Turku is considered as the birthplace of civilized Finland. The city was founded in the early 13th century to house the Bishop of Finland in a world where Catholic Sweden was ruling over the Finnish peasant population. Since those days, Turku has been serving as the port to the West.The city of Turku has a population of about 200 000, which makes it the 6th city of Finland.
The city center lives of its green parks and the River Aura that flows right the middle of the historic center. Turku shows its true beauty in the summer when the leaves of countless lime trees shine their most vivid colors and people gather for a picnic around the river banks to enjoy of those warm days of summer. Traditionally in July, the vibrant summer city hosts also one of the biggest music festivals of Finland, Ruisrock, by the seaside at Ruissalo.
Where to stay
Turku is not a big city, so it's easy to visit the key sites by foot. The city center is located between the pictures 5, 8 and 11. By staying inside that area, you have an easy reach to the best selection of restaurants, bars and the most important sites.
Things to do in Turku
A little outside the city centre, right by the sea, is located more than 700 year old Turku Castle. The medieval castle is one of the oldest buildings still standing in Finland. The castle was built as a fortress and administrative centre for the Swedish crown that Finland was part of during that time. Guided tours are organized daily during the summer time and less frequently outside of it. Check their website for more information.
Address: Linnankatu 80
How to get: Bus line nr. 1 that leaves from the Market Square (Kauppatori) stops next to it at Turku Castle (Turun Linna)
It’s considered as the most important church in Finland as it is the Mother Church of Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland and the seat of the Lutheran Archbishop of Finland. Originally built as a catholic church, Turku Cathedral’s construction was finished vaguely at the same time with Turku Castle in the 13th century.
Address: Tuomiokirkonkatu 1
How to get: The cathedral is located in the city centre on the East bank with a multitude of bus connections. If you’re using a bus, please check the timetables: reittiopas.foli.fi
Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova
Two completely different museums in one location. Ars Nova is a museum of contemporary art. During its construction a series of medieval artifacts and structures were discovered from the ground beneath and it lead to the opening of Aboat Vetus Museum. At the archeological side there are lots of interactive things for children.
How to get: The museum is located in the city on the East bank, about 500 metres away from the cathedral.
Turku Art Museum
A national romantic style granite building houses the Turku Art Museum where you can marvel a collection of 7,000 artwork. The most famous Finnish painters, such as Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Helene Schjerfbeck, Juho Rissanen and Hugo Simberg among others, have their work here on exhibition.
How to get: Located right in the city center, one block away from the Market Square.
Naantali is a little sister town of Turku, known as the sunshine town, located only 17 kilometres from Turku. It is a true summer town and the President of Finland traditionally spends time here in July or August in the summer residence Kultaranta.
How to get: The buses 6 and 7 go to the center of Naantali from the Turku Market Square. The journey time is 45 minutes.
Naantali is famous for Moomin World, based on Tove Jansson’s children’s books. Moomin World has lots of themed games and activities for children to get involved. The main attraction is the five-storey Moomin House, a blue tower known from the books and cartoons.
How to get: Moomin world is located 1,8 kilometers away from Naanatali center. You have to take a taxi or walk from the centre. In the summer time, there is a Moomin Bus going from Turku Harbor and hotels in Turku City Centre. More info on their website.
Forum Marinum Maritime Centre
Turku has long maritime traditions and the leading maritime museum of Finland is located in Turku. The Forum Marinum Maritime Centre is a lively and versatile centre for maritime activities. The museum occupies two former government warehouses. Outside moored at the quay, there are heritage boats to visit. The main attractions are the Suomenjoutsen, a steel-hulled full rigged ship with three square rigged masts and the Sigyn, built in Gothenburg in 1887, the last remaining wooden barque used for trade across the oceans. The museum ships are open during the summer months only.
How to get: The bus nr. 1 goes from the Market Square to the museum. The Form Marinum bus stop is located shortly before the museum, and before the Turku Castle stop.
The Pharmacy Museum and the Qwensel house
The Qwensel House displays the life and home of the gentry in 18th century Turku. The city's oldest surviving wooden house holds stylish halls and chambers as well as Finland's oldest pharmacy interior.
Address: Läntinen Rantakatu 13b
How to get: Located right in the city centre next to the City Hall at the river bank.
The river splitting the city offers a perfect setting for a lunch with a view. The river banks gather a variety of restaurant choices from budget restaurants to fine dining.
Shopping and what to buy in Turku
The Hansa Quarter is the key shopping spot right in the city center of Turku. There you'll find the department store Stockmann and the Hansakeskus shopping center.
On its south side, you'll find the Market Hall, where the local butchers and fishmongers sell their fresh products. Get enchanted by the aroma of cheese sellers and stop by to a cafe inside the hall for cup of coffee and a Bishop's doughnut. Elsewhere in Finland, that sugar-coded pink doughnut is known as Berliner Doughnut, but here there's one and only name for it and that's Bishops's doughnut - Piispan munkki.
Continue South towards the riverbank and on the next parallel street you'll meet Linnankatu, which is full of smaller designer shops. One of the most hip shops is KUI design, whose specialty is Turku-themed clothing & accessories. The shop is located on the way to the river bank.
Website: KUI design
Prices in Turku
The prices of restaurant and hotels services in Finland are above the average level in the European Union. The hotel prices in Turku are steady throughout the year.
Below, there are some examples of restaurant and hotel prices in Turku. Costs of hotel rooms are median prices at Booking.com.
Pizza in restaurant
Steak in restaurant
33 cl beer in restaurant
Hotel room, 3-4* (April)
Hotel room, 3-4* (July)
How to get to Turku
From Turku airport:
Bus is the only option: reittiopas.foli.fi Line 1 runs between the airport and the harbour (close to the castle). If you want to get off at the centre, Market place is Kauppatori in Finnish.
From other cities or airports:
You can find all options for trains or buses here: matkakeisari.fi. VR means train and all others are buses.
Weather in Turku
Winter: The winter months are cold in Turku and the breeze from the sea makes the cold to go even deeper in your bones. The temperature in December goes on both sides of 0°C. December is often slushy and rainy. January and February are drier months and the snow falls are more frequent. The temperature varies on both sides of 0°C but the temperature can drop even to -15°C, so it's better to observe the weather forecast.
Spring: March can still be snowy and temperatures are are close to 0°C. In April the sunshine is more frequent and the snow starts to melt, as the temperature goes over 0°C. May is still mild with temperatures around 10-15 degrees.
Summer: June, July and August are the sunniest and warmest months in Turku and ideal time for a visit. July and August are warmer in average than June. The temperature is at 20°C and over. During the hottest days the temperature gets even to 30°C, however the weather is very volatile and the temperature can be as well 10°C.
Autumn: The rains are frequent in September and the temperature drops back to 10-15 degrees. In October the temperature can already go to 0°C and even snow might fall though it melts away. November alike October is slush season when it rains a lot and occasional snow falls are possible and the temperature is close to 0°C during the day time.
Other destinations in Finland: