It was once the capital of Finland. Turku is Finland’s oldest city. Just under two hours away by car from Helsinki. Turku is well worth a visit to explore this Finnish city. Known for its famous buildings such as the Turku Cathedral and Turku Castle. A visit to this city is a chance to learn about Finland’s history. Visiting Turku, you can enjoy a Finnish city like no other. The River Aura runs through the city, starting at Turku Castle and finishing at the Turku cathedral. The city is connected to several small islands, that can be reached via ferry. There is plenty for everyone. If you enjoy the nightlife, you can try one of the restaurants and bars. If you like adventure, there is plenty to do, for instance, you can set off on a ferry and tour the archipelago. Below is our list of the top 10 things to do in Turku.
Turku Market Hall
The first step on our list of top 10 things to do in Turku is the Turku Market Hall. There is nothing quite like Finnish cuisine. Rye bread, Karelian pasties, and kalakukko are just a few of the local delicacies that can be tasted. The best way of trying out Scandinavian and Finnish cuisine is to visit Turku Market Hall. Established in 1896, this makes Turku Market Hall one of the oldest in Finland. Visiting Finland, you will find that markets are a huge part of Finnish culture. There are dozens of stalls, with a wide selection of foods to try. Enjoy a salmon soup with rye bread or try the wide range of cheeses. The Market Hall has something for every kind of taste.
Luostarinmaki Handicrafts Museum
When Turku was Finland’s biggest city, a large number of the houses were made from wood. This changed in 1827 when the Great Fire of Turku spread through the city. It burned down several areas of the city to the ground. Luostarinmaki, a wooden house area, was one of the few areas to be spared from the fire. Visitors to the Museum, have the chance to experience what life was like in Turku, before the great fire. The outdoor museum, which is made up of 18 blocks of original buildings, offers a snapshot of the past. You can experience the work of the artisans in this incredible location. You can also watch as pre-industrial craftsmanship is demonstrated at the Handicrafts Museum.
The Turku Food Walk
For those that enjoy trying the delicacies that different countries offer, the Turku Food Walk is a must-visit location. It’s a great way to combine eating and sightseeing. On the walk, you are given a Food Walk Card. This allows eating at five of the ten participating restaurants. The tour is a great day out. An opportunity to take in the sights, sounds, and tastes of this wonderful city. The tour’s route takes you along the banks of the River Aura, where you will have the chance to sample different dishes. You can try anything from burgers to more traditional Finnish meals, with a broad range of restaurants and cafes to choose from.
The coast of Western Finland is renowned around the world for its beauty. A unique way to experience this coastline is via the Steamship Ukkopekka. Launched in 1938, this is one of the oldest working steamships in Finland, with a fascinating history, that includes serving during the Second World War. The interiors have been fully renovated, and there is a selection of meals and replenishments available onboard. Passengers can view this beautiful coastline in comfort. Sailing from Turku to the nearby town of Naantali, passengers will learn about the coastline and its history. This is a fantastic way to enjoy the spectacular Finnish coastline.
Constructed in the 1280s, Turku Castle is draped in the history of Scandinavia. The perfect destination for history buffs, who want to learn more about Turku and Finland’s fantastic history. Visitors can learn what life was like when the castle was built and have the chance to walk through its cobblestone corridors. The castle has had a rich history since its construction. Originally built by Sweden when they still governed Finland. The castle has played host to different nobles and armies over the centuries. Several great halls are waiting to be discovered and the castle runs several different exhibitions on the history of Turku.
The River Aura is a beautiful and visually stunning presence in Turku. The River flows through the historic area of the city. The river starts at Turku Castle to Turku Cathedral. Along the river are several cafes and restaurants. So, when you are enjoying your meal you have a fantastic view. Turku’s attractions and museums are either along the river or very close by. The best way to enjoy what the river has to offer is during the Summer. Restaurants and bars have seating outside, so you will be able to eat outside during the Summer months. For a different way to cross the river, you can board the ferry; Foli. If you’re interested in a special kind of evening entertainment. You can board one of the many boats that function as restaurants and bars, having a great night out.
The PUF Design Market
Scandinavian and Finnish design and fashion have become the byword for elegant, stylish and modern living. The PUF Design Market is the perfect showcase for different brands. From well-known names to newcomers. When you visit the PUF Design Market, you can find the very latest in fashion and design. You can have a look at the latest in Finnish fashion. If fashion isn’t your thing, you can check out the different designs for home living. Each month the PUF Design Market runs an event on one brand. The PUF also runs different events at its venues, such as concerts, and fashion shows. Just a short distance from the central market square, the PUF design market is a must-see. It is a unique destination in the top 10 things to do in Turku.
Aboa Vetus Ars Nova Museum
The perfect showcase for the very best of modern art and for learning the medieval history of Turku. The Aboa Vetus Ars Nova Museum is the perfect place to visit for art and history lovers. There is no museum like this one. The museum has a range of displays. Such as the ancient ruins and the results of several historical digs that have taken place. One of Turku’s medieval streets runs through the main museum area, allowing visitors to get up close with history. For those with an interest in modern art, they will find different pieces of artwork across the museum’s two floors. Above all, the museum is a must-see. It is easy to find, as it is sat next to the River Aura.
Turku Archipelago Trail
The Archipelago Trail has been a popular choice for many that visit Turku. The 250-kilometer trail can be completed in a car or by bicycle and is the best way to explore the remote islands of this incredible area. The trail starts at Turku, giving you the chance to enjoy some city life, before setting off to the other islands. These beautiful islands have natural beauty. They are well worth visiting to enjoy the sights. The islands are a peaceful and relaxing place to visit. Walking around these islands you will soon see why they are so popular in Finland. For the Finnish, they are the perfect getaway spot. For instance, you will see the houses that are on the islands, they are homes for locals looking for a calmer way of life. If you want to travel to the islands, there are ferries that run between the islands. You can also seek help from the local tourist offices with the ferry schedules.
This building is of huge importance in Finland. Turku Cathedral is the seat of the Archbishop of Finland. Originally built from wood, the cathedral was rebuilt in stone in the 1400s. The building is one of the most important in Finland. The cathedral draws thousands of visitors every year. The visitors to the cathedral, enjoy taking in its beauty, such as its simple but eye-catching design. Many famous historical figures have been buried at the Cathedral. For instance, Karin Månsdotter the 16th Century Queen of Sweden rests in her marble sarcophagus.
Just So You Know:
- Turku is the oldest city in Finland and has been ruled by different countries throughout its history. Originally ruled by Sweden, when Finland was part of Sweden’s Kingdom. The city, along with the rest of the country, was ruled by Russia from 1809 until 1917.
- A large number of Turku’s residents are students. In fact, one in four people in the city is either a student or a professional completing Higher Education. This is because the city is home to two universities and four universities of applied science. The campuses are situated near the city center, so you’re sure to see several students throughout your day!
Get Some Culture:
- Turku Art Museum has collections of art that includes pop art and traditional Nordic pieces.
- Turku Music Festival is an annual event and features a wide range of musicians performing, including classical and modern.