment. 

Eating at a restaurant is often more expensive in Finland than in many other countries. Also, alcoholic beverages are expensive in restaurants. You do not have to leave a tip unless you want to give praise for an excellent service.